Some 2,682 days since the desperate disappointment of Basel, Jurgen Klopp returns to where it more or less started for him at Liverpool.
But while the immediate job remains the same, the scale of the task bares little comparison to the one the Reds boss assumed when first stepping in at Anfield almost eight years ago.
Klopp’s first home game in charge was a Europa League group match against Rubin Kazan, where a 1-1 draw despite playing the majority of the game against 10 men was an early indication of the work that needed to be done to restore former glories.
Since then, the progress has been sizeable, with the occasional setback brushed aside as Liverpool emerged as the only team to seriously threaten moneybags Manchester City’s increasingly weary domination in England.
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That, though, was until last season, when the significant blow of missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time since 2016 forced Klopp to refashion a squad that had grown too old and was in need of fresh faces, fresh legs and a fresh outlook.
The impressive start to the Premier League campaign suggests the labour undertaken in the summer – more than £150million was spent on four new midfielders – is already being rewarded, with Liverpool once again within touching distance of leaders City, having taken 13 points from 15.
And it says much about the strength in depth at present that Klopp can still field a strong team this evening despite wholesale changes being expected in the Europa League Group E opener against LASK here in the Austrian city of Linz this evening.
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