Liverpool FC were once one of the most feared teams in Europe, and it looked as if nothing could stop them. However, they have suffered a trophy drought in recent years and are yet to recover the form they once held. Numerous managers have tried and failed to bring glory back to Anfield and now it is the turn of Jurgen Klopp to transform the fortunes of the Reds.
The end of Rodgers
It was Brendan Rodgers who had to make way for Jurgen Klopp, and arguably it was the Northern Irishman who came closest to winning the Kop a trophy; almost ending a 24 title drought, but had to settle for second place in 2014. However, after being within touching distance of league glory, star striker Luis Suarez was sold for a big price to Barcelona, Daniel Sturridge has struggled for fitness, and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard moved to LA Galaxy. Earlier this season Rodgers was sacked and replaced by German Jurgen Klopp, who warned that he may not succeed with Liverpool until he is given the opportunity to rebuild and restructure the Reds to fit his ideals.
So why have Liverpool not won the league in so long? This could be largely due to the pure calibre of their opponents. For 26 years, Sir Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United and won 38 trophies, 13 of them league titles. Even after Ferguson, Liverpool have had to face spectacular teams managed by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Big money for little talent?
Under Rodgers, Liverpool bolstered their squad with players that achieved limited success. The signings of Joe Allen from Swansea, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert from Southampton as well as Danny Ings and Christian Benteke have proved mediocre. The Reds have spent around £65 million on these players. When taking this amount into consideration, you would expect a healthy league position being achieved. In total Brendan Rodgers spent almost £300 million on 32 players. Yet his subsequent league positions were disappointing, finishing seventh, second and sixth.
Klopp has a lot of work to do. Believe it or not but more money is needed to be spent on first team men and players must prove themselves to the German coach this season, otherwise we can expect a wholesale clearout this summer. Klopp does have excellent pedigree when it comes to finding gems, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze played under him at his previous club Dortmund. Liverpool fans will definitely be expecting the former Borussia Dortmund manager to equal his successes in Germany.
In my opinion, the 5-4 victory over struggling Norwich really puts into perspective how, although they claim to be a title challenging side, Liverpool can be content with wins over lowly teams. Liverpool were at one stage 3-1 down to a side that have just been promoted to the top division and are tipped for relegation. The Reds have also suffered embarrassing defeats and lowly draws, like the 2-0 loss to West Ham and the 3-0 loss to Watford, the 2-2 draw with West Brom and the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle. All of these teams were at some stage lower than them in the table, with two in the low bottom half. The loss against an underperforming Manchester United and a thrilling 3-3 draw with title chasers Arsenal show that it is true that Klopp, who dubbed himself ‘The Normal One’, will need time to change the fortunes at Liverpool. It will be interesting to see what he changes.
The January transfer window can be pivotal for many teams and Liverpool will be hoping that with some deals they could push for at least the Europa League places or perhaps the Champions League positions. Liverpool have handed goalkeeper Simon Mignolet a new five year deal to keep him at the club, whilst signing centre back Steven Caulker on loan from QPR for defensive cover. But Liverpool have been struggling to score, and many of the goals they have conceded are because of mistakes from Mignolet and his inferior Bogdan. It is easy to see why the Liverpool fans are unhappy with the dealings so far. Caulker is a player who has been relegated twice in as many seasons, most recently with QPR. The defender is Championship quality, and spent the first half of the season on loan in a disappointing spell at Southampton.
Klopp has signed youngster Grujic from Red Star Belgrade and has been strongly linked with Shakhtar Donetsk attacker Alex Teixeira. The latter would be an exciting signing, one that would be welcomed by the Kop, having scored 67 goals in 146 games as a midfielder. Being honest, Liverpool fans would welcome any form of attack-minded signings. Being in such poor defensive form means they must simply out-score their opponents.
The Normal One
A play on Mourinho’s nickname, Jurgen Klopp joked he is more ‘the Normal One’ and warned Liverpool supporters that there would be no immediate turnaround at Anfield, and his interest in the Reds’ youth team is evident. Signing Grujic and playing so many youngsters in their FA cup ties shows that the German coach is indeed thinking about the future without spending big. As most marquee signings usually come in the summer windows, we can only speculate as to who Klopp will sign or who he will let go. Alexandre Pato has been linked with the Reds, but he joined Chelsea as he looks to revive his career.
More questions will be asked about the futures of Liverpool’s front line. Benteke has not flourished, Balotelli is too controversial and is struggling for goals too and Sturridge is unreliable as he continues to battle constant injuries. One thing Liverpool can boast about, and is going right for them is that they now have a world-class manager on their books.
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