It had to happen eventually yet it seemed somewhat unexpected when it did.
Just hours after Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Everton two weeks ago, Brendan Rodgers was relieved of his duties at the helm of the Reds following a run of poor results despite saying in his post-match press conference that he was assured he had the board behind him. Days later, Jurgen Klopp was announced as replacement.
Called a “football romantic”, it is unlikely there was any club in England -- or the world for that matter -- that would not have wanted the charismatic German coach. They may have Louis van Gaal for the next two years, at least, but Manchester United fans will feel the former Borussia Dortmund coach would have been the perfect fit for the club having been described as ‘the most romantic football club in the world’ by former coach Sir Alex Ferguson.
Like with Jose Mourinho, sometimes the timing just isn’t right. For Liverpool, it seems perfect.
Klopp has made sure expectations are kept under control at a club that was hoping to bid for the title at the start of the season but now hope to fight for a top four finish.
“Does anyone in this room think I can do wonders? No. I am a normal guy. I come from the Black Forest (a mountainous region in Germany). My mother is probably sat at home now watching this, not able to understand a word of what I am saying but very proud.
“I am the Normal One. I was a very average player, became a manager in Germany at a special club, Mainz, then I had a great opportunity to take Dortmund, a special club for seven years. For both parties it was best to leave and now I am here,” he said, at his first press conference as Liverpool manager.
“This is a very difficult league, opponents maybe bigger but in a special Liverpool way we can be successful. I don’t want to say we can wait 20 years. If we sit here in four years, I think we win one title. If I don’t win the next one, maybe it will have to be in Switzerland.”
One can’t help but admire his way with words.
One Saturday, Klopp will oversee his first competitive game in charge of the Reds, and an away trip to Tottenham could be the perfect baptism of the Premier League for the 48-year-old.
A league where the ‘anyone can beat anyone’ phrase has been justified more than ever this season, the Merseysiders go to White Hart Lane to face a club that beat high-flying Manchester City 4-1 one week, and then drew 2-2 to a struggling Swansea side.
Klopp comes with a reputation of getting the best out of his teams, and at 10th placed Liverpool, he will need to do just that. Who knows, maybe even Mario Balotelli---on loan at AC Milan---will come good.