Klopp takes over mantle from Mourinho as king of Premier League


Jürgen Klopp’s arrival in England set off a media frenzy that has lasted right into this weekend’s Premier League action. Klopp’s management of Liverpool did more than give long suffering Reds fans hope. It has given the British press, which is starved for superstars, a figure to obsesses over. The recent exodus of global superstar talent from the Premier League, most notably the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, has left large elements of the British press searching for a larger than life figure.

That figure appears to be the new Liverpool boss.

In the interim period of the past few seasons, Jose Mourinho has attempted to fill that void. While the Chelsea manager’s combination of self-pity, constant mind games and runaway narcissism wore thin quickly on the press in Italy and Spain, large elements of the media in Britain have continued to indulge Mourinho.

This season, the situation regarding Mourinho has hit a tipping point. Each week of the young Premier League campaign has been met with the Chelsea manager scapegoating individuals ranging from the medical staff, to fringe players to referees. Each rant has been dissected in colorful detail on the pages of the daily papers in the UK as well as around the world on websites like this. Mourinho is winning the day because he’s creating the narrative, one that revolves around his own ego and self-maniacal need for constant attention. With English Football lacking the charismatic characters of yesteryear and the global icons of Ronaldo and Bale fame, Mourinho ‘s return to England filled a void for the media.

However, over the last two months, the British press has begun to demonstrate the signs of healthy skepticism about Mourinho’s consistent ranting and raving. The Blues Manager’s now infamous 7-minute diatribe after Chelsea’s 3-1 loss against Southampton two weekends ago was followed within a week by Liverpool’s appointment of Klopp.

From the very first Liverpool press conference, Klopp contrasted himself with Mourinho, dubbing himself “the normal one.” This stands in stark distinction to Mourinho’s “Special One” mantra, which in itself is a clear sign of narcissism. This weekend while Mourinho made provocative comments pregame to Sky Sports and looked for attention after Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa, few outside Chelsea’s official website and beat writers were interested in coddling the Portuguese Manager. It is now because Jürgen Klopp is the superstar that the British press flocks to instead of Mourinho.

The change was noticeable. I even found myself uninterested in Mourinho’s comments which have become largely stale and predictable. Klopp does by comparison seem to be “the normal one,” and the fascination with one of the best respected managers in the European club game joining forces with England’s traditional European powerhouse team that has fallen on hard times is logical.

But even more importantly, Klopp’s arrival and likely long-term fixture on the English scene means Mourinho is no longer the most fascinating or entertaining manager in the division. This also likely will give the British soccer media, which is always so anxious for copy and to create controversy, a more likable and equally complex figure to obsess over instead of Mourinho.

A strong likelihood exists that Jürgen Klopp will revive Liverpool and make the club regain its self-belief and pride again. But an interesting subplot is that his arrival on the island of Great Britain could hasten the departure of attention-starved Jose Mourinho, whose second stint at Chelsea has seemingly run its due course.

For English football, the symmetry of a conversion from the era of Mourinho to the age of Klopp seems a mouthwatering possibility. It is such a possibility that no doubt will irritate Mourinho unless he can right the ship at Chelsea in the near future. Circle you calendars for October 31 as that is the date Klopp and Mourinho will face off at Stamford Bridge. With a “normal” alternative to Mourinho for the media to cover closely, it will be fascinating to see how far the Chelsea manager goes to regain the attention he craves.

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