Jurgen Klopp shocked the world of football when he announced he will be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season.
After eight-and-a-half years, seven trophies and hundreds of players, the German has re-revolutionised the Reds into the giants they once were, and will be looking to leave them on top with the side still competing in four major competitions this season.
Though the news comes as somewhat of a shock, Klopp will wave goodbye to Anfield in just a few months time, leaving behind huge shoes to fill, but shoes that will provide all the tools for the next person to succeed too.
Comparing Klopp’s first team to his final teams and some of his best provides quite the contrast. There have been some great XIs in Klopp’s era – though some would argue that the best played together only once.
Mail Sport have had a look at the most-capped players at Liverpool under Klopp’s reign to date, and one particular XI that didn’t quite get the game time it may have deserved.
Jurgen Klopp shocked the football world by announcing he would be calling time on his Liverpool career
The German manager has won seven trophies at Liverpool to date in an eight-and-a-half-year reign at Anfield
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Alisson – 252 appearances
When Alisson joined Liverpool for £66.8million from Roma in 2018, the Reds were in desperate need of a goalkeeper following a failed Loris Karius experiment that resulted in a disastrous Champions League final against Real Madrid.
It didn’t take long for him to make his mark. He was almost the missing piece of the jigsaw the squad needed for success and he helped them to Champions League glory the following year and Premier League success soon after.
Still only 31, it’s likely the Brazilian has a number of years left in him, and he will go down as one of Liverpool’s greatest ever goalkeepers.
Alisson joined Liverpool for big money in 2018 and has gone onto become one of the Reds’ best-ever goalkeepers
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 298 appearances
Graduating from the Reds academy, Trent Alexander-Arnold has become a Liverpool hero. Having been brought through and given his debut by Klopp, he almost knows no different.
Though many still aren’t quite sure of his best position, Klopp has defended his man until the end, and re-invented his role as an inverted full-back late last year.
He will go past 300 appearances for the Reds by the time Klopp is gone and will surely pick up hundreds more in the future.
Having been given his Liverpool debut by Klopp in 2016, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a vital player for Liverpool under Klopp
Joel Matip – 201 appearances
Joel Matip likely provides one of the best value for money signings Liverpool have ever made, having arrived on a free from Shalke in 2016.
He has perhaps gone slightly under the radar during his Liverpool career, partnering Virgil van Dijk for pretty much all of it, and he may never play for the side again, currently undergoing rehabilitation for an ACL injury and out of contract in the summer.
Still, he’s been a reliable member of the Klopp era and Reds fans will look back at his time on Merseyside with a smile.
Having arrived on a free transfer from Shalke, Joel Matip represents one of the best value-for-money signings ever for Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk – 245 appearances
From one of the best value for money signings in Liverpool history to one of the best full stop, Van Dijk, was a major part of Liverpool’s revolution after arriving for £75m from Southampton in 2018.
The club felt the wrath of his own ACL injury in 2020, but he eventually came back as good as he ever was.
Van Dijk was also unfortunate not to win the Ballon d’Or in 2019, coming second to Lionel Messi. Klopp did, however, help transform him into one of the best centre-backs the Premier League has ever seen.
At the start of Klopp’s reign, it seemed apparent that defending was the issue, with the side scoring goals but struggling to keep them out at the other end with the new, front-foot, ‘heavy metal’ style’ employed by their new boss.
Van Dijk, alongside the likes of Alisson, allowed that to change over time, and has been absolutely central to his side’s success at the back, as proven when he spent a year on the sidelines when he picked up his injury.
Taking over captaincy duties at the start of the season, he has carried himself as well as ever under Klopp and will always have the honour of being the German’s final captain at the club.
Virgil van Dijk went onto become the best centre-back in the world under Klopp’s guidance
Andy Robertson – 275 appearances
In probably another of Liverpool’s best-ever value for money signings, Robertson has achieved it all with Liverpool after joining for £8m from Hull City in 2017.
His partnership with Alexander-Arnold before the right-back’s transformation will be remembered for years to come, and the pair are the two defenders with the most assists in Premier League history, largely thanks to Klopp.
The Scot has returned from his shoulder injury in time to see out the season with Klopp, and, like everyone else on this list, has been a key member of the German’s era.
Andy Robertson could have only dreamed of what he would go onto achieve after joining Liverpool from Hull City
Jordan Henderson – 304 appearances
Things may have turned sour for Jordan Henderson in the last few months from a football perspective, but he captained Klopp’s side to Champions League and Premier League success. There is no taking that away.
He departed in the summer having been told that he wouldn’t be too involved for Liverpool going forward amid their midfield revolution, but nearly hit 300 appearances under Klopp before he did so.
The German recently praised Henderson again following his move to Ajax and the two always had a great working relationship.
Jordan Henderson was Klopp’s captain throughout all the successes the club enjoyed during the German’s time on Merseyside
James Milner – 323 appearances
Liverpool and Klopp gave James Milner a guard of honour when he left Liverpool for Brighton in the summer, and that’s just one thing that shows how loved he was at the Reds.
One of the few men – alongside the likes of Henderson – that survived deep into Klopp’s spell who joined before the German. He was Mr Reliable and Klopp would often praise his longevity and professionalism while at the club.
Whether it was in midfield, full-back, or out wide, Milner lasted longer than many thought he would at Anfield, and was always one of Klopp’s favourites.
James Milner was one of Klopp’s most-loved players and received a guard of honour when he left the club last year
Georginio Wijnaldum – 237 appearances
It seemed an odd decision to leave Liverpool when Georginio Wijnaldum departed Anfield in 2021 when the Reds were still at the top of their game.
His career hasn’t gone to plan since – it hasn’t worked out at PSG and didn’t go so well at Roma, and he’s now in Saudi Arabia – but his departure was the start of Liverpool’s midfield struggles, which was eventually addressed in the summer just gone.
He edges out a certain Brazilian by a handful of appearances and many regard it as a shame that he didn’t stick around on Merseyside for a little longer.
Georginio Wijnaldum perhaps ended his Liverpool career slightly prematurely, but will be remembered as a key player of the Klopp era
Mohamed Salah – 332 appearances
Potentially the greatest player of the Jurgen Klopp era.
Whenever it looked like Mohamed Salah may leave, he stayed. Whenever it looked like he was on a goal drought, he scored. He has been prolific his entire Reds career – the top goal scorer of the Klopp era and a Liverpool legend.
Klopp helped the Egyptian become one of the best goal scorers in the world, and he will hope he can repay the German by helping Liverpool to a few more trophies before the season is out.
Klopped helped Mohamed Salah become one of the best and most prolific goal scorers in Liverpool’s history
Roberto Firmino – 355 appearances
Roberto Firmino was a gift handed to Jurgen Klopp upon his arrival by former manager Brendan Rodgers.
Originally an attacking midfielder, Klopp made the Brazilian the poster boy for the false nine, exceptional in the press, as well as when it came to creativity and scoring goals.
Liverpool are still yet to find a proper solution to his departure last season, and he too is synonymous with Klopp’s work at Liverpool over the years.
Roberto Firmino became the poster boy for the false nine position under Klopp’s management
Sadio Mane – 269 appearances
Completing the famous Liverpool front three of Klopp’s time at the club is Sadio Mane, who chalked up over 250 appearances for the Reds after joining from Southampton in 2016.
He was one of the first big names from the era to leave the club in 2022 when he looked for a new chapter at Bayern Munich, but is another who hasn’t quite had the same success since leaving.
His move from the right to the left after Salah joined the club was a huge benefit for him, and he remained a prolific goal scorer and creator along with his mates in the front line.
Sadio Mane completed the famous front three of Klopp’s reign alongside Salah and Firmino
Klopp’s best side?
Unsurprisingly, Klopp’s most-capped XI is pretty much regarded as his best XI.
Potentially the only man missing is Fabinho, who made 219 appearances for the club after joining from Monaco and before leaving for Saudi Arabia last year.
Many would argue that he would replace Milner in the list above to make Klopp’s best-ever XI. The best side from the squad that won a Champions League, a Premier League, a Super Cup, a Club World Cup, an FA Cup, a League Cup a Community Shield. And counting.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane. Perfect, Liverpool fans would argue. The shocking thing is, that of the 466 games Klopp has led Liverpool in to date, that XI only started together once – the 2019 Champions League final.
What was arguably Liverpool’s best-ever side under Klopp only started one of 466 games (so far) under the German
Liverpool won the game 2-0 against Tottenham to lift their sixth Champions League, but it seems shocking and somewhat an injustice that they only started one game together.
It could be argued that those 11 players form Liverpool’s greatest-ever side. And it was led by Jurgen Klopp.