Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Klopp Effect

The last time I spoke about Liverpool, we were five games into the season, made a decent start with 3 wins, a draw and a loss. The loss was something that concerned many at the time, it was against Burnley who are showing promise in the league and away from home so I suppose we were reading too much into it. After that loss though, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said something that proved to be profound, it wasn't about reflecting about the loss but how we reacted to it. And that was going on a run of six games unbeaten in the league and unbeaten in all competitions and now sitting on top of the table just before the untimely international break.

It's not just that we won a lot of games but the manner in which we are doing it, Klopp's high pressing style of play almost bully's the opposition and forces them on the back foot. Teams who came and tried to disrupt this type of play paid the consequences with only United showing the only way to nullify it was to be on full defensive mode with no counterattacking. It made for a real dull game that, and I for one went to bed frustrated and angry but you have to hand to to Mourinho, he knew his team were not playing at their expectations and to avoid defeat he had to play ugly football. 

Since that stalemate Liverpool have scored 14 goals in 4 games, that is  3.5 goals per game, an insane statistic in it's own right but the concerning factor is the number of goals we've leaked through. Getting a clean sheet of late has been difficult with silly errors costing us. I say costing us because although it's all good and dandy on the opposite end of the pitch, those goals we concede could come back to hurt us when goal difference comes into play. We saw that over the past few weeks 3 teams were tied for 2nd spot with goal difference separating them so come May next year, it could be a problem for us. While many supporters might be saying, "as longs as we're winning", it's really a matter of concern but Klopp recognises this and hopefully has a plan to sort this out. 

Going back to our front players, the trio of Mane, Coutinho and Firmino are proving to be a menace of note to teams. The tricks and pace these three have and combine is nothing short of sublime. Many questioned the Senegalese signing at the beginning of the season but he's proving to be a bargain for us and probably the signing of the season if he continues the way he's playing. While they may not be topping the lists for highest goal scorers in the league, they're spreading the goals amongst themselves, with Mane currently on 6 and the Brazilians with 5 each. Their number of assists are climbing up as well. It will be a tough losing Mane for International duty during AFCON but we trust there will be another player to stand up and fill his place.

Watching Liverpool play is becoming addictive, almost like a drug, even watching highlights is satisfying. On Sunday the game was so high paced and action packed that even when I switched over to watch a bit of the United game during the half time break I found it boring and dull, even though they scored 3 great goals. We just want more of it and while many "experts" claim that players of Liverpool will tire out by next year, that remains to be seen. Klopp has always had this vision for his teams so obviously he has a strategy in controlling the players fitness levels, he did at Dortmund and won 2 league titles, so it's not something he's doing for the first time. So underestimate him at your own peril.  

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