One month after his arrival to Liverpool to take charge of the club, Jurgen Klopp has brought a different and positive mentality to the team, but the home loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday (1-2) and the fans’ reaction to leave Anfield before the end of game was a step-back for the club.
Jurgen Klopp had to immediately make an impact as Liverpool’s manager, with the team playing seven games in 22 days. Although he didn’t have much time to make the changes he wanted, the squad’s performance and results improved a lot.
Entering the match against Crystal Palace on Sunday, the club had a six-game undefeated streak and was coming from three straight wins in all competitions, as the missing confidence seemed to be restored.
“Football should be about joy and fun and that must be reflected throughout the entire organisation,” Klopp had said in his first programme notes. The German’s main target is to make his players believe that they can beat everybody:
“The important thing is we have speed, we have technical skills, we have tactical skills, we have good defenders, good midfielders, good strikers, wingers,” said the 48-year-old coach.
Moreover, it was vital for his effort to bring the side back to the winning track to enhance the team’s defensive performance.
And has made a perfect job so far, as Liverpool had conceded just three goals in the six matches prior to the match against Alan Pardew’s team and appeared much more solid.
Klopp wants to see his squad imposing its playing style, but there is still much work to be done. In the offensive line, the side still struggles, as they have scored only eight goals in those seven games.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager waits for Daniel Sturridge’s and Jordan Henderson’s return before Christmas in order to find more solutions offensively, as Firmino and Benteke are soon expected to be in full fitness.
In addition, under Klopp, Lucas Leiva has made some great performances in the midfield line and the same goes for defender Mamadou Sakho as well, who is one of the side’s best players since the German took over, establishing himself as the club’s first-choice centre-back alongside Martin Skrtel.
Philippe Coutinho also seems to return to form lately, as the Brazilian scored twice at Stamford Bridge and against Palace on Sunday, being one of the team’s best players on both of those occasions.
Moreover, Klopp uses both the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-3-2-1 formations to find the best way to exploit the team’s strengths and impose the counter-pressing approach he had in Dortmund, although it will take much time to perfect that tactics.
“We have to do it in the right way, in the right moment, with better timing and [being] cooler with the ball. It will get better and better and better,” he said.
During the international break, Klopp has the chance to make the changes he wants, although he would prefer to have more time to do that, as Liverpool is getting ready for another eight games in a month, when the English Premier League returns to action after the international break.
However, it’s a positive sign that everybody within the club has widely approved his passion for the game, training methods (with emphasis on positional play and game strategy) and title-winning pedigree, as Klopp wants to do things in his own way, as he said on his first day in charge.
On the other hand, the German coach was disappointed to see the fans leaving the stadium after Palace’s second goal.
“After the goal on 82 minutes, with 12 minutes to go, I saw many people leaving the stadium. I felt pretty alone at this moment. We decide when it is over.”
That reaction proved that there are still many things for Klopp to do in order to convince the club’s fans that Liverpool will be a force again, however he has achieved plenty in a short space of time.
“Who wants to be the best team in the world today? We want to be the best team tomorrow or another day. That’s all,” he said.
“Between 82 and 94 [minutes] you can make eight goals if you like” was Klopp’s message to his players and supporters after the 2-1 defeat.
At the end, Liverpool travels to Manchester next weekend to face the league leaders Manchester City, as Klopp wants to see further improvement, with the club trying to come closer to the fourth place on the table.
The following fixtures, though, look friendlier, so Klopp and Liverpool will have the chance to create a winning streak and build up some momentum, as we are approaching the Christmas period.