Written by Chris Tipton
So Jurgen Klopp’s been at Liverpool two years, and what a two years it has been…..
Europa League and EFL Cup finals, qualification for the Champions League, some of the best attacking football in the country and a welcome return of some of the positivity of old to Anfield.
But how far have Liverpool really come under Klopp’s stewardship, after 24 months in charge?
Klopp has opted for evolution rather than revolution, this is reflected in the fact that 15 of the players he has used this season were inherited from Rodgers (not including Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana, who have been injured).
Three of those – Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno and Clyne (when fit) would make up his first-choice defence. He has more depth among his goalkeepers than before and has considerably improved the forward line. The departments in between keepers & attackers however, still require some serious work. (5.5 out of 10,) (remember these are my opinion only)
Ten major signings have been made during Klopp’s tenure: of those Sadio Mane has been the one stand-out success.
Summer signing Mohamed Salah has shown early signs he could follow suit but fellow new arrivals Andrew Robertson, Dominic Solanke and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have not really had chance to stake their claims. Last season’s signings midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and defender Joel Matip have been inconsistent.
A deal, which on paper looks a good one, has been done to bring in highly-rated RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita next summer but it is probably the signing Klopp could not get done, the one of Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk, which has been the most talked about.
But right now Keita’s impending arrival looks a real coup. (7/10)
Klopp has blooded a number of youngsters from the club’s academy. Some of it was more out of necessity rather than design as two busy Januarys meant he had to dip into the reserves for cup competitions.
It was not without merit, however, as it gave chances to the likes of Ben Woodburn – who became the club’s youngest scorer with a goal in the League Cup and has gone on to become a senior Wales international aged just 17 – Sheyi Ojo, Ovie Ejaria, Trent Alexander-Arnold also after a lengthy injury Joe Gomez. Of those TAA & Gomez are currently enjoying an extended run in the first team to cover Clyne’s injury.
Ben Woodburn is also pushing for more gametime with the club, (and country.) (7.5/10)
The high-tempo, aggressive pressing and pacy counter-attacks synonymous with Klopp took a while to implement, but the tactics were at their most effective 12 months ago when Liverpool blitzed teams on their way to briefly topping the Premier League last November.
Although this season Liverpool have shown flashes of replicating that form, crucially they have not been able to convert their abundance of chances.
At their best Liverpool have played some of the best football in the country (8.5)
Four months after taking over Klopp guided the team to the League Cup final where they were unlucky to lose on penalties to Manchester City. A thrilling 4-3 home Europa League win over Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund felt like a watershed but despite reaching the final and leading at half-time, a second-half collapse saw them lose 3-1 to Sevilla.
Guiding Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table in early November 2016 was followed by a struggle from January, a month which included a 2-0 aggregate semi-final defeat to Southampton which prevented Klopp reaching back-to-back League Cup finals. Qualifying for the Champions League for only the second time in eight years saw them achieve their target. (8/10)
Keeping Philippe Coutinho out of the hands of Barcelona, and his successful reintegration into the team, has been his significant success in my mind. (10)
His significant failure for me was not to persuade Southampton to part with Van Dijk. (3)
Jurgg’s is getting there. End of 2nd year report is a 7 out of 10. Keep on improving the squad. But please don’t go to Blackpool to do your deals JK, (but if you have to. “Mums the word”) (As I love a proverb, here’s one to end with) Rome wasn’t built in a day…..
Thanks to you all again
Is this a fair assessment? Let us know in the comments below!