Jurgen Klopp take on FSG strategy and private arguments in candid interview before Liverpool exit

In a series of candid interviews, Jurgen Klopp discusses a wide range of subjects as Liverpool’s manager.

Jurgen Klopp take on FSG strategy and private arguments in candid interview before Liverpool exit

Jurgen Klopp

When it comes to the amount of transfer investment made by Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group, Jurgen Klopp has stood by it, saying, “That is what the people believe in.”

Under FSG’s 14-year leadership, the team has operated on a strictly self-sustaining model, investing only in earnings. Since Klopp took over as manager in October 2015, the Reds have spent a net of £376 million, or less than £50 million annually.

With Newcastle United, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea all spending more than Klopp’s team since he took over as manager almost nine years ago, that number puts Liverpool in seventh place for spending during that period.

The business model has occasionally drawn criticism from some segments of the global Liverpool fan base, especially when injuries have severely disrupted the team. However, Klopp claims that the current operating model is perfect for the way that Liverpool and its Boston-based owners want to run the team.

Before his final game as manager this weekend at home against Wolves, Klopp discussed his thoughts on FSG’s strategy in-depth with a few publications, including the ECHO. He also insisted that any disagreements were always kept strictly internal.

“I think you could buy into it but (people say) ‘they didn’t back him enough’ and stuff like that but I never saw it that way,” Klopp stated. Although I never had these conversations in public, I don’t know if they could have done more, but I don’t think they could have.

“I didn’t want to spread the idea that we are not a unit to the outside world. If there was a disagreement, it would be internal, but from the outside we would argue that’s how we do things. I am unaware of any other method.

“I would try to include the public in the discussions if that would be helpful, but it isn’t. What should I do if my son asked for fifty euros and I only had twenty-five to give him? Plus, just hand him the twenty-five. I genuinely believed that I understood it to be the Liverpool way, which is how we do things.

“We follow the correct procedures. We always spend what we earn on the team, the stand, and this building instead of doing a lot of things that other people do or overspending. You could argue that Barcelona is not as healthy as this club, but they are still very good, so to do that on our level is impressive. However, I don’t see this as a Liverpool issue. I simply fail to see that.

“Or other clubs with enormous resources, they try things; historically, the people have believed that this is the right way to do things, so that is how we should do it. They were somewhat influenced by Bill Shankly and are [political] lefties. Of course, not many of us are familiar with him, but since it persists, you cannot simply make this change right now. ‘Who cares?’ may be the mindset of the younger faction.

However, those thirty years of age and older understand it that way, and that is what we have always done. And in the process, we may have been unlucky at times or perhaps insufficient to win three Premier Leagues and three Champions Leagues.”

After winning eight trophies, including the first league title in thirty years, a sixth European Cup, and the first-ever Club World Cup, the Reds manager also shared his thoughts when he arrived on Merseyside, thinking that his squad lacked confidence and needed a lot of fine tuning.

“In the few days prior to our first press conference, I had been talking to people about why they switched from Brendan Rodgers to me, about what went wrong in 2014 when we didn’t win the championship, and about what it meant to be so close,” Klopp continued. I realized that nobody liked Liverpool and that everyone had doubts about the team’s abilities. The team didn’t even think well of itself!

“That’s actually what happened. It was visible to you. The athletes didn’t feel confident in their own flesh. They didn’t appear to be thinking, “We are in the right place.” After signing with Liverpool, they struggled to live up to the public’s expectations. That was evident when I spoke with Ian Ayre, John Henry, Mike Gordon, Matt McCann, and the former head of press; these were the first people I had met at the club.

“I know how football works; the four years comment wasn’t exactly to buy time. It won’t happen if you don’t go where people want you to go as soon as possible. Actually, what I meant to say was that you will require a coach from Switzerland in the event that we do not win a trophy. Regardless, it was b*******! It was more like you’ll have to give it another go with someone else.

The people had had enough and wanted to see something that they could once again have faith in. It just so happens that this is something that all football fans enjoy, but you have to ramp up the work rate. The players put in plenty of effort, but you have to fight for what you truly want. Items for using in a football game are available. While the other is proactive, the first is reactive.

Reactiveness is simply always too late, even when your running statistics indicate that you have run 125k or whatever, leaving you to wonder how that occurred. It is therefore always about taking a positive approach, and the Tottenham game in October 2015 was something I really enjoyed because I saw it with the players early on. It was a very intense game, and we had only had two training sessions because we had just returned from the international break. We simply got tired because the players wanted to perform well too.

“To put it another way, it was one of the better nil-nils, but Simon Mignolet made a few saves. That was all I needed to see in order to get a sense of the boys’ personalities. And with a football team like Liverpool FC, supporters are eager to join the team’s endeavors.

“I believe you could have because everyone was prepared. To be honest, I believe that most other managers would have experienced the same thing because, after 24 years, Brendan tried again, and when people weren’t happy, they made changes. It was a time for a fresh start, but it required time. Not bad, the Europa League was, and we qualified for the Champions League.

“Jordon Ibe scored while we played on the frozen field in Sion with Rubin Kazan. I found out the day before that Brad Smith was in our training class. He was standing right next to me, and I had to ask someone else who he was because it was too embarrassing to ask him! I was informed he is our left-back.

“Fascinating. We suffered a great deal of injuries; since I arrived, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez have both suffered serious injuries, and we were forced to play Conor Randall, who is currently in Scotland. Shamal George was also a member of the training group, but we succeeded.

“The Dortmund match was the high point, and Villarreal also advanced to the semifinals.” It was an excellent team, and we learned how to play football well. Although it wasn’t the league’s best team—as everyone hopes—it was still a respectable squad. I had five strikers when I came here, something I had never had before. Sturridge—a fantastic player but one who gets hurt too frequently—Ings, Bobby Firmino, Divock Origi, and Benteke. That is excellent.

“Phil Coutinho as well. A little too slow was the last line. Playing a high line is tough, but we had quality players like Kolo Toure; it’s just that our style of play isn’t what we want to do. Dejan Lovren had a fantastic skill set, was a good age, and we had many amazing games with him. Thus, it was good, but perhaps not good enough to compete for the major awards. We had to gradually alter it.”

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