Mark Lawrenson, speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News, feels that Jurgen Klopp may have a problem when it comes to major finals, but thinks the German is steering the club in the right direction
Klopp’s style might not suit finals
Could Klopp’s style of play just not be suited to playing in finals? Maybe. Sometimes they come unstuck playing this way.
It happens to even the best teams, look at Barcelona against Roma, Real Madrid in the home game against Juventus.
It happens because you’re playing top teams. His style of play, especially in the Premier League, would make Liverpool, along with Manchester City, every neutral’s dream team to watch.
If you could watch any team in the league on a Saturday besides you’re own, you’d want to see Liverpool or City, and that’s down to the way they play. And they generally win playing that way too.
People have talked about how Klopp hasn’t won many finals – but that’s because every final he’s been in, he’s been an underdog.
In general, his team haven’t been as good as the teams they were playing against. He was unlucky with Dortmund against Bayern Munich in 2013, for instance.
So he hasn’t won these finals but, my god, he’s won three ‘finals’ just to get there.
Winning doesn’t matter for the long term
Liverpool have done so well to get here, so they’d obviously love to win it now. But, they’re up against serial winners, going for three in a row, so the magnitude of the task is huge. They’re not favourites.
I don’t think winning it matters that much for the longer term. I know what people will say if they lose, ‘Liverpool will have to sell Salah now’, but I don’t think something like that is affected whether you win or lose because it’s ultimately about a personal decision for a player, and that won’t hinge on this game.
It would be absolutely fabulous for them to win, but would it change the football club if they didn’t? I don’t think so.
You look at the new stand, the investment in Van Dijk, Naby Keita is coming in the summer, and they will make some more signings. The club is on the up.
Even if Salah does go, Klopp can replace him
Liverpool have been spending wisely. You look at the fee for Van Dijk and people may say it’s a lot of money, but is it? When you look at how much money they’ll make from the Champions League this season – I’ve seen figures of £70m being mentioned – you wonder.
The owners know that if someone comes in for one of their players with a fabulous offer, they won’t want the player to go, but if he does, they’ll give the money to the manager and say keep doing what you’re doing, because he’s going out and buying players and then he’s making them better, because that’s what he does.
I don’t think there’s many players, maybe none, who he hasn’t worked with and improved. That’s the sign of a really good manager.
Look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this season. He’s been at a top club before, been an international, and Klopp’s thought he can improve him, so if Liverpool pay £30m for him, in the end, he could be worth double that. That signing was a no-brainer for Klopp because he knows he can make players better.