• Manager wants to build foundation for lasting success
• ‘If I’m not as smart as Einstein should I not even try?’
Jürgen Klopp has said silverware is not the only measure of success but Liverpool’s progression as a club should provide the basis for sustained achievement at Anfield.
The Liverpool manager accepted José Mourinho’s latest reminder that “trophies matter” before Manchester United’s visit to Anfield, with his Old Trafford rival making reference to the absence of silverware from Klopp’s tenure in the buildup to Sunday’s fixture. Klopp, however, insists his reign should not be judged on trophies alone but on the clear development of the squad and club since his arrival in October 2015. He claimed life would be “shit” if not finishing first was considered worthless.
“That’s true,” said Klopp, on needing to win trophies. “But do I have to? That might be what people remember but what I have to do is make the best of the things the club is offering me, that is what I believe in. If people say the Champions League campaign last season was not a success because we didn’t win the final then I cannot change that. Was it the most successful? No, but the ride was brilliant. I enjoyed it a lot.
“Going to the final was fantastic but in life – in all departments of life, including your job – if only the best counts and effort doesn’t count then life is shit. If I’m not as smart as Einstein should I not try even a little bit because I will never be him? I love the challenge. Make the best of it. That is how I learn life and a little bit in football. In the end other people have to judge that.”
Liverpool currently top the Premier League from Manchester City, are 16 points above United and are the only unbeaten team remaining in England’s top four divisions. Klopp, despite his insistence that silverware is not the be all and end all, believes everything is now in place at Anfield for long-term success.
“The club, the team, the size of the fanbase, the manager as a combination: we should be successful,” he explained.
“Just how successful we don’t know because there’s only one spot. You can do pretty much everything right but in the end one team can do a bit more right and you don’t get it. But you don’t think about that in this moment. Progress is necessary, you need it to improve everything.
“If you want to talk to me about how it felt three or four years ago, the outside view was that it was a completely different club. 100% it was a different club. It wasn’t that easy. Brendan [Rodgers] did a fantastic job and in the last few years we have tried to improve everything. We built a new stand, we are building a new training ground. We don’t need a new training ground today but we are building it for the future. The level we’re at now is only the basis for this club to go again. That’s what we want to do. For that we need good footballers and we’ve got that. We have to try everything we can to be successful.”
Klopp maintains there is always pressure to deliver at Liverpool and, in the absence of a better candidate, the club should have complete trust in their manager to return silverware to Anfield.
He added: “The pressure to deliver good performances is a pressure we put on ourselves. If you only love the game if you win at the end, and that means if you are first in the table at the end, then that means all the others have to stop loving it. You have to accept that you lose. The pressure is there and has always been there because we know that we have to deliver. We are not somebody, we are Liverpool.
“The pressure is from outside, people saying if I don’t win silverware then I have to leave.
“In the moment you find someone who can do the job better you have to take him, that’s how it is. As long as there is not, you have to trust the guy in the chair 100%. That is it. It doesn’t work the other way around. We feel we are really the right combination 100% – with the club, with all the people. So far we have used it really well.”