1000 games: Jurgen Klopp – The Alchemist

Jurgen Klopp will manage his 1000th game tomorrow.

Paul Coelho once wrote ‘A man sets out on a journey, dreaming of a beautiful or magical place, in pursuit of some unknown treasure…

As two injury-ridden squads meet at Anfield on Saturday the German coach will manage his 1000th game. The road from Mainz to Liverpool has been pathed with expectation and looking back, The 0-Fives, Borussia, and Reds will almost all agree that Jurgen Norbert Klopp delivered.

Liverpool spent a long time away from the top table of football. Often flattering to deceive, the Kop got used to the odd trophy and glimpses of excellence, but ultimately no manager or squad ever felt truly Liverpool.

Souness and Evans were sentimental choices. Houllier came closest, Benitez too functional, Hodgson out of his depth and Rodgers was lucky.

But when the man from Stuttgart was presented to the world’s media as the next manager of Liverpool, something felt different. Here was a man who most elite clubs coveted, a man who football fans worldwide loved, and a man players respected. Could he be the one?

His message on the 8th of October 2015 was simple and well-documented. As this milestone game looms, it’s worth taking stock.

Premier League title. Check
Champions League. Check
FA Cup. Check
League Cup. Check
UEFA Super Cup. Check
FIFA Club World Cup. Check
Doubters into believers. Check

But there’s more to Klopp than the trophies. He gets what it means to be a football fan, the emotion, the devotion. He’s an everyman. The belief he instills in those around him is palpable, his very nature is infectious; you get the sense that if he asked Carol Farell to pull on the No 9 shirt in the 81st minute, she would stroll onto Anfield turf and bang in a 9-minute hat trick.

The Liverpool faithful were aching for a manager who was a throwback to the giants of yesteryear, but someone who had a modern relevancy. With Klopp, they got, and have, the closest incarnation of Paisley possible, but also somebody who can go toe-to-toe with Guardiola.

But maybe Klopp’s biggest challenge lays Infront of him. Both he and his current squad are short of energy. The exertions of recent years have clearly caught up with him and the players. Does the man who masterminded the transformation of a sleeping giant have one more spell in him?

It could be argued he does not have to look far for the answer…’At the end of the journey, the man realizes the treasure was with him the entire time’

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