Jurgen Klopp is a breath of fresh air. You know it, I know it; we all know he has given a lift to the Premier League since the heavy-metal lover rocked up at Anfield just over a year ago. Everything from his amusing catalog of facial expressions to his infectious passion has been a hit.
You will do well to find supporters from any club who claim to have a serious distaste for the German and have an actual, credible reason for their opinion. Even Manchester United fans must look at his and Liverpool’s seemingly perfect match-up with a hint of jealousy.
Klopp has certainly made Liverpool a better football team, too. There can be no doubt of that. Brendan Rodgers‘ attempts fell apart and he was made to look somewhat hapless following Luis Suarez’s departure, whereas his successor initially steadied the ship and helped craft a team built around a captivating group of attacking players. And there’s no sign of Iago Aspas.
Despite defeats in two finals last season, including the 3-1 Europa League defeat to Sevilla in which they were blown away in the second half, Klopp’s honeymoon period still seems to in full swing. The fans are happy, he seems happy and the players definitely appear content… Perhaps with the exception of Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Sturridge.
Nevertheless, English football’s love affair with Klopp poses some similarities to the one in which Jose Mourinho was the darling of the league following his arrival at Chelsea back in 2004.
Jose’s brash and in-your-face attitude was backed up by coaching ability and everyone wanted a piece of him. His press conferences would be packed to the rafters in the expectation that he would upset someone or say something remarkable. Everyone lapped it up.
Even Sir Alex Ferguson, known for his uncompromising approach towards contemporaries (or pretenders, to some), seemed to have an unwavering respect for this new kid on the block – the same kid who charged up the Old Trafford touchline in front of him with his arms aloft in a Champions League knockout triumph the year before.
But since his infamous Eva Carneiro outburst last year, Mourinho’s appeal has soured and he has become, dare I say it, dour. He still has a way with the press and media, though currently his selling point appears to revolve around misery and an utterly blank expression. His spark has gone, as has his appeal.
That’s not the Jose we knew and loved and perhaps that serves as a warning to Klopp.
Mourinho, a former arm-flailer himself, criticised Klopp recently about his tendency to get carried away with hand gestures and the like, and while it came across as petty, maybe that is maturity setting in.
And who knows – Klopp may be popular now, but it won’t take much before his antics become tiresome and look completely contrived.