Jurgen Klopp with Liverpool in the Champions League against Villarreal

Ssix Champions League titles. 19 English championships. In addition, there are seven national FA trophies and three international Europa League trophies, which were once called the UEFA Cup: There is hardly any other club museum in the world that has as many trophies on display as Liverpool FC’s. This year, however, German coach Jürgen Klopp and his team can do something that none of the countless club legends, from Bill Shankly to Kenny Dalglish, have been able to do since the club was founded on March 15, 1892: win four titles in just a season.

The Champions League semi-final at FC Villarreal on Tuesday (21.00 in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on Amazon Prime) is the next obstacle on this road. After the one-sided 2-0 victory in the first match, it does not seem to be that high anymore. At least not as high as winning a possible final against Real Madrid or Manchester City, overtaking Cityzens in the last four Premier League matches or winning the English Cup final against Chelsea.

Nevertheless, Klopp warned against Villarreal on Monday (“They will give everything they have”). The big challenge is also constantly jumping from one competition to the next. “I’m not smart enough to try two things at the same time,” he said, focusing on the next game and looking forward to the prospect of more titles.

“We have improved with him every year”

“It’s a good situation for us. But the number of matches we still have to play is very high. With or without the Champions League final: it’s a lot for us. So it’s better if we win every match, otherwise it can be difficult. ” LFC won the final of the English League Cup against Chelsea at the end of February.

To appreciate the value of Klopp’s work, look back on his first day in Liverpool in October 2015. “Please give us time to work. But I think: If I sit here in four years, we might have a title,” said the coach at his first press conference.


Big moment of happiness: Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool FC win the English Championship in 2020.
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Photo: Pool via REUTERS

The 54-year-old took over the club in tenth place in the Premier League. Since then, the following have been added: the Champions League final 2018, the Champions League victory in 2019, the English Championship in 2020 and the Club World Cup the same year. “We have improved with him every year,” English national team player Trent Alexander-Arnold said on Monday in Villarreal. “In February, I said, ‘We’ll win at least one trophy this year. But if we keep winning, we’ll get our fingers in a lot more.”

Klopp’s merits in building a team that has demonstrated self-esteem and stability at the highest level over the years should not be weighed up in titles alone. Since his first full season in 2016/17, he has averaged more than 83 points per season with Liverpool in the world’s strongest league. FC Bayern Munich was not able to maintain its high level after the Champions League success in 2020. Klopp’s current team, on the other hand, looks to be even stronger than in the 2019 Champions League triumph.

One reason for this is the player who moved from Bayern to Liverpool two years ago: Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard is one of the few playmakers who is as world-class as ball chasers and ball distributors. The people of Munich were missing someone like him when they lost their teeth at Villarreal in the quarter-finals. For the Reds, he was the best man in the first match against the reigning Europa League winners.

“Thiago is in a form where he would not only play for any national team in the world, but he would show outstanding performances for any team,” Klopp said on Monday.

But Thiago is already 31 years old, and so is captain Jordan Henderson. Chief of Defense Virgil van Dijk is already 30 years old, and star striker Mo Salah is about to do so. Jürgen Klopp must rebuild his successful team over the next few years – no matter how many titles he wins this year. But he still has the necessary time: After the first match against Villarreal, he extended his contract until 2026.

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