It’s a good time to be a Liverpool fan ain’t it? I haven’t been able to say that since Liverpool were top of the table in April 2014 before they played Chelsea. & prior to that i think the last time I said that was in 2009 when they were first for a while.
Jurgen Klopp has made a fantastic start to his Liverpool tenure! Anyone who thinks otherwise will have to defend that opinion with their fists. Regardless, it hardly came as a surprise to me as Klopp has been known to be an “impact” coach.
Since Klopp has taken charge, Liverpool have played twelve games winning seven, drawing three & losing two.
Before the defeat to Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday, Liverpool were on a roll on their travels. Five games played, one respectable draw, at in-form Tottenham, & four wins, conceding three goals & scoring fourteen.
The results have been less spectacular at home. In the six home game they’ve played, they have won thrice, losing once & drawing two. In those six games only once have they scored more than one goal in a game, against Bordeaux in the Europa League. Notably, one of them was a penalty goal.
So why are Liverpool so effective in away games? Or at least more effective than at home?
At Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy was counterattacking football. & it worked wonders, before last season, when most Bundesliga teams decided to play for a draw when facing them. Klopp has seemingly brought that fundamental to Liverpool.
In away games, home teams tend to be more adventurous going forward. They don’t just sit back & hope to gain a point. They play for a win. The operative word here is “play”.
When teams come to Anfield, they don’t play. They set out their stall to mostly defend.
With Dortmund, when they couldn’t find a way to penetrate the opponents defence in home games, they could count on the likes of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze & Robert Lewandowski to produce brilliant individual moments. Liverpool, as of now, have no such luxury. The only player that could make magic happen is the aesthetically-pleasing Brazilian wizard, Coutinho. You can see how much they missed his craft & guile against a stubborn Newcastle side.
Klopp has made it known that he will invest in the January transfer window. He knows Liverpool need someone other than just Coutinho to make things happen during home matches. & if bringing Lazar Markovic back from his loan spell is not possible, he will have to buy a pacy winger. Ibe is simply too young to be asked to deliver on a regular basis. Playing Lallana & Firmino as wingers is almost as good placing intermediate onychophorans on the flanks.
Also, I feel it’s imperative to have a solid defensive foundation if you play on the break. You need to be able to absorb everything the opponent throws at you before capitalizing when they’re at their most vulnerable. This is why they should invest heavily on a proven central defender. Klopp could train a litter of kittens to march in single file before he could train Martin Skrtel to stop putting the ball into his own net. Therefore a replacement is needed to form a sturdy partnership with Mamadou Sakho at the back.
I’ll never forget the wide range of emojis I felt the day Liverpool announced Klopp was chosen to succeed Rodgers.
I’m a big fan of Jurgen Klopp. He has always been an intriguing coach, so charismatic in interviewers, psychotic by the touchline with his antics, & unconventional & novel in his approach.
It is a known fact that his greatest strength is his capacity to motivate players. He has the gift of gab. He can coax the best out of any individuals, & make them give great performances. He delivers great pre-match & halftime speeches, the kind that, I can only imagine, Rafa Benitez gave the Liverpool team in Istanbul during halftime except in every game. He is a master manipulator if you will. He also often plays with the emotion of the occasion & uses it to fuel & drive the players. He always makes sure they don’t go down without a fight. He has always emphasized on the work ethnic of his teams. They never just crumple like a rag doll & die even after going a goal or two down. With him it’s not the end until it’s the end.
While that is Klopp’s strength, like Samson, with his hair proving to be his strength at one point & his greatest weakness in the end, it is said that Dortmund’s fall last season was the result of his powers waning. His players had simply heard his speeches too many times. His words were no longer inspirational. Harshly put, if you take that ability away from him he’s nothing.
Of course that was just pure speculation. Though tactically, due to his hard-running & high-pressing approach, many thought that his team grew weary especially as his once young team got older. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the effects of endless running over the course of a football season. Usually by the closing weeks of the season, Klopp’s teams would be overwhelmed by fatigue.
It remains to be seen whether this Liverpool team are be able to maintain the high-octane style Klopp has implemented. The average age of the squad is 25.1, second only to Tottenham’s squad which is the youngest. We have great engines like Milner, Henderson & Moreno but it’s a long season. Against Newcastle the older players looked noticeably weary, especially Lucas. At times he looked like a father of four toddlers after a long day at Universal Studios Singapore. & since the English league does not have a winter break like in Germany, Klopp needs an alternative or maybe more than one way of playing.
Having said all of that, I am eager to see what the future brings. I believe FSG had actually secured Klopp after the end of last season but since he wanted a sabbatical, they had no choice but to give Brendan Rodgers three extra months. Honestly Christian Benteke is not the kind of player Rodgers would buy. He was obviously signed by the transfer committee for Klopp.
It’s still too early to tell if Klopp is going to succeed. Maybe somewhere thereâ€™s a nervous part of me that says anythingâ€™s possible with Klopp & one of those moments isnâ€™t going to be to my benefit. But then again, i really hope he brings Champions League football to Anfield once more next season.
These are exciting times for us, long suffering Liverpool FC supporters.