The art of the press conference – Jurgen Klopp shows how it's done

Being a football manager is a thankless task.

Whether you're one of the greatest managers of all time or struggling at the foot of the table, there will always be moments of great triumph and support and moments of 'crisis' and vilification.

Even Sir Alex Ferguson went through tricky times, and not just when he was still trying to prove himself to the Manchester United fan base at the start of his tenure.

Last week, Arsene Wenger threatened to walk out of a press conference because of continued and slightly leftfield questioning about comments made by Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager.

And before his departure, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers pointed the finger at the media for speculation about his future and the increasing pressure he was facing to hold onto his job.

Jurgen Klopp had a superb record at Dortmund, winning the title twice as well as other trophies but it was the charm and humility he showed in his first major Liverpool press conference that will have impressed media and pundits alike.

And there were plenty of lessons that spokesmen of organisations large and small can learn from Klopp's press conference masterclass. 

There's only one chance to make a good first impression

Press conferences can be intimidating, even when they are promoting good news. It's difficult to be relaxed or to charm when the spotlight is on but it's also a perfect time to get people on your side.

Klopp smiled throughout and underlined his reputation as someone who supporters and rivals alike will respect and admire, an attribute few really master.

Think in headlines

In this day of social media and 24/7 rolling news, journalists are desperate for an angle, a headline, something that helps the story to stand out. Whether it was a case of thinking fast or planned beforehand, Klopp's "I'm the Normal One" soundbite will be associated with him for years to come.

In the context of Mourinho declaring that he was the Special One when he first arrived at Chelsea and the fact that Liverpool fans tend to pride themselves on being down to earth, it was a masterstroke.

Talk to your target audience

The media are going to play a huge role in shaping public opinion once Klopp starts overseeing matches.

But keeping the fans onside is vital, and Klopp spoke in detail about his understanding of the club, the passion of its fans and the atmosphere that Anfield stadium creates as well as what Liverpool stands for.

“I’m not a dreamer but I’m a football romantic and I love all the stories about this - Anfield is one of the best places for this. We want to change from doubter to believer.

"It's not a normal, usual club, it's a special club. Of course it is surreal. I have to accept it. I woke up this morning and I was manager of Liverpool FC. But I am prepared."

He also spoke about his desire to play fast and attacking football, something fans are bound to get excited about. 

Don't duck difficult questions

One of the key issues raised in the conference was that of Liverpool's so-called Transfer Committee, which reportedly hindered Rodgers' attempts to do his job his way.

It was inevitable that the topic would come up and Klopp acknowledged it and addressed it without allowing it to become the main focus.

"It was not a problem for 10 seconds. We talked about it, of course, but I am not an idiot. For me it is enough to have the first and the last word, the middle we can discuss everything."

In his response, Klopp killed the issue dead. If he had been unprepared or uncertain, the questioning would no doubt have been more intense, but by dealing with it so adroitly, the press conference swiftly moved on.

Don't try and be a fortune teller

It's very easy to make bold proclamations when starting a new project or role, particularly when expectations are high or resources mean that failure should not be an option.

Klopp's track record is superb but there was none of the arrogance that other managers have shown when they are interviewed for the first time.

He talked about the need to take things one step at a time, neither shirking the expectations such a role brings with it nor proclaiming that he will be an overnight success. That sort of honesty is why fans and pundits alike are so positive about Klopp now his appointment has been confirmed.

If Klopp manages Liverpool with the same skill he showed with the world's media at his appointment, the Kop will have a new hero. 

As the new manager said, as if to reinforce his humility and ambition: "It's not so important what people think when you come in. It's much more important what people think when you leave."