IT’S no big secret, but for those that don’t know, I’m a massive advocate of the Rafael Benitez school of just winning games without having a nervous breakdown.
That said, no one was happier when Liverpool appointed Jürgen Klopp. It was a line in the sand, a marker, a show of intent that the club meant business, by far the biggest singing Fenway Sports Group have made since they took control of the club.
Back to the Benitez analogy, in so much as foundations being the anchor to everything.
People get Benitez wrong, the assumption that he’s merely an attritional manager who cares little for attacking football does him a disservice, the truth is he’s more than happy to let loose but only when he’s happy that his team can afford to.
Foundations in concrete, not in sand and so on, the confidence to take a knock and plough on, to remain calm and do the right things.
Benitez wouldn’t dare take the armbands off before he’d seen 100 laps, Klopp will happily lash the baby in the deep end and let it figure it out for itself.
Rather than the controlled straightjacket of a watertight system, a Klopp team has been put out with a philosophy rather than an instruction book and been asked to learn to fly.
This isn’t to denigrate Klopp’s abilities as a coach, more to illustrate his belief in players to make decisions of their own accord.
And when they’ve got it right, they’ve got it spectacularly so, but when it’s not gone to plan we’ve failed miserably, hell or high water, feast or famine.
Shit or bust.
After a long learning curve this Liverpool side is slowly learning how to box clever and find a way to win without revving into the red on their speedometer.
Over the last three fixtures we’ve shown a maturity to not lose our patience when stifled, to take fixture when we’ve not been at our best and to not make a crisis out of a drama, today’s reaction to West Ham clawing one back only to restore the advantage pretty much immediately being a case in point.
It’s a slow learning curve, and we’ll no doubt experience more bumps in the road, but up the maturing, learning on the job Reds.