Earlier in the season, the Jurgen Klopp revolution over at Anfield was in full swing. The team played a unique brand of football, were easy on the eye and racking up the points and looked like serious contenders for honours across all fronts. It is a common joke amongst football fans that the Liverpool faithful claim “it is out year next year” but for once it truly felt like it was and Anfield had so much optimism.
Roll the clock forwards to the first months of 2017 and how things have changed. On the pitch the team have lost the spark, the result have been poor and rivals seemed to have found simple ways to stop Klopp’s taruhan bola system. But it is the same system as always…..Liverpool can take down the bigger teams but cannot pick up the points against the strugglers.
The 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and home point against Chelsea are results that fans should not grumble too much about, and indeed the emphatic wins over Arsenal and Spurs are proof that Liverpool can truly live it up with the best of teams. The big occasions bring out the big performances and the top sides in the Premier League fear playing Liverpool as they know these performances can be destructive
But the teams struggling at the bottom of the table can see Liverpool as a potential chance to pick up points. Away defeats, and comprehensive defeats at Hull City and Leicester City are evidence that this team, this year, with these players are NOT title contenders. As March began the team were 14 points off the title pace and seemingly destined for a battle to get a Champions League spot.
If Liverpool and Klopp fail to get a Champions League spot this season then it is clear that something needs to be done to address why they can perform in the bigger games and not defeat the smaller teams. Who does the blame lie with? Jurgen Klopp indeed is much more animated and involved when he knows he is on TV in the bigger games and does this translate to the players. Does Klopp’s tactics need called into questions? Indeed….there have been many times during his reign that he has shown tactical naivety when it comes to dealing with teams who place 11 men behind the ball.
What about the players? Do they struggle to get motivated for the away trips to the less glamorous locations in the Premier League? The blame could also lie with Klopp. In this writers opinion, Jurgen Klopp is enticed by the glitz and glamour of the big occasions and has neither the support, or players with the right mentality to be able to truly get the results against the team who shuts up shop. Does Klopp need help from staff around him with more experience of Premier League teams who are tricky to play against or does he need to rethink his whole system? Whatever the case something needs to be done fast!