Just two players from Jurgen Klopp’s first starting XI as Liverpool manager remain at the club, showing just how much has changed at Anfield across his six years as boss
Divock Origi and James Milner may not be the standout stars of Jurgen Klopp ‘s Liverpool today, but the pair can boast something unique in the Anfield dressing room.
The Reds duo are the only two players still at the club who took part in Klopp’s first match as manager, a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur in October 2015.
While Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino were at the club when the German took charge, the trio missed the trip to White Hart Lane.
Team-mates Origi and Milner, who had only arrived on Merseyside that summer, were picked by the ex- Borussia Dortmund boss to herald a new era for the then-18-time English champions.
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And the two still play pivotal parts for Klopp, with Origi reminding everyone of his importance on Saturday by scoring yet another late winner for Liverpool as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 at Molineux.
The Reds also still heavily rely on 35-year-old Milner’s experience, having started five Premier League games this season to take his appearance tally for the club to 262.
“We will get stronger,” Klopp stated after the first match as Liverpool boss.
Fast forward 338 games and the 54-year-old was not wrong.
With Gomez, Henderson and Firmino all involved these days, the more notable names on his first team sheet – such as Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana – have moved on to pastures new.
It seems there is a mutual respect between Klopp’s first group, with Milner – himself admired by all at Anfield – praising Origi in his 2019 book ‘Ask A Footaller’ .
“There are two sides to him really,” the veteran explained.
“He’s a very intelligent guy and speaks four languages fluently, and you can tell how committed and determined he is by the way he has forced his way back into the team at Liverpool.
“But away from the pitch he’s just so incredibly relaxed, without a care in the world. Seeing him can only help me chill out – relatively speaking.
“How can I be stressed if this guy is just floating around on Planet Origi, super-chilled, smiling, leaving a trail of his possessions behind him?
“Sometimes when you speak to him in the dressing room, you’re not sure if he’s listening.
“‘Does he remember what the manager has been telling us all week? Does he even know who we’re playing today?’
“And then he’ll come on in a big game and he’ll produce the perfect performance as a sub.”
Not to mention Klopp’s ‘legendary’ praise, saying after the Wolves win: “He is one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen in my life.
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“In this great team, with our three, he doesn’t play all the time but he is a very positive boy, loves the club, wants to contribute and he did in an incredible way.
“Winning in the 95th minute is great but when Div scores the goal it makes it even better.
“Divock Origi, the legend, came and finished it off for us. I love it.”
Not many would have expected Origi and Milner to be the only two men from that starting XI to still be at Anfield six years later, but as the Reds have made a habit of under Klopp, they proved the doubters wrong.
Klopp’s first Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno; Lucas, Can; Lallana, Coutinho, Milner; Origi