Why Liverpool should end Jurgen Klopp’s season now…

Date published: Thursday 25th February 2021 9:13 - Ian Watson

Keep your mails coming to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Give Klopp a break
I don’t want to make any assumptions about Jurgen Klopp’s mental state currently. What we know is that he’s suffered a bereavement in tremendously difficult circumstances. He and his team have been on an incredible emotional and psychological journey in the last few years, from the low of the Champions League final against Real Madrid, the response to come back and win it the following year while mounting an incredible title challenge, and then finally reaching the summit of ending a 30 year wait for a league title. Jurgen was the mental and emotional driving force behind all of that. To quote him back, he made us, players, staff, fans, into believers.

Bereavement does different things to different people. I lost my father around a year ago, and honestly found a lot of solace in my work, feeling like there was a degree of normality, feeling useful and productive while going through emotional turmoil. Given his obvious passion for his work, I can understand why Jurgen would feel similar.

As has been written elsewhere on F365, he seems to be doubling down on the processes and methods that got us to the mountain top, and honestly who could blame him. Next season, I believe that this group, fit and healthy with something a bit more recognisable as a summer break and pre-season, will come roaring back, and we’ll have a title race with Man City for the ages. However, right now, it just isn’t happening. For various reasons, the players who are available just can’t do it the same way they did for the previous 2-3 years. That’s understandable. Blaming the wind, god, VAR and the rest of it might come from a place where he wants to defend his players, but it’s a bit unhinged and doesn’t really do himself justice. To me it just sounds like he really needs a break. It’s not like taking some time away from the madness hasn’t served him well before.

So while I think the idea of binning Klopp off, that he’s “lost it”, that the players are suddenly rubbish and all need selling to as yet nebulous and unidentified suitors for astronimical sums that nobody actually has and replaced with… someone else I guess, isn’t worth the time of day, I do think a short term reset until the end of the season is needed.

I’m thinking we could do much worse than to tell Jurgen to, COVID permitting, take until the summer to be with family, get out of the cauldron, and take time to grieve, rest and re-assess. Pep Lijnders is well-placed to take temporary charge, freshen things up and try out some new ideas. What works gives Jurgen some new insight, what doesn’t can be chalked up to experimentation. The players get the mental refresh, perhaps even a touch of the fabled ‘new manager bounce’. We finish somewhere between 4th and 8th, and either scrape a Champions League spot for the cash, take a bit of thursday night Europa League on the chin knowing full well it could be worse, or even if it turns out for the absolute worst have 10-odd games fewer to play next season.

Then Jurgen returns for pre-season raring to go and the players are happy to see him back. I know I would be too.
Pierre, LFC, Bristol


Top ten disappointments of the PL season


Klopp can’t change
I have to admit It is a little perplexing that Klopps lack of tactical flexibility isn’t being highlighted further. People went on and on about Solskjear could only play counter attacking football. He adapted the team, tactically and with new players, now we play both possession football and counter attacking. He was berated for a while and probably rightly so. Teams with the finance United have should be kore on the front foot.

This is we’re Klopp comes in. I’m no expert on everything he does so this may be short sighted but it appears he can only play one way. Just all out high energy, high pressing football. At its best it’s fast, furious and devastating to watch(the Liverpool Barca game in 2019 being an example).

At its worst it’s just not functional. Fast pressing and quick passes don’t work so well against low blocks.

This is where a Pep style would come in handy but Liverpool don’t do it that way. They don’t appear to have any plan b, the same as Dortmund.

Funny thing is, when Thiago came in last summer. Everyone was saying he will add a new dimension, give the pool another tool to open tight defenses. How fast those ideas went out the window when nobody realized Klopp doesn’t know how to use players like that.

Also, apologies for my firey email last Sunday but it really irks me listening to so many sad excuses over and over, bending over backwards to make everything seem ok? Sure.

Jota injured?! Ok… but then what’s the excuse for not having him whilst going through the most successful period of your clubs history in the 21st century?

Luck does indeed run out, Liverpool got to the top of England and Europe with it. But if they weren’t lucky they’d have signed Brandt over Salah, Dembele would have scored the open goal in the semifinal first leg right at the end making it 4-0 Barca and surely Liverpool out.

Size wise, I consider liverpool would still be in the secondary tier. United, City, Chelsea, Juve, Real, Barca, Bayern, PSG are megaclubs who not only have the fan bases(minus city) but the finances to realistically never be topped. ( In a league table yes) Liverpool fits in with Inter, Milan, Dortmund, Tottenham and Arsenal.

History counts as a United fan I must say, but say that the Nottingham Forrest and Deportivo.
Calvino (The owners of Liverpool may well be pushing the club to those higher standards but time tells that story)

 

Liverpool and hindsight
Gotta laugh at all of the mailbox pundits suggesting Liverpool’s issues with injuries this year could have been predicted, were inevitable, and should have been foreseen by Klopp & Co.

The club signed a new attacker (Jota), a new midfielder (Thiago) and a new defender (Tsimikas). They didn’t play for Liverpool before this season ..
.. they all got injured.

Virgil van Dijk was crocked by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, Joe Gomez injured during England training ..

.. and missing all of these players is the main reason why Klopp has been forced to play others for longer periods, resulting in muscle injuries.

Can anyone point me to the mailbox emails this time last year, where opposition fans were predicting all of the injuries the team had suffered?

Yeah, thought not.
Glen (keeping it real) Stuart, Aotearoa

 

Klopp has rotated
Paul,MUFC brings up Klopp not rotating last season as the reason for all the injuries.
People also claim that Liverpool stopped playing having won the title & carried that into this season.
Which one is it??
It can’t be both?.

As for not rotating/playing Jota.
Liverpool played Wolves at home, Midtjylland in that ill fated Jota injury game and Fulham away in succession.
They played Wolves on the Sunday.
He then made 8 changes to the team that played Midtjylland midweek.
This included giving 3 under 21s their CL debuts and he brought on an 18 year old to make his senior debut at half time.
He also started Origi which tells you everything about how serious he was about this game.
They then played Fulham on the Sunday and there were 9 more changes again to that starting line up.

So in 2 games he made 17 changes AND made 5 substitutions in the midweek CL game and 3 substitutions against Fulham.
Can someone please tell me what more the guy could have done to rotate?.

My only issue is Klopp hasn’t changed the style of play this last 6 weeks.
The home games v WBA, Utd, Burnley, Brighton and Everton are all a mirror image of each other.
He should throw a curveball.
Sit deeper or change the formation.
You can’t play a high line with your regular centre backs out AND your regular midfield who press the opposition also out.
As Carragher said, he didn’t play the high line before VVD arrived as he had Lovren, Sakho, Skrtel etc.
He shouldn’t be doing it now with Nat Philips and co at centre back.
Ferg,Cork
PS. What else could he do besides saying he should have made 22 changes obviously!!

 

Poch betrayed
So after reading Scott, COYS, email the one thought that came to the top was that he was making a great point of how seamless the transition was from Poch to Mourinho. Spurs still playing lifeless, drab and painful football then. Levy invested in Mourinho but the quality of the football hasn’t changed.

At least in the earlier days of Poch, Spurs played some brilliantly entertaining football. With years of underinvestment from Levy it’s no wonder Poch would have felt betrayed.
Paul McDevitt


Klopp’s blind faith, Arteta’s black magic and more mails…


Why Arteta gets an easy ride
Touched to see other fans so concerned about Arsenal in the mailbox, as a fairly moderate Arsenal fan here are some thoughts and suggestions for why we are giving Arteta an ‘Easy’ ride.

Firstly and most importantly Arsenal as a club have been run terribly since the Kroenkes’ took over (some might say since David Dein left). From multiple changes at boardroom and executive level, dodgy dealings with agents (Willian, Pepe, Mari), to ridiculous press releases about fan ‘noise’ the once well structured club has fallen into serious disrepair. This might not be immediately obvious to those outside the club but for most Arsenal fans we are aware of this backdrop that Arteta is working under. There were genuine concerns that Arsenal lacked anyone at the club who represented the old ‘Arsenal Values’ so Arteta coming back in goes some way to addressing that issue.

Onto his performance as manager. Arteta has had an unprecedented amount to deal with as a new manager, mass board room personnel changes, Covid-19 (literally), a bloated overpaid squad with multiple ‘coach killers’, and a resurgence in the mid table premier league clubs due to the TV money. He won the FA Cup beating a number of good teams on the way to the trophy. He has fixed the defense (now 3rd best in the league) and is now beginning to develop the attack (performances against Leeds, first half Wolves, Chelsea, Benfica). Both he and Edu did an excellent job in January clearing out the deadwood at the club.

Yes there are concerns, the Willian deal, poor subs, rotation of Saka, the red cards, the high number of losses. However the vast majority of these losses have been by 1 goal and with addition of better attacking players there is a clear path to improvement.

Based on this I am willing to give Arteta a couple of seasons to develop his own squad at Arsenal and see how we progress. Financially we can’t compete with the big 4 anymore so we have to play the long game.

Also a key point to consider is that the massive issue at Arsenal was our midfield so Arteta spent 50m on Partey who has only been able to play 10 games (we aren’t City so this was most of our transfer budget), with him in the team we are much further up the table.
Craig, (We have Saka so everything will be fine) Vietnam

Managers or pressure
Something I have found interesting over the years is teams, their fans and the media perceptions.

As a United fan there is without question, everyday, media coverage both positive and negative. It gets clicks, I get that. How does that translate to the players? A bunch of young guys being talked about no matter what, must create some immense pressure.

Analyze this with our neighbors City and it’s very different. Far less fans, far less click bait, therefor far less pressure? I feel that city are cruising and other than a few months ago people saying ‘ I think they might not get champions league’ was about as rough as it got. This must give the players such relief.

Liverpool would be somewhere in between with some caveats. There is less click bait so perhaps less pressure but on top of that, their style and entertainment value, as well as the feel good factor Klopp brings some goodwill to the team even when criticism is warranted. Four losses later and that has changed, now we will see how they respond to the pressure.

Leicester and West Ham are two other teams that fly somewhat under the radar. They go about there business and get praised for it but the focus still doesn’t seem on them. Thus less pressure on the players.

Then you have a teams like Arsenal and Tottenham, way down the league, playing awful, but are they just an average team playing averagely? The media and fans don’t think so. This gives them a lot of pressure and probably makes it difficult for them to perform. There is more talk about Arsenal and Tottenham failing than Leicester succeeding.

Now you could say that they shouldn’t be so low with the players they got, but is that not then doing a disservice to the efforts and abilities of Leicester? Is it more the managers faults/abilities or does pressure even come into it?

Would Arsenal be better with more of a Leinster pressure? Would Tottenham be let off the hook if it were Klopp instead of Mourinho? Could United’s players be more consistent without 100-500 million people not chiming in every week? Could the media and fans artificially inflate the conversation of some clubs if they wanted to?

I’ll leave it to you.
Calvino

 

What constitutes a derby?
On the subject of derbies in previous emails. To me a derby would be between two teams in the same city, preferably with only two teams in said city eg stoke v port vale , notts county v notts forest. London seems to be different as in north london derby, south London derby etc.There was a quiz question going round years ago to name all the derbies in british football. I think there was thirteen. What has happened since the advent of sky sports is manufactured derbies such as black country derby, wolves v west brom, yorkshire derbies , Leeds v huddersfield, south coast derby, Portsmouth v Southampton etc etc . For the sake of making interesting tv sky have made up these concocted derbies to maybe generate some rivalry. Where I come from the nearest football club is eighty miles away so its put down as a munster derby (same province) to make it seem like rivalry. It’s not really the same is it. I,m also a chelsea fan of fifty one years and the only team I consider to be a derby game is fulham, close enough I think but theres no real rivalry there.
James Collins, Waterford, Ireland. Cfc supporters club.


F365 Says: West Ham have a chance nobody expected; time to seize it


Rice price
Some mad figures being thrown out there for Declan Rice. The most recent, offers over £100m.

As a West Ham fan I would hate to see him go but on the other hand it will give me a chance to blither on about net spend.
Paul Hammer.

 

Migrant workers in Qatar
Can we take a few seconds to describe what these ‘migrant workers’ in Qatar (and pretty much all Gulf states) are? They often pay large sums to ‘recruiters’ so they can work in these countries so they start out from a position of being in debt, when they get there their passports are taken away so they can’t leave, they can’t change their employers, they live in dormitories, they have few rights, and what rights they have are not respected by the authorities, and to top it off they are often not paid what was agreed in their home countries, or are paid late.

They are slaves in all but name.
Daniel, Cambridge.

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