“I see a different person now”: Jürgen Klopp on his long journey in Liverpool | Liverpool

JJurgen Klopp claimed six and a half years at Liverpool aged him and that was before he became the Premier League’s longest-serving manager after Sean Dyche was sacked on Friday. The intensity of a job that will be characterized by the finest margins in the coming weeks is the culprit, but that doesn’t accelerate it, it spurs it on.

With a domestic trophy in their pockets, Liverpool will turn their attention to another on Saturday when they return to Wembley to renew acquaintance with Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final. Thoughts will then turn to a Premier League title race separated by a point, with Manchester United and Everton visiting Anfield next week before Villarreal reach the Champions League semi-finals. There are the odd complaint from Klopp – a 12.30pm kick-off in Newcastle between the Villarreal ties that matter the most at the moment – but if this is a time to weather the skin it also works wonders internally. It could be a good moment for FSG to offer him a contract extension.

“Just recently I saw a picture of me in 2005,” said Klopp on Thursday, bringing his FA Cup press conference forward by 24 hours because Liverpool are not performing their usual media duties on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. “I also saw a picture of my arrival here [in October 2015]. Unfortunately, I see myself in the mirror every morning, so the last six years have been pretty intense. I see another person now.

“Chelsea have had exactly the same program as us lately with the same number of games due to the League Cup final and Thomas [Tuchel] said it perfectly: it’s really super intense. But it’s also a lot of fun. I would like to train for a whole week. My God! Give me a full week of training in the middle of the season. But we don’t have it, and that’s why we’re making changes.”

Jurgen Klopp at his first press conference as Liverpool manager in 2015. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

“It’s always intense. This year is particularly intense, but also fun and exciting. Is it likely that we will win the four competitions? no Three competitions? No more? Hope that would be nice. pep [Guardiola] it said: When Atlético score a goal, we’re not talking about the great mentality of the City players and it was a great mentality. That is the difference. We draw at City or maybe lose 3-2 and everyone says that’s not good enough. That’s okay. It’s our life. Those little things really matter and make the difference and it’s really difficult to be prepared for all the time, but it’s very interesting.”

Klopp is the first manager in Liverpool’s rich history to reach three semi-finals in one season. The achievement, of course, brings little satisfaction for someone who could soon become the first manager in English football to win a quadruple.

“Three semi-finals and won nothing, the world is not ready for such successes,” he says, glossing over victory in the Carabao Cup. “But no, I’m really happy for the boys. It’s so difficult at this club to do something that our fathers and grandfathers haven’t already done. Nobody in this club did that special thing, so it’s really special. But if that’s a success this year, it won’t be counted as a success in the future.”

Mohamed Salah has an effort on goal during the Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Liverpool and Benfica.
Jurgen Klopp has helped Mohamed Salah regain his form after a few months of indifference. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool should be relatively refreshed compared to City who, while Klopp made seven changes against Benfica on Wednesday, endured a blue night at Atlético. Mohamed Salah was among those granted a much-needed respite – at least for 57 minutes – and Klopp believes the striker is ready to end on a high note, despite having scored once in his last 11 games for club and country.

“The problem we have is that in January he had the most intense phase of his entire career,” he said. “That [Africa Cup of Nations] Tournament went to the wire. Egypt played in the final, they had all those 120 minutes, the role he’s playing is super, super massive. There’s a huge responsibility on his shoulders with locker room meetings and no recovery at all. Then you have the problem of being a superstar in your own country and everyone wants something from you. It’s all super intense.

“A player like Mo, who likes to dribble – and he’s really good, he’s scored excellent goals with dribbles – should I say to him, ‘Don’t dribble?’ no It’s dribble at the right moments and keep going, keep it simple, all those things. I know Mo will finish strong. Right now we have to reset because every game is a final for us. It’s been like this since early January and it’s crazy.”

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