Liverpool legend John Barnes has told TEAMtalk why Jurgen Klopp is worthy of the ultimate tribute, by suggesting he can now be placed alongside Bill Shankly as the club’s greatest manager of all-time.
The Reds last week reached a third Champions League final in five years under Klopp. That is why, according to Anfield great Barnes, Klopp’s achievements deserved to be recognised. Indeed, he is now ranked as the mastermind of the club’s revival and has now edged himself ahead of Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish in the list of Liverpool managerial greats.
And he believes the legacy Klopp is building at Anfield will ensure he goes down in history. Iconic figures like the great Shankly are rightly revered. He built the foundations for the modern Liverpool success story back in the 1960s and 70s.
However, Barnes reckons Klopp now ranks alongside him.
“It’s impossible to compare teams and players from different eras,” Barnes told TEAMtalk, speaking at a Gambling.com event in London. “The game changes in different eras, but you can compare managers. And that’s why I say Klopp can now be put on the same level as Shankly.
“He might only have won one Premier League title and one Champions League at the moment. But look at what Kenny and Bob Paisley inherited at Liverpool. It was very different to what Klopp had when he started.
“Paisley was more successful than anyone as he won six league titles and three European Cups." But he did it after taking over Shankly’s great team, and that made his job a little easier.
“The same was true of Kenny. He took over a Liverpool team that was already one of the best in Europe and made them a little bit better.
Jurgen Klopp has spent money wisely.
Continuing that success is never easy and they deserve so much credit for that. But what Klopp has done is different.
“He has rebuilt an entire squad at Liverpool from being the fourth or best team in the country and getting them to where they are now."
“This is why I would put Shankly and Klopp as the two best Liverpool managers of all-time. When you consider the history of this great club, that’s quite a statement.
Having recently signed an extension to his deal, Klopp has another four seasons to build on his legend.
And Barnes is quick to marvel at the job he has done.
“What Klopp has done is make great use of the resources he has." The theory that he has had a limited budget is not true. He has spent a lot of money.
“The difference is, he doesn’t have an unlimited budget like Manchester City.”
Klopp could take his legend to a whole new level if he completes an unprecedented quadruple in the next three weeks.
However, despite maintaining a positive mindset, Klopp knows exactly why winning four trophies in one season is so tough.
With the Carabao Cup already in the bag, next up is Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Before that, the Premier League title is likely to be settled. As it stands, Manchester City have a three-point lead and it doesn’t look like they will let that slip.
Then follows the big one, the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28 in Paris.
That will give Jurgen Klopp the chance to write his name in Liverpool folklore with their seventh European crown. It would also mark the second of his era and give Mohamed Salah the chance to exact his revenge.