Goals, Goals and more Goals:
For me, there is no doubt about it. Jurgen Klopp is exactly the right man for Liverpool. Klopp has got Liverpool playing on the front foot again and the team have not stopped scoring. The numbers don’t lie- 1.8 goals per game in his 57 competitive game tenure thus far. A statistic that has already surpassed the 1.2 set by Rodgers. Only once in the last five years has a team managed to take fourth place with less than 1.7 goals per game (equal to just over 64 scored across the campaign).
I can’t deny that Klopp benefitted from people getting behind him very early on in his Liverpool career after just a few positive results. But has Klopp shown any improvement during his stint at the Reds so far? In terms of goals per game, the first 28 games yielded an average of 1.5 goals per game. The second set of 29 games? Over 2 goals per game.
And how about the type of “Klopp” goal? Take a look at the chart below…
Clearly, build-up play, rotation of the ball and movement in the final third, is everything to Klopp and his high-tempo style.
Klopp’s Summer Business
I mentioned on the Podcast before the season began that I was impressed with Klopp’s signings. Mane has so far been the undisputed star of the Reds’ early season. Whether Mane can perform that way throughout the season instead of a handful of games is still to be determined, but even ignoring his starring role, his style is the important point to note. Mane’s pace and direct running, as well as his skill in one-vs.-one situations, plays directly to this approach and the switch to 4-3-3 this season is similarly focussed on getting multiple runners from deep in midfield into the penalty area.
Klopp was happy to let Benteke go. The significance of a run across the defender to the near post is what Liverpool have lacked far too often, and is a run the Belgian will never learn to make, let alone doing so naturally.
The list of players who have improved under Klopp is endless, but two in particular stand out. Firstly; Firmino. As a number ten under Rodgers he seemed out of place, particularly with Coutinho and Lallana vying for the same place, and as a winger he was too slow. Now, his close control and positional play conjure memories of Luis Suarez when he was at his most raw during his early Anfield days. The other- Lallana. A player that used to drift in and our of games despite his technical gifts. He also seemed to be subbed around the hour of each match. How he is emblematic of Klopp’s transformation. Lallana began sprinting full pelt at defenders during Klopp’s first game at White Hart Lane in October and has not stopped running since.
The Klopp Factor
Klopp has instilled a real hard work ethic, with pressing at the crux of what Liverpool are about. From the very first game at White Hart Lane the drive to win the ball back was evident. Liverpool fight to the end and are willing to go toe-to-toe no matter who the opponent or what the quality. It’s an attitude the Anfield crowd has been well versed in down the years and Klopp certainly knows how to get the crowd going. Remember when Klopp had a pop at the early leavers? Remember when Klopp saluted supporters after salvaging a point against the Baggies? He may get stick for some actions, but he is bringing excitement back to Anfield regardless.
Up next for Liverpool
With only a few hours before the Chelsea game, all the discussion revolves around whether Countinho will be dropped again. Perhaps the most gifted Anfield player, Klopp isn’t a man afraid to make the big decisions. Considering the success of Klopp thus far- can anyone really question him? For Complete Coverage of The Football Games Today – Click here!
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