Jurgen Klopp says he signed a new contract with Liverpool because he wants to build a new team, but said people have to accept it can’t happen “overnight”, thanks to an inability to spend like Chelsea.
Klopp stressed that the club has to think “long term” as he also said he didn’t like how the concept of “loyalty” was questioned, as it is what can help “big things grow”.
The 55-year-old meanwhile added that he doesn’t see himself as managing into his seventies like many of his famous counterparts, and that his wife, Ulla, has been crucial in stopping the game from completely consuming him.
In an enlightening interview for BT Sport podcast Mike Calvin’s Football People, where Klopp also reflected on the role of the manager amid the growth of analytics, the Liverpool boss was most strident on the development of the team amid poor form.
He was asked how difficult it is to develop a new side, while there was also a mild question about Chelsea.
“I’m not saying it’s the biggest challenge, but it’s a challenge, and it was one of the main reasons why I signed a new contract because I knew it’s necessary,” explained Klopp.
“It will not go overnight, and imagine the situation now with another coach in the chair. I would be somewhere on holiday and everybody would shout my name ‘with him it would not have happened!’ I’m obviously not a miracle worker. That’s why it’s good how it is, because all the problems you have in a transition time period, we have an awful lot of injuries, and that makes life really complicated. I have no problem with that because I see obviously… I know the majority of the outside world is just interested in the short term but we have to be long-term focused as well, and that’s what we are.
“There are obviously plenty of different ways you can do it, but it’s all based on the situation you are in, especially with the things happening around, Chelsea with the new ownership obviously, nobody knows exactly how they do it, how they can spend this much money. Other teams, nobody likes me talking about that… but transition needs time if you don’t have endless money, otherwise you can change overnight pretty much, bringing in 10 players.
“Last week I got a question if I am too loyal, I’m not too loyal but questioning loyalty in general is a sign of our time, the time we are living in as well, which I really don’t like too much. I never saw anything bad in loyalty, to be honest, to your friends, to your family, to your company, in an ideal world you are loyal, and it’s not a one-way word. That’s an ideal world when both sides feel the same and big things can grow.”
Klopp was also asked whether the job takes much out of him, or lets it get to him too much. It was here he said he cannot see himself emulating figures like Roy Hodgson.
“My missus is a hard judge of that, and would tell me that’s it now, so it’s really like that. I could get lost in working like this, in firing everything out at work, coming home and having 0.0 energy level and sit there like a zombie in the corner,” he added. “That could happen with me, but it’s thankfully not with Ulla, we have found good ways to switch off. And after 22 years now I know when I cannot change anything any more, and that means that’s the moment I stop thinking about it. I sleep really well, come home, half-hour roundabout drive home, and that’s the last 30 minutes I think about the job.
“I know I dream of football, so that’s not cool… the job is incredibly demanding, it is, but it’s great as well. So that’s why I say when Roy Hodgson came back again, when he came in, I saw him and ask him ‘do you have a wet flat? You go again?’ and he says ‘no, I love it’ so I cannot see myself beyond 70 and still standing on the dugout each weather, and especially each weather for training, one and a half, two hours, standing there in the wind. I can’t see that. But I understand a little bit where they are coming from and I hope other things are that interesting to me that I am really fine with not being involved any more.”
When asked about Pep Guardiola’s reference to being a “90kg grandfather” on Calvin’s pod last week, Klopp showed a more humorous side of his competitiveness with the Catalan.
“He has no chance to be 90kg. Ask him why he’s in such good shape, do you do sport? ‘No.’ How can you be in such good shape when you are not doing sport? So 100%, but we will be grandparents for first time in May, and we can’t wait, but I’m not there already for sitting all day, just having the grandkid on holiday, stuff like this, fine, but of course that’s the plan, to be there, to be with family and friends in a nice place, and watching football because that I will do for the rest of my life, I know that. But not being involved any more, that’s definitely something I have no problem to do.”
Klopp meanwhile reflected on the role of the modern manager as the game becomes increasingly sophisticated. When asked what he used, he said “knowledge, your brain and guts, or both, gut feeling and brain of course”.
“As a good example for analysis, we have analysis as well in football, when I started as a coach, the analysis was mainly for me, because I watched the game again and again and again to understand it. The position you are standing in obviously on the sideline is not the best in the stadium, it’s like always people running and running and then you go to interviews after the game and they ask what you make of the game, the honest answer would have been ‘can I watch it back, one more time please?’ And you go home and you watch it and watch it and watch it because you want to have answers for yourself and answers for the players.
“So now, when I’ve got the game, probably like golf, I don’t play golf, it’s exactly the same, but of course I build on a completely different basis. When I watch a game I don’t watch it for the first time, I watch it so many different angles, and now I have plenty of people to do that, I watch it back of course, but the detailed information I get back from other people, it’s like come together with the work I saw and they saw, that would mean we could give the players a four-hour analysis meeting for a 90-minute game, without a problem, and you take all the not important things out and it’s like five minutes, and that’s what you’re talking about – or you don’t talk about it because the next game is coming up.
“So that’s where football is very different now, but in the end it’s still important what the man in charge makes of it, so because I can overload the team with information, or I don’t. That’s to do with trust in them as well. It could be a one-off or not in these kinds of things. There are plenty of things to do I assume we can never be able to do that, at least in this department, we can be sure football managers as long as people want to see the game will always be needed.”
::Listen to the Jurgen Klopp interview in full in the latest edition of BT Sport podcast, ‘Michael Calvin’s Football People’ – out tomorrow across major podcast platforms. Every Thursday, award-winning journalist and author Michael Calvin interviews ex-players, managers, owners, referees and more, providing unique insights into the game: btsport.com/pods