Results wise Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is no improvement on previous incumbent Brendan Rodgers and the German really needs to step up his game, well his defence anyway….
Rodgers was ousted from the Anfield hot-seat in late 2015 less than 12-months after he came so close to breaking their barren and sometimes beleaguered run for another league title – something they have not won since 1990.
At the time, Rodgers had clearly lost the support of club’s fans, soon followed by their American owners.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp – one of the darlings of European football – was appointed and a warm glow followed him, not just over Liverpool but English football. Klopp is a hugely likeable man, honest and open, but with a real awe about him – something which Rodgers never had.
You have to feel for Rodgers here – when he was laughing and joking with the press, comparisons with David Brent from The Office were quickly reeled out where as Klopp gets to be compared with the likes of Shankly and Stein for his openness and views on the game.
But we are three windows on since Klopp’s appointment and still there is something missing. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Klopp’s side on their day are as good as anything in Europe, they play wonderful football and I still see him on a different level to Rodgers – however, he needs to start proving it.
As it stands Rodgers has a better win rate than Klopp. When Klopp took charge, improvement was promised but in the one area that was really needed – the defence, it has not been seen.
LFC conceded 1.18 goals per game under Brendan Rodgers and 1.29 under Klopp
— StatsAndSwearwords (@StatsSwearwords) April 23, 2017
In their last 148 games, Liverpool have conceded 190 goals – that says it all really.
Look at the goalkeepers – a clear case of Klopp losing his marbles. Look at the goalkeeping situation Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet – both you would say – OK, can look great on their day but even the most optimistic Liverpool fan knows they are both ready to throw one or drop one into their net at any point. Yet despite this only last week Klopp insisted he would be standing by them both when again linked with Joe Hart.
Then we look at the defence itself – well half of it. Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip are more than fine and good enough, nothing wrong with them and they could both be part of title winning team for me. But the other two positions are just shambolic at times. Dejan Lovren has his moments but not enough, and as for Ragnar Klavan….dear me, show me someone who says he is good enough to play for Liverpool and I will show you an idiot and/or a liar. And the fact is Klopp paid money for him only last summer, he was never good enough. Indeed hence Lucas Leiva having to be playing in central defence just sums up how bad things have got.
Ragnar Klavan….dear me, show me someone who says he is good enough to play for Liverpool and I will show you an idiot and/or a liar.
Then at left back, and you have to feel a little sympathy here as Alberto Moreno has just bombed since he came to the club – he looked a great buy, but again that has not working out – but Klopp has persisted with him. And this year we have seen James Milner deployed in the left-back role. A brilliant professional no doubt – but name me another top-six/seven side who would use Milner at full-back? None.
And what makes matters worse for Liverpool – is seeing someone like Mamadou Sakho pulling up trees at Crystal Palace, on-loan from Liverpool.
Following their defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend, Liverpool have been dragged right back into the top-four battle and could even miss out – which would represent a huge blow to their plans.
Klopp: "It feels harsh & frustrating. We have to strike back. If we want to go to the Champions League, we have to win our next games" pic.twitter.com/hfNC8LMLs9
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 23, 2017
Klopp is getting more time to produce than Rodgers, but since his appointment have Liverpool made much of a stride forward? Not really – but I hope he does get it right, and soon – if he wants to keep someone like Philippe Coutinho happy and at the club, he needs to back him up with a defence capable of matching his efforts at the other end.
Anfield looks like a fortress now, but Klopp needs to make it one.