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Sunday 4 December 2016

'Now I am a Liverpool man 24-7' - Jurgen Klopp confirmed as Liverpool manager

Former Borussia Dortmund boss has agreed a three year deal as Brendan Rodgers's successor at Anfield

Juergen Klopp with Liverpool chairman Tom Werner after putting pen to paper on his contract
Juergen Klopp with Liverpool chairman Tom Werner after putting pen to paper on his contract

Jurgen Klopp is officially Liverpool’s new manager.

Confirmation came from the club at 9pm on Thursday evening, with Klopp becoming the 20th manager in Liverpool’s history – and also the most handsomely rewarded in the process.

Klopp signed a three year deal worth an estimated £7 million a season, a contract that has the option for an extension should the 48-year-old meet the club’s objectives of Champions League participation during his tenure.

The German’s arrival in the city sparked the kind of hysteria his predecessor Brendan Rodgers alluded to during his final weeks in charge – only this was all of a positive, vibrant and enthusiastic nature.

The Kop believes it has a kindred spirit in the dug-out, relating to Klopp’s work ethic, charisma and – most importantly – his reputation as a winner.

Jurgen Klopp (second left) is escorted away after arriving at John Lennon Airport, Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp (second left) is escorted away after arriving at John Lennon Airport, Liverpool

When Klopp walks into Anfield’s Centenary Stand’s ‘Red Lounge’ on Friday morning, a global media presence will underline how the appointment has caught the imagination of the football world. Klopp and Liverpool has the potential to be a most dynamic and invigorating partnership.

There was no statement from the man himself on his arrival, although a television reporter secured a snatched interview prior to his departure from Germany.

“From tomorrow I will be a Liverpool man 24/7,” he said through an intercom at his German home.

Every step of his journey from his house in Mainz to Merseyside, via Dortmund Airport, was tracked on social media - excitable supporters following the story digitally even monitored the flight path of the private jet carrying Klopp, his staff and family.

 Club officials joyously declared Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool’s John Lennon shortly before 5pm. A Press Release announcing the media conference scheduled for 10am on Friday morning was dispatched.

“There will be a major club announcement,” it read, somewhat of an understatement.

Klopp then headed to the appropriately named Hope St Hotel in Liverpool city centre, opposite the grand Philharmonic Hall and within walking distance of both cathedrals.

In one of the same luxury suites where Rafa Benitez signed his Liverpool contract in 2004, Klopp put pen to paper.

Klopp was situated on the top floor in ‘The Sixth Boardroom’ where a panoramic view take in the sights of much of the city centre, across Liverpool and beyond.

Juergen Klopp, then coach of Borussia Dortmund, smiles before their German Cup (DFB Pokal) final soccer match against Bayern Munich in Berlin, in this May 17, 2014 file picture
Juergen Klopp, then coach of Borussia Dortmund, smiles before their German Cup (DFB Pokal) final soccer match against Bayern Munich in Berlin, in this May 17, 2014 file picture

 It was possible to see the outline of Liverpool’s new Main Stand at Anfield from the suite, Klopp given a glimpse of a club whose renovation he will be trusted to complete on the pitch as the finishing touches continue off it..

At 9pm, the statement arrived from the club. The worst kept secret in football was confirmed.

The similarities between Benitez’s appointment and Klopp’s are striking.

New Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
New Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

Both left their home country having built their reputation slaying their nation’s financial superpowers with clubs of far less resources, utilising the qualities of players they improved rather than paid a fortune for.

 Like Benitez, Klopp won two domestic titles before deciding to fulfil the ambition of taking on a Premier League giant in need of revival. He left Borussia Dortmund on his own terms with an emotional goodbye, echoing Benitez’s farewell to Valencia eleven years ago.

There is no question Klopp is the most significant managerial arrival since Benitez as the club has appointed a coach coveted by all of Europe’s elite.

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, a driving force behind Klopp’s recruitment, will oversee tomorrow’s Press Conference having headed from Boston to welcome Fenway Sports Group’s third managerial appointment since 2011.

Principle Owner John W. Henry and President Mike Gordon are not attending, but the ownership group will be hugely satisfied having finally got their man after admiring Klopp from afar for the last four years.

Only Klopp’s loyalty to Dortmund – and Liverpool’s patience with Rodgers last summer – prevented this partnership starting much sooner.

Despite suggestions Klopp was already in place prior to Rodgers’ dismissal after Sunday, the final details of his contract were only agreed on Wednesday ahead of his trip to Liverpool.

It was obvious he was eager to take on the challenge during his conversations with the Anfield hierarchy, however. Klopp’s knowledge of Liverpool, his readiness to embrace the culture of the city and the vivacity he brings to the job eclipsed the more measured manner of Carlo Ancelotti, who was also of interest to Liverpool.

Klopp will get to work at Melwood on Monday, and will have the weekend to acquaint himself with his new working environment as well as Anfield itself.  He was last there 15 months ago for a pre-season warm-up game, overseeing a heavy defeat with a depleted Borussia Dortmund side.

His first Premier League game is against Tottenham Hotspur on October 17, but the first Anfield fixture is a Europa League against Rubin Kazan the following Thursday. That promises to be an atmosphere to rival some of Liverpool’s most memorable European nights as The Kop eagerly anticipates the first glimpse of its new manager.

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