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Klopp's Liverpool revolution is only just beginning

A Premier League season is 38 games long. Jurgen Klopp has been manager of Liverpool for 37 so far. If you were to look at his first calendar year in charge as a league season then Liverpool would be fifth heading into the final round of matches. They would be two points behind Manchester City — with 64 points to City’s 66; two ahead of Manchester United in sixth. They would, then, be in with a reasonable shout for Champions League football. It’s an accurate measurement.

Gallery: Klopp's first year in charge

Oct. 8 marks Klopp’s one-year Liverpool anniversary and — while not perfect — the Reds are visibly better. There has been a landmark result once every few weeks for Klopp; evidence and encouragement that his training ground and transfer market approaches are paying dividends. Arsenal, Leicester City and Chelsea have already been blitzed this season alone. Last season big wins were registered against Jose Mourinho’s version of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

There have been other high points like the remarkable Europa League comeback win at Anfield over Borussia Dortmund, the 4-0 derby drubbing of Everton and huge victories against Southampton and Aston Villa. Liverpool finished eighth last season as a result of its inability to put together consistent runs of form. When the Reds were good though, they were very good.

And so the case remains. They are currently fourth — the Premier League's top scorers since Klopp took over — and he has totally reinvigorated a club which had lost its momentum. Liverpool leads the league across a number of disciplines under Klopp — goals aside. Highest average possession rate, most tackles, most sprints. They are very close to the top in a few more; only Tottenham and Bournemouth have covered more ground, only Tottenham has faced fewer shots, only Arsenal and Manchester City have hit more passes.

There is a clear pattern emerging to Klopp’s play after the incoherence which came at the end of Brendan Rodgers’s tenure.

Klopp's best quotes

The Northern Irishman was the very definition of boom and bust; he led Liverpool supporters to the edge of hysteria, coming as close as he did to a title win in 2014. The only way was down with Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling among the key players to leave. Rodgers was in a tail spin just 18 months on from his tantalizing close miss. Klopp has helped restore the club through a mix of his magnetic personality, his high-class pedigree as a two-time Bundesliga winner and the on-field improvements.

The Premier League devours coaches. Teams are looking more for a man to blame after three bad results than for someone to build a dynasty. Credit to Liverpool. With its six-year contract for Klopp and by placing him in control of the club’s transfer strategy, Liverpool has signalled that the seven million pound-per-season ($8.7M) coach is in for the long haul.

He is overseeing a renewal of the team’s style and their playing staff. There were 14 permanent transfers away from Anfield this summer with problem child Mario Balotelli chief among them. Nine more went on loan. Liverpool might not necessarily have signed players in big quantities in the window just passed but they added players to Klopp’s exact specifications. The likes of Loris Karius, Joel Matip and Marko Grujic were long ago identified as Liverpool players while Gini Wijnaldum fits the bill in midfield. The summer’s big acquisition, Sadio Mane from Southampton, has so far been a runaway success.

WATCH: Klopp's first year in charge

It’s not just about altering the personnel. Klopp and his backroom team have worked hard at improving the players already on the books. No player has scored more goals under Klopp than Roberto Firmino — in danger of becoming a dud under Rodgers. Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho have stepped up their game in a big way and are among the best players in their positions in the Premier League. Jordan Henderson sets the tempo for Liverpool in midfield as an accomplished No. 6 despite the close scrutiny of his occasional flaws.  

The preseason — Klopp’s first at the club — was described by forward Danny Ings as a “full football education”. The German and his deputies including Zeljko Buvac, Pep Lijnders and Andreas Kornmayer oversaw an exhaustive, detailed campaign at Melwood and in the United States the fruits of which are being borne out most weeks.

There will be challenges and there will be setbacks. Don’t judge Liverpool on the basis it beats Manchester City; don’t judge it either for losing at Burnley. Anfield is clearly going to be home to Jurgen Klopp for a long time yet.