TWO YEARS TO THE JUERGEN KLOPP

You know I truly wish, like most Liverpool fans, that the headline of this piece read “Two Years to the Top”. Unfortunately and more obviously this is not the case. Instead the focus of this article is to mildly celebrate Juergen Klopp’s two year anniversary as Liverpool manager.

On the 8th October 2015 it was announced by Liverpool’s board and pretty much all of the media that Juergen Klopp would become the new manager of Liverpool Football Club.

 

 

I for one was extremely excited. I followed his amazing tenure at Borussia Dortmund with great interest. It was truly exciting to see that he managed to achieve so much with so average means. And it gave me great hope that we were bringing in a man who could achieve success without grand riches. Because lets be honest Liverpool fans, we all knew he was never going to be able to spend the big bucks at Anfield. That hasn’t happened since the eighties.

So let’s reflect back on the two years by first having a look at the positives. I think we can all agree that as an entertainer Juergen Klopp is numero uno. From his big German smile to his hilarious press conferences, the man is a true entertainer. And you can just tell that he loves his life and football. Even his presence and passion on the touchline is something to behold. To me there is nothing more boring than seeing a totally calm and passive manager pitch side. The fans want to see a passionate man at the helm. A man who can lose his s**t both positively when his team scores a goal, or negatively when they f*** up. Us as fans react to that kind of passion, because that is how we all feel. On a knifes edge waiting for that next emotional explosion.

Now on the pitch, I don’t think any one can doubt that Mr. Klopp has taken this team forward in terms of full pitch pressing and general attacking play. When Liverpool are allowed space and time they can rip through most teams in the world. They are quick, aggressive and can go from one end of the field to the other in seconds to create a chance. Breathtaking and truly a joy to watch. Up top all is good, but we must now turn our attentions to matters further aback. And there is no other way to be other than brutally honest.

Defensively Liverpool are f***king awful. Not average, nor bad. Bloody awful. It is beyond my realm of understanding to be honest. Cant defend a corner or set piece at all. I have seen school teams defend better. And individual mistakes from the defence and the “keepers” have been horrendous.

This is where I have to take Juergen Klopp to task. Whilst his job in the attacking sense has been fantastic, at the other end it has just not been good enough. The question remains however, is this due to his coaching or the personnel he has at his disposal? I would hazard a pretty solid guess and say it is the later. But whatever the case, it is his job to fix it and so far he has not. There is not one player from Liverpool’s back five that I would keep. I think the recruitment in this area has been poor and to some extent non existent. Liverpool continue their mission of being a team full of midfielders. I mean really, how many midfielders can you fit in one team.

To me this has been Juergen Klopp’s biggest downfall so far. The team seems to lack a serious balance.

His win ratio so far at Liverpool is also not as impressive as one would have hoped. Currently at 49%, he is well behind his piers such as Pep Guardiola at 63%. Antonio Conte 75%, Arsene Wenger 58% (over 20 years) and Jose Mourinho 61%. Oh and lets not forget Mauricio Pochettino who like Juergen Klopp with limited funds has a win ration of 55%. If you are to look at it that way, statistically speaking, it is just not good enough and needs big improvement.

Before bringing this to a close I think it is relevant to give the club ownership issue a quick mention. I think in comparison to all his piers in the Premier League, Juergen Klopp is backed by the weakest ownership structure of all the top 6 teams. You might say Arsenal have a pretty poor ownership as well, but they are by far the worst two. FSG, Liverpool’s current owners, whilst taking the club forward on a commercial level, fail to understand the importance of matters on the pitch. And investment in the team for the past 7 years since they purchased the club in 2010 has been borderline pathetic. Half the years there has been a profitable net spend and in others a slight investment. Notice the use of the word SLIGHT.

Whilst teams like, City, Chelsea and United are having net spends of over £100 million per season, Liverpool are usually around the £20 million mark. That is net spend of course. When you look at that particular statistic it is obvious to see that Juergen Klopp faces an uphill battle to crack the top 3. But, isn’t that why the owners chose him? Because he did it before with Dortmund? Whilst Bayern Munich were spending a GAZILLION on players, his meager expenditure took him to two Bundesliga titles. Well in my opinion the Premier League is a different beast altogether and Mr. Klopp is starting to feel that realization.

At the end of the day, as a modern day Liverpool fan I am realistic. Many years ago I accepted that we were not at the elite level anymore. And I think other Liverpool fans should face that reality. The fact of the matter with football today is that money buys you success and anyone who does not see this is living in a dream world. Yes anomaly’s do happen, like Leicester City and Monaco, but in general money talks and bulls**t walks.

With everything discussed above in mind, I would like to see Juergen Klopp remain with Liverpool for the long term for a couple of reasons. Firstly I firmly believe that it takes time to build something successful. And Juergen Klopp has shown with both Mainz and Dortmund that if you give him time he will get you success. So I think we should only be judging him after 5 years at the helm. Secondly I look around at other managers and say to myself do I honestly see anyone doing better? Or do I see them being a better fit for Liverpool FC and its passionate fans? Absolutely positively not.

Whilst we dream for better days, and remain frustrated in the short term. We must keep faith in a man who shares our passion for the Liverpool way. Show him support and I am confident one day he will deliver us our dreams. (Or maybe f***ing not)

Let us hope for a better two years ahead.

 

 

 

 

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