It doesn’t seem a long time ago that we had a Liverpool who were not very sure of their game. In some matches we used to see them attack, while in some we used to see them take a more defensive approach. The bottom line was that they were not able to struck the perfect chord. Accordingly they won in some games and they lost in some. With performances like that, post September last year, they were looking to have another mid table finish. But then on 8th October 2015, Liverpool named Jurgen Klopp as their new manager. An instant rush of excitement could be seen in Liverpool faithful’s all over the world. Who wouldn’t be? They were getting a man who has had a proven track record in the German Bundesliga as well as in the UEFA Champions League.
However, some sections of football fans were sceptical over the hiring of the German. They were not sure if Klopp could survive the high expectations of EPL. They were seen asking the questions if Klopp can step it up? And boy did Klopp step it up. He has been nothing short of brilliant since his arrival. He has brought his trademark “Heavy Metal” football to Liverpool. In a matter of six months, he has been able to inflict his philosophy on the team. The present Liverpool team is a formidable team to beat. It’s become of the best attacking sides in the league. He has made the Liverpool side perform especially well against big teams.
So what is it that Klopp did to the Liverpool squad that it has started to play such amazing football? It is the same side that was seen to struggle under the management of Brendan Rodgers. What exact change did Klopp bring? The answer is simple. If you ask any of the Liverpool players or supporters they will say just one thing. Klopp made them believe in themselves again. Klopp has sat with the players individually and made them realise their strengths and weaknesses and this has contributed to the improved performances. He has made an average centre back like Sakho into a defensive wall. The Frenchmen has been producing absolute stellar performances of late. Klopp has somehow also managed to get Lovren to put in good performances. The Croatian could never live up to his expectations at Liverpool under Rodgers. But under Klopp he looks a better and matured footballer. Almost all Liverpool footballers are seen to have an amazing relationship with Klopp. Klopp has made them restore faith in themselves and that’s one of the main reasons why Liverpool are on the rise.
Another main factor contributing to Klopp’s sector at Liverpool is his style of play. It’s quite evident from history that fast paced football is what gets you success in EPL. The likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool (before 1990) all achieved success in the Premier League by playing fast paced football. And when Klopp brought his heavy metal football to Anfield, it seemed like a perfect match. It looked like it was meant to be. Also Klopp did modify his game plan according to requirements. Klopp was a huge fan of 4-3-3 formation and achieved great success with Dortmund with the same. But he did realise that Brendan Rodgers was struggling with the same at Liverpool. Hence he analysed and came up with a solution in 4-4-1-1 with a attacking midfielder in the false 9 position. Andf it has worked wonders. He also use the 4-2-3-1 formation at times and tries to play a counter attacking game play where there is more emphasis on the central midfielder. He achieved success at Dortmund with a team that attacked like mad bunch of wolves. But not many did realise that he laid major emphasis on the role of Ikay Gundogan in his gameplay. He was the core of the Dortmund attack. The same thing he is trying with Emre Can at Liverpool. If you analyse Liverpool’s game plan post Klopp, you’ll find that Can has been one of most influential players in the Liverpool team. It is his hard work in the centre of the midfield that allows the Liverpool attackers to press up and dismantle the opponent attacks with attack after attack.
It is safe to assume that Liverpool are in safe hands as of now. The next season is going to be pivotal in Klopp’s Liverpool career and will determine whether he is really meant for the English game. Let us all hope that he and Liverpool can continue amazing us with some stellar displays of attacking football in the coming seasons.