Klopp – The key moment that won the league?

Liverpool celebration against West Brom

After the historic winning of the Premiership this week by Liverpool FC, with seven matches still to play there has been a lot of analysis of Jurgen Klopp’s time at the club, with many trying to identify the “key moments” that have contributed to this huge achievement.

As a colossal and very happy Liverpool fan I’ve watched pretty much every press conference, every match including pre-season games and even the odd reserve match and since Klopp took over as manager in 2015 there have been many significant moments.

A new style of play, intensive pre-season training, the signing of some key players and a continuous learning curve have all contributed to incremental success and of course this has resulted in belief and confidence.

However for me, a key factor in this success story is Jurgen Klopp’s deep understanding of psychology – he knows how the mind works and how much this ultimately affects how the players on the pitch can play to their very best, even at times when things have gone wrong in matches and looked certain that a loss was on the cards.

The role of fans or “supporters” is huge in this and he worked on this aspect from the very first minute.

Klopp demonstrated this in his very first press conference when he identified the colossal role that an impatient but huge loyal fan base could play in the success of the team. He shaped expectations that day when he spoke about changing fans from “doubters to believers” and he also started talking about the heavy burden of past successes.

He identified immediately that an impatient, doubting crowd could “infect” the team on the pitch, to the extent that they would be playing nervously, petrified of any mistake – this had become a big problem at home matches in the past.

A month or so later Liverpool were losing at home to Crystal Palace and with five minutes to go fans started to leave the ground – he took a big risk and made a big deal of this after in his press conference.

He spoke about it being a “lonely moment” and the point he was making was very simple – if you want us to win these games, support us to the very end of the match and anything is possible. This was a huge message he was sending to the fans.

This brings me to what I consider as being the biggest moment that has contributed to the success that we have enjoyed in the last few years and it came in December 2015, a few matches after that Crystal Palace game.

We were playing at home against West Brom and with minutes to go were trailing 1-2 against this mid-table team. Burdened with history, me and most other fans were most likely thinking “typical Liverpool“.

Because of the gentle scolding that he had given to fans just weeks earlier they stayed till the end, never gave up and it worked!!

In stoppage time Divock Origi scored an equaliser and the inevitable did not happen – Klopp went wild, the team went wild and the fans went wild. The match finished 2-2.

Drawing at home to West Brom, 2-2 is a poor result for Liverpool but the last minute response when all felt lost warranted a huge celebration.

If you stay with us until the last minute and keep supporting, then anything was possible.

Klopp had coached the fans about what he needed from them and to crystallise this moment he grabbed the team and led a “bowing” session in front of the fans in the famous Kop – this was a huge acknowledgment, a thank you …you got us that goal!!

Klopp was hugely criticised in many quarters for this disproportionate celebration – we drew with West Brom, not won a cup, after all.

The idiot James McLean called Kloppa bit of an idiot“, making this exact point.

Klopp explained what he was up to after in his press conference:

There was a big misunderstanding against West Brom. I wanted to say thank you to the supporters after that game so I took my team towards the Kop to do it and there was a discussion everywhere about it. For me, it was ‘why should we even discuss that?’

“But I had to learn that English people are not used to that kind of thing”

“I wanted to show that we really we are one unit, 100 per cent one unit. That means I know I am responsible for the performance, but the people are responsible for the atmosphere.

“So it should be a win-win situation. When we play well, it’s easy to get the crowd going and when we don’t play well, we need you to encourage us – get on your feet, tell us ‘come on’ – you have to be the stars then.

“I want us to have the best atmosphere in world football and there is no limit to what we can do actually”

From that moment on Liverpool have won so many matches in the last few minutes, when all seemed lost and the fans were there to witness such exhilaration. And at Anfield since then we have pretty much won every single match.

As a fan there is nothing better than that last minute joy and I’ve been lucky to have been at Anfield to witness the incredible end of match atmosphere where we had last minute winners against Borussia Dortmund and Everton, both of which were huge games.

LIverpool celebration against Barcelona

Last season there was a similar celebration when we incredibly beat the mighty Barcelona, 4-0 on the way to winning the Champions League.

That gesture against West Brom in December 2015 was the moment we won the league..

How much does the right mentality matter in your business?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Klopp – The key moment that won the league?”

  1. Fergal Bell Says:

    Amazing achievement, isn’t it Greg?
    You’re right about the importance of the crowd. How many matches did we manage to snatch something by keeping going right to the very end?

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