Reasons Behind Liverpool’s Success Under Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool celebrate after defeating Manchester City 4-1. [This is Anfield Associated Press]

Liverpool celebrate after defeating Manchester City 4-1. [This is Anfield Associated Press]

When the 2015-2016 Barclays Premier League season began, there was a lot of optimism in and around Liverpool after the signings of Christian Benteke, Nathaniel Clyne, and Roberto Firmino who have played for the likes of Aston Villa, Southampton, and Hoffenheim, respectively. However Brendan Rodgers and his men failed to deliver at the beginning of the season with three wins in the first eight games (Sky Sports). This lead to a lot of unrest in the Liverpool camp, and many called for the sacking of Brendan Rodgers. He did get sacked in the end, however Liverpool succeeded in successfully replacing him by acquiring signature figure Jurgen Klopp, one of the most coveted managers in the world. There are many reasons for the success of Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool team who have taken 11 points out of the last 21 available (Sky Sports) and have qualified for the semi-finals of the League Cup and the knockout rounds of the Europa League. Here are the reasons:

  1. Klopp’s “Gegenpressing”: One of the most drastic changes that anybody who watches the matches that Liverpool have played under Klopp is the high press that he has instilled in the players. When Liverpool played Manchester City, who are one of the favorites to win the title this year, they used this tactic to great effect. Man City were not able to play through the high press of three or four Liverpool players, allowing the reds  to win the ball in higher areas of the pitch with less players back for Man City. Coutinho, Firmino, and Lallana, the front three of Liverpool for the Man City game, used their non-stop pressing to devastating effect by not allowing the Man City defence, made up of world class players, any time on the ball to look for a ball to Man City’s dangerous players such as Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero. However if Man City were able to bypass the front three, Liverpool had another block of three hard-working midfielders to press the player in possession. This worked very well, with most of Liverpool’s four goals coming off the high press that Man City could not deal with. This tactic also worked against Chelsea (last years champions), and has worked against countless other teams, making it look like a very promising tactic for the future.
  2. Morale Boost of Having a New Manager: While Brendan Rodgers was still at Liverpool, the mood in the dressing room was not positive. Nobody knew if he was the right man to get the job done and his two major transfer sagas with Raheem Sterling, one of England’s most promising young players, and Luis Suarez, the best striker in the Premier League in the 2013/2014 season, caused more unrest amongst the players and fans. By losing these two star players, the morale of the club tanked, with many questioning if Liverpool would ever reach the heights of their success in the 2013/2014 season where they were a slip away from winning the Premier League title. However with Klopp, they gained a manager with great charisma and energy. He is always smiling and this new mood transformed the club in a way that has not been seen in quite a while. There is a certain optimism that if a manager with the pedigree of Klopp wants to be at Liverpool, players will want to sign for them and they might start winning trophies again. Players such as Emre Can, who had been marginalized in defence by Brendan Rodgers, started to blossom under the tactics of Klopp. Not only Can, but the whole team has transformed into a real force in the Premier League. The players believe in his tactics because they have seen it work time and time again at Borussia Dortmund, where he reached the final of the Champions League and won the Bundesliga ahead of bitter rivals Bayern Munich. He brought optimism and hope that Liverpool will once again be the great club that it was years ago.
    Jurgen Klopp always brings a smile to the team. [Goal Associated Press]

    Jurgen Klopp always brings a smile to the team. [Goal Associated Press]

  3. The return from injury of some key players: Brendan Rodgers was very unlucky when it came to injuries of major players like Daniel Sturridge who was so prolific the season before, and then spent pretty much the whole season out injured. Then at the beginning of this season, Jordan Henderson, named Liverpool captain after the legend Steven Gerrard left the club to go to LA Galaxy in the MLS, broke his foot and had to have surgery  having played one game this season. He spent eight weeks out, and so Brendan Rodgers did not have all of his star players when he needed them the most. However Klopp arrived at a time where Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson were both close to their return, and barring an injury to Mamadou Sakho, Klopp has been fortunate to be able to have a full squad full of quality players that are able to play especially with the busy schedule that Liverpool have in the coming Christmas period. Sturridge is still plagued with ongoing injuries that may stop him from reaching his full potential again, however having him as an option from the bench is a great asset for Liverpool.

Henderson and Sturridge are major assets to the team. [Getty Images]

Henderson and Sturridge are major assets to the team. [Getty Images]

So over the next three to four weeks, we will really see how good of a manager Jurgen Klopp is because of Liverpool’s  have a tough schedule over their next eight games, which all fall in in the space of one month, meaning that Liverpool’s season could be defined by these four weeks. While they are making great strides by beating teams like Man City and Chelsea, they fight  to find any home form and sometimes struggle against lower teams like Newcastle, who they lost 2-0 to this past weekend. There is a lot of work to be done in the Liverpool camp, but there are signs that Jurgen Klopp is bringing life to a Liverpool team that desperately needed revival. All in all, the future looks bright for the club. 

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