When news arrived that the enigmatic Jurgen Klopp would become the next Liverpool manager there was optimism once again at Anfield. The German walked into the Anfield press room filled with over 100 journalists and delivered a demonstration of flair and charisma.
Full of emotion and energy on the touchline sending fist flying at every goal. The former Dortmund man even draws a certain likeness to Kenny Dalglish, who like Klopp was often animated in the dugout.
He came to Anfield a proven winner having guided Borussia Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles and a German cup, not to mention reaching the UEFA Champions league final. What really appealed to Liverpool fans was his desire to bring entertaining football. ‘’If the fans want excitement but all you can offer is football chess, then one of you is going to be changing clubs.’’
Style of Play
What is so refreshing to see about Klopp is his passion for the game and his determination to win. Which is beginning to rub off on his players. This was clearly visible in the incredible 5-4 away win at Norwich, which really summed up their time under Klopp – A chaotic mix of disastrous defending and going gun-ho for goals.
This is still very much a Brendan Rodgers team but Klopp has been quick to implement his own style of football. The ’gengenpressing’ of his Dortmund days is there for all to see. The reds are yet to reach top gear and the ‘full throttle football’ that he desperately wants, which has meant he hasn’t massively improved results since the ‘character’ filled days of Rodgers.
Klopp has had mixed fortunes in his short time in England. Some fantastic performances at the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton produced title optimism amongst some reds fans. But equally disappointing results against the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham and Watford have quickly brought them crashing down to reality.
Who Should They Bring In?
There is no doubting the club are going through a rebuilding phase. With so many players out injured it will be fascinating to see who they might get in the remainder of the January transfer window. Liverpool are a huge club and can still attract the very best players, Roberto Firmino a prime example.Huge question remarks remain over the future of Christian Benteke. Many thought the big Belgian would be the most focal point of attack for Liverpool under Klopp. But he has struggled since the former Dortmund manager took charge with Liverpool often using Firmino as a ‘false No.9’.
They have been heavily linked with a big money move for Donetsk’s, Alex Teixeira over January who would provide a welcome signing having scored 22 goals in 15 league games for the Hungarian outfit. He would provide some serious motivation for Benteke who is currently Liverpool’s only fit recognised striker.
Scoring has been less of a concern for Liverpool this season than conceding. Set-plays have been a massive issue all season with Liverpool having conceded the most in the league all season. This has been an ongoing issue since predecessor Rodgers, which I believe is partly down to Liverpool not having enough height in their squad. Both full backs Alberto Moreno and Nathanial Clyne are smaller more forward thinking defenders.
Injuries have no doubt hindered their shaky defence. Klopp has rarely been able to start the same centre back pairing two games in a row and has sometimes had to use Lucas Leiva as an emergency defender. He vowed to stop the leaking of set-piece goals after conceding all four against Norwich.
‘’It’s not about the formation, nor the quality of the set-plays. It’s about what we are doing in these situations.’’
Despite the growing concern around the Liverpool defence they have only brought in Steven Caulker on loan.
Expectations for The Remainder of the Season
Some reds fans believe it was unfair to sack Rodgers. But in some ways Klopp has already topped the Northern Irishman by guiding Liverpool to their first cup final in four years, as they go to Wembley with a chance of winning the Capital One Cup against either Manchester City or Everton.
Liverpool and Klopp are definitely on the right track and have a matching ambition. This season the German was set the task of giving the club an ‘Identity of football’. So far he has been delivering, but by his own desire he should want to increase Liverpool’s chances of a top four finish.
With the new TV deals that will come into the Barclays Premier League next season mid-table teams now have the sort of financial power to compete at a more aggressive level.
Stoke proved this after fighting it out in a scrappy semi-final which ended with both teams winning 1-0 away from home and was concluded with the reds winning 6-5 on penalties at Anfield.
With the unpredictability of the Premier league this season there might not be a better chance for Liverpool to secure a top four finish and clinch some silverware.