Klopp has gone from being alone to making Liverpool and Anfield his fortress
Jurgen Klopp walked up to the Kop with a beaming smile and cupped an ear with his hand to the crowd as they sang “Li-ver-pool, Li-ver-pool”.
Moments earlier the Anfield crowd had been singing about winning the league when Mo Salah secured their 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday.
Klopp’s walk to the Kop at the end of home games has become a tradition since he helped make Anfied a fortress again which has helped the Reds rule at home and abroad.
Towards the end of last season, he would offer them three punches into the air with each met by a huge roar.
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This season he dropped that habit because the TV cameras would hone in on him and he felt that was intrusive on what is his moment with his adoring fans.
But there was a time when Klopp felt “alone” at Anfield when he was still trying to turn doubters into believers.
Liverpool had just lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace in November 2015 not long after Klopp had taken charge.
The German could not believe fans began to walk out moments after Scott Dann put Palace in front in the 82nd minute and he let them know he was unhappy about it.
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There was some unease at the club at Klopp taking on the supporters, wary that if any of his recent predecessors had tried to it would have been met with anger from the Kop.
But Klopp felt the fans had a part to play in laying the foundations to build Anfield into a place to be feared again, a stadium where the Reds would never give up.
The fans believed in him and that is why they stayed on to applaud the Reds following a 2-2 draw with West Brom a month later.
Liverpool were mocked for seemingly celebrating a draw with a lesser side as the squad stood hand in hand to bow in front of the Kop.
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It felt strange at the time but it was the start of a bond which has helped them turn Anfield into a ground that has given them the platform to become European, world champions and soon-to-be English champions.
Klopp never feels alone now and they wait way beyond the final whistle for the jovial German to strut across the turf and celebrate another positive result with them.
It is an intimidating ground to visit once again, reminiscent of the 1970s and 1980s when the Reds ruled English football, from the moment the teams walk out to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” booming out and throughout the game.
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Not even a Barcelona side including Lionel Messi can come to Anfield with a 3-0 semi-final lead and feel safe as was proven last year with one of the great Champions League comebacks as the Reds won 4-0 on their way to a sixth European Cup.
But while it has helped them become a force again abroad, it is in the league where Anfield has really become the place where the Reds no longer lose.
It’s over 1,000 days since Crystal Palace beat them 2-1 in April 2017 and nobody has managed it since in the Premier League.
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Two full seasons have passed since Reds fans walked out of Anfield contemplating a defeat.
And the next time they take their seats at the famous ground for the Southampton game on February 1, it will be over 12 months since they last saw them draw a game there.
Liverpool have hardly been bad on the road either considering they are 39 games unbeaten in the league, one defeat in 61 and have won all but one of their away matches so far this season.
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But there is no doubting the formidable home form has been a key element in making them runaway leaders as they hold a 16-point advantage over second-placed Manchester City with a game in hand.
“We can't deny that we are in a good situation but we don't get carried away,” said Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.
While left-back Andy Robertson was also reading from the same script.
“Until the champions sign is above our heads we don't believe anything,” he said.
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But it is now when Liverpool secure the title not if no matter what the players say and they could even win it against City as early as April 4 if both sides pick up three points in all their games before then.
Whenever they secure it, they are likely to have the “Champions” sign above their heads and the trophy in their hands after their final home game against Chelsea.
And you can guarantee no Reds fans will be leaving in the 82nd minute on that day.
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