Champions League

'Robin Hood' helps Klopp's passion shine at Reds

2018-04-23 21:08
Jurgen Klopp (Twitter)

United Kingdom - A confessed admirer of the underdog tales of Robin Hood and Rocky Balboa, Jurgen Klopp is probably uncomfortable with Liverpool's status as strong favourites in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final, first leg against Roma.

However, it is testament to how far the German has revitalised a sleeping giant on the European stage that Liverpool's first appearance in the Champions League last four for a decade is met with such expectation.

It hasn't always been a such a smooth ride since Klopp arrived an Anfield two-and-a-half years ago.

Indeed, even in the aftermath of a 5-1 quarterfinal thrashing of hitherto tournament favourites Manchester City, Klopp warned the clock was ticking on his promise to deliver a trophy within four years of taking charge.

Early in his reign Klopp at times bemoaned the subdued atmosphere in modern English grounds, even at the mythical Anfield, compared to his grounding in Germany's Bundesliga.

By contrast, Anfield will be at fever pitch on Tuesday to try and inspire the five-time European champions back to club's football's biggest game in the Kiev final on May 26.

"The Champions League nights are special for the fans too," Liverpool's talisman Mohamed Salah – who has scored an incredible 41 goals in his debut season for the club – told CNN. "You can feel it on the streets.

"The atmosphere in that first game against Man City was the first time I had really seen something like that."

Premier League champions City's evisceration by a three-goal blitz in 19 first-half minutes was just another chapter in a long history of famous European nights at Anfield.

"The Liverpool fans, they all believe 'this is our competition'," recognised City boss Pep Guardiola afterwards.

But it came on the back of a rallying cry by Klopp for his players not to be intimidated by Liverpool's history in the competition, but to make memories they too will be remembered for.

A MIRROR IMAGE OF THEIR MANAGER

Liverpool's high-energy style that even City couldn't cope with is a mirror image of their manager on the touchline.

"If something is important to me, I cannot hide my feelings. When I'm happy everyone can see and it's the same when I'm angry," Klopp told The Big Interview podcast.

However, Klopp's revival of Liverpool has come from far more than rabble rousing.

His fluid 4-3-3 system has brought the best out of a prolific front three of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who have combined for 83 goals this season.

"I think Jurgen is a master to buy players with what he really needs for the way he wants to play," said Guardiola, who has suffered more defeats in his career to Klopp than any other manager.

Most impressively of all, Klopp's management has also ensured that Liverpool's flurry of goals hasn't dried up despite losing Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142 million ($199 million) in January and not buying a natural replacement.

Instead just over half of that fee was spent on Virgil Van Dijk to bolster a defence that often let Klopp down in his first two years in England.

Since the £75 million Dutchman was recruited, Liverpool have conceded just once in four European outings.

Klopp has also learned from his own mistakes. The intensity of his demands left Liverpool drained in the second-half of last season after a promising start to the campaign.

This season no manager has rotated more than Klopp in the Premier League with the payoff that his side remain the sole English representatives in the last four.

Read more on:    liverpool  |  champions league  |  jurgen klopp  |  soccer

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb, Metalist Stadium 18:55
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, Wanda Metropolitano 18:55
Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Atalanta, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Club Brugge v Paris SG, Jan Breydel Stadion 21:00
Olympiacos v Bayern Munchen, Karaiskakis Stadium 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Real Madrid, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Ajax v Chelsea, Amsterdam ArenA 18:55
RB Leipzig v Zenit St. Petersburg, Red Bull Arena 18:55
Benfica v Lyon, da Luz 21:00
Slavia Prague v Barcelona, Eden Arena 21:00
Genk v Liverpool, Luminus Arena 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund, San Siro 21:00
Lille v Valencia, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 05 November 2019
Barcelona v Slavia Prague, Camp Nou 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v RB Leipzig, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Genk, Anfield 22:00
Lyon v Benfica, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Valencia v Lille, Mestalla 22:00
Napoli v Red Bull Salzburg, San Paolo 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Ajax, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 06 November 2019
Bayern Munchen v Olympiacos, Allianz Arena 19:55
Lokomotiv Moscow v Juventus, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Atalanta v Manchester City, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid, BayArena 22:00
Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk, Maksimir Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Club Brugge, Parc des Princes 22:00
Real Madrid v Galatasaray, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
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