Jurgen Klopp’s x-rated post hinted at what would come next as FSG greenlighted big Liverpool deals

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 21: Jurgen Klopp manager/head coach of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough at Anfield on May 21, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images) -Credit: Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Wild-eyed Jurgen Klopp turned to Anfield’s main stand, and with pumping fists and bulging veins, the Liverpool manager delivered a message: “This is bloody football!”

The almost involuntary outburst was in response to seeing a razor-sharp counter-attack involving Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, which was smoothly completed by Emre Can, virtually confirming the Reds as Champions League participants for the first time since December 2014.

It was the kind of sharply executed, devastating attacking transition that has since become a trademark at Anfield under the manager’s watch, but in August 2017 it was just an exciting snapshot of what could be possible under him.

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READ PART ONE: A look at Jurgen Klopp’s early years as Liverpool manager

But before that, the Reds were entering a new era under their manager, who had already been in office for over eighteen months by the time he could devise a plan for the Champions League and the summer of 2017 saw the club enter a different stratosphere as far as about recruitment and what they could (or wanted) to do.

Armed with Champions League football and the bounty that comes with it for the first time since 2014, and now also able to use Klopp’s allure to entice the stars of European football, Fenway Sports Group gave the green light to several high-value acquisitions . ready for a return to the European Cup with their talismanic coach steering the ship.

First, Virgil van Dijk was identified as the defensive leader the club was crying out for, while negotiations with RB Leipzig began for a creative, action-packed number 8 named Naby Keita. In addition to these plans, Klopp was convinced to sanction a move for Mohamed Salah after chief scout Barry Hunter and head of recruitment Dave Fallows, along with Michael Edwards – who now worked for Liverpool under the job title of ‘sporting director’ – had been so. exuberant and persuasive in their attempts to land the former Chelsea winger.

All three were intended to bring a new and exciting dynamic to the backbone of the team, but only Salah arrived through the doors during that transfer window, signing for the club’s new record transfer for a fee of over £36 million in June . It was a deal that mercifully ended Andy Carroll’s claim to be Liverpool’s most expensive transfer of all time, and now appears to have been one of the most astute moves ever undertaken in the Premier League era .

But instead of the Egyptian being joined by Van Dijk and Keita, who were then worth £60million, the Reds were forced to change course. Having essentially been forced to abandon their attempts to sign Van Dijk from Southampton after the Saints threatened to report the Reds for tapping their captain, the club also saw three bids for Keita rejected by Leipzig before ultimately unusually structured agreement was concluded. splashed out £52m on the August Bank Holiday to land the Guinean midfielder the following year.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was signed from Arsenal for around £35m and Liverpool started the season with lingering regrets over Van Dijk but a fresh new outlook on a side linked to Hoffenheim for the Champions League group stage qualifier. An aggregate score of 6-3 was a perfect representation of where the team was at that moment: able to score in bulk, but also vulnerable to the opponent’s threat.

The contrast in their strengths and weaknesses made them an exciting watch for the neutral; able to blitz teams in a matter of minutes, but also sometimes unable to withstand the threat of the opposition. It led to an unbalanced team that was both enthusiastic and frustrated in the first months.

A 4-0 defeat of Arsenal was followed by a 5-0 thrashing of Manchester City and before 2018, Liverpool had scored three or more goals on 16 different occasions as Salah started in the kind of form that would see him end the season. with no fewer than 44 goals. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, whose best attempts to move to Barcelona in the summer months had been thwarted, also starred.

However, despite all the blistering attacking displays, the Reds were often undermined at the back. The first day of the season started with a 3-3 draw against Watford, Liverpool let a three-goal lead slip against Sevilla in the Champions League and a 4-1 humiliation against Tottenham in October was something of a turning point for a side that defensive pivot was missing to allow a carefree attack to really flourish.

The January 2018 transfer window has now been recognized as something of a sliding door moment for Klopp’s time at Anfield. The opportunity to raise £142m for a willing Coutinho, who ultimately got his dream move to Barcelona – a figure Edwards negotiated – allowed the club to reinvest the money in two game-changing signings that turned the Reds from pretenders to contenders and , ultimately, serial winners.

Before Alisson Becker was signed in goal in July 2018, however, came the club-record signing of Van Dijk, who, after months of speculation and intense discussions behind the scenes, was announced as a Liverpool player shortly after Christmas. The centre-back looked every inch a superstar in the making as he sat in the stands watching the 2-1 win over Leicester City on December 30.

A goal on his debut – to knock Everton out of the FA Cup no less – was a storybook come to life on Merseyside, but it was his contributions from a defensive perspective that allowed the free-scoring attacking department to win games. for the club, even without Coutinho, who was not immediately replaced by a like-for-like frontman.

While Van Dijk acted as father to the fireworks, Klopp could enjoy the explosive bursts from his attackers, safe in the knowledge that his team’s fingers would no longer be burned. A Champions League final appearance in Kiev began to gather momentum as Porto were clinically dismissed 5-0 in the first leg of a last-16 tie in Portugal.

The emergence of Klopp’s side as a European force once again led to something of an organic revival of the fanbase off the pitch. The fan-led BOSS Nights, the rise of Jamie Webster and a football anthem that echoed across the continent in Allez Allez Allez all contributed to a modern impression of the club’s glory years in the 1980s.

Manchester City were beaten home and away as the Reds recorded an impressive 5-1 victory over Pep Guardiola’s side to set up a semi-final against Italian side Roma. Domestically, the race for a top-four spot was overlooked in favor of the far more heady charge towards European immortality.

On a rollicking evening of Champions League football at Anfield, Roma were struck by Salah’s brilliance as Klopp’s side won 5-2 before a nail-biting end to the second leg in Italy secured their first European Cup final place since 2007 conquered.

The kings of European football, Real Madrid, were waiting at the NSC Olimpiysky. There would be no famous triumph for a team that started the season as nonsensical outsiders, but a 3-1 defeat in Ukraine helped develop the mentality for a side that would return as heavy favorites 12 months later.

Part 3 focuses on the aftermath of Kiev and Liverpool’s build-up to their sixth European Cup, which came just weeks after their best ever Premier League season to date.

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