The wait is over. Chelsea’s dramatic 2-1 win over Manchester City last night was enough to push Liverpool over the line. Jurgen Klopp’s side are Premier League champions, and they’ve won it a virtual canter.
By the time that Klopp arrived at Anfield in 2015, Liverpool had drifted into a state of midtable mediocrity. The German’s arrival on Merseyside has been essential to the club’s revival. Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a league title is over; Manchester City’s dominance has been broken.
Fine margins prevented Liverpool from taking the title last season, but the 2019/20 campaign has followed an altogether different script. A sole defeat against Watford aside, Liverpool’s ascent to the throne has been simplistic.
Klopp reversed three decades of decline to return the Reds to the top
Pep Guardiola’s City were swept aside before Christmas, Liverpool’s title is the culmination of Klopp’s philosophy, shrewd recruitment and a squad that has always believed it could win.
Upon his Anfield arrival in 2015, Klopp – in his maiden press conference as Liverpool manager – said: “We must turn from doubters to believers.” In doing so, Klopp reversed three decades of Liverpudlian decline to return the Reds to the top of world football.
Liverpool’s transformation has been contingent upon the implementation of Klopp’s tactical beliefs. Credited for bringing “rock and roll football” to Merseyside, Liverpool – for so long methodologically vague – are now the symbol of their style of play.
Klopp has built a tactical approach moulded to his players’ strengths
That style is a revised version of the gegenpress that Klopp used to revolutionise Borussia Dortmund. More defensively solid and increasingly reliant on exploiting space behind their opponents’ defence, Klopp has built a tactical approach specifically moulded to his players’ strengths.
Jordan Henderson’s role in Liverpool’s success must not be forgotten. With likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane stealing the headlines, it would be easy to ignore Henderson’s importance at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield. Henderson has been the perfect captain for Liverpool: reliable, tactically flexible and selfless.
The acquisition of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson provided Liverpool with the defensive foundations they had persisted without for a decade. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are the perfect fit for Klopp’s side.
Liverpool – once a patchwork of randomly recruited short-term fixes – are once again a genuine footballing institution. The wait is over, Liverpool are champions of England, Europe and the world.
Jurgen Klopp described guiding Liverpool to their first league title in 30 years as “more than I ever thought possible.” The only question that remains is whether the good times will keep on rolling. I suspect that they will.