SO there you are. Jürgen Klopp can’t work miracles. He isn’t Jesus and he can’t walk on water. He hasn’t got magic dust. Liverpool aren’t title contenders right now. All the stuff he’d already told the world on his arrival at Anfield two weeks and two months ago. He preached patience. And now we’ve got to show some.
There was a dread around this match, for me at least. For ages, it just felt like a match Liverpool could and would lose. A match where they could be bullied into submission by a savvy manager with players bought into the plan. On the telly, just before Christmas, promoted side — it was all set up for the cliched banana skin.
But then, Arsenal had gone there and won 3-0. Manchester United triumphed there 2-1. It’s only Watford…
It’s a real bastard that the negative Red that whispers in my right ear was right and the positive fella on the other side was wrong.
Maybe I’ve just seen The Reds falter too many times to opposition they should crush. Or perhaps it’s a hangover from when we partied liked it was 1999…(not on the day that year newly-promoted Watford came to Anfield and won 1-0 though…Tommy Mooney, the bastard).
Maybe it’s just a bit of realism around recent times. Klopp’s great — a genuinely exciting appointment, and one that seems to have rivals sitting up and taking notice. But he’s still inherited a side that was battered at home by West Ham. That could only draw with Norwich. And since he has been in control, that same side — while wowing us at Stamford Bridge and The Etihad — has disappointed with a home draw with Southampton in the league and an Anfield defeat to Crystal Palace.
More recently we’ve had the Newcastle away debacle and the fightback for a point against West Brom. It all underlined that this is a work in progress, that things need to be worked out. It doesn’t make it any less disappointing that a run of fixtures that looked a dream for the Reds to charge up the league has quickly become a nightmare.
So now Klopp clearly knows there is work to be done, but then he has always said that. Perhaps though his plans for a January shop have changed. The manager has spoken of giving everyone a chance at the club, of working with what he has got. The public face perhaps, and what is right for the ears of players at Melwood, but now surely not a true reflection of what is going on behind the scenes.
Liverpool look a few belters short of competing where we want them to be. Can Roberto Firmino or Christian Benteke become those belters? Not on the evidence so far. Can Daniel Sturridge stay fit long enough to be that belter? Not on the evidence so far. The Danny Ings situation is a real shame. We’re the only side in the top 10 in the league with a negative goal difference and a plan outside starting games without a recognised striker may now need to be formulated. Fast.
If Klopp didn’t have a wish-list before Vicarage Road, he may well now be writing it. And after successive games where goalkeepers have wilted and died before our very eyes, surely a u-turn on the No.1 situation is on the cards.
Also one for the manager to mull over and work on before Liverpool face Leicester, Sunderland, West Ham is finding a way, if there is one, of using what is currently at his disposal to beat the sides who sit it in, fight, scrap, bully, and get physical, then try to hit you on the break.
Yesterday’s plan clearly didn’t work. Liverpool were allowed possession and didn’t know what to do with it. And there are more sides like Watford, Palace, Newcastle and West Ham that will opt for that approach than there are sides like Chelsea and Manchester City, who have fell foul to Klopp’s approach.
He still has other problems to deal with, too. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out that the collective mindset at the club still isn’t right. That Liverpool side yesterday looked like it was feeling sorry for itself. Like it was thinking “oh no not again”. Too many shrugs not enough clenched fist. Watford were organised, Liverpool chaotic.
So what is this Liverpool side? The one that smashed City, Chelsea and Southampton, or the one that rolled over and had its belly tickled yesterday?
It’s easy to let emotions cloud judgement after a performance so abject but Klopp seemed pretty certain in his post-match press conference about where Liverpool are, albeit that he has now only taken charge of nine Premier League games, four Europa League and two League Cup matches.
Towards the end of his media duties, one journalist asked: “Every time you have taken what looks like one big step forward, you then have setbacks, can you explain this?”
Klopp did that frown. The one that says, ‘why are you asking me this?’ before replying: “No, if I could explain this, we would have done it.
“But we work on it, that’s how it develops. So after Southampton, everyone thought ‘wow’. After Manchester City everyone thought that. That was one part of things we can do, one side
“Now we saw a complete other side — maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle and we have to work on more the Southampton, Man City, Chelsea performance. I know how strong this team can be but it’s my job to help them show it much more often.”
Against Southampton in the League Cup, Liverpool fought back from conceding an early goal to blow them, and us, away. Yesterday, with different tactics and different players employed, neither players nor manager seemed to have the answer to Watford going two up inside 15 minutes.
The plan certainly wasn’t the brainless football that followed from a team lacking an individual worthy of praise beyond maybe Jordan Henderson and briefly Divock Origi.
Liverpool were caught offside 10 times at Watford. Ten. And at no point did it seem to click. No one in Red worked it out. Whatever instructions came from the bench, they didn’t work, either. Heads had gone, minds clouded.
So we’ve swung from high to deep in a matter of weeks. Extremes of sweet and sour. But as Klopp has said, we should try to not get too carried away when we win, and not get too down when we lose. The BBC match report from that Watford win in 1999 includes an interesting line: “..there was too much panic about Liverpool and the Anfield crowd’s mood was quickly changing from optimism to exasperation.”
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Everything around Liverpool — players and fans — seems to still involve panic. Klopp is desperate for calm.
The Reds will lose again this season. And they’ll win. The manager isn’t polishing the turd, despite being given every opportunity to do so. Was it the ref’s mistake on the first goal? Well yes, but ours were worse. He knows he has work to do, and he isn’t searching for excuses.
As positives go, that’s the best there is from Watford. Another? Well we can’t be that bad again, can we?
The comparisons being made (largely it seems by shit-stirring clickbait media organisations and Bluenoses) between Brendan Rodgers’ last 12 games and Klopp’s last 12 are bullshit. Different opposition, different managers, one with three years under his belt and a succession of transfer windows to mould his squad, the other here since October and yet to work with a player he rubber-stamped the purchase of.
Odion Ighalo’s 12 goals Premier League goals this season is the same as Christian Benteke, Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi combined. It’s fairly clear where a key problem lies.
Klopp can do his bit — improve players with coaching, figure out a more attacking way to play, identify transfer targets. But the quick fix, get in among them and win it all with this current squad? I’m happy — again — to defer to Klopp, who has tried to fire up fans while keeping expectations realistic.
In his first press conference at Anfield, he said: “For so many years, all Liverpool fans are waiting, I understand that they are loose in patience. Now they are all happy [saying] ‘Jurgen’s here, everything will change’ – some things will change, for sure, because I’m different to other managers. But we cannot change the whole world in one day, but I’m sure all the Liverpool fans are clever enough to understand we need time.
“I don’t want to sit here in three years time and say ‘now we can start’, I want to change many things as soon as possible. But it’s really important we are patient enough to be successful because this is the only way.”
Patience is a virtue. Time waits for no man. It’ll take a while to fix Liverpool, but Klopp has to fix it now. That’s why this job is so hard and that’s why football is a bastard. All the best, Jürgen.
Pics: Propaganda-Photo–David Rawcliffe
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One thing I’m sure:
– The LFC spent 389.42 M € from the season 12/13 in average players.
The cast left by Brendan Rodgers is medium down with horrible players:
-Milner, Balotelli, Lallana, Lovren, Markovic, Borini, L. Alberto, quotes, Lambert. Allen, Mignolet.
Sincerely, J. Klopp will hard work to rebuild the LFC.
We will see
Klopp COULD be Jesus himself, I still don’t think he could take this Liverpool team to a title. Don’t think he’ll be able to do it once he gets his own players either.
Christ… Well then on that note, Merry Christmas everyone!
Haha, he’s just fucked my comment. Was just saying how everyone has faith in Klopp.
I’m not sure how much panic has set in. As I’ve mentioned several times on here there are people whose personality demands they go into panic mode at any given chance but a lot of the less bitter ones can see it for what it is. I’ve got complete faith in Klopp to solve this and many others have. I think this was in evidence yesterday when a lot of people (myself included, haha) looked for excuses from the past rather than the current. We simply don’t believe Jurgen could get beat by Watford when it’s his team and he’s had time. I think we’re clearly overlooking the fact that Jurgen has got a few things wrong (or at least in our expert opinions, haha). That said, I’m not concerned. Well, long term at least. I’m seriously worried about the next 3 lol. Personally, I think the mood has shifted from over confidence to a realisation that this is gonna take time and there’ll be many lows on the way, pretty much what you point out. I think, under the circumstances of what we’ve been through a lot of people are ok with that. Obviously, some aren’t.
I was driving home tonight thinking about it all. I was thinking about £20m+ wingers playing as defenders and midfielders playing as defenders and midfielders as strikers. I think it’s proof enough the squad is imbalanced. One thing I find interesting though is Neil’s excellent point yesterday about Klopp’s USP. Some of those players weren’t interested. That’s my only worry from yesterday. There are other things to worry about but I feel if I can see what they are then Klopp certainly will. I think he’s direct enough to solve them. If we need a replacement for say Skrtel he won’t just buy a number 10 and hope for the best. He’ll probably just try and buy a centre half that’s good in the air and quite physical. It is the Prem after all.
I love that Jürgen threw some questions back in the face of that BBC reporter after the Watford game — by answering his question with a question twice. The British media behave like they run an Inquisition — after every mistake, every disappointing performance looking for ways to embarrass the manager beyond the pain and frustration he already feels, and essentially forcing him to say things that are then taken out of context and saved to be used against him later on. My Twitter timeline actually had #KloppOut within minutes of FT, started as an attempt at a joke (one must hope) by Gary Lineker, RT’d about 1,500 times and picked up by other morons to the point where it was trending briefly. The thing is — it’s not a joke — because Gary Lineker may have meant to make a subtle dig at the extreme way we respond to our situation from week to week. It seems we’re either hysterically ecstatic or shattered by devastating despair. Fans of other clubs are probably the same, but I focus 99.9% on Liverpool, reserving the remaining 0.1% for despising José Mourinho and what his egomania has done to damage the football experience for everyone.
Somebody pointed out yesterday that Dortmund was 6th and 5th in Jürgen’s first 2 years there. I’m not sure how much confidence I have in our fans to have the patience and attention span for 1-1/2 more seasons of the frustration and anger some fans feel already at fever pitch. From his first press conference I had the impression some agreement had been made with FSG that he would use this full season to evaluate and try to further develop the existing squad. Everything he’s said points to that, including his openly public confidence in Simon Mignolet and offering of a contract extension, despite the increasing resentment felt by many fans. Including his support of Dejan Lovren, who many had already long ago written off and now just wait for his next screw-up. But fans in my TL yesterday were pretty much slating every individual player in the squad. Some were even sending overtly insulting Tweets directly to all the players who have Twitter accounts.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m as frustrated as the next person by the maddening inconsistency. And I’m completely baffled by what goes wrong between the training pitch and the game pitch. It’s very disconcerting to hear a manager say “…we came here to do something really different to what you saw.” But do our fans really believe that any good can come from bullying and tearing down our own team? If this was done to any of us in our work place would it make us feel like doing better or would it make us feel intimidated, on edge, and put us on the defensive to protect against further bullying. If you haven’t experienced being bullied, you probably can’t know the impact it actually has on one’s morale and performance.
Great comments.. Patience is undoubtedly the tonic. It can be so frustrating when the team performs one week and then almost doesn’t turn up the next… But it is time, as you say, that is needed. This is what klopp said when he got the job and I assume the majority were happy with that then and are still now. I think most react in similar ways when the teams looses and wins.. However it is the overreactions that gets everyone going. I believe this hysterical reactionism is media driven but now with social media fans amplify this. I was heavily criticised on here for suggesting a more measured approach is taken… However, it is exactly what is required until klopp sorts out what is what… And then in a few years I will start to expect. not gonna complain if he gets there quicker.. Who would?
The reason I criticised was for what I perceived as the patronising nature of the comment rather than the logic. If we win a few on the bounce I want to get over excited. If we lose a few I’ll get realistic. Point is, I like supporting like that. I like the up and down. My life’s too on the level. Very safe and structured. I need something more. The trials and tribulations of LFC provide it. So, I despise being told not to be like that like I’m some kind of blind follower, out of touch with reality. I know where we’re at mate but I don’t want to make football rational like everything else.
That said, I often regret commenting after a defeat and hours later I wished their was a delete button so I apologise for that. Uncalled for.
Robin, honestly, no one is ‘telling’ anyone how to be or not to be (self-deprecating groan). We’re merely expressing our thoughts in these comments — at least that’s why I post here. I do it to be able to say more completely what I think and feel than I can accomplish in 140 characters. It helps me work through my feelings and solidify my opinions — which change as circumstances evolve over time. In a free world we have that right.
But then I live in a free world too so I have the right to express my thoughts on here that I felt patronised, haha. As I’ve said though, it was addressed at Whenever and I apologised because it was wrong and probably a result of me being in a rage over the Newcastle loss rather than anything Whenever said. I don’t recall saying you’ve patronised me so no need to explain because it feels a bit patronising, haha. Only joking Ellie.
Fair enough. I think it’s usually my own expectations I’m trying to curb but can’t help but comment from wider perspective… Never intending to patronise or speak for anyone else. I get what you’re saying and it’s the passion that keeps us going.
Thanks. I appreciate your comment as well. However, I think the lazy media are increasingly driven by what they see on social media, not the reverse. There are still a couple decent sports journos out there who try to think on their own and write something intelligent that borders on actual analysis. But how many articles are based on Tweets actually reproduced or quoted within the text? How many radio call-ins ask questions on Twitter and then fashion their on-air topics around the answers they receive — all done under the guise of ‘fan engagement’ and ‘crowd-sourcing’? Social media has made some excellent things possible in the world, but it’s also done a lot to ruin the football experience.
Probably true Ellie.. I wouldn’t pretend to know about news budgets but I guess since alot of us get our news online then most budgets must have dropped and the twitter source must seem so easy and appealing. Despite the fact that loads of those online are trolls or simply don’t know what they’re on about… That’s the main reason I like Taw.. For the great articles and the often intelligent responses.
From his first press conference I had the impression some agreement had been made with FSG that he would use this full season to evaluate and try to further develop the existing squad. >>>> I totally agree, right up until the point the league went crackers and top 4 was in sight. It still is, so FSG may have had a quiet word about upping the ante.
Nobody expects miracles however we were lead to believe Klopp was capable of getting this team playing….I for one am yet to be convinced by him. Yes Liverpool have been done before by lower sides, once in a while, not with the increasing regularity of last and to date this season…all week people were banging on about how he’d had a week to work with the players and how there’d be no repeat of recent poor performances…..lo and behold Watford smack us for 3 without reply. Palace, Newcastle, W Brom & Watford have put 10 past this shite with 3 in reply….
so let me see if i get this.
– Klopp takes over a team that is utter shite, so bad that a manager has just been sacked.
– Klopp signs no players
– Sometimes he wrings a really good performance out of them
– Sometimes they are still the same old shite that got the last manager sacked.
– it is now Klopps fault that the players who got the last manager sacked are fucking gutless when a team gets up them
– Fuck you and your ilk.
-Klopp will win the league with Liverpool
Klopp will give us great European nights again, i really believe this.
No more than 3 or 4 of the current squad will be around when he is doing it though.
I think Klopp said it after the game.
The team collectively lost it’s head after the first goal, and ceased to implement the tactical game plan as instructed. He talked about a complete loss of the agreed shape.
Whether you believe him or not, that’s what he is saying.
So talk about the set up seems moot when the manager is saying the team failed to play as they were set up.
Good points, Andy R. Nailed it.
Well in, Gareth. Great article.
Fans have to be patient because if he fails there is nothing left to try
Could not agree more. He is best fit for us and also, ‘on paper’ if that means much, by far and away the best manager in the world a team like us could attract. When we had Suaeez at his peak we were punching way above our weight in the attacking third; so it is with Klopp on the management side.
We will get thee – but it may take 3 transfer windows to do so with maybe 3-4 of this team at most playing key roles in the title wining one
The rides going to be rocky, but hang on, cause when he delivers ir gonna be a wole lot of fun.
Nice piece, Gareth. I love your writing. I agree mostly. I like JK and I think he’ll do
well for us. One thing though, it *IS* fair to look at the 12 game comparison. They are the facts. Diff teams, but worse/better? It doesnt really matter. His reputation was sufficient enough for him
to get our post. But thats over now, its in the past. I’m only judging him on what he does for us. So, I would expect us to be doing a bit
better rather than the inconsistency we see. All we want are wins. Play well sure, play nicely yeah, but we want wins. I’m as commited as any fan, I think, but I’m still waiting to be impressed. It isnt his team sure, but he hasn’t inherited total crap. Mostly experienced internationals. So I think its ok to want more, to question, to criticise, because we all want to win. Saying all that, I’m sure JK will manage it. Lets turn it on and beat the league leaders. All the pressure is on them and nobody outside lfc expects us to. ynwa
As frustrating as it is, especially in the modern world when we demand things yesterday and can access almost anything quickly,good old patience needs to prevail.
Can’t believe I’ve read and heard some fickle gobshites already questioning Klopp’s ability and if he fits us, the man is working with one of the most disjointed Liverpool squads I’ve arguably ever seen. In that I mean, I actually don’t think the squad is full of crap players, they just don’t fit together, square pegs in round holes has been mentioned constantly and goes back to the Rodgers reign.
I thought to myself yesterday that I wont judge him after maybe a couple of years. I’ve a feeling there’s loads in this current squad who won’t be here come then, and he’ll have his own buys to blend in with what’s left. This means window by window he’ll gradually address the main areas (could be anywhere and everywhere in our squad to be fair) with his own buys.
That’s why I think he’ll buy in January, he needs to begin making his mark on the team at the next possible opportunity, even if it is just one or two players.
Anybody ever heard the quote “Playboys and fly by nights”.That was Shankly after we were humbled by Watford in 1970.He felt that players were in a comfort zone and thought they just had to turn up to win.He then built a new team.
But he didn’t look at Youtube and choose players doing fancy turns and back-heels.Once again he chose players with a desire to win.And that’s what they did.They carried on winning.
Klopp has inherited a team of Youtube perfomers.Their best bits look great but when push comes to shove? Well…they’d rather be doing back flicks and step-overs.Rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in? Nah! Not for me.I’ve got nice hair!
Henderson tried his best.But he’s just come back after a lay-off.Firmino didn’t seem to know what was going on.But I can see better things for him and Origi.
But some of the others? And I include Clyne,Can.and Lallana and Moreno and Sakho.Well,headless chickens doesn’t come into it!
But this is the hand that Klopp has to play.And nobody ever bluffed a Chinaman with a pair of twos!
Having said that I can’t wait to see how Klopp will sort it all out.And I’m certain he will!
Klopp is a top class manager working with a team Rodgers built. £270m wasted. Just as Rodgers had done at Reading and Watford.
“There is absolutely no way a player will come here if I don’t want him…I will always be the first person it comes to”
Brendan Rodgers. May 2013.
Klopp can’t be held to account for this weak team.
Realistically, possibly a cup, within 7-8 points of 4th and a place above the bitters is all this squad is capable of until Klopp can get his players in.
Rodgers turned us into a mid table club which was good going for a championship level manager who bullshitted his way into this league on the back of a Swansea squad Martinez built.
He, and FSG are responsible for our position. Not Klopp ( peace be upon him)
Mate, what are you on about? We were already a mid-table team when Rodgers got here.
We had finished 6th, 7th and then 8th (only above 9th on goal difference) before he arrived. He inherited a side which had just finished 37 points off the 2 Manchester clubs and was tasked with overhauling both on a fraction of their budget. Miraculously, he almost did it, overseeing our strongest title challenge in 25 years and coming closer to winning the league than Sounness, Evans, Houllier, Rafa, Kenny, Fowler, McMananaman, Owen, Hyypia, Hamann, Carragher, Torres, Alonso, Mascherano, Reina etc had during that period.
Rodgers made plenty of mistakes but the vitriol he gets from our fans is ridiculous. He left us closer to the sides at the top than he found us (despite them massively outspending us whilst he was here) and gave us our most enjoyable league campaign in decades. He’s left an unbalanced squad but one that battled for 4th last season (and he was very heavily criticised for not leading it to 4th) and should be fully capable of doing the same this year, especially with Chelsea’s current state.
Anthony, people who want to hate are going to hate no matter what anyone says. They are the same people who will turn against Jürgen Klopp if our circumstances don’t improve. If we go down 2 goals against Leicester on Boxing Day there will likely be a mass exodus out of Anfield. I’m already seeing people offering their tickets as last-minute spares. And from what I’ve seen on social media it wouldn’t surprise me if some of our own fans are placing bets for us to lose. Meanwhile, Leicester are 2 points off reaching an internal target they challenged themselves to achieve and for which the players will receive a sizable performance-based bonus. They are going to storm into Anfield to prove a point. Their small band of a few thousand Away supporters will be looking to put our ~40,000 Home fans to shame.
Our players have proven they can show up and put the ball in the net decisively when they want to. They can win decisively when they want to. It was very disturbing to hear Watford’s Captain say after the game that they “bullied” us and we “didn’t fancy the fight.” We fancied it for a run of about 11 games last Spring, and we fancied it for 3 big games this season, so the question is: What happened in the last weeks of last season and in the past few weeks to change the motivation, what killed the fight and quenched the fire? There’s a common factor and I have an idea what it is, but no way to prove it. Something’s happening in this squad that even a powerful and insightful manager like Jürgen Klopp doesn’t understand. If he did he wouldn’t say things like the quote in my comment above. Whatever it is, the players better sort themselves soon because it’s their futures that are on the line. Jürgen has steel in those friendly blue eyes; he’s not going to be shy about cutting the slackers.
Firstly I think it is too early to evaluate Klopp, we will know more this time next year.
We want to be in the top four, challenging for trophies. We don’t have any divine right to do that though – we have to work hard, harder than the other teams.
Our squad – is it as good as the other top four contenders – better than Arsenal, Man City, Man Utd, Tottenham, Chelsea?
History shows we are 5th-6th in net transfer spend and 5th-6th on salary. We need a manager that can make the team stronger than its individual parts and squeeze 5-10% more effort, skills and points to get into that top 4. And then build on from that point.
It’s impossible to break into that top four apart from the odd incidence of Everton, Tottenham and maybe Leicester this year.
Looking back – I think we should have kept onto Kenny. He had the right instincts to buy Downing, Henderson and Carroll – given more time I think he would have won us a title.
I think getting rid of Reina was a huge mistake. Look at the other top four keepers, Czech, Lloris, de Gea, Hart, Courtois….
Remember Shilton and Clemence? Remember Clough saying Shilton was worth ten points a season or something.
Benteke and Origi – good strikers. Done well for Liverpool. They have shown they can take advantage of more direct approach from the reds. But as I watch recent games I keep seeing crossing and direct passing opportunities being ignored for sideways or backward passing.
Fact is you cannot win games without strikers – or without players without an eye for goal.
Unfortunately Milner, Lallana, Firmino, Leiva and Allen don’t score goals.
Klopp is a perfect fit for the club, but not for the current team. They responded well at first, but most teams give a bounce for a new boss.
At the Tottenham game someone on the radio said both teams try to play with intensity, but Liverpool don’t have the players for it. On that day they managed it, and there have been a few more good days, but when it’s not a big game they struggle to raise themselves.
Many of the current squad will come up to scratch, but some will need replacing with Klopp’s own choices.
Like Klopp said about Benteke, it’s up to the player if he wants to get back in the team. If he can’t or won’t play Klopp’s system he’s out. A few are going to find themselves in that position before too long.
Are Dave Fallows, Barry Hunter, and Ian Ayre still in place? Has the wage structure changed? Is there still a directive to by cheap potential and develop it?
Those that think we are going to replace wholesale our squad with elite talent are children playing too many video games. And as deluded as those who believe this is a squad handpicked by Rodgers, rather than Fallows, Hunter, and Mike Gordon.