When Jurgen Klopp arrived at Merseyside in 2015, it was easy for everybody to comment that he was the right man to lead the Reds to glory within a short period of time – considering his previous success in Germany. He stated, however, he needed at least 4 years to bring the first Premier League title to Liverpool. After 3 years, Liverpool are currently having one of the best starts to a league campaign with 16 goals scored and just 3 conceded – the best defensive performance ever – and are on joint top of the league. It seems that it’s now time to achieve what he promised back in 2015. Here in this analysis, I will be commenting on some talking points of the Jurgen Klopp era in Liverpool.
Klopp said defence first
The German genius did not rush to establish his famous gegenpress style at the Merseyside as he opted to have something settled over time. He used to prefer a 4-2-3-1 back in his early days and he underlined the importance of defending quite frequently during his press conferences.
You may expect from a manager of his calibre to get things square immediately and play with a dominant, possession-based, high tempo style of football but the German gaffer preferred to set things up in a quite patient way and he got his reward in turning things around in Liverpool’s defence as in the following years Liverpool’s defensive performance improved significantly.
This is an important point if we keep in mind that everyone was talking about how terrible Liverpool’s back four looked individually and even James Milner had to play in the left-back position from time to time. Liverpool learned to defend as a team, first of all. After the arrival of the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Andrew Robertson and the sparkle of Joe Gomez, though, the Liverpool team topped the defensive performance charts. This season, in particular, they’ve had the best defensive performance up until now and this cracking display are currently bearing some quality fruits as they sit on top of the league with 23 points.
They’ve spent some eye-catching money in defence till now, especially with the transfer of Virgil van Dijk, and they’ve got a brand-new defensive unit these days if we take into account Klopp’s first game in charge against Tottenham at the White Hart Lane where he had to pick Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, and Moreno. Maybe Nathaniel Clyne is the only player that could’ve been a regular today but by looking at what the English young man Trent Alexander-Arnold has brought to the team since his first game, it’s fair to say that Liverpool would need Clyne only as an alternative to the right back position. All these alterations and improvements have paid off and will help Jurgen Klopp a lot in his journey that could lead the first Premier League title for the Reds.
Life after Coutinho
Everybody assumed that Liverpool would struggle a lot to find the right replacement for the Brazillian after his departure. It was important to fill the deficiency by either tactical switches or possibly another pack of transfers. Jurgen Klopp and his men did not hesitate to bring the best football to the Anfield even with the lack of a quality of Coutinho as they managed to find a way to deliver the best performances thanks to their brilliant front three that’s made up of Sadio Mane the magnificent, Roberto Firmino the hard-working Brazillian pure talent, and Mohammed Salah the Egyptian King.
They scored an astonishing amount of goals last season and look to continue doing that this season. It’s possible to say, after all, the lack of Coutinho has not affected Liverpool badly at all.
On the other hand, they managed to spend to money very well as they brought in the Dutchman Virgil van Dijk who has contributed a lot to the general team play since his arrival. That Coutinho business also means that Liverpool are now capable of acquiring huge incomes in transfers and accordingly spending big.
Undoubtedly, Liverpool have never had troubles in signing big names in their history, but this is a bit of a different situation especially in today’s transfer market in which a player does not have to be a start to cost you loads of money. Even potential big names are enough to get you in trouble financially when you want to make a move and in order to do so you have to be able to produce some big talents and big incomes from them. In light of this, it was really important for Liverpool to be able to sell a player like Coutinho for over 100 million Pounds and getting over this potentially troublesome situation quite successfully with the right decisions and right tactical adjustments, under Jurgen Klopp.
Look at James Milner
James Milner. That’s all I have to say. Criticisms, stories, unfair approaches… Literally, nothing stops this man. The experienced Englishman’s transformation means a lot to Jurgen Klopp style of play as he is the only man that has not faced a drop for a long time. The gaffer even played him in the right back position, where he had some massive criticisms, but the tireless midfielder has proved his quality as he has become a key man in Jurgen Klopp’s high pressing 4-3-3 now.
He was the most underrated player back in his days in Manchester, and maybe he still is, but the quality, the dynamism, combativeness, aggressiveness, and intelligence play a massive role in today’s Liverpool and this has very much to do with how Jurgen Klopp has managed to get the best out of him. Klopp’s approach has made Milner become just indispensable.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have also become gradually better and better in terms of squad depth. He secured the signing of players that fit to his fast, aggressive 4-3-3 and now he has more quality players available to enable him to make changes.
For instance, he now has Shaqiri who can replace Mo Salah at times and even play behind Firmino. Naby Keita, who has brought such a great pace, athleticism and dynamism to midfield, has added to the options in midfield and can soon be a regular. They also have Fabinho, who currently struggles to be a regular in this Liverpool side.
These names are all some massive names, aren’t they? This is one of the most important things in a side that aim high. Rotation is a part of big success and any side in the world need such options. When we consider Klopp’s squad when he first arrived, these options are really, really valuable. Thanks to his options, he is now able to make drastic changes as well. There were times this season when he changed to a 4-2-4 during games, for example and this kind of opportunities will become key to Jurgen Klopp’s side in a journey that could hopefully lead to the first Premier League title.