Jurgen Klopp has surprising record with Liverpool vs. ‘new manager bounce’

Jurgen Klopp has often faced the ‘new manager bounce’ during his time in the Premier League, but the Liverpool manager is now unbeaten in five such games.

Klopp joked in the buildup to Wednesday’s clash with Sheffield United that he would need to “bin” any analysis following the sacking of Paul Heckingbottom.

Heckingbottom was officially relieved of his duties on Tuesday, with Chris Wilder returning to Bramall Lane to take his place.

That has led to fears of the ‘new manager bounce’ striking for the Blades, with the boost of Wilder’s appointment bringing an upturn in fortunes.

Liverpool are perceived to have come up against this phenomenon more than most in recent years, with there also a commonly held belief that Klopp’s side often struggle in an opposition manager’s first fixture in charge.

But the Reds have only lost one such game during Klopp’s reign – that being the 3-1 loss to Leicester following Craig Shakespeare’s appointment in 2017.

In fact, per Opta’s Michael Reid, Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last five when facing a side whose manager was leading their first Premier League game in charge.

Liverpool vs. the ‘new manager bounce’

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 3, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-3. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • 3-1 LOSS vs. Leicester – Craig Shakespeare, 2017
  • 2-0 WIN vs. Watford – Nigel Pearson, 2019
  • 5-0 WIN vs. Watford – Claudio Ranieri, 2021
  • 3-3 DRAW vs. Brighton – Roberto De Zerbi, 2022
  • 3-1 WIN vs. Southampton – Nathan Jones, 2022
  • 0-0 DRAW vs. Chelsea – Bruno Saltor, 2023

Following the defeat to Leicester, the Reds went on to inflict debut defeats for Nigel Pearson and Claudio Ranieri at Watford, before a 3-3 draw with Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton last year.

Nathan Jones suffered a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in his first league game in charge of Southampton, while Bruno Saltor’s sole game as caretaker of Chelsea ended in a 0-0 draw in April.

Perhaps the reputation of enduring difficulty against the ‘new manager bounce’ largely stems from De Zerbi taking the fight to Klopp on his Brighton bow.

Otherwise, it has largely been comfortable for Liverpool when serving as the first opponent of a manager’s reign.