Jurgen Norbert Klopp, manager of Liverpool Football Club may not love any of his players the way Mauricio Pochettino loves Harry Kane, but is safe to say that in under 2 years of his reign, almost all of Liverpool’s supporters love him.
A new, exciting brand of attacking football; a system that allows flair players to thrive; a lot of passion and jumping on the bench, celebrating a tackle and a goal with the same exuberance, is a warming sight for any fan. Jurgen Klopp is always upbeat and honest, a good talker in the media, very charismatic, and he knows how to win, but if he does draw 2-2 vs West Bromwich Albion, he will ensure the fans savour the moment and the players appreciate them.
You have to love Klopp. He’s the best character Liverpool could have got after Brendan Rodgers and he’s made Liverpool fearsome again. Sure, he may have lost a cup final or two, but they did play Sevilla and Manchester City. He has made Liverpool look like the attacking force they used to be, albeit with his own energetic style. Every pundit calls him brave and praise him for having a system with Mane Firmino Salah Coutinho, and the African Steven Gerrard, Naby Keita next year.
His team scores goals, that is a guarantee. Yes, sometimes they may hit a few breaks, but performance issues are common, aren’t they Jurgen?
He won the Bundesliga two years in a row with Bourssia Dortmind, in 2010-11 and 2011-12, along with a DFB Pokal and even made it to the Champions League final in 2013, where his side were unlucky on the night.
They played some tough teams on the way, and absolutely thrashed Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid 4-1 in the semis, bringing the arrogant bugger crashing back to earth. His Heavy Metal football and Gegenpressing style was revolutionary and it was working.
He had built a fearsome team then, with a strong goalkeeper, a high quality defensive backline, an enforcing midfield and some breath-taking attacking talent.
It all came crashing down in the 2014-15 season, when Bourssia Dortmund went into a major slump, not only playing in dismal fashion, but looking increasingly unlikely of improving. They finished 7th in the league, with 13 wins, 7 draws and 14 losses, with their Bavarian hero finally saying goodbye after 7 happy years.
They all loved Jurgen Klopp, he had put them back on the map, even if it ended in disaster.
He made Bourssia Dortmund relevant again, in his own way, and the fans will never forget it (Chelsea, listening?).
A hot prospect in Europe, and a charismatic manager now available. English clubs, swooning.
As per his own admission, Jurgen Klopp said that he was looking to manage in England, but not at one of the elite clubs, not a top top club, but a very good team. Names like Crystal Palace and West Ham United were floated, but with the exit of Rodgers, it all went well and Jurgen Klopp charged into Liverpool and announced himself as the “Normal One”.
The British media had a new hero and a messiah, who would change the game in his own way.
He inherited a Liverpool team that had the players to do a job, but he slowly started to put his own stamp on it.
Mane, Firmino, Can, Matip, Karius, Salah, and Wijnaldum being some quality players brought in, along with Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, a stunning 40 million steal from Chelsea.
Almost 2 years in, Jurgen Klopp’s team are the ultimate entertainers, winning 4-0 versus Arsenal and losing 5-0 vs Manchester City. Never a dull moment.
When we compare Liverpool to his Dortmund team, the only similarities we see are that of a breath-taking attack. Goalkeeper issues remain, the midfield lacks any sort of defensive discipline and control, and the less we say about the defence, the better.
The simple fact is, Jurgen Klopp says fancy things, and dances about looking happy, but he cannot hide behind his words anymore. If he is sick of his team conceding stupid goals, he has to stop moaning and fix it. If Virgil Van Dijk is not coming, there has to be a Plan B. He treats the transfer market like a game of football, assuming he will get the result he wants with one approach and looks hilariously stupid when it doesn’t work out for him.
Winning the “best record against the top 6” trophy is not good enough for Liverpool and for Jurgen Klopp, and something needs to change. As a player, a defender who made over 300 appearances for FSV Mainz, he needs to understand that an attack wins you games, but a defence wins you titles. Especially in the Premier League, where in the last 3 seasons, Antonio Conte, Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho all won it by building from a very solid defence.
Over the last 5 seasons, Liverpool have conceded an average of 1.27 goals a game, which is roughly 48 goals a season. To put that into perspective, the last time a side won the league conceding over 40 goals in a season, was in 2012-13, when Manchester United conceded 43 goals. Sir Alex Ferguson and Robin Van Persie romped to the league by April 23rd and they conceded 5 goals to West Brom in a 10-goal thriller in Sir Alex’s final game at the club, with a certain Belgian scoring genius called Lukaku netting a hat-trick, which of course skews statistics.
To put into more perspective, in 2004-05 Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea won the league with a record 95 points (still stands today) and conceded a meagre 15 goals, around 0.39 a game.
Liverpool in 6 PL games this season have conceded 11 goals already, just under 2 goals a game.
Jurgen Klopp lacks a Plan B and expects his attack to do a job each time. A few weeks ago, in 3 games they had some 80 shots resulting in 3 goals, which is simply not good enough, given they conceded 5 in those games, versus all relatively lesser oppositions.
2 points in 2 games in the Champions League, off pace in the PL and out of the esteemed Carabao Cup, the pressure is on when they play Newcastle United this weekend, especially because Benitez is the exact opposite of Klopp and will set up just to beat him.
Jurgen Klopp needs to address his defensive problems and sort out his midfield 3, otherwise, just like Arsene Wenger 2.0, he will never win anything. It’s okay to play well versus a midfield of Ramsey and Xhaka, but not against a more defensively organized midfield.
Arsene Wenger lacks a Plan B, is too proud to change his style, has attacking flair players, no midfield spine and a leaky defence, just like Jurgen Klopp. Surely the manager saw that when he set up and humiliated Arsenal, so why does he not go back to basics and fix things.
Henderson, Can and Coutinho will never be the Hamann, Gerrard and Alonso from Istanbul and Jurgen Klopp knows that, so why insist in playing in a way that helps the opponent and then cry about it later?
Liverpool have maybe 2 world class players in their team; so, signing a left back from a relegated Hull City and Chamberlain from Arsenal, while Chelsea buy Morata and Bakayoko, Man City buy Mendy and Silva and Man United buy Pogba and Lukaku, it just shows where Liverpool are, not where they want to be.
Charisma will take you to the top 4, but in today’s world, money will get you titles.
His obsession with “beautiful football” is great, but he won’t win anything if he is not willing to bend his ideas and be a bit more pragmatic, unless he can spend the way the Manchester clubs do. He clearly needs a Plan B, and a central defender who can be a leader and actually defend; but until then work with what he has and make it better.
Jurgen Klopp is a fine manager, but just like Liverpool, he’s not world class yet, and like Rafa Benitez said in his meltdown during the 2008-09 season, “I think it is important to talk about the facts,”, and the facts are that Jurgen Klopp has won only 3 major trophies in a 16-year career as a manager and has bottled 5 major cup finals in a row, which shows his lack of pragmatism.
He has a solid team at Liverpool, with a loyal board and a strong fan base. He is capable of getting his teams into great winning positions. He is a good human being and manager, he just needs to fine tune his philosophy before it is dubbed to Gegendepressing.