Jurgen Klopp filmed at 5am as Liverpool boss kept promise made at lowest ebb
Source: Liverpoolecho

At first glance, it was not immediately obvious that Jurgen Klopp had in fact come off second best on the night.

As the Liverpool manager was caught on camera bellowing in the kitchen of his Merseyside home at 5am, just hours after the 2018 Champions League final, it would not have been clear to those who hadn't seen the game that the Reds had come up short against Real Madrid.

But rather than wallow in a cruel and frankly bizarre night at the NSC Olimpiyskiy - where 44-goal top scorer Mohamed Salah's evening was cut short by Sergio Ramos's skullduggery and Loris Karius endured the worst night of his life - Klopp was in no mood to be despondent about his own fortunes. Instead, as he sang along with Campino, lead singer of German band Die Toten Hosen, the Liverpool boss was defiant. He knew he and his team would be back.

PART ONE:'Like nothing we'd ever heard before' - Inside Jurgen Klopp's early years as Liverpool manager

PART TWO: Jurgen Klopp sent clear message as FSG gave green light for major Liverpool spend

"We saw the European Cup. Madrid had all the f****** luck. We swear we'll keep on being cool, we'll bring it back to Liverpool!"

They were lyrics that would prove prophetic; barely a year later, Klopp's team were champions of Europe. How they got there centred largely around a proactive and aggressive few post-Kiev weeks, where Liverpool fine-tuned their squad to take them from contenders to champions.

The final whistle had barely sounded in the final itself when Liverpool moved to bring in Fabinho from Monaco in a PS40m deal before Naby Keita arrived, a year later than anticipated, for a PS52m figure. Klopp had initially planned to keep faith with Karius but more errors in pre-season convinced all that a fresh start was needed. The club broke the world-record fee for a goalkeeper to sign Alisson Becker from Roma in July for PS65m and PS12m Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City. Suddenly, a new-look squad that had signed Virgil van Dijk just a few months earlier was ready to compete.

A 4-0 smiting of West Ham United on the opening weekend was cause for optimism before professional victories at Crystal Palace and at home to Brighton furthered the feelgood factor. Six straight wins and a draw at Chelsea kept the Reds around the top of the table while the Champions League campaign got underway with a 3-2 triumph against Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield, which is, six years on, one of the forgotten gems of Klopp's time.

Defeats in all three away days in the group stages, however, had Champions League hopes hanging by a string by the time Napoli visited Anfield in December. Mohamed Salah's goal was the difference but the match is perhaps best remembered for a stunning save from Alisson to thwart Arkadisuz Millik from levelling late on and eliminating the Reds all together.

If Steven Gerrard's thunderbolt against Olympiakos in 2004 was the sliding doors moment for a side who would go on to lift the European Cup in May 2005, Alisson's save was its 2018 equivalent. Without the Brazilian's late intervention, there would be no Madrid, no sixth European Cup or the feelgood factor that emboldened the squad to end a 30-year wait for a domestic league title the following year. Put in those terms, it's difficult to overstate the save's importance.

A 3-1 win over Manchester United later that week was thoroughly deserved and it was a result that saw Jose Mourinho subsequently given his marching orders at Old Trafford. Victories for Klopp's Reds followed against Wolves, Newcastle and Arsenal as the Reds navigated the notorious festive period with aplomb. The 5-1 battering of Arsenal was particularly electric.

If the aforementioned Alisson save was a seismic moment for Liverpool's modern history, an incident in the first game of 2019 would prove just as pivotal on the opposite end of the scale when Klopp's men were entertained by Manchester City at the Etihad.

Just 11mm was all that kept Liverpool from scoring before John Stones's clearance of a ball that was seemingly rolling through a line made of extra-thick treacle. A 2-1 defeat at the Etihad as a result was Liverpool's only loss of the campaign. Just 11mm was all that stopped the Reds from an unbeaten campaign that, had literally nothing else changed that season, would have seen Klopp's men go down as Premier League and Champions League-winning Invincibles.

Even for a sport of such fine margins, that remains a ridiculous thought. "I just had to react quickly, and I think those sorts of things can change games," Stones said after the game. It was quite an understatement given what eventually transpired.

But if that reverse at the Etihad was damaging, it was back-to-back draws at Anfield in late January and early February to Leicester City and West Ham United that ultimately cost them the title. With hindsight, it's difficult to be too critical of such a wondrous campaign but those successive 1-1s caused irreparable domestic damage, not the draws at Manchester United and Everton later in the year.

Liverpool won 14 of their final 15 games in all competitions as they pushed City to the outer limits in one of the most brilliant and nerveless title races of all time. Neither side dropped a point in over two months as the two managers raised the standards to never-before-seen levels at the summit of the English game. It was flawless.

Having beaten Bayern Munich with one of the great European performances under Klopp - a 3-1 win at the Allianz after a goalless Anfield draw - the Reds were paired with Porto in the last eight and the Portuguese side were swatted aside with minimum fuss to set up a clash with Barcelona in the last four.

A 3-0 first-leg loss was harsh on the night but like Alisson's save and Stones's clearance, it was another moment at the Nou Camp upon which the complexity of the entire campaign shifted. Ousmane Dembele's tame shot late on to make 4-0 should have been stuck away but the weak finish was easily held by Alisson and the reaction of Lionel Messi, who had played his team-mate in, was telling.

The iconic No.10 dropped to his knees and eventually buried his face into the turf. He knew his colleague's miss left the door ever so slightly ajar for the return leg at Anfield and that was all Klopp's men needed.

Before Anfield's greatest night, though, more disappointment would need to be inflicted on the Reds' players. Klopp was watching from his Merseyside home, shouting at James Maddison to close down, on the night Vincent Kompany smashed home from 30 yards to give City a priceless 1-0 win over Brendan Rodgers's Leicester City.

Having given so much to both European and domestic causes, the evening of May 6 might have felt like a sobering one for Klopp as he faced up to the sickening prospect of such a near-perfect season still ending without silverware.

But what came next simply defied logic.

By now, it's difficult to add to the volumes that have already been devoted to the night Liverpool beat Barcelona 4-0 to reach the 2019 Champions League final but Klopp, as he tends to, summed it up best on an evening that perhaps even Anfield had not seen the like of before.

"F******* mentality monsters!" bellowed Klopp, while the Spanish media were similarly colourful. "The greatest humiliation in history," wrote one, while the result for Barcelona was labelled "the blackest page in their history".

"Shameful," was Sport's verdict. "There is no other adjective to describe this, the biggest failure in Barcelona's history. It is far greater than last year in Rome - and that despite the fact that they'd had that lesson. Nothing this century has been worse than what they suffered last night, Not even 1986. Not Athens in 1994. Nothing."

Having lamented Dembele's late miss at Camp Nou. Messi's worst fears had come true and the Argentina international was said to have been inconsolable inside the away dressing room at full time. The tears had to be wiped away after being selected for a random drug test with Spanish media later claiming he was embroiled in angry exchanges with Barca fans outside Anfield after the game. It was a night of bewilderment for the Catalans but it was all drowned out by the delirium of the finalists. There was now an inevitability about Liverpool's Champions League dream.

A 97-point Premier League campaign was not enough as City edged it by a single point but the runners-up would not be denied twice. Three weeks later they were champions of Europe having beaten Tottenham 2-0 in Madrid and it was thoroughly deserved.

Once more, Klopp found himself as the temporary lead of his favourite band, only a year later, there was plenty to sing about. "We're sending greetings from Madrid, tonight we made it number six," they roared, long into the night. This time there was no mistaking who had actually won.

Part 4 of the ECHO's look back at Jurgen Klopp's tenure looks at the historic 2019/20 season where a 30-year wait for a title was ended in emphatic style