Jürgen Klopp has been in charge of Liverpool for two years now and eyebrows are starting to be raised about the success of his tenure. Have Liverpool improved at the rate that was expected and should Klopp be delivering more?
On their day, Liverpool arguably have the most exciting attacking players in the league with Coutinho, Firminho, Salah and Mane completely blowing teams away – as Wednesday’s 7-0 win over Spartak Moskva showed. However, when they’re not at the races, Liverpool’s lack of organisation and defensive frailties shine through, leading to dropped points against lesser opposition.
Brendan Rodgers suffered similar issues during his time in Merseyside and eventually lost his job. Klopp, on the other hand, seems immune to criticism from the media due to his Dortmund successes and his big personality. But Klopp has a better squad at his disposal than Rodgers did and more questions need to be asked.
His high intensity style leads to incredible displays of football, but the school boy errors are far too frequent for a supposed super coach. In short, Klopp should be doing more. He’s had ample time to add a strong defensive pairing and eradicate the errors that haunted Rodgers.
Instead, Klopp has continued to play his predecessor’s defence, opting for Lovren and Moreno on a regular basis – despite them showing they simply aren’t up to the task.
Arguments could be made about whether or not Klopp has been fully backed by FSG, but his summer business shows he’s had more than enough in terms of resources to build a competitive squad. After spending around £60m on Robertson and Salah, Klopp chased further attacking options rather than securing the commanding central defender for which his side is crying out.
Thomas Lemar and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain became his main targets and it’s difficult to make an argument for the need of either. Chamberlain ended up signing for a reported £35m, sending Liverpool fans into meltdown and questioning Klopp’s management. These signings – and his reported targets – show a complete disregard for the defensive side of the game and that’s where Liverpool are now struggling.
The transfer market plays a key role in how the season pans out, but it isn’t everything. Good old-fashioned coaching goes a long way to title winning success – as Claudio Renieri and Antonio Conte have showed. So far, Klopp has failed to live up to his super coach tag.
Lesser managers have produced much more organised back lines with lesser players and it’s time Klopp started giving this area of the team the attention it needs.
His past successes and larger-than-life personality will only get him so far before the Anfield faithful start calling for his head. Much more was expected of Klopp and he needs to start delivering consistency quickly, or his number will be up.