Seven years ago to the day, Jurgen Klopp had vowed to turn “doubters into believers” at his Anfield unveiling.
As the dust settled on a frenetic afternoon at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, he found himself facing the biggest challenge since he first arrived on Merseyside.
This was a grim anniversary for the Liverpool manager. Another Premier League defeat and the loss of both Luis Diaz and Trent Alexander-Arnold to injury.
When Brendan Rodgers got the sack in October 2015 and Klopp was appointed as his successor, the club sat 10th in the Premier League table with 12 points from eight matches.
Today, they occupy the same mid-table spot with just 10 points from eight games — their worst return at this stage of a season since 2012-13, when they ultimately finished seventh.
Klopp has achieved so much in the intervening years — from Champions League glory in Madrid to ending the painful 30-year title drought and securing a domestic cup double. He’s the most transformative figure in Liverpool’s history since Bill Shankly and rightly retains the unwavering backing of owners and supporters alike.
But the wheels have come off. A team that threatened to win everything five months ago now look like also-rans. Any lingering talk of a title challenge was extinguished by this setback. Liverpool, who are 14 points behind