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Klopp lifts lid on FSG and first meetings that secured Liverpool job

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Jurgen Klopp has opened up on his early conversations with Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group and how their "exceptional" relationship has grown since.

The Reds boss was sounded out by FSG in October of 2015 after Brendan Rodgers was relieved of his duties with the club sitting 10th in the Premier League.



Klopp was just a few months into a sabbatical following his departure from Borussia Dortmund when FSG president Mike Gordon invited him to New York for a chat about succeeding Rodgers.



After a lengthy conversation between FSG, Klopp and his agent, Mark Kosicke, in the offices of Manhattan law firm Shearman and Sterling, the German was offered the job.



Less than five years later, Klopp has led the Reds to their first league title in 30 years with their 23-point advantage at the summit of English football unable to be mathematically overturned by Manchester City in second place.

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That triumph caps off a remarkable 12 months for the club that has seen them win the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the first-ever Club World Cup at Anfield.

And Klopp has explained how FSG initially reached out to him once Rodgers was sacked in the autumn of 2015.

"The relationship was exceptional," Klopp said. "It was from the first day, actually.

"The first meeting was in New York, that’s true. But the first phone call with Mike was before that, three days before I don’t know. It was a nice day, I remember that. I think I was in bed still. I had nothing to do. I had time off.

"I knew that Mike, or someone, from FSG was going to call. I didn’t know Mike at that point. But we had one hour on the phone. I obviously convinced him in a way that he wanted to meet in New York to bring the deal over the line. pretty much that’s how it started.

"From that moment on, we had a very, very good relationship on a professional basis and on a personal basis as well. With Mike, we work closely together – that’s how it is.

"Mike is responsible for most of the things. But it’s Mike, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and myself. We pretty much are the Transfer Committee!

"It has worked really well. They were my first owners, so I can’t compare them. They are the best owners I have worked for, for sure!

"There is no problem if things don’t happen. You do not need a personal relationship in this business. We have worked brilliantly together.

"First and foremost, they wanted to support us. Not always at first with money but with trust and support in the things we do. That was apparent from the first second. It was always clear. We finished eighth in 2016 – ninth would have been the worst ever, right?

"There was never doubt – not from that side. I’m pretty sure there was doubt from the outside. But from the owners side, there was never. They saw the little steps and that helped massively. We could make it, step-by-step."

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Klopp also detailed how he and his team were able to summon the strength to shake off the bitter disappointment of losing out on the Premier League last year to become a success this time around.

After suffering just one defeat all season and collecting a club-record 97 points, Klopp's men were beaten to the crown by Manchester City who amassed 98 over the course of 38 games.

Klopp says such setbacks are a part of his career and explained how his players were able to convince themselves they could finally land the biggest prize in English football.

He added: "Even when you don't want it, when you have it it is very important to deal with it in the right way. I had to learn that early in my life, especially my coaching life, and [my wife] Ulla hates me for that.

"We had so many close failures: like with Mainz not going up by a point, then getting up with the worst points tally ever; Dortmund not qualifying for Europe, then losing a Champions League final.

"I am a good example that life goes on. I would have had plenty of reasons for getting upset and saying 'I don't try any more'.

"Obviously it is not easy to go through these moments but it is easier to deal with it because it is only information and if you use it right the feeling is good. If you don't use it right it helps not a little bit. I always deal with it and that is what we did here, that's what the boys did here, they buy into it and I really like all our responses.

"In some games striking back or in some seasons striking back. In that case we were lucky as yes, we didn't win the league with 97 points, but we won the Champions League and that helped. We had something to show and a lot of experience and a wonderful parade which helped a lot.

"But there was never a chance we would not try it again. But what that season showed was that you need to be nearly perfect to have a chance. It was information which could put you under pressure again but it was information we shared early in pre-season and then we didn't talk about it anymore.

"It is not too difficult to be 100 per cent motivated for a game but if you approach a full season from the beginning like 'the 12th match we play there, it's an away game against them and that will be difficult to win'... you have to be in the moment and we were always in the moment and it worked out pretty well so far."


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