After the; Danke! (Thank you) &Auf wiedersehen Jurgen! (Goodbye Jurgen) came, Welcome, Klopp to the Kop…YNWA
Jurgen Klopp’s style of football is best described in his own words: “I always want it loud! I want to have this ‘booooom!’ I like fighting football, not serenity football. What we call in German ‘English’. Rainy day, heavy pitch, everybody dirty in the face and goes home and can’t play football for the next four weeks.”
This style means that Klopp’s teams are constantly running, working off the ball and covering an average distance of 9km in every match, even Bolt & Mo Farah will pass.
This surely requires a group of players that are incredibly fit, as well as able to keep their focus, shape & optimal concentrations. These are exactly what the team lacks at the moment. It is said that one of his favored methods in trainings was to use lactate tests to discern how much strain an individual player could assimilate -so much for their present form.
Klopp’s strategy of relentless pressing, ‘Heavy Metal Football’ the same system employed at Dortmund, seemed a perfect fit for the English side initially, but as the saying goes… ‘every good thing comes to an end’. Individually, Klopp was getting a lot more out of his attacking players earlier in the season, particularly Roberto Firmino , Divock Origi, Adam Lallana et al.
It’s hard to believe that just 10 weeks ago Liverpool was top of the Premier League and dreaming of the trophy, which we all; pundits, writers and fans alike agreed. Now they’ve been dumped out of two domestic cup competitions in quick succession and hushed to title aspirations, the inquiry says…
Where did they go wrong? Where did the wheels of their hitherto fantastic season fall off? Who snapped the strings to their guitar?
The good vibes, the swag, the goals, orchestra-like inter play and momentum in the beginning of the season has all vanished in 2017.
EFL and FA Cup exits to Southampton and Wolves respectively have only darkened the mood at Anfield in a month which saw the Reds win just once in the whole of January…30 days is surely a long time in football.
Despite the positives, which includes picking up seven out of nine points on away trips to Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur in the first half of the season, scoring the highest number of goals with the highest number of passes; except Klopp rids Liverpool of their defensive frailties and start scoring again, they might if they lose to Tottenham, find themselves 4 points shy of 20 points behind run-away league leaders; Chelsea by the weekend.
Simon Mignolet was again at fault for Hull’s opener and the defense was carved open way too easily for the second goal scored by Oumar Niasse. Now how does one choose between Mignolet and Karius? Birds of the same feathers! If you can separate water and wet, then you can answer that.
One would argue, considering the periodic absenteeism of their key players Phil Coutinho, Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane who went to represent Senegal in the AFCON tournament, that this does not come as a surprise to many neutrals. Well it’s all part of the game, ask Arsene Wenger how it feels. Sadio Mane’s pace obviously added a new dimension to their play against Hull City, but hopes that the Senegalese return from AFCON would bring out the best from his side proved a bridge too far.
Despite his successes, Dortmund won only 133 of the 238 games under Klopp, giving him a win percentage of 55.88%, which is even lower after one year plus at the Merseyside. Stats show that Brendan Rogers had a better win percentage. Imagine him sipping his brandy by the fire place laughing at the Kop right now! Life is beautiful.
The blip is now officially a crisis, having metamorphosed from a slump. Much has been said about their ‘January blues’’ in recent years, one starts to wonder if it has anything to do with their Christmas turkey.
Top of the league ten weeks ago, Liverpool now sounds like ‘swimming pool’, where the smaller teams now come to wash off their dirt. New heights in the low, one must say; surely Klopp has not failed to play hard and fall harder.
The Robin hood of the premier league, taking points off of the big clubs (Chelsea & Arsenal & Spurs, United)and giving them away to the smaller clubs (Hull, Swansea, Bournemouth)
With an average of 60-65% possession in all the January matches; you have to figure out what they have been doing with the ball…it seems Adidas has a new model in town.
At the end of the day, we footie lovers and Liverpool fans alike are asking…
Is Klopp running the ‘sack race’ or the title race? After all in both cases, there’s a prize to be won.
As always in races, there are two or more people. In case you are wondering who wins the next episode of the “sack race” between Jurgen & Ranieri…only time will tell, as history has taught us, on the chopping board; You always walk alone!
Uchechukwu Abugu Vincent is an unrepentant Igbo man from Enugu state, Nigeria. He was born and raised by noble Catholic parents. Married with 3 handsome boys, to the best wife on the planet. He is a UNN graduate, ex-banker, entrepreneur, ardent & hardcore football lover who writes as a hobby.
You can reach him on the following social media handles : IG – utchayabugu, Twitter – @utchayabugu, FB – Utchay Abugu