Jürgen Klopp: I will be judged by God and not on Liverpool trophies
Being part of club’s rise, not personal glory, is what motivates him, says manager
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates his team’s victory over Bayern Munich on Wednesday: “We have to start looking at ourselves how other teams see us.” Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters
Jürgen Klopp has said he is only interested in being judged by God and not by the trophies he wins as Liverpool manager.
Liverpool remain in pursuit of the Premier League title and the Champions League, where they face Porto in the quarter-finals, as they look to land the first trophy of Klopp’s tenure. He said Wednesday’s last-16 victory at Bayern Munich had put the club back on the map of world football and that being part of that rise, not personal glory, was the only job satisfaction he needed. Klopp dismissed the idea that his reign will be judged on trophies alone.
“You can’t imagine how less I’m interested in that,” he said on Friday. “I never thought about myself in that way. My job is to do everything I can to help the team be as successful as possible. I’m not searching to be remembered in 50 years or whatever. For me it’s no pressure, only opportunity. I love what I do, I think I have a fantastic team out there, and that’s all that I need to be a happy person.
“I respect a lot the desire of all the people and the players, and I can be really part of that, I can be part of that dream. But it’s not for me at the end, it’s for the people. I am not interested in who judges me. God judges me one day and that is the only thing I am interested in. What other people say about me I couldn’t be less interested.”
Klopp, whose side travel to Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday, added: “I was happy when I saw and heard the dressing room after the [Bayern] game that the boys were happy. It was a big one for all of us. We were always focused and we will stay focused – that’s all that I will say. It’s not that we were surprised about ourselves that we can beat Bayern. About how we did it I’m not surprised, but I’m really happy that we could prove something like that.
‘Confident but greedy’
“Now, let’s be completely concentrated on Fulham and don’t think about what happens afterwards or whatever. Just play that game and stay in the same mood like we always were: confident but greedy, aggressive, direct, all what you need in a football game. Stay in that mood and everything will be fine.”
Klopp has said Liverpool are unlikely to “spend the big money” on signings this summer, with the club investing to consolidate his title-chasing squad instead.
I don’t think this is a team at the moment where we have to spend the big money or whatever
Liverpool were the biggest-spending Premier League club last summer, as Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keïta and Xherdan Shaqiri arrived to help close the domestic gap to Manchester City. The club’s financial strategy has altered, however, to focus more on contract renewals rather than signings. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Rhian Brewster have signed new long-term deals since last April that will cost Liverpool between £150 million and £200 million in wage rises over the coming years.
That investment, and the dividends it is returning on the pitch, means Klopp does not expect a repeat of last summer’s spending.
“I don’t want to talk exactly what we will do, but I don’t think this is a team at the moment where we have to spend the big money or whatever,” the Liverpool manager said. “The best way to do it is bring together a group of players, try to develop them all together, and then stay together for a while. And that was maybe the main problem of Liverpool for the last decade. When they had a good team after a season they went all over the world. That will not happen this year for sure.”
Champions League victory
Klopp believes Liverpool’s development took “a big step” with Wednesday’s Champions League victory at Bayern Munich. That growth, however, rests on Liverpool’s players recognising how good they are.
“It [Liverpool’s development] is massive,” Klopp said. “I think the steps are really obvious but it is still about a natural confidence. We have to start looking at ourselves how other teams see us. When you think about how Bayern faced us here – I saw Bayern playing a lot in the last years but I never saw them being that defensive-orientated. When Manchester City came here, it was similar. They had a lot of respect for us but I am not sure we always have the same amount of respect for ourselves.
“For sure it will come, step by step, that is why I was so happy for the game at Bayern. There was a little sign at least for that. All the other things, the boys have so much space for improvement in all departments, so many things to come. For the future we have to be lucky that they all stay healthy and we can work with them and use the little time we have in training to bring the group together, so that we don’t have to develop only in games, which is modern football. In pre-season, if we have three weeks all together, that would be great.”