By Abeer Sharma @abizzle1991 @TLE_Sport
Listen carefully in L4 and you might find that the lark has starting to sing its sweet silver song once again. He may not quite be the messiah (witness Sunday’s dreadful defeat at Newcastle), but the appointment of Jurgen Klopp has given rise to an irresistible sense of optimism which has already reaped rewards on the pitch with 7 games won and 2 lost in 12 matches. Here is how Herr Klopp has completely turned Liverpool’s fortunes around in just under 2 months.
As much as Rodgers’ tinkering with formation and strategy did yield results at times, it was also the eventual undoing of a manager who tried to make too much happen. By the time he left the club, Liverpool’s football resembled a dog’s dinner. Klopp has kept it clear to date – typically a 4-3-3 formation, pacey, technical football with a counter-attacking emphasis and the relentless gegenpressing for which his brilliant Borussia Dortmund side was famed. As he continues in the job Klopp’s emphasis on these aspects of the game and in particular the speed of transitions within the team’s attacking play will become more evident, but already Liverpool looks like a team where each individual knows precisely his role and purpose.
Klopp’s charisma, eloquence, intelligence and zest for the game have unquestionably ignited a spark within this Liverpool team and the fanbase. However, the effect of Klopp being a multiple trophy-winning coach cannot be underestimated. The swift improvement from the likes of Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Dejan Lovren, Emre Can, Divock Origi and Alberto Moreno has arisen from fresh belief in both their games and in having a world class manager with exceptional man-management skills at the helm. From Klopp’s bow in a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane, where Liverpool became the first to outrun Spurs this season, to coming from behind to beat Chelsea and ripping Southampton to shreds last week, his team is resilient and prepared to run through brick walls in every game, although they looked decidedly lacklustre at St James’ Park on Sunday. Where Klopp leads, his team follows as this is a man who knows a thing or two when it comes to translating hard work and ideas into silverware.
Balance and Common Sense
One of the primary criticisms of the Rodgers regime was the inability to find any sort of appropriate balance between defence and attack; even during the thrilling 2013/14 league campaign porousness at the back was a factor in the eventual failure to land the title. Under Klopp the team still looks vulnerable at times but early signs are of far defensive greater solidity and game management nous whilst retaining vibrancy further upfield. Klopp has also demonstrated common sense in putting players in the right positions. Emre Çan is thriving in central midfield after previously being wasted in defence. Firmino has come to life upfront instead of being placed on the right. Philippe Coutinho has elevated his game since taking up a berth just off the centre forward rather than on the left. Round pegs are now going in round holes and it is rapidly paying dividends.
How is it possible for the players to get one of Klopp’s bear hugs after a job well done on the pitch and NOT be incredibly motivated to work harder and give everything to the cause?! There are mature men who would melt at the opportunity to be ensconced in the sturdy bosom of the German and frankly, that is nothing to be ashamed of!