Friday, October 20, 2017

A top-four finish would be an achievement for Liverpool

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 29 Jan 2017

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Liverpool have now won just one of their last eight games in all competitions

Much has been said about Liverpool and boss Jurgen Klopp this season. Most of the positives have been about their vibrant attacking play and their ability to score goals.

The negatives mostly about their inability to form any sort of organised defensive unit.

Suddenly the Reds form has slipped and Klopp’s side are out of two competitions, having recorded just one win from their last eight outings.

There is talk of crisis and ridiculously some fans claiming Klopp should be sacked.

Liverpool’s fortunes have changed of late

Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in October 2016 as one of the most highly rated bosses in world football. His high-intensity and pressing philosophy of football is now deeply instilled in his players. This philosophy took Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table in November.

The likes of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana combined brilliantly at times. It seemed Liverpool were going to be a forced to be reckoned with in the current campaign.

However, certain factors badly affected the Reds momentum, like an injury to Coutinho and more recently the absence of Mane through international duty. Even losing centre-back Joel Matip had a negative effect on the Reds.

Liverpool do not have the strength in depth to lose key players for long. The Reds on top form can give any team in the Premier League a game when they are on form. However, if their performance drops slightly then they are not as effective.

Klopp is not a miracle worker

Jurgen Klopp is one of the best bosses in the world. This assessment is based on his time at Dortmund. Klopp turned BVB from a midtable team into champions in the space of three years. He did not have great foundations or a big budget, but he achieved great success with Dortmund.

His achievement of winning the Bundesliga title twice is even more incredible considering they were competing against the perennial champions Bayern Munich. Prior to winning the title at the club, BVB finished sixth and fifth as he built a team and instilled his philosophy.

The German patiently built a very good team in Dortmund, but like any manager, he needed time to get it right. Liverpool were in a very similar position when Klopp arrived on Merseyside. He arrived at a club that had a team in need of improvement and direction.

In truth, Liverpool had very rarely looked like a team that were going to win the title. Season 2013/14 under Brendan Rodgers was the closest the Reds had come to winning the title in over two decades.

The Liverpool squad Klopp inherited were nowhere good enough to compete for the title. The German has reshaped his squad, but still, the Reds squad is not as strong as some of their top six rivals.

Klopp has decided to take the blame for the recent poor run, as he has rotated his squad. However, in truth, the Liverpool squad just does not have enough depth for squad rotation.

Top four would a good result this season

Liverpool may have been talked about as title contenders earlier in the season. However, a more realistic aim for the Reds is a top four spot this season. Klopp’s side are currently fourth and odds of 1/ 2 of to clinch a top-four finish this season.

Considering that comparatively speaking to their top six rivals, the Reds have spent far less money it would have to be considered an achievement. Liverpool finished eighth last season, so a top four finish this campaign would be major progress.

Those criticising Klopp must be realistic about Liverpool’s situation. They have not invested heavily in players in recent windows, unlike some of their rivals.

Jurgen Klopp is doing a very good job at Liverpool. To criticise the German after his first real run of form would be ridiculous and to talk about sacking him would be idiotic.

Would a top-four finish for Liverpool be an achievement this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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