Jurgen Klopp is clearly among the finest managers of his generation, if not of all time. He has been doing extraordinary things as a coach. It is true for both Liverpool and Dortmund. Yet he has not enough trophies to show against this claim.
On Saturday night, Liverpool were the 2nd best team in Stade de France. Be it for Cortouis's heroics or Valverde's brilliance or the resilient mentality of Real Madrid, except for Real Madrid lifting the Champions League trophy, Klopp leaving the field with the feeling - ‘what more we could do’ remained the only familiar scenario.
Klopp has won 11 trophies in 14 years of top-flight football. The number suggests an illustrious career. But looking closely, it could’ve been more. It should’ve been more.
Among those 11 trophies, 3 were league titles. The rest 8 came from a total of 14 finals.
88th-minute winner by Robben (2013 UCL final), two goals in extra time (2014 DFL Pokal), goalkeeper heroics in penalties (2016 league cup final), goalkeeping blunders (2018 UCL final) or goalkeeping heroics (2022 UCL Final) - Klopp ran out of luck in finals again and again.
Klopp appeared in 4 UCL finals now, joint 2nd most along with legendary Marcelo Lippi, Sir Alex Ferguson and Miguel Munoz. But he only won one of them.
In his first appearance, he was denied the trophy by an 88th-minute winner by Robben after going neck-on-neck till the last minute.
The efforts were the same in his 2nd final. Same except Karius who did absolutely rookie-level blunders not once but twice. He was not prepared for it and had no answer to it.
Finally, he could smile in his third chance, as Liverpool managed to beat Tottenham 2-0 in one of the most exhilarating UCL seasons ever.
In his 4th this season, his side outplayed Real Madrid by 24-4 shots, yet ended up on the losing side. 3 UCL finals in 5 years and 4 European finals in 7 years, but only one title.
“ I am probably at the moment a world-record holder, in the last seven years at least, in winning semifinals. But if I wrote a book about that, probably nobody would buy it,” Klopp said in 2019.
Such irony has followed him to the league title races also. His point tally in the last 4 seasons are 99, 97, 72 and 92. You are looking at 3 of the 8 ‘most points won in a premier league season’ which belongs to Klopp’s Liverpool. Again, how many trophies did they win? One only.
The season where he won 97 points is by far the most points earned by a runner-up. It is also the 4th highest ever trailing by Manchester City(100 points in 2018), his Liverpool side in the very next season(99 points) and Manchester City, by whom they were edged that season(98 points).
To understand things better, among the top 10 of the aforementioned list, none were the runner-ups except Klopp’s Liverpool.
If luck was a factor in football, Klopp definitely has the least of it.