"Must-win" Premier League for Klopp and Liverpool?
The Liverpool manager has failed to lift a singe trophy for his fans and is still adored by the Anfield faithful. Read on to find out why EPL EGGHEADS thinks this is a must-win league for the German. Its been a little over three years since Jurgen Klopp assumed the position as Liverpool manager and its still relatively hard to gauge whether or not he’s made a success of his time at Anfield. There’s no doubt that the German has brought in a more exciting style of play on Merseyside with his self-proclaimed ‘heavy-metal’ attack, but the question remains, what has his side really got to show for it? Aside from being involved in the most thrilling football matches over the past 36 or so months, Klopp has failed to lift any kind of silverware – and whether he cares to admit it or not that is what really matters. Liverpool came close to lifting Europe’s top cup last season, losing to Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League. I think its fair to say that we all knew it needed an inspired performance from Klopp’s men, especially since it came soon after the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona. The arrival of a ready-made replacement would have made sense of the January sale, however Klopp failed to fill the gap. The season the arrival of Naby Keita, Alisson Becker and Virgil Van Dyk addressed the problem areas in Liverpool’s squad and the improvement has been exceptional. I suppose there is a method to Klopp’s madness, though, which in some way is admirable. He doesn’t appear to be a manager interested in signing a player for the sake of it, nor does he make a marquee signing for the name. It is clear the individual must be right for Liverpool. They must fit his criteria and be able to seamlessly form part of his philosophy. This could explain his perceived affinity to every single one of his players. They all feel respected and wanted. Of course, I have never been in a change room or practice with the Liverpool squad, but the way he embraces each player after a game shows the real bond between the players and their manager. Liverpool’s high-octane attack is where Klopp will undoubtedly leave a legacy. Their full-throttle style is unrivalled and I’ll go on and say that there isn’t a better team in world football right now on the counter-attack. When Liverpool turns the ball over high up the pitch, the net usually bulges before the opposition register the turnover in play. They are incredible to watch in the final third, much of which is down to the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Liverpool’s defence this season has also impressed, they’ve managed 13 clean sheets in 22 games conceding just 10 times, which is an incredible feat in the Premier League. Klopp’s relatable, outgoing and downright crazy personality makes him a likeable and welcome character in the Premier League, but the frenzied chest-beating, wild embraces and pitch invasion celebrations will begin to wear thin unless meaningful success is delivered. Yes, they are again on the road to becoming a Champions League side – consistently finishing in the top 4 but the truth is, every Liverpool supporter wants to win the League – some have never experienced it. They are waiting until the day the age old “yeah, but when last did you win the league” card can never be played again. Klopp has said that he feels that Liverpool isn’t under pressure, but I think he knows deep down that this isn’t the case. The Red’s find themselves at the summit of the League 4 points clear of Champions Manchester City in second. Failure to win the League from that position against the backdrop of everything that has happened over the past 36 or so months seems to speak to the idea that Jurgen Klopp’s “modern-day-Bill-Shankly” title is becoming less of a reality and more of an illusion.