So Liverpool fall again to another club of mediocre pedigree. One could argue, in this topsy-turvy Premier League season nothing is as it should be. My beloved Liverpool FC had a chance to close in on the top-four with so many other teams failing to put together winning game-plans this weekend, especially Manchester United who fell to Norwich at the Field of Dreams (bouncing them from the top four) but it didn’t happen.
Liverpool found themselves down early after an unfortunately Bogdan mistake, while the second goal appeared to kill their spirit and despite encouragement from the sideline (and a full week of rest in prep for the game). The lads never pushed back. There were moments of brilliance but attempting to come back from a one- or two-goal deficit appears to be something the team currently has trouble with. The creativity to cut through a solid, disciplined 4-4-2 once they are down appears elusive but certainly something which can be remedied. So, before the collective base of supporters begins spewing crap and frustration, remember the following:
- Jürgen Klopp was brought in early in the season and is playing with Brendan Rodger’s players. It will take time for Klopp to stamp his system upon these and other players he will bring in.
- Klopp is attempting to change the culture of the players who have been through years of mediocrity (not including the almost season). Again, that will take time to effect real change in their mindset — the most important change needed.
- Klopp is also adjusting to the differences in the Premier League, a far cry from the Bundesliga.
- In my opinion, Klopp has zero pressure on him for results during the current season. Whatever happens (minus relegation) will be just fine for the board.
What does this all mean? Let me touch base on a couple of those points.
Klopp is playing with a group of high-potential players but they are yet to gel and fully adopt the Klopp system but he’s also faced with trying to improve the squad. The manager cannot come out to the media and say he needs this position or that player because it shakes the assurance of the player currently occupying that position — thus Klopp needs to be careful and weigh the potential changes against player confidence. Clearly, there is a need for some impact players in attack and midfield, the first and most important change being central defenders. As Klopp said himself, you can’t have your attacking players worried the defense will give up more goals because it stunts offensive creativity. Thus, if I’m a betting man, I believe Klopp will bring in a central defender or two who are ready for the intensity and physicality of the Premier League.
Klopp is on a different time-table than the supporters. Some are clambering for a league title (ridiculous) while most of hoping for top-four (maybe, time will tell). Truth be told, I would wager Klopp was given the assurance of the board and want more consistent results this season with the only bright line being, “Don’t get relegated,” for 2015/16. Once Klopp has a summer behind him, has been given plenty of time to see the strengths and weaknesses of his club, then the push begins with, “Nail down top-four,” in 2016/17. At the end of his first full season in charge, he will have a mature team, vetted and ready for the trials and tribulations of Champion’s League football in the 2017/18 season. From there, Liverpool becomes a team which causes problems for anyone. Yup, that’s how much confidence I have in this manager.
So, bottom line, I strongly urge a continued patience and belief in our team. This is a long-term project and we’re doing okay right now. One more thing: we lucky to have Klopp as our manager.