London (Reuters) – Liverpool’s new manager Juergen Klopp promised to bring “full throttle” football with a “big heart” to Anfield in his first comments since the German was unveiled as the Merseyside’s club new manager on Thursday night.
Invited to emulate Jose Mourinho’s claim on arrival at Chelsea to be “the special one”, however, he insisted he was “the normal one”.
The club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group, signed the former Borussia Dortmund manager on what is reported to be a three-year contract, after sacking Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers on Sunday.
One of the most coveted managers in world football, Klopp has been out of work since May when he finished a seven-year reign at Dortmund to take a sabbatical.
“Firstly, I would like to offer thanks to the ownership of Liverpool Football Club for showing faith in me and my staff and presenting us with this wonderful opportunity,” Klopp told the club’s website on Friday (www.liverpoolfc.com).
“They have presented to me a very clear vision and I share their ambitions and model of work,” the German, who won two Bundesliga titles with Dortmund, added.
“This is a talented group of players and there is still much to compete for this season.
“I believe in a playing philosophy that is very emotional, very fast and very strong. My teams must play at full throttle and take it to the limit every single game.
“It is important to have a playing philosophy that reflects your own mentality, reflects the club and gives you a clear direction to follow. Tactical of course, but tactical with a big heart.
“Liverpool has extraordinary supporters and Anfield is a world renowned home, with an incredible atmosphere. I want to build a great relationship with these supporters and give them memories to cherish.”
Klopp has been joined at Liverpool by Zeljko Buvac and Peter Krawietz, his former assistants at Dortmund.
“In Juergen Klopp we have appointed a world-class manager with a proven track record of winning and someone who has the personality and charisma to reignite this football club and take the team forward,” Liverpool chairman Tom Werner said.
“He is a strong, inspirational leader, who has a clear philosophy of high energy, attacking football. Critically, he is also a winner and someone who can connect with and enthuse our supporters,” Werner added.
BURDEN OF HISTORY
In an impressive first news conference later on Friday, Klopp told a packed audience at Anfield that he wanted a positive approach on and off the pitch, to “turn doubters into believers”.
Well aware that Liverpool have not won the league for 25 years, the new man said he did not want history to become a burden and that he was not prepared to promise immediate success.
“History is only the base for us. You can’t carry it in your backpack every day. Five or six clubs in the Premier League can win the league. It’s a problem.”
Looking relaxed after a four-month break, he insisted that working as part of the club’s much-criticised transfer committee would not be a problem and that he would have the final say.
British media reports put the value of Klopp’s contract at a basic 5 million pounds ($7.68 million) per year, with bonuses taking that to a potential 7 million.
For that he said, they are getting “a totally normal guy”.
“It’s not normal club, it’s a special club. I’m the normal one.”
His final message was a request for patience.
“Please give us time to work on it. Please be patient. I don’t say we have to wait 20 years. In four years time I’m pretty sure we will have won a title. If not, Switzerland!”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru and Steve Tongue in London; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)