‘We are genuine title contenders’ the same message echoes around Football phone – Ins from Liverpool fans up and down the country after Saturday’s impressive 5-1 victory over Hull City. Of course, we’ve heard it all before especially from full blooded Liverpool fans in the past, much to the delight of opposing fans when it would inenvitably backfire on The Reds.
But with us now 6 games into the 2016/17 season and Liverpool looking irresistible on the eye. Should we be worried that those same Liverpool fans will be telling us ‘I told you so’ come the end of the season?
In one word: Absolutely.
In recent seasons, Liverpool have always threatened and on their day had the potential to beat anyone and look sensational in the process but those days were certainly limited. Those performances were usually reliant on the likes of Suárez, Gerrard or even ‘El Nino’ to produce a moment of magic.
The 2013/14 season under the guidance of Brendon Rodgers, was the last time a Liverpool side have consistently impressed for a period of time like they currently are. But surely that season has, to be taken as an anomaly due to the pure brilliance of Luis Suárez.
Dependant on where you stand, you could class that 13/14 Liverpool side as a one – man team purely due to the levels Luis managed to achieve.
Fast forward to the present side, this is the first time I can remember for a long time where Liverpool are not only consistently performing well but are doing it as a team and not just through an individual. Of course individuals will always be highlighted for their involvement that is part and parcel of the game we love. But collectively, Jürgen The German has The Reds firing on all cylinders.
The Man, The Myth, The Sports Scientist. Currently the majority of coaches at the elite end of the spectrum in this country, are ex – pro’s looking for ways to stay within the sport they love. That’s great of course, they can offer first hand experience of what it takes to play at the highest level.
Mr. Klopp is different though, not only does he have playing experience in abundance spending the majority of his career at Mainz 05. But he also has the possession of a Sport Science degree. It might not seem like a big deal with the amount of people who go to University in todays world, but I’m not sure you’ll find many other managers with a degree in the Premier League.
The question is will ‘Gegenpress’ (roughly translated as Counter – Press) deliver Premier League glory to Anfield come May next year?
Clearly Klopp has a vision for his players to try and recover the ball as soon as possible after losing it. His philosophy suggests that his players should ‘hunt in packs’ ultimately to regain possession, higher up the pitch which could lead to an attempt on goal.
As you can see above the Hull City players were given no time on the ball to pick a pass or begin constructing a plan of attack. Panic! Insures long balls upfield were all Liverpool had to deal with last Saturday afternoon.
Intensity, Intensity & more Intensity! Klopp demands for his players to be proactive and be quick decision makers with the ball to enable a potential chance on goal, but he demands even more intensity in winning the ball back.
With this in mind, is there any surprise that both Clyne & Milner are No.1 – 2 respectively in the charts with chances created for fullbacks? 13 – Clyne / 12 – Milner. Workrate is key.
The style Klopp has adopted is not an easy one, it’s a demanding hard working role. The whole team need to commit to giving their all for the full 90 minutes. Liverpool have covered the most distance out of all the PL teams as of 21st September.
1.) Liverpool 581.6KM
20.) Manchester United 526.6KM
This could probably be seen as a contributing factor as to why Liverpool are performing so well as a team.
I’m not sure you’ll see many 20+ passes strung together before attempting a shot on goal like Barcelona do on a regular basis, it’s just not Jürgen’s way. Which doesn’t for one second mean Liverpool are any less creative or attacking. Arguably Liverpool are Europe’s most attack minded club in current form.
As we know the Premier League is a ‘non stop 100mph league’, with end to end action – clearly not a bad environment for a high pressing counter attacking system!
Forgetting about the Sport Science degree for a moment, the German is as charismatic as they come and a born leader. Liverpool have been crying out for a manager with Klopp’s passion and enthusiasm for years. Often relying on the cult hero, Stevie G to provide that fire. It’s a shame Gerrard & Klopp didn’t get an opportunity to work together. I have a feeling if they had, Steven would have gotten that PL medal he craves.
We all saw the bear hugs and fist pumps with every player after the victory at Stamford Bridge, could you imagine playing for a manager like that? Who fully appreciates your efforts? You can’t tell me it wouldn’t give you goose bumps and want to keep performing to that level. Clearly it’s working for Adam Lallana with 4 goals in his last 8 league games and Henderson back to the form which prompted Liverpool to sign him in the first place.
I may well be getting carried away and about to jump on the ‘Klopp Datenbus’ but things look positive for Liverpool Football Club at the moment. Of course, you have to remember Premier League titles are won in the last month not the first month of the league season.
Finally, there is no doubt that with the way Liverpool are currently playing, injuries will occur with games coming thick and fast especially over the winter time. But Klopp and Liverpool have invested well in the transfer market and can currently boast strength in depth that most in World football wouldn’t mind having.
Even Liverpool supporters would have questioned paying over £30m for Sadio Mané, but he has already proven value for money with his performances this season. With 11 goals from his last 16 attempts across his last 13 PL games for both Saints & Liverpool, you can understand why the Liverpool board were willing to pay such a hefty price tag for the Senegal international.
Straight out fight with Manchester City for the title.
Liverpool Vs Man City 31st December; someone will be celebrating the new year in style.
Cheers for reading folks,