Jürgen Klopp's Champions League winning journey: From doubters to believers to sky-high achievers
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Jürgen Klopp's Champions League winning journey: From doubters to believers to sky-high achievers

The incredible tale that saw Liverpool conquer Europe for a sixth-time.

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr

A week may have passed since Jürgen Klopp made Champions League dreams come true but it is still excruciatingly difficult to summarise the magnitude of this Liverpool team's achievement.

The Reds are once again Kings of Europe following the most astonishing of journeys that saw the team emerge from doubters to believers to sky-high achievers.

Similarly to the Champions League final in Kiev 12 months ago, there were tears, but this time they were of unbridled joy rather than despairing anguish.

"In sunny Madrid, we won it six times"

The greatest journeys in modern football have a tendency to start and finish in Liverpool. As Ol' Big Ears came back to Merseyside for a sixth time, over 750,000 supporters swarmed out in numbers to get a glimpse of their heroes and absorb all the splendour of the views underneath Liverpool's Three Graces.

Jordan Henderson became Liverpool's fifth captain to lift the famous trophy to the heavens as the devoted skipper joined to the royal company of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard

Every single member of this Champions League winning team have earnt themselves legendary status with the club having taken the gargantuan leap from nearly men to Kings of Europe.

In Klopp's four short years, he has transformed Liverpool from also-rans into one of the continent's most feared opponents. 

The German manager's journey is one good enough to land a Hollywood blockbuster. Klopp did not arrive in Liverpool expecting immediate success - despite it only initially narrowly avoiding him. 

It took strategic thinking and relentless patience as well as the belief that his model would work. Klopp did so with an appetite to navigate differently to other clubs. He choreographed a plan that has seen a team literally awake from the dead.

Try telling those Liverpool players this wasn't a big deal when Henderson was embraced into his crying father's arms or when Virgil van Dijk was spotted collapsing to the ground in disbelief when Divock Origi thundered in one of the club's all-time famous goals.

This team simply couldn't afford to lose on June 1. Even against a Tottenham Hotspur side that were competing in their first ever European final, this had to be their time. Morale could have been crippled following a third consecutive defeat on this stage, especially following such a mentally and physically sapping league campaign.

Forget the Premier League title race and all those agonising near misses, Klopp has followed in the giant footsteps of Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez by bringing home the biggest prize in club football.

This was perhaps why Klopp's greatest lie of not being phased by such crushing defeats was shown at the full-time whistle. The 51-year-old manager was reduced to tears alongside his captain Henderson as Klopp finally had something tangible to show following the Reds astonishing journey.

Klopp had vowed that this day would come. Even in the hours after Liverpool's heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid in the final last season, Klopp swore to: "Bring it back to Liverpool!" And that's exactly what he did. 

The sceptics constantly attempted to thwart Klopp from believing his Golden Age would come. They asked how he could keep getting away with being the country's great entertainer without any tangible reward. Those words have been rammed back down the throats of anyone who ever doubted such a manager. 

Wherever Klopp goes, success follows. Supporters always knew that despite numerous setbacks, the parties were delayed rather than permanently postponed. The wait was more than worth it. 

There's also good reason to believe, however, that this is the start rather than the peak of Klopp's tenure. Under the guidance of Fenway Sport Group (FSG), this is a club under shrewd ownership and rude health on and off the pitch. 

This is just the start

It is some irony in the fact that Liverpool's greatest night of the Klopp era, was sustained during arguably the team's most underwhelming performance to date. 

To say the game was far from a classic doesn't do the term justice. At times it was an excruciating watch as Tottenham threatened to restore parity following Mohamed Salah's early controversial penalty. 

The erratic performance never lived up to the billing but it did see one man continue on his epic journey to see a statue of himself outside the Anfield stadium after Origi sent Kopites into raptures as reality dawned inside the Estadio Metropolitano Stadium

However, Champions League victories are never defined by one game. Liverpool have played much better this season and been on the losing side, most notably in Paris, Manchester and Barcelona. Despite this, once the trophy is in the captain's grasp the question of how it was obtained quickly becomes irrelevant. 

Liverpool have shown they have resilience, unity and spirit in abundance. The bond between players, staff and fans is like no other in European football. Madrid was transformed into a sea of red with tens of thousands of Liverpool fans packed into Plaza Felipe II to bring the spine-tingling atmosphere of Anfield across the continent.

Before the game, there were stories of Rome, Wembley, Paris and Istanbul. Now they have Madrid. This can never be taken away from them. 

The mission is complete but the story isn't over. Liverpool are back where they belong. Klopp's Reds are champions of Europe. However, there is a strange feeling that this is only the beginning rather than the end.  

 

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