Football 3 years ago

Klopp a Big Coup, But Patience Still Needed

  • Klopp a Big Coup, But Patience Still Needed
  • Klopp a Big Coup, But Patience Still Needed
  • Klopp a Big Coup, But Patience Still Needed
  • Klopp a Big Coup, But Patience Still Needed
  • Klopp a Big Coup, But Patience Still Needed

After days of speculation former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has been officially unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool Football Club. The German takes charge following the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers after a 1-1 draw with Everton last weekend. The decision to appoint Klopp on a three year contract is a major move for the team that currently sit in 10th place in the Barclays Premier League.

For the first time since Rafa Benitez was appointed in 2004, Liverpool have a top quality manager at the helm. All those that have succeeded the Spaniard so far since his departure in 2010 have had obvious flaws. Roy Hodgson lacked the ability to manage a club of Liverpool's stature, Kenny Dalglish had not managed for eleven years before he took the job, and Brendan Rodgers was relatively unproven. However in appointing Klopp Liverpool make the statement that they intend to once again become a force in English football.

However despite the ability of Klopp, and the hope and expectations he allows Liverpool fans to have, there still must be caution regarding his appointment. In particular, time will be needed if he is going to bring Liverpool back into the elite group of Premier League teams. The current Liverpool side is lacking in confidence, direction, style, and system. All of these things Klopp can amend, but don't expect that to happen instantaneously.

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Initially, the German's style of play, known as gegenpressing, will take time to be implemented successfully. The approach is focused on aggressive team pressing to win the ball high up the field, which Klopp refers to as "heavy metal" football. Although unless every member of the team is capable of executing it correctly then it can easily break down. Therefore while his Liverpool players are learning the particular style there will be times when an individual or two find themselves making the wrong decision or in the wrong position. It could take a full pre-season, where Klopp has his players on the training pitch every day, for his style to be fully embedded.

The system, or formation, will also require some time to allow the Liverpool players to adapt. Under the tenure of Brendan Rodgers the Reds never settled on a formation. His side played many different variations including the 4-3-3, 4-4-2 diamond, and the 3-5-2. It is assumed that Klopp will favour his 4-2-3-1 that worked so successfully for him in the Champions League and Bundesliga during his stint at Dortmund. Although again, just as the case was with the style, time will be needed to allow the players to gain a full understanding. Finally, it is only once the system and style of play are fully instilled, and the results improve, that Liverpool players will regain their confidence.

Crucially, the importance of allowing time should not be something that is lost on the Liverpool owners. They will need to standby their man despite the tendency in the Premier League to sack managers after a period of poor results. The possibility of poor results is very real for Klopp as he takes the reigns in a difficult period. The first four domestic fixtures will see him face Tottenham, Southampton, Chelsea and Crystal Palace - all very capable sides that will test his maturing team.

Despite winning two league titles and making a Champions League final at Dortmund, it took Klopp time to build his team into the swashbuckling phenomenon that captured so many admirers. In the 2008-09 season, Klopp's first in charge, Dortmund finished in 6th place. The following season they finished in 5th, before winning their first title in his third season. Of course the strength of the Bundesliga differs from that of the Premier League. While Bayern Munich were a significant obstacle to overcome to reach the title, in England the obstacles are numerous. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal each represent a huge challenge. Therefore for Klopp to climb these obstacles he will need time, perhaps even longer than his initial three year contract.

If Liverpool, the fans and owners, can afford to give Jurgen Klopp the time he needs then it is very likely he will be a success. He has the CV and talent as a manager to suggest that his team will achieve its lofty objectives. Yet at Liverpool there is an expectation and demand on immediate success given how starved of it they have been in the recent history. It is a significant challenge that awaits Klopp and the time he is afforded will be the most crucial aspect of his Liverpool tenure.

Will he succeed? Or will Klopp flop? 

Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @ZDwyer2. 

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