How Jurgen Klopp can take Liverpool forward next season

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As the curtains came down in Switzerland and as the Liverpool manager embarked on the journey home with his team one thing was confirmed.  His team has many lapses and may not really move on in the manner expected without proper changes.

Change is vital in nearly every sector. Even gambling sites, some of which are listed in this portal, have had to make small changes including allowing players to play bingo games for free. This small change helped them become the best bingo sites for gamers looking for risk free bingo gaming experience.

Going back to the Liverpool case, some players have underperformed all season and Klopp needs to cut them off from the team if he is to take Liverpool forward in the coming season.

Defensive changes

Alberto Moreno’s lapses in concentration can no longer be condoned. At least one top level left back needs to be integrated into the squad.

Martin Skrtel for his part has the looks you would want from a starting centre back but he hasn’t been fit for much of this season. When he played, he was part of some of the most surprising Liverpool defeats. It is time to move on for him.

Kolo Toure was great on the night in Switzerland but at 35 years of age, the club needs to be moving away from him. Nothing epitomises the failings in Liverpool’s defence more than the fact that Kolo Toure is still in consideration for a new contract.

Simon Mignolet has divided the Kop for a while and he recently signed a new 5-year deal.  Whilst it is still difficult to say if he is good enough or not, one thing we definitely know is that he needs some serious competition. The signing of Loris Karius from Mainz may be all that is required to solidify the goalkeeping department.

Midfield changes

Emre Can and James Milner are great workhorses but they come up short in games at critical moments.  In Switzerland for instance, they needed to control pace and stifle Sevilla’s momentum after the equaliser. They failed to do so of course.  A further confirmation of the failure to control games is the fact that Liverpool threw away leads (in some cases two goal leads) up to four times since the turn of 2016.

Tactical changes

Klopp isn’t blameless even though he has brought lots of positives since arrival at Anfield.  His in-game management hasn’t been at the best level most of the time.  Most of the talk would be about him focusing on why he has lost 5 finals in a row but his in-game management deserves more self-reflection.  Against Sevilla, bringing in Lucas may have helped stifle Sevilla. Jordan Henderson is no Steven Gerrard but bringing him on earlier may have helped calm the team in the midst of the Sevilla onslaught.

Klopp’s first season wasn’t a disaster given that two final appearances seemed farfetched with Brendan Rodgers in charge last October. However, these changes must be initiated to ensure it won’t be sideways movement for Liverpool come next season.

 

Expect more anger – disappointment has long since passed

West Ham completed a double over Liverpool with a 2-0 win in the first game of the New Year to add to their 3-0 win over the Reds at Anfield earlier in the season. It was another miserable day for Liverpool and afterwards manager Jürgen Klopp, like most Liverpool fans, was seething.

“Not enough, not enough in the decisive moments,” the Reds boss told the TV cameras.

“We had the ball, we had possession, we had not enough finishes. We had a few finishes, we had a bit of bad luck in a few situations, but that’s not what I want to see to be honest.”

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Klopp is not one to hide behind bad luck or questionable refereeing decisions – “that’s football” he usually says – because once an incident has taken place it’s over and it’s time to respond, to react in the right way.

It’s a refreshing approach after seeing so many Liverpool sides in recent years drop their heads and as good as give up in the wake of a bit of misfortune. Sadly, Klopp didn’t see that new kind of approach from his players today, particularly for the first goal.

“In the decisive moments we have to be there,” Klopp said. “We are responsible for the result and everything that happened today.

“In a game like this where you see you can be better you have to be better – and you have to win, not to lose 2-0 because of two moments.”

Alberto Moreno was fouled as he neared the West Ham byline 20 seconds or so before the opening goal. As the Reds full-back rolled around in apparent agony the referee waved play on and West Ham did play on. Liverpool stopped. West Ham scored.

Replays showed it was a foul, but the whistle hadn’t gone and the Liverpool players seemed more concerned with why it hadn’t been blown than what was happening around them.

Klopp said: “For the first goal, foul or no foul on Alberto, I saw in the eyes of my players they thought it was a foul too but if no whistle we have to defend and we didn’t defend the cross – 1-0.

“Second goal we played five against one I think, on the right wing, and don’t win the ball?

“That’s not pressing, that’s something.” Depressing? Frustrating? Stupid?

“We got the cross, again Andy Carroll made this time the goal – 2-0.

“And then we start again playing football.”

Too little too late.

It’s not the first time Klopp has seen the response from his side come too late to change the game and with his current squad, a weak squad full of weak players and weakened by injuries, he’ll probably see it a lot more.

The squad Klopp inherited, despite the amounts overpaid for some of the players, does not compare well at all to any of the other sides with top four pretensions.

Liverpool paid £35m for a player who remains their record signing, Andy Carroll. Brendan Rodgers sold him to his current club, West Ham, for under half that amount having made his mind up he wanted him gone before he had even had one training session with him. Carroll was probably sold for a price nearer his true worth but where does that leave Christian Benteke?

Rodgers paid £32.5m – close to the amount Liverpool paid for Carroll – to bring the Belgian forward to the club and so far this season it is difficult to see how he improves on Andy Carroll or what he offers that Carroll doesn’t. As it stands it would be best for both the player and the club if they parted company, even though that will almost certainly mean a huge financial loss for Liverpool.

Benteke did score both the winners in Liverpool’s last two wins and there is time, of course, for him to get better, to improve his all round game and his contribution for the whole of the 90 minutes, but the slow progress he is making suggests the time he has won’t be enough.

Benteke wasn’t the only Reds player worthy of criticism today but few of those on the pitch should be first choice at a club like Liverpool anyway. Klopp needs new blood.

In the meantime he will keep working with what he has in the hope he can squeeze enough out of them to get through the season, but today they did far more than disappoint him.

“It’s no day for being disappointed,” he said, “It’s a day for being angry – with ourselves.”

There were times when Liverpool could have got back into it but with just two shots on target all game the West Ham keeper will struggle to think of an easier game he’s had.

The Reds had 65% possession but no clue what to do with it. It is another percentage, however, that Klopp was perhaps most cross about – he was angry because his side didn’t put 100% into it.

“In each moment in this game we could have come back but we didn’t. We were always a little bit,” he said.

“Who wants to see 90 percent? You cannot win a football game with 90 percent, even 95, nobody wants to see this. You have to do everything.

“We lost the decisive moments twice. That can happen, I don’t like it, but it can happen. But then you have to use your chance more, with more will than we did today.

Liverpool had a penalty appeal turned down but, like the foul on Moreno, right or wrong, it won’t be something Klopp dwells on: “Maybe, I don’t know if was a penalty I didn’t see well enough in the situation with handball and things like this, but, again: 2-0.

“That’s what we saw, it’s deserved,” he said.

A string of players were missing for Liverpool which limited the ability of Klopp to try something different or freshen things up. But even when those players are fit, few of them are exactly of the standard that Liverpool should be relying on if they are serious about regular Champions League football and title challenges. Liverpool, of course, is a club that should be serious about both – very serious.

The transfer window is now open and at a club that has signed some of its best players in January – Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho – Klopp will expect the board to do what needs to be done to deliver some targets. This season may well be write-off given the fact the club chose to start it with a manager who had long since peaked but that’s no reason to wait until the summer.

There’s money in the bank – or should be – and an obvious need to do something useful with it. If Ian Ayre and his colleagues fail to do so they can expect Klopp’s anger – and that of the fans – to turn to them.

As Klopp says – who wants to see 90 percent?

The time for being disappointed has long since passed.

Pulis on “spin” and “facts”

Tony Pulis seems a touch unhappy at comments Jurgen Klopp made after the two sides – and to a certain extent the two managers – clashed on Sunday.

The two bosses didn’t quite get on like a house on fire during the game and when it was over Klopp decided not to shake Pulis’s hand.

Football seems more upset with non-handshakes than it is with tackles that risk causing serious injury to an opponent – regardless of whether they get the ball or not – but football these days seems to be followed by a lot of angry and grumpy people.

The reason most kids who are into football would rather have a kick around in the park than sit in and swat up for a maths test is because football is fun. Or at least it is until it gets into the hands of adults, usually.

In the hands of adults it’s a way of making money and one way to make money is to survive in a certain division, or in a certain zone of that division, and rake in a share of the cash that comes in to a team regardless of entertainment value.

Klopp got annoyed on Sunday, before turning his annoyance into determination to get the crowd up for a thrilling finale which almost brought Liverpool three points. He was annoyed at the way West Brom play football, and the Anfield faithful can sympathise with him having had to put up with over the years from Pulis’s Stoke sides.

Pulis is very good at what he does, something ex-Red John Aldridge described as ‘anti-football’ earlier this week, and seemed put out that Klopp criticised him for it.

Discussing Klopp’s reaction on Sunday, Pulis said: “I think it was disappointing but he’s got his opinions and he can say what he wants.

“We apologise we actually played three longer passes in 99 minutes than Liverpool did in that game.

“As a football club we apologise to Liverpool for playing three longer passes.”

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For people who live by stats it probably sounds very revealing, but for those who watch the game as well as pouring over the facts and figures not all long passes are what people tend to mean by ‘the long ball’. Pulis, of course, knows this but feels the need to put a bit of spin on it in defence of his brand of survival soccer.

“Everything you hear and everything talked about today there’s always a bit of spin on it,” he admitted, before going on to essentially say that low budget means low quality football.

“If I had a team that was worth £200 million playing against a team that was worth less than £20 million and we never won that game I’d be doing my best to divert it away from the fact that I had 10 times more value on the pitch than my opposition number had and couldn’t win the game,” he said.

Funnily enough, if one of the teams in the top half of the table made enquiries to West Brom about, say, Rondon and Berehino this January, it’s unlikely they’d get a figure back below £20m for the two of them, let alone the whole squad. But, as Pulis says, “there’s always a bit of spin” in things these days.

“I’m just stating the facts. Forget all the spin, that’s the facts,” he claimed.

Different managers bring different kind of qualities to the job, there are managers good at managing the so-called ‘big’ clubs and dealing with their so-called ‘superstars’, managers good at getting out of relegation battles, or getting promoted, or treading water in the middle of the table to keep the coffers full for the owners.

Pulis is highly-rated by many in the game but has yet to have a chance to prove himself at a club with genuine ambition and so his standard brand of football is accepted. It must be wonderful having to sit and watch it every week.

Football doesn’t dish points out for entertainment, it doesn’t really share TV money out based on it either, other than a relatively small increase based on how many times a side actually gets shown on TV, so Pulis is well within his rights to play the way he does.

Stats on time-wasting might be interesting because that is something his players are always very well-drilled at, turning the retrieving of a ball into an art form only matched by the attention to detail they give to placing it down on the ground for the restart.

Pulis continued: “I don’t know the fella, I don’t want to say anything else. They were the facts.”

The fact is that it must take an amazing amount of dedication and a serious lack of ambition to watch that kind of football week in and week out, not to mention to play that way. Some of the players will be happy to play that way but you can’t help think that one or two wish they could just play football.

“We’ve got a big game Saturday,” Pulis added, “A game that we think will be more difficult than the Liverpool game.”

West Brom play Bournemouth on Saturday.

Klopp is happy with his medical staff – unlike some

NEW Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp inherited a range of problems when he took over as boss at Anfield, one of which was an extensive injury list. The list has had more names added to it in the short time since he took the helm, but the German isn’t blaming the medical department for it. 

Some managers are better at looking after their medical staff than others, it seems.

Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Jon Flanagan, Joe Gomez and Jordan Rossiter are amongst those missing, with Roberto Firmino only just back in the side.

Jurgen Klopp (Pic: LFC)

Kolo Toure became the latest casualty, in Liverpool’s League Cup win over Bournemouth, a game Christian Benteke missed through his latest injury setback.

Liverpool are yet to score more than once in a game since Klopp arrived, a situation not helped by the absence for the majority of those games of three of his strikers, but that situation looks set to ease again, at least slightly.

 

 

“Cristian (Benteke) trained quite normally with one of his fitness coaches so he’s good and prepared for tomorrow,” Klopp said, adding: “That is the only thing that has changed – Kolo has not the most serious injury, but enough that he can not play tomorrow.”

And Sturridge? “No,” he laughed, “The Daily Daniel? No!”

The boss says Benteke should be available for the trip to Stamford Bridge, but with so many players missing questions were being asked about the club’s medical staff, with some reports suggesting Klopp was unhappy with them.

The manager denied this at today’s press conference, going out of his way to praise a department that he admittedly doesn’t know every member of but one he’s more than happy with the work of, including physio Chris Morgan.

“I think this is one of the departments that works perfect,” Klopp said.

“I’m not sure about all because I’ve not met all yet, but everything is fine.

“Chris and his team are working hard, there is no doubt from my side after two and a half weeks here.

“If you have a look at the kind of injuries we have, it’s nothing to do with the medical department. It’s been because of hits or other things.”

Klopp says patience is called for: “It’s normal in football that nobody waits but you have to wait. Recovery and rehab needs time.

“These two guys, Ingsy and Gomez, are out for a long time.

“Henderson and Flanagan are closer but not ready yet.”

There was a little bit more information on the Scouse full-back: “Flanagan is back on the pitch but he needs time after his long journey with his knee injury. He looks good,” Klopp said.

Liverpool play Chelsea in the lunchtime kick-off tomorrow, a club who have just been served legal papers by their former club doctor Eva Carneiro. Carneiro is claiming constructive dismissal following much publicised criticism at the hands of manager Mourinho, who seems to be in the middle of something of a meltdown. Here’s hoping it continues for at least another weekend.

Pics: LFC