‘Jurgen Klopp has given the LFC the kick up the arse they need, but he cannot save them all on his own’
Liverpool’s immediate future appears to be in safe hands with Jurgen Klopp at the helm; however, a manager is merely a cog in machine, irrespective of how important they are perceived or in actuality are and Liverpool must help themselves first and foremost. Their sustainability as an elite team cannot be dependent on one person. It must become the dynasty that clubs like Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have built, but with less resources and greater craft.
Klopp’s input has been impressive thus far. He’s restored a sense of meaning to the actual definition of a ‘defence’ and added shape and purpose to Liverpool’s play. They look a difficult to team to play against – something they most certainly could not be considered only a matter of weeks ago.
However, recent decisions under different management is already impairing Klopp’s ability to maximise the resources at his disposal. Liverpool’s ownership, FSG, by and large were sat on a considered understanding that they may change manager throughout this campaign, off the back of last season’s dismal showing but allowed for the departure of senior players on loan without a recall option.
There will need to be a more thorough evaluation of the way operations are being handled on Chapel Street going forward. Interestingly, Klopp has looked a bewildered figure when talking on the subject of the loan system – not just at Liverpool, in fairness – and appears much more keen to handle the development of youth first hand, which is most promising.
What was not a shrewd move was discussing the early departures of fans off the back of a defeat at home to Crystal Palace. With the upmost respect, Klopp has received a somewhat overstated welcoming since his appointment and the justification of a lack of faith amongst supporters consists of a dossier so bulked that it shouldn’t daren’t be delved into.
Recent victories away at both Manchester City and Chelsea, however, have already seen him achieve a minor millstone, eclipsing Brendan Rodgers’ record of one victory from 14 away games against the top four (Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United) and increase his stock even further amongst management and supporters.
Without looking too much to the past and the irretrievable, Liverpool should consider the attributes that allowed them to achieve such a monumental title challenge in 2013/14 and not sway so far away from them. Pace, acceleration and of course, Luis Suarez were instrumental in that. Suarez is gone and won’t be coming back anytime soon (if at all), but encouragingly Jurgen Klopp has a history of exhorting a similar approach successfully and utilising a more conventional focal point.
The imperativeness of adding experience and leadership to this team is critical to any future success. As with any young team, unless overhauled with sublime talent already carved to its maximum, inconsistency falls hand in hand and if the approach is to asset-sell at a profit and continue to trust youth, the obvious pattern will quickly emerge. Equally, adding experience that can offer very little to no contribution on match days is a case of answering the question but not solving the problem.
Klopp has, however, inherited a bloated squad that has a misplaced prior judgement for balance and accommodation. The talented youth at his disposal cannot yet offer the consistency or development to carry the team in a similar fashion to previous fan heroes. The elders statesmen of the team cannot contribute on the pitch and while may have respect in the dressing room, they will have little pull amongst the collective.
As Klopp’s presence at Melwood becomes more of a normal citing and less of a novelty act, he will find it easier to implement the intellect and developmental tools he harbours on players and build a really exciting team offensively. A lot of the players are already at hand to do so and in need of a top quality manager to exhort their potential. The pace, as previously eluded too, exists in the likes of Roberto Firmino and Lazar Markovic. The nous is present in Philippe Coutinho, and the the man to aid and merge the incorporation of those attributes and capitalise on them is prominent in Christian Benteke, if he can adapt to the magnitude of his new environment.
That is a theoretical evaluation and one which will require investment to cater for absences and improvement. The longevity aspect will come from the boardroom and those are the judgement calls and decisions that receive marginalised scrutiny depending on newsworthy happenings. Jurgen Klopp can be Liverpool’s remedy but he most certainly cannot be their cure. For now, he’s demonstrated that his status as one of the world’s best has substance and is not a case of mere sensationalism, but the challenge of restoring former glories to one of the more decorated club’s in English football remains a collective stride.