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Jurgen Klopp joins pantheon of great Liverpool managers

Jurgen Klopp joins pantheon of great Liverpool managers
© Reuters
As Liverpool are crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years, Sports Mole looks at where Jurgen Klopp lies in the pantheon of the club's greatest managers.

If he hadn't already, Jurgen Klopp has firmly entrenched himself in Liverpool history with the 2019-20 Premier League title success.

The inimitable 53-year-old drew comparisons with the great Bill Shankly when he was appointed at Anfield five years ago, with his charisma, connection with supporters and ability to produce a witty one-liner naturally casting minds back to the father of the modern Liverpool Football Club.

The Reds will be hoping that, when the German eventually leaves, it does not take quite as long for them to find the next Klopp.

Liverpool have been blessed with a host of legendary managers over the years and, while few have garnered the same adoration Shankly inspired ,having taken the club from the Second Division to champions of England, others have enjoyed similar success.

Bob Paisley is the most decorated manager in Liverpool's history, having won a staggering 20 trophies during his nine years at the helm, including three European Cups - a feat only since achieved by two other people.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the match on January 29, 2020© Reuters

Liverpool were the all-conquering side of the 1970s and 1980s, with Paisley building on Shankly's foundations to turn the Reds into kings not just of England but also of Europe.

The Merseysiders won six First Division titles in eight years between 1976 and 1983, while also adding three European Cups, three League Cups and a UEFA Cup in that time.

While Shankly is the most important manager in Liverpool's history and Paisley is the most decorated, others have been honoured with a flag in The Kop, where the Anfield crowd pay the fondest tribute to the most memorable of those to have sat in the dugout.

Klopp was there long before Liverpool wrapped up title number 19, thanks largely to steering the club to their sixth Champions League crown last season, in addition to winning the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in their history.

Rafael Benitez is also there courtesy of the Miracle of Istanbul - the greatest of the many great nights Liverpool have enjoyed down the years - but the Premier League title triumph catapults Klopp into a different league to the fondly-remember Spaniard.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp celebrates on December 10, 2019© Reuters

Joe Fagan won a treble of league title, European Cup and League Cup in his first season as manager, while Sir Kenny Dalglish did the seemingly impossible by enhancing his reputation during his spell in charge.

The Scot - arguably Liverpool's greatest ever player - took over as manager from Fagan and went on to steer the club to three more titles, including their most recent in 1990.

No-one then could have foreseen it would be 30 years before another Liverpool manager got his hands on the trophy, but in doing so Klopp has sealed his place in club history as the man to finally end the long wait for the holy grail.

The exciting thing for Liverpool fans is that Klopp still has plenty of time to add to his trophy haul; his current deal does not expire until 2024, and considering the improvement the Reds have enjoyed under him so far, there is no reason why they cannot sustain their recent success.

It is easy to forget that Liverpool ended Klopp's first campaign at the helm in eighth place - 21 points adrift of champions Leicester City and also below the likes of Southampton and West Ham United.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates winning the Champions League with Liverpool on June 1, 2019© Reuters

Now they are on course to break every record of note going for the best single campaign in English and European top-flight history, having also accumulated the third-highest points tally ever in the Premier League last season, only to miss out on the title by one point.

For Liverpool to go on and add a record-equalling 20th title under Klopp would seem a safe bet at this stage, and beyond his own time in charge Klopp appears to have restored the Reds' world-renowned reputation.

The Merseysiders had endured one of the lowest spells since Shankly took over in 1959 in the first half of the last decade, with the Hicks and Gillett era casting a dark cloud over the club.

Liverpool in their current guise could barely be more different - a commercial success as well as a juggernaut on the pitch - and credit for their turnaround must also go to the owners.

Klopp has been the main figurehead for the transformation, though, and while others may have more trophies under their belts and full judgement should be reserved for when his Liverpool career comes to an end, his legacy already seems secure.

When carving out a Mount Rushmore of Liverpool managers, the captivating character has put himself in firm contention for a place alongside some of the greatest names of the club's illustrious past.

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