Jurgen Klopp has overseen Liverpool’s most transformative period in the club’s illustrious 127-year history since the days of Bill Shankly in the 1960s.
When the FIFA Coach of the Year committed his future at the club until 2024 one thing suddenly became certain; it signified Klopp’s intent to oversee Liverpool’s rebuilding phase once the current cycle of talent reaches its inevitable end.
Liverpool’s current runaway Premier League leaders have the capability to potentially win the next three league titles but the German manager’s long-term commitment for the club will mean he feels he is the man to begin the next stage of evolution for the club before eventually calling a day on his time at Anfield.
After meticulously constructing the deadliest team currently in world football, there is the reality that the club must not fall into the trap of allowing decline to follow greatness.
There is a reason that Klopp’s current crop of players are functioning at the peak of their powers, the average age of the squad is currently 28 with a large chunk of their elite stars tied down to long-term contracts.
However, take the front-three for example, who will all be 28 at the start of the 2020/21 season. By the time Klopp’s current deal expires all three of Liverpool’s irreplaceable front-trio will be 32. Despite, their current status as the most feared attacking force in Europe, the reality is that in four years time it is unlikely they will all still be together.
The same can be said for midfield duo Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson who are both 29 and are in the latter stages of their peak years. This inevitably presents a number of critical decisions for Klopp to make in the final four years of his Anfield reign.
Ideally, the current group of players have at least another year to potentially defend their Premier League crown should this season’s champions-elect maintain their gargantuan lead until the end of the campaign.
However, the time for future planning cannot be too far ahead. The likes of Jadon Sancho and Kai Haverts are not going to be waiting forever for Mane and Salah to eventually pass on the limelight.
Sancho, for example, is the ilk of player who perfectly reflects the calibre of talent Liverpool are now associated with. Sadly for the Borussia Dortmund teenager were he to indeed trade Germany for Merseyside in the summer he’d more realistically be used as a rotation option rather than a guaranteed starter – and considering his £100 million price tag it is difficult to see that kind of move materialising.
This presents an almost impossible problem for Klopp to solve. Liverpool’s contemporary status as kings of Europe means it is virtually impossible for any of the current crop to move up a level elsewhere. Whilst it’s important to relish the good times whilst they’re here, the reality is that nothing lasts forever.
If Liverpool are to maintain their place alongside Europe’s elite the planning behind the scenes will have already begun. Sadly for Klopp, the bar has been set so high it will unimaginable to replicate a team of the same quality present.