Klopp eyes one title by 2019

New Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, at a press conference, will want his side to be up and running in his first league match in charge against Spurs on Oct 17.
New Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, at a press conference, will want his side to be up and running in his first league match in charge against Spurs on Oct 17. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

Normal One has faith that current Reds squad can be best in world

LONDON • Juergen Klopp called himself "The Normal One" at his first press conference as Liverpool manager. That moniker might not stick if he delivers on his aim of winning the club's first Premier League title by 2019.

Not since 2004, when Jose Mourinho was introduced into English football, has the Premier League been so captivated by the arrival of a new manager. But Klopp, reminded that Mourinho called himself the "Special One", insisted he had no such illusions of grandeur.

"I don't want to describe myself," he said. "I am a normal guy."

The hype, however, is not without basis. Klopp won six major trophies, including two Bundesliga titles, with Borussia Dortmund on a tight budget. Still, he believes succeeding Brendan Rodgers is the biggest challenge in world football, one that he is more than up for following a sabbatical.

"I was never the guy for the easy way," the 48-year-old told a packed Anfield press conference.

NO SITTING BACK

I don't want to say we can wait 20 years. If we sit here in four years, I think we (can) win one title.''

JUERGEN KLOPP on his goal

Liverpool won the last of their 18 league titles in 1990 under the stewardship of Kenny Dalglish.

Rodgers led them to a second-place finish in 2014. They finished sixth last season and are currently 10th in the table with 12 points from eight games.

"This is a very difficult league, opponents may be bigger but, in a special Liverpool way, we can be successful," said the German.

He is the highest-paid manager in the club's history after signing a three-year contract that will earn him up to £7 million (S$15 million) a season.

"I don't want to say we can wait 20 years. If we sit here in four years, I think we win one title."

  • GOING UP A GEAR

    Juergen Klopp has promised that his Liverpool side will play at "full throttle". Here is a look at how much running will be expected of the Reds.

    Klopp's Dortmund versus Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool

    Average distance covered per game in 2013-14 and 2014-15: 118.9km and 108.4km.


    MAJOR SHOWDOWNS

    The Normal One versus the top Premier League managers

    • Manuel Pellegrini (Man City)

    P2 W1 D1 L0 GF3 GA2

    • Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)

    P4 W2 D1 L1 GF8 GA6

    • Louis van Gaal (Man United)

    P4 W2 D0 L2 GF7 GA9

    • Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

    P6 W2 D1 L3 GF6 GA7

What he has promised is high-octane football - playing at "full throttle", a hard-pressing team and a fighting spirit.

In return, he wants the burden of expectation to evaporate.

"Twenty-five years ago is a long time (without winning the league)," he noted.

"All the people are interested but you don't take history in your backpack and carry it with you."

His first game at the helm will be a trip to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Oct 17.

And he believes in the potential of the current squad.

"At this moment, we're not the best team in the world but who cares? We want to be the best team in the world," he said.

"I'm not a dreamer, I don't want (Real Madrid star forward) Cristiano Ronaldo, I want these guys."

What he is, by his own admission, is a football romantic.

"I love the stories, the histories," he said of what lured him to the club. A fresh new chapter at Anfield has begun.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2015, with the headline 'Klopp eyes one title by 2019'. Print Edition | Subscribe