Jurgen Klopp has created a togetherness which helped inspire Liverpool's Champions League triumph

Alex Rea 2/06/2019
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Jurgen Klopp holds aloft the Champions League trophy

It didn’t matter from which mouth the words exited, the message was always the same.

‘We did this together’.

There were deviations in how it was conveyed, some cracked with emotion while others filtered through via second languages, but they all scripted an identical, wider narrative.

Liverpool’s glorious Champions League success against Tottenham, the sixth European Cup in the club’s history, was a victory for the collective. The cold nuances of finance, tactics, preparation and data all play their part, but above everything else, this Liverpool team is a collaboration of spirit, energy and will.

It’s not to consign Jurgen Klopp to Mr Motivator status, but it must not be ignored that he has massaged these elements into this winning unit.

The German is absolutely meticulous and finer details such as Barcelona’s complaining during breaks in play do not escape vision. Yet his luminous personality can often blanket the seriousness of his work.

There are two levels to Klopp, the silk of charm and the steel of determination. These qualities have helped reforge a defiant force, housing the owners, supporters, staff and players.

Where before there was schism, all pieces now fit together. It wasn’t always like this. Before Klopp, disenchantment hung over Anfield with a divided fan base cynical of its representatives on the pitch and in the boardroom.

Gripped by insecurity, there was a desperation to return to an illustrious past, a celebration of which grinded on rivals because their big historical talk didn’t match the current walk.

What Klopp looked to create was a future not chained by the past. Indeed, as he’s said before, this wasn’t European Cup number six, but number one, the first sign post on a road to future glory.

And Klopp does not stand at the top or sit in the middle of the club, he just binds everyone together. It’s that magnetism which claimed the Cup.

Not one player broke rank on Saturday. After taking an early lead, there was an agreement, spoken and unspoken, to protect that prized commodity.

This was done through expert game management, from the drawn-out throw-ins to the slow-paced prep for set-pieces. Not one individual sought to unnecessarily quicken play as each intentional act ate away seconds of a game which seemed to be lasting hours.

The concept of time, incidentally, was completely skewed. Three weeks of build-up seemed to stretch as if it were summer break. But then within seconds of the game Mohamed Salah put the Reds in front and what followed that rapid piece of attacking action, was a defensive effort which contorted time again.

Yet nothing was desperate or rushed. Granted, quality in possession was pretty poor, both sides were victims of the pause as that time siphoned any rhythm.

Liverpool’s measured organisation was something to marvel at, though, even if their attacking instincts were switched off.

They bolted back into shape whenever the ball was lost, forming four solid walls of defence and blocked Tottenham’s final ball.

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Naturally, each player possessed different tools but they mined silverware in unison. Virgil van Dijk headed everything with arguably the most telling exchange being his change of pace and composure to deny Son Heung-min.

Sadio Mane smoothly progressed into the final third to heave his side forward. The club sold the velvet touch of Philippe Coutinho and signed two countrymen in Fabinho and Alisson who both defied Brazilian stereotypes with their rocky resilience on Saturday. Jordan Henderson didn’t quite exert control over the midfield but the captain’s drive was essential, matched by the strike of another significant Divock Origi’s goal.

For the neutral observer there is sympathy as the early lead blunted Liverpool’s desire to attack because there was no need to sharpen their arsenal at the risk of being hurt themselves.

But champions do not care for neutrals, the only spectacle which matters is the trophy lift. In finals, that is all that matters. They did what they had to do, and did it together. The quality of the game is inconsequential.

Liverpool in the modern era has been hallmarked by some flashy victories, but that’s not always how trophies are won. It’s generally accepted that the most thrilling and entertaining brand of football Liverpool have played in the 21st century was under Brendan Rodgers, but there was no bounty for their rich style.

Under Klopp, they are cold and calculated with desire and determination powering those traits.

FSG have displayed financial support, allowed those better positioned to get to work with the club’s transfer committee structure, sports science and data analysts near faultless.

The fans have been patient and inspirational, Klopp and the players united with them. All corners of Liverpool won this prize, they did it together and they all acknowledged that fact.

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‘It’s so painful’ - Mauricio Pochettino on losing Champions League final

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Manager Mauricio Pochettino

Manager Mauricio Pochettino said he felt proud but disappointed following Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 defeat by Liverpool in the Champions League final on Saturday.

“We need to feel proud, this season was fantastic, to finish in the top four (of Premier League) and play the finals for the first time in the history of the club.” said Pochettino.

“It’s going to be painful because we lose the final but at the same time we need to be positive.”

Hear from the Tottenham boss in the video clip above 










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Virgil van Dijk talks about Ballon d'Or chances and Barcelona icon Lionel Messi

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Virgil van Dijk against Lionel Messi

Virgil van Dijk’s display against Tottenham was as solid as so many others he has put in over the course of a season to remember.

Being the world’s most expensive defender never seems to weigh heavy on the Holland international’s shoulders, which is why his peers voted him the PFA Player of the Year.

Asked if his man-of-the-match display in Madrid points to the fact he could even be crowned the world’s best for 2019, Van Dijk said: “I think (Lionel) Messi is the best player in the world.

“I think he deserves it as long as he plays, so the Ballon d’Or is not something I’m definitely thinking about.”


Hear what else the Liverpool defender had to say of his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or in the video above 









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