No-one deserved a Champions League medal more than Jurgen Klopp.
The German live wire lost in the 2013 final with Borussia Dortmund and 2018’s final with Liverpool before beating Spurs 2-0 in Madrid on Saturday night.
And now it’s time for the very top tier of football mangers to make room for one more.
Before last night Liverpool’s vast improvement under the former Dortmund coach was not quantifiable.
His honours list at the club consisted of a Europa League silver medal and a second place finish in last season’s Champions League.
Klopp couldn’t even boast a League Cup to match the improvement on the pitch.
The Liverpool boss, along with Mauricio Pochettino, was considered up there with the best in the world.
But not the very best.
That honour belonged to: Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola – the three most successful managers in the game today – all with Champions Leagues to their name.
Other managers like: Antonio Conte, Diego Simeone and Massimiliano Allegri may have a claim too, but in the results game of football, can you call yourself the best if you haven’t won the biggest?
With Liverpool’s victory last night and the fact they gained 97 points in the Premier League last season,the big three may have just become the big four.
Klopp won back-to-back Bundesligas with Dortmund, making him the only manager to stop Bayern Munich’s dominance in Germany since 2010.
But it is his work with the Merseyside club which has taken him from very good to the cream of the crop.
Of course the £300million spent on players has helped along the way.
But money doesn’t guarantee success, just ask Mourinho or any Man United fan.
Klopp has created an image and an identity just as clear and effective as Pep Guardiola’s model with the clubs he has managed.
And with the money that bought the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, Liverpool’s football has gone from likeable to lethal.
Klopp has long been considered football’s nearly man – always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
He had only won in one of his seven finals before Saturday night.
But with the victory against Spurs, the German has a legitimate claim to join the very best in the top bracket of football management.
Well deserved, Jurgen.
READ MORE FROM DREAM TEAM HERE:
- Three seconds of Virgil van Dijk majesty and the anti-Karius — Liverpool’s edge in a flat final
- Moussa Sissoko’s redemption has been one of the stories of Spurs’ season – but could it all end with an armpit?
- Spurs shirts, overnight trains and under-priced beer – A first hand account of the weirdest European final