I’m pretty sure everybody is equally shocked to hear about Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season. To be honest, I’m half expecting it to be one big prank!
Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool
Suffice to say, Liverpool were in a bit of a pickle before Jurgen Klopp showed up.
A ‘period of transition’ is a friendlier way of describing a club that was being mishandled at the top, and struggled to maintain an identity on the grass.
But then, under the charismatic leadership of Jurgen Klopp, they’ve experienced a remarkable resurgence in recent years. A lot of it contingent of Klopp’s Talent ID and management – as well as the collectively capabilities of his backroom staff… who will also be leaving at the end of the season!
In this article, I will delve into the top four most memorable signings made by the German tactician, highlighting the men who played pivotal roles in Liverpool’s journey to the summit of the game.
Virgil van Dijk
Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Anfield in 2015 marked the beginning of a transformative era for Liverpool, but it was the acquisition of Virgil van Dijk in January 2018 that truly signaled a defensive revolution.
The Dutch centre-back arrived from Southampton for a then-world record fee for a defender, and he quickly justified every penny spent. Despite some fans at the time arguing that maybe Manchester United’s acquisition of Leicester’s Harry Maguire represented better value for money.
I don’t think they’ll be making that particular mistake again!
Van Dijk brought composure, leadership, and a commanding presence to Liverpool’s backline. His impact was immediate, as he played a crucial role in Liverpool’s journey to the UEFA Champions League final in the 2017-2018 season. His performances were so influential that he earned the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award for the 2018-2019 season.
That year when he fell foul of that infamous Jordan Pickford challenge where they relied on a certain goalkeeper’s header to get them into the Top 4, showcases just how integral the impact and consistency of Virgil Van Dijk has been to Jurgen Klopp’s success at Liverpool.
Speaking of said ‘goalkeeper’…
In the summer of 2018, Klopp addressed another critical area of concern by securing the services of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker from AS Roma. Alisson’s arrival marked a significant upgrade in the goalkeeping department and played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s defensive solidity.
Put simply, Alisson Becker (in my opinion) is the best goalkeeper in the world.
Known for his exceptional shot-stopping abilities, unerring presence in the box, and superb distribution, Alisson became the missing piece in Klopp’s defensive puzzle. His heroics in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2019, including a crucial late save to deny Lionel Messi, showcased his ability to make game-changing interventions.
And he’s been going so on a regular basis under those Anfield lights.
I would go as far to say that purchasing a strong goalkeeper is enough to earn your side 8-10 points per season, and a truly great one can go above that. And when you consider the Premier League races have fallen to even fewer than that, it’s clear that Alisson is one of Jurgen Klopp’s greatest ever acquisitions – let alone just for Liverpool Football Club.
Apparently, Salah wasn’t even a product of Jurgen Klopp’s own talent Identification methods.
But at the time, his growth as an all-round forward at AS Roma, signalled that even greater times could be on the horizon given the appropriate guidance and opportunity.
Salah took the Premier League by storm, breaking numerous goal-scoring records in his debut season with Liverpool. His electrifying pace, clinical finishing, and ability to score from almost any position on the pitch made him an instant fan favorite.
Salah’s 32 goals in the 2017-2018 Premier League season earned him the Golden Boot, and he played an indispensable role in Liverpool’s journey to the Champions League Final.
The Egyptian forward’s impact extended beyond individual accolades; especially as part of that attacking trio alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Salah’s consistency in front of goal and his ability to deliver in crucial moments have solidified his status as the “Egyptian King” at Anfield.
In the summer of 2016, Klopp secured the services of Senegalese forward Sadio Mane from Southampton. Mane’s arrival was somewhat overshadowed by other high-profile signings that summer, but he quickly established himself as a key player in Klopp’s system.
Known for his explosive pace, skillful dribbling, and clinical finishing, Mane formed a lethal attacking trio with Salah and Firmino. His ability to score crucial goals in big moments has been instrumental in Liverpool’s success under Jurgen Klopp.
It’s also clear that he has been missed since leaving for Saudi Arabia.
The Senegalese forward’s work rate, versatility, and ability to track back defensively make him a complete attacking player. Mane’s performances have earned him individual accolades, including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award for the 2018-2019 season. His consistency and flair make him a memorable signing in Klopp’s era.
Jurgen Klopp’s tenure at Liverpool has been defined by shrewd signings that have not only strengthened the squad but also created a winning culture at Anfield.
Whether it’s the defensive resilience brought by Van Dijk and Alisson, or the goal-scoring prowess of Salah and Mane, these signings have left an indelible mark on Liverpool’s storied history.
As Jurgen Klopp wonders what’s left for him after a much-deserved break from the game, it’s clear that his influence and infectious personality will live on beyond him.
Who do you think is the best ever Jurgen Klopp signing?