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The Boss: Jurgen Klopp & the new Anfield Bootroom By Harry Harris

Release date: 25th January, 2020
Publisher: Empire Publishing

List Price: £12.95
Our Price: £10.95
You Save: £2 (15%)
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Who can stop Liverpool this season? Well, Shrewsbury nearly did last Sunday afternoon, almost proving, once again, that football is indeed a ‘funny old game’.

Not that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was laughing after Sunday’s contest. Livid would be a better description.

Klopp was courted by a number of the world’s biggest (for which read ‘richest’) clubs prior to signing a contract with Liverpool in 2015; he now boasts the best win percentage of any manager in the Reds’ history – some feat after four and a bit years – but is he the very best coach / manager the Anfield club has ever had?

Author Harry Harris suggests that Klopp is laying the foundations for a new era of Liverpool dominance, both domestically and in Europe, but while he’s equalled the European achievements of Messrs Dalglish and Benitez, two hugely respected former Liverpool managers, the German is not yet quite on a par with Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

In many respects, Klopp is a direct descendent of Shankly. Like the revered Scot, who took the Anfield helm in 1959, he appreciates the need to rebuild the club from the bottom up before attention turns to winning on the pitch. Of course, Shanks also understood the importance of creating empathy with supporters, of feeding off their enthusiasm and passion, something Klopp has emulated since the day he arrived.

Supporters love him for it, but they must hope he does not copy Shankly and retire unexpectedly as the great Scot did in 1974, just as Liverpool were about to become the most dominant club in the land.

At first, it looked as though Shankly’s successor, Bob Paisley, had the easiest job in football, keeping a steady hand on the tiller, but Paisley’s managerial record proved the best ever seen in English football. Six league titles, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup, three League Cups, one European Super Cup and half a dozen Charity Shields suggests that behind that avuncular exterior was a driven, determined character.

Had they cultivated a ‘media profile’ or, as some have suggested, led a London-based club to the same success they enjoyed at Liverpool, Shankly and Paisley would have been knighted while still in charge at Anfield, although both men appeared content to be adored by their supporters.

As Klopp enjoys similar levels of adoration and can never be knighted, it could be argued then that he’s the ideal Liverpool manager. Foundations in place, Liverpool appear on the verge of becoming serial winners once again; if they do, the German could be crowned Liverpool’s greatest manager.

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