- Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool a year ago this week
- Liverpool are two points behind Premier Legue leaders Manchester City
- James Milner’s late penalty brought the Reds victory away at Swansea
For all his parodies on Twitter, it was James Milner who came up with the most interesting take on life under Jurgen Klopp across the first year of the German’s time at Liverpool.
‘Definitely one of the best I have ever worked with,’ he said. ‘His organisation sessions are different to anything I have experienced.’
There was also praise for his ‘passion’, and the uplifting effect of seeing a manager ‘bouncing up and down’ on the sideline. Then, with a completely straight face, he added: ‘The only other thing you could say is that he is maybe too emotional.’
A fine understatement on a day in South Wales when Klopp was, once more, an eye-bulging, arm-waving, face-contorting, hair-swishing force on the touchline.
With it, and one tasty half-time lecture, he woke up his team from 1-0 down at Swansea and ended his first year in charge with a fourth straight league win.
The anniversary of that first chapter is this Saturday, giving cause to take in how Liverpool have risen from the mid-table operation that sacked Brendan Rodgers to one that sits in the top four, fuelled by the power of their manager’s personality.
Klopp has already told the club there ought to be no celebration and certainly no cake, even if he did reluctantly reveal some satisfaction with how that first year has gone, following initial doubts externally over whether he could replicate in England what he did at Borussia Dortmund.
‘It’s a year, I’m a year older and all this s***, but everything else is good,’ he said.
‘It’s not perfect, but in a good way. That’s what we hoped, that’s what we said. After one year standing here, we can talk like this.
‘There was doubt, there was a lot of rumour around me. People said, “Obviously he was a good coach at Dortmund but a German managing here doesn’t work”. Things like this. That’s better now.
‘The thing is, I’m not here for a year, I’m here hopefully for the long term, and it means that we have to use all the information we have until now and learn from it.
‘That’s how life works, collecting experience, learning from it and being ready for the next challenge.
‘My year is what, October 8, yes? We will not celebrate, I can tell you that. Hopefully nobody brings me a cake.’
By contrast, there is nothing to celebrate at Swansea, who are likely to part company with Francesco Guidolin this week.
A definitive decision has not yet been made on the 60-year-old’s future, though he flew home to Italy for a holiday on Saturday fearing the worst.
The club have met with Ryan Giggs and former USA coach Bob Bradley in the past week as they weigh up making the first managerial change of the Premier League season.