London, UK. 13th Aug, 2023. Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London.

Forget Chelsea v Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has provided your group chat’s next meme

Before Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Chelsea, there was a sense that Jurgen Klopp knew he was presiding over a new era at Anfield.

Klopp saw captain Jordan Henderson and fellow midfielder Fabinho leave for the Saudi Pro League for a combined £52million, while Roberto Firmino and James Milner also departed Anfield this summer.

The signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai were genuine coups, but the Reds are set to miss out on Moises Caicedo and are no nearer to signing Southampton’s Romeo Lavia.

Klopp insisted he has not felt the need to remind his charges of last season’s disappointing outcome and is satisfied by what they have done in pre-season.

He added: “The desire, the concentration, the readiness, the openness. I saw a lot of things where my thought was in that moment, ‘OK, they mean business, so let’s give it a go.’ You could see it.

“We are not happy. It’s not that I want to remind the boys every day and say ‘by the way, last year was like this and that.’ That makes no sense. We have a lot of targets and we are highly motivated.”

But it wasn’t just the players that were highly motivated at Stamford Bridge; Klopp was kicking every ball on the touchline and became increasingly animated as Chelsea grabbed the ascendency.

With his collection of talented attackers, wobbly defenders and the blu-tack of Mac Allister grimly hanging on to a point, Klopp looked on with the serenity of a washing machine on a spin cycle as Szoboszali and Malo Gusto tussled for possession.

As Anthony Taylor blew for a Chelsea free-kick, the 56-year-old threw himself to the ground like a teenager pretending to look for something under the bed after his mum walked in during his private time.

The extravagant reaction was performative; of course it was. It was less than 48 hours since Pep Guardiola scolded two-goal Erling Haaland for standing an inch out of place or failing to iron his socks or something.

But with the comic timing of Charlie Chaplin and delivery of Basil Fawlty spotting a fly in his guest’s soup, Klopp had stolen the show and deflected attention from an entertaining, but flawed, contest. Genius.

Liverpool’s manager will doubt be concerned by his side’s gradual retreat in west London; Darwin Nunez almost scored a sensational late winner, but all three points would’ve constituted a robbery.

And Klopp will surely have words with Mohamed Salah in the coming days. While Salah provided a gorgeous assist for Liverpool’s opener, finished with aplomb by Luis Diaz, his influence waned and the Egyptian’s reaction to being substituted can be filed under ‘petulant’.

“We have this kind of new start with this Liverpool FC reloaded, it’s an exciting thing,” Klopp had said pre-match. “Everybody was asking for changes, rightly so, because we were together for a long time.

“It’s a new chance for everybody, everybody has to step up. We all share responsibility and it’s not that we should give ourselves too much time to grow into it, let’s do it.”

Nobody can doubt that Klopp threw himself into the 2023-24 season – even if the highlight of Liverpool’s afternoon was their manager providing the latest meme into football Twitter’s extensive collection

By Michael Lee

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