Take a moment to imagine Jurgen Klopp would not have been able to extend his contract to remain as Liverpool manager through 2026 if he hadn’t extended it last season.
Imagine what perceptions would have been if the Reds had started the season with just six wins from their first 14 Premier League games amidst a flurry of statistics demonstrating they ran less than their opponents.
The narrative has been about a lack of intensity. That certain player’s legs have gone. In preparation for the World Cup, others have saved themselves.
That an aging team can’t go again after a 63-game season. That Liverpool didn’t do enough in the transfer market. That Sadio Mane’s departure was the bulb on the Christmas tree going out that stopped the others from flashing.
Perhaps there’s an element of truth to all of the above. Maybe some of those factors are over-analyzed red herrings. But I’ll guarantee you this. If Jurgen Klopp was leaving Liverpool FC in 2024, as was his initial plan, the narrative would be meandering down that particular route when playing the blame game.
Questions like: Did Michael Edwards leave because he knew Klopp was going in 2024? Is it an excuse for the owners not to spend big money on younger players because nobody knows if the new manager will want them? Are some players losing their intensity because they assume he’ll stick with them for another 18 months as it’ll be a different manager rebuilding LFC?
Klopp decided to extend his stay until 2026 that put an end to such speculation before it even began, which led us to look for other answers to why Liverpool wasn’t at its best before the World Cup. A 2022/23 version of 2020/21’s ‘it’s because Pep Lijnders wrote a book’ is ‘it’s because they moved from Melwood to Kirkby’.
Klopp signing that contract extension has also provided much-needed stability at a time when anything from a full change of ownership to the arrival of new investors is on the horizon. If FSG does sell Liverpool lock, stock, and oil barrel, the value of still having Klopp in charge for another three-and-a-half seasons cannot be underestimated.
New owners always have their ideas on how to do things, particularly on player recruitment. In the last 10 years, we’ve gone from Damien Comolli pulling the strings, to a dysfunctional transfer committee, to Klopp getting ‘the first and last word’ on transfers.
And by that, I mean deciding on wanting or not wanting a player rather than deciding whether to pay their transfer fee and wages.
Any new owner must – and would be bonkers not to – respect the way Klopp works on recruitment. And with three-and-a-half seasons left on his contract instead of 18 months, he has the time to spend whatever new investment is (hopefully) plowed into LFC to try to build a second great team ala Bill Shankly in the 1970s.
Agents Henderson and Alexander-Arnold have been doing their bit in Qatar to chat up the dynamic young midfielder the Reds massively need, but finances will inevitably come into it. This invariably makes the post-World Cup restart all about fighting for the top four while hoping the early pacesetters come back to us.
However, I still believe Liverpool FC has a lure that no other club can match, even if Champions League football is not on offer next season.