Klopp's Kop rocking - and rightly so

"Hope is a dangerous thing my friend," uttered Morgan Freeman’s character Ellis "Red" Redding in The Shawshank Redemption. "Hope can drive a man insane." Don't Liverpool fans know the truth in that saying. So bear some caution in mind while we summon this conclusion: they finally have the right manager. It’s only taken 25 years.

Liverpool Jurgen Klopp

Manager Jurgen Klopp has transformed Liverpool Source: AAP

In that time, Liverpool have transformed from a unstoppable force - arguably the biggest club in the world - to a team characterised by division, erratic bouts of excitement and general underachievement.

There's been just two genuine title runs in that time, and on both of those occasions under Gerard Houllier and then Brendan Rodgers, Reds' fans have only pondered what might have been had they had an elite manager at the helm.

Well, the wait is over. Jurgen Klopp is everything any fan could hope for.

The best part is that while every Liverpool supporter was overjoyed at his appointment in October last year, it was terribly hard to get a gauge on the team.

Brilliant one week, ordinary the next, terrible the week after, ultimately settling into eighth place. Nothing special there, but perhaps the UEFA Cup run, which ended in a final defeat to Sevilla, planted the seed of belief the squad needed.

Now as we move toward the one-year anniversary of his term in the Anfield dugout, it is hard not to be giddy at the prospect of what “the normal one” is putting together.

Currently fourth, with wins over Arsenal, Chelsea and defending champions Leicester City all under Klopp’s belt, the Reds venture to Swansea City on Saturday evening AEST.

You couldn't possibly back against them on this form. And Swansea look absolutely dire, having picked up a solitary point in their past five games. Relegation now looms as a genuine prospect for the Swans.
Threats for the Reds are coming from every angle - very reminiscent of how Klopp managed to get Dortmund playing in both of their title-winning seasons. Lewandowski was the focal point but Barrios, Kagawa, Götze, Großkreutz and Sahin offered goals galore at different times.

This season, Adam Lallana has three goals and three assists, Philippe Coutinho has three goals and two assists while James Milner and Sadio Mane have three goals and one assist. It's by far the most even spread of any team.

But while you'll probably see Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin pulling out the remaining strands of hair on his head over the 90 minutes, Klopp looks as hungry and motivated as he did during the best years of his spectacular reign at the Westfalenstadion.

He is the English Premier League's most charismatic manager - and by some distance. He loves all the parts of modern football, on field and off it.

“Kloppo” actually makes football fun again. Punching the air when there's a goal, embracing his players as equals, celebrating with the fans. It's refreshing, and best of all, it's genuine. Klopp looks like he could break into song or dance at the drop of a hat. What’s not to love?

It's proof again that this game takes all types of characters. And heaven knows we need as many as we can get in this suddenly-very-serious world.

Ironically, Rodgers also tried to immerse himself in the quirky ways of Scousers but Klopp just seems that much more convincing. He hasn't feigned that he belonged from day one; nor needed an oft-excruciating (if well-intentioned documentary) to tell the story.

Of course, any true Liverpool fan will tell you that the real question doesn't lie over Klopp but the men who employed him.

Yes, they handed out a juicy, six-year contract extension a few months back, but will they provide him with the funds he needs to buy the players that will suit his system?

What he's done already is meritorious but a title run may be far-fetched without reinforcements. Don't forget the opposition: Guardiola, Mourinho, Conte, and the season has only just started.

But don't let me spoil the moment just yet. Whether it happens this season or next, the red part of Merseyside has genuine reason to hope - and dream - once more. Perhaps without the insanity.

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4 min read
Published 30 September 2016 at 8:53am
By Sebastian Hassett