EPL

Klopp up alongside Liverpool greats Shankly and Paisley, says Warnock

By Sports Desk January 26, 2024

Jurgen Klopp must be considered as a Liverpool manager as great as the likes of Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly.

That is the opinion of former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock, who was left shocked by the news that Klopp would be leaving the Reds at the end of the season.

Klopp confirmed in a video released via Liverpool's media channels on Friday that he would be calling time on his nine-year stint at Anfield.

In that time, Klopp has led Liverpool to a Premier League title, a Champions League crown, an FA Cup, EFL Cup, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Community Shield.

The Reds are top of the Premier League as it stands, and his tally of five major trophies ranks him fourth on the all-time list for Liverpool, after Shankly (six), Kenny Dalglish (six) and Paisley (13), with the Reds still competing for four competitions this season.

Klopp is the only Liverpool manager to win each of the top-flight, European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup with the club, meanwhile. 

And while Shankly and Paisley are considered as club legends, Warnock believes Klopp deserves to be ranked alongside them and the club's very best managers.

Warnock told Stats Perform: "Shankly and Paisley will go down as arguably the two biggest influencers of managers, Shankly more so than Paisley because of the way he transformed the club.

"But then Paisley's success on the pitch was second to none. It was quite remarkable what he did. You could also look at Dalglish's time as manager.

"But where Liverpool were and what they were doing when Jurgen came in, he goes into that table of greats, that pool of greats.

"There are some great managers for Liverpool over the years, but he goes into the top three, top four."

 

Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers in October 2015, and as well as winning almost every trophy available to him, has led Liverpool to multiple other finals.

The Reds have finished as Champions League runners-up twice, losing to Real Madrid in 2018 and 2022, while also pushing Pep Guardiola's Manchester City close in numerous Premier League title tussles.

And Warnock credits Klopp with not only revolutionising how Liverpool played, but also how teams in the Premier League followed suit.

"I think they were eighth in the league when he took over," Warnock said. "And people wondered how quickly he could have an effect on the team.

"Straight away, we saw that heavy metal football and the way he wanted to press. It was so different to what people had seen within the Premier League. 

"You start to see the changes in personnel and the way that the football club started to move forward as a whole."

Liverpool's ownership – FSG – have come under some criticism for a perceived lack of investment in the club, but Warnock believes Klopp unified everyone involved.

"He connected the team, the club, the ownership. I think he managed to be that guy, the glue of the club, and who held things together," Warnock added.

"That's a personality trait that we don't often talk about, a huge skill of his to be able to do that.

"But the only thing he will be judged on was success on the football pitch, and to win a Premier League title, Liverpool's first Premier League title, and the first league title after 30 years, was quite remarkable.

"That's what he set out to do. He achieved that. Probably not in ideal circumstances with the pandemic and not having the fans to be able to celebrate it with them, but the position they were in was quite incredible."

Warnock thinks Klopp might have seen the end of the season as the best possible way to go out on a high note, with Liverpool still in with a chance of Premier League glory.

"It's not often you see a manager walk away when the club's on an incline, when it's on the way up - because they are on the way up," he said.

"This is a Liverpool 2.0, as he's called them. And I think that's why it's surprising. They've re-energised him with this team, they gave him that buzz back of being the manager.

"That's what's surprising to everyone. But maybe he has just thought, 'This is the best way to go out!'"

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