Understanding and togetherness are two words Liverpool Gaffer Jürgen Klopp constantly talks about.
After five games this season, the Reds have picked up an impressive 10 points. Impressive considering four out of those five games have come against the so called ‘bigger clubs’ whilst only playing one game at home so far.
Despite a shock defeat to newly promoted Burnley, Liverpool have bounced back convincingly and find themselves in joint fourth position. What has been most impressive from the 18 times League Champions has been their play going forward, showing an impressive understanding in forward positions. The front players consisting of Adam Lallana, Firmino, Courtinho and Sturridge, have all looked In-sync with one another from day one on their opening fixture against Arsenal. Not to forget the addition of Sadio Mané which looks particularly good business for Klopp’s side with the Senegalese international instantly finding his feet in Merseyside. This has resulted in the team scoring 19 goals in all competitions at this early stage of the season. The confidence and conviction of the front four or five players plus the revival of certain individuals, Adam Lallana a good example, shows the influence Klopp’s mentality and style is having on a number of players in the squad. Not to mention the work rate the players are putting in under his stewardship.
A common issue that has affected Liverpool this season and previously has been their defence. They have conceded eight goals so far in the League, more than any other team in the top eight, and have looked shaky too often when defending their 18 yard box. Klopp knows this will need to be rectified if his side are to make significant progress this season. The addition of German international, Joel Matip, may prove to be a major influence to improve this with the 25 year old looking more convincing each game with his on and off the ball assets. It is also worth mentioning the improvement in Dejan Lovren who is now looking like the player that made Liverpool pay £20 million to Southampton in 2014. With Mamadou Sakho waiting in the wings and Klopp refusing to state he is not in his plans moving forward, the reds may finally have the strength in numbers in a position that has cost them so dear over the last few seasons. Left back still remains an issue for many supporters, but Klopp has appeared to put his faith in James Milner who should do a consistent defensive job whilst providing his passing and crossing abilities. It is worth noting, also, the addition of Goalkeeper Loris Karius from Mainz, who may prove to be a commanding number one at Anfield but at the very least, again, offering competition for places.
Jordan Henderson has been largely criticised by many supporters in recent times and yet whilst being impressive over the last few games there still remains question marks over his influence and quality in the centre of midfield. Klopp has addressed this area, though, with Georginio Wijnaldum and Marko Grujić arriving at the club with both looking to be solid additions to the squad. Emre Can is also ready to return to action after injury; another German being a fan favourite. Despite this, some of the Anfield faithful have argued that Liverpool could still be lacking sufficient quality in that area. However, with Lallana and Coutinho both capable of playing deeper, they could offer quality reinforcements in that area, if required.
A significant difference at Liverpool since Klopp’s appointment is the spirit back within the club and its supporters. This Spirit was famously once built by Bill Shankly who grew an intimate connection between the club and its supporters, which in turn saw the club become so successful during his tenure, and beyond. Klopp gets the history of the club, he respects the traditions and most importantly he understands the expectations. The supporters, and much of English football have quickly taken to the former Borussia Dortmund boss and he appears to be embracing the experience as a coach in England. The passion and energy fit his profile perfectly. He recently spoke about a process and a way of building a club, as well as a team in order to achieve success. He doesn’t make things complicated, his style comprises of commitment, hard work and trust whilst ultimately encouraging his players to show bravery on the pitch.
With the Premier League being more competitive than ever, Klopp has a difficult challenge on his hands to make his side challenge for the major honours. If his attacking players can continue their form and carry out his methods for long periods during the season, Liverpool will offer a very exciting exhibition of attacking football whilst hanging on the heels of the teams at the very top of the League, perhaps even going one step further than that. Whatever twists and turns that may arise this season Liverpool fans can rest assured that they will not be short of entertainment.