Big question: can Klopp do what no one has done in England before? | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Big question: can Klopp do what no one has done in England before?

Feb 28, 2024 05:22 PM IST

Liverpool's memorable season with Klopp's farewell. Carabao Cup secured, chasing Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup. Quadruple hopes soar.

It's going to be a season to remember for Liverpool fans, by the look of it. First and foremost, this is going to be manager Jurgen Klopp's last season at Anfield. He intends to take a break from football. He is a key figure in Liverpool football and is credited with reviving the club, ending a 30-year title drought in the Premier League.

Liverpool and its manager Jurgen Klopp (C) lift the English League Cup. (AFP)
Liverpool and its manager Jurgen Klopp (C) lift the English League Cup. (AFP)

The entire team appears behind Klopp and is looking to give the German a great farewell. On Sunday, the Reds beat Chelsea to win the Carabao Cup aka the League Cup. Liverpool's first important trophy since their FA Cup win in 2022. Incidentally, they had beaten Chelsea that time too.

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At present, Liverpool are in contention for three more titles. They already have the League Cup in the bag. And they are leading the Premier League points table, going strong in the Europa League and the FA Cup.

The true quadruple which has the Champions League instead of the Europa League has so far proved to be a myth in English football. On second thought, even with the Europa League it has proved to be a myth! No English team has achieved it to date. Although, trebles have been achieved with Manchester City being the last team that did it in 2022-23 when they won the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Also Read: Liverpool edge Chelsea to lift League Cup as Van Dijk rises to the occasion

Liverpool was the first club to taste a treble in 1983-84 when it won the league, the European Cup (renamed Champions League in the early nineties) and the League Cup. Though in the pure sense of the achievement, it doesn’t get much credit since it didn’t feature an FA Cup triumph.

Manchester United was the second English club to do it in 1998-99 when they won the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup. In all, there have been more than 120 attempts by more than a dozen clubs since 1960 - when the League Cup came into being - to achieve the “true” quadruple.

One can make out it's kind of impossible to win all four important trophies. It remains elusive even when one adds the Europa League instead of the Champions League. Things toughen up for the Reds when one brings into the picture Manchester City, who are looking to become the first team to win four successive Premier League titles. Besides, they are in the fray for the FA Cup too.

Klopp and Guardiola have been the greatest of rivals in the last 10 years or so. Their rivalry began in Germany itself. Klopp was with Borussia Dortmund; Guardiola with Bayern Munich.

In 2015, Klopp moved to England, and the very next year Guardiola followed suit. Both have won all major trophies in England since, and Guardiola on record has said that the presence of Klopp has helped him grow and turned him into a better manager.

Guardiola's City have got the better of Liverpool in terms of the trophy haul but it's a great opportunity for Klopp to get his own back on Guardiola. If he achieves the quadruple -- even though it's not "pure and true" - it is likely to neutralize the "trophies" advantage Guardiola has at present - to some extent for sure. Imagine, four trophies in one season!

Besides, it will raise the bar for everyone else in the league and make everyone believe that four trophies of importance (yes, the Europa League is no ordinary tournament and features some of the best clubs in Europe and tests teams over a long period of time, and definitely can’t be compared with the Club World Cup or European Super Cup or Community Shield) are possible after all. While it's not easy at all to win all four, the Liverpool players will be terribly motivated to do it for their manager. If achieved, it will be a fitting tribute to the man who ended the existential crisis for the club when they won their first Premier League in 2019-20.

Klopp’s Liverpool were in contention for the true quadruple in 2021-22 but eventually, they ended with two trophies. At the time when they were in with a chance, the 56-year-old said the talk of the possibility of a quadruple was crazy. He couldn’t be blamed. As it later turned out, he could win only two, the FA Cup and the League Cup. But this time it’s a little different.

It's his last season and there is no doubt he would want to finish on a high, preferably the highest of the highs, with a quadruple. He has got a great team led by an inspiring captain in Virgil van Dijk and the team has hit top form at the most crucial time of the season. Despite all the arguments, it may still appear a daydream to many, but then there is always a first time for everything.

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