Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has announced that he will be stepping down from his post at the end of the current season. The 56-year-old German has won the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League with the Reds, thereby ending their heartache and agony that lasted for three decades.
More importantly from a strictly football perspective, Klopp was the reason why Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City did not run away with all the Premier League title every time. His team gave the marauding Cityzens a fight, thus elevating the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester City to the most intense one in English football at the moment.
The Reds are at the top of the league table this season and it will be a befitting farewell to the manager should they be able to win the title.
Klopp is into his ninth season at Anfield and has signed a good many players during the said period. In this article, we will take a look at three of his most important and influential signings:
Liverpool signed Mané from Southampton for a transfer fee of 34 million GBP in 2016. Mané spent six very successful seasons at Liverpool, winning both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League with them. He also scored 120 goals in 269 matches for them, primarily playing as a left winger in their 4-3-3.
Mané formed a great triumvirate with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. Mané, however, at times played as the No. 9 and scored a few goals from crosses with headers as well.
He was quite adept at playing accurate passes through tight spaces as well and notched up 29 assists in 196 Premier League matches for them. He finally left for Bayern, thereby cementing his status as the most influential African footballer to have played for Liverpool.
Virgil van Dijk
It is not often that a defender narrowly misses out on winning the Ballon d’Or. However, van Dijk did precisely that in 2019. A colossal defender in every sense of the word, van Dijk won the coveted double for the Reds and built his legacy as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League era.
Like Mane, he was also signed from Southampton for a fee of 75 million pounds. Aside from having great presence that can dwarf almost any centre-forward in the football, van Dijk’s passing skills are also exemplary and his aerial prowess exceptional. He has made 246 appearances for Liverpool so far and should remain one of their most pivotal players for at least a couple of more seasons.
Signing Salah has quite possibly been the best decision Klopp has made as a Liverpool manager. The Egyptian forward has established himself as one of the better players in their entire history, notching up 204 goals and numerous assists in his 332 matches for them so far. Klopp signed him from AS Roma in 2017 for around 37 million pounds.
He has also won the PFA Player of the year award and enthralled spectators worldwide with his lethal left-foot. Playing as a left-winger in a 4-3-3, Salah has repeatedly made forays into the opposition penalty box. He has also developed the ability to find his colleagues through inch-perfect passes in the final third. He remains, undoubtedly, the Reds’ talismanic player at the moment.