Why Klopp deserves fans' backing
Merseyside is in ‘crisis’ and both managers are under immense pressure. Both managers need to save their jobs and get some good results in the near future to prevent their inevitable sacking. Whereas this may be true on the blue side of the river Mersey, it simply isn’t on the red. Jurgen Klopp has brought a kind of stability into the club that we haven’t really seen since Rafa Benitez was in charge of our club back in the mid to late 2000’s. The fans believe in him. I believe in him.
It is no secret that Liverpool have struggled for form recently, with a lack of goals seemingly the issue that is preventing the Reds from going on to win games by three or four goal margins like we have already seen this season. We know that they are capable of it, with the best proof coming in the biggest away win by an English team in Champions League history as we beat NK Maribor 7-0 away in Slovenia on Tuesday. Getting the front three firing, especially in the long term absence of Sadio Mane is key to the Reds’ success over the next month or so, and Klopp has shown that he can cope without his best players before and he might have to now.
People seem to forget that we have only lost twice this season, and yes, I understand that this comes coupled with a whole host of draws but you have to see the positives here. There are a few comparisons that you can draw to prove the point, and I think that it is being blown out of proportion by how well the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United are performing this season, with a title challenge being a distant dream once again.
Let’s look at our results this Premier League season, three wins, four draws and a loss. If we compare this to how Liverpool played in games in January, the seven Premier League games we had then included just one win, three losses and three draws, and that isn’t including exits from both the League Cup with a loss in both legs to Southampton in the semi-final and the FA Cup fourth round loss that came against Wolves at Anfield, which only happened after a draw and a 1-0 win in two matches against League Two, Plymouth Argyle. Yet, I see more rage and anger on Twitter nowadays than I had for the entirety of the time during the January transfer window and the whole of February. Maybe the fact that there was a transfer window distracted from the pain on the pitch, or the fact that Mane was away on AFCON duty, whilst Joel Matip was seemingly in the abyss of chaos between injuries and his national side. We have similar issues now, with Mane being out with injury, (Thank you Senegal, for that), and a whole host of new signings being integrated into the first team picture. This is the kind of time that Jurgen Klopp’s clever signings will become fruitful, with Andy Robertson and Alberto Moreno both stellar options at left-back, these gives James Milner the license to foray into the midfield, which allows Philippe Coutinho to cover Mane on the left-wing. It would be odd if he had specifically prepared for this kind of situation, but if Robertson wasn’t signed, would Moreno be where he is now? Would Milner be able to be brought into the midfield? Especially with how vacant and anonymous Gini Wijnaldum’s performances have been recently? I guess that we’ll never know, but we have to praise Klopp for it. Somehow, he ends up looking like the genius here, and let’s face it, he probably is.
Another comparison that I find myself making is to that of Roy Hodgson and his time at Liverpool, with his last nine games consisting of three wins, a lonesome draw and five losses, against Stoke, Spurs, Newcastle, Wolves and Blackburn. We didn’t even win a game in pre-season that season. Be thankful for where we are now, we have Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita on the way, as opposed to Andy Carroll, Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen. Klopp will get it tactically right eventually, even if he has to push through this rough patch of results with substitutions coming late in order to figure out his best way to approach games with a new-look LFC side.
After the Maribor game, he stated about the counter-press that we saw against the Slovenian side and how refreshing it was to see the team manage to get the counter-press working efficiently, and that’s where I think we have missed the abilities of Adam Lallana the most, he is the one that initiates the press, an asset that no-one really knew we needed until it was gone.
Players will return from injury, they will heal. Others will get injured, but just as we are coping now, we will cope then. It’ll be a difficult couple of weeks to be a positive LFC fan with everyone seemingly turning on Klopp and even some of the players, *cough* Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but I hold great pride in the fact that in a few months or even a few years’ time, I will be able to give all the negative fans the greatest “I told you so” of all time. Stay positive, Reds.