Is Jurgen Klopp finished at Liverpool? The Napoli inquest dominates the Mailbox…

·21-min read
Jurgen Klopp watches on as Liverpool lose at Napoli. Credit: PA Images
Jurgen Klopp watches on as Liverpool lose at Napoli. Credit: PA Images

Not surprisingly after Liverpool get humped and Chelsea sack another manager, it’s a bumper morning Mailbox. Some of Jurgen Klopp’s believers have abandoned him.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

 

Is Klopp’s time up?
Remember around 18 months ago when Liverpool went 6 home matches in a row without scoring & it was blamed on having a few centre backs out injured?

Now they’re lucky to get away with conceding only 4 at Napoli with a first choice back line fit. Will this now be blamed on losing Mane in the summer or having Henderson out injured?

Klopp’s side is tired, he’s took them as far as they can go. Its been a good run but he’s squeezed all the lemonade out of these lemons.
Mick, Cardiff

 

…Given my last email wasn’t published, I’ve taken the liberty of forwarding it below…

Before every LFC fan on the planet dives on Raul Horacio Garcia…. Let me just agree with him fully!

Sure, I’m not quite at the stage yet where I want us to go out of the CL early to avoid another final (;)), but I pretty much agree with everything else Raul says.

Season ticket holder here, nigh on 31 years! So I’ve seen some of the bad times. But it’s feeling more painful seeing us get so close to immortality then letting Jurgen p@ss it up the wall in just a few months!!! And god I wish I’d talked my 10 year old son out of supporting us, as I’ve bestowed a lifetime of bloody life-killing hope on the little lad I love so much!

We’ve been bang average for way too long! it’s not the loss of Mane imo (though that is an easy target and it hurts a little now!). But rather it’s death by a thousand little cuts!!!

I think we’ve bathed poor Jurgen in adoration and the messiah complex so much, the poor lad thinks he can now just coast through the sh*te brand of football we display without so much as a shrug from his entitled shoulders!!

We all moved from doubters to believers so bloody quickly, we’ve let the management team get away with so much for so long!!

My blood boiled when jurgen claimed a few weeks ago that injuries were outside of his responsibility!!!! What b@llox! Jurgen has so much credit in the bank with the owners, he could walk into John Henry’s living room and piss on his kids and he would keep his job!! So a quiet word in the owners ear for more midfield resource this summer would not have been out of the bounds of logic and possibility!

And even with injuries, the culture in the club we have (and the mentality we USED to have!) is that a team with even half our under 23s would see off the sh*te manure team that did us over a couple of weeks back or the Everton dross put out this weekend! So injuries simply cannot be blamed!

Instead, all creativity has gone, we cannot beat the press of a travel iron, and Mo salah is being played so wide he’s sat next to me in the stands most weeks!!

We are not battling for titles anymore, in fact I’m worried we will not make top 4 this year!

Jurgen. You will be loved here forever, but time to step aside mate, I think your time is up
Paul, Bootle red

 

Klopp out? Tuchel was sacked for less and the Liverpool legacy players look shot

 

…Look I’m abroad and 3 hours ahead and I’m not staying up until 1am to watch the second half but there’s a few things that I’m wondering.

Firstly, did Gomez go out on the tins in Italy last night. He literally can’t defend for toffee. Getting out muscled, out thought and out played. Looked very sunday league today.

Secondly have some of these players stopped playing for Klopp or have their legs gone? Milner literally can’t cope in our midfield anymore. The rest of them don’t seem to be quite right. It can’t be considered an accident that we keep conceding first. Today we should’ve been 5-0 down at half time.

Essentially something is wrong at Liverpool. I think it’s the midfield but the way we look it’s starting to make me wonder if it goes deeper. I think Klopp needs to stop being loyal to his generals because they’re not delivering for him on the pitch. Drop Milner, Firmino and even Trent and Robbo and give Ramsey, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Mello and Nunez a chance to prove their worth.
Minty, LFC

 

Klopp’s not done yet
Well that was embarrassing and somewhat unexpected – to me at least. Christ knows we’ve not exactly been convincing this season, but we’ve been nowhere near this bad.

What’s confusing the hell out of me is that we’re only a few months out from being the side that came bloody close to winning the quadruple. Losing Mane hasn’t effected us this much, certainly not defensively. Have we just got old overnight? Or are we suffering the mother of all hangovers from the Champions League final?

Trent certainly looks like he is. It’s no secret that his strengths are attacking rather than defending per se but hitherto the good has massively outweighed the bad. Last night was really bad from him though and no mistake. Virgil wasn’t too clever either and even Fabinho was off the pace. Mo has been not at his best since signing the contract too, there’s nothing particularly encouraging throughout the whole side at the moment.

Jurgen can fix it, off course he can. He’s a much better and more complete manager than the one who lost it at Dortmund. He knows now that our midfield needs sorting and sort it he will. He has a really good record in the transfer window – he’ll know who he wants by then. Our defense could use a fresh injection of quality as well.

We’ve been through this before. After winning the title we fell apart, mainly because of injuries, but not exclusively. We really didn’t look like making the qualification places for the CL and just about scraped in. The next season we were fighting for damn near everything and oh so nearly got there.

Sometimes you need a bit of a beasting to spark a complete reset and get your season on track. Look at United since the Brentford kicking. The title looks breathtakingly unlikely right now, especially with Haaland rewriting records at City. Unfortunately he is working out pretty much exactly like people figured he would, if not even better.

But write off Klopp at your peril. He’s won absolutely everything at Liverpool now and he’s a long way from done yet.
James, Liverpool

 

 

…Spurs fan here. And let me say from experience – if you really think sacking Klopp is the answer, you’ve taken leave of your senses.

Will’s statement that Liverpool didn’t suffer a loss like this in their 2020/21 downturn overlooks the 4-1 pasting at home to Man City and obviously neither that or Napoli compare to conceding 7 against Villa.

But bigger picture – this is just the natural cycle of things. Didn’t Ferguson say 3 years of success required 3 years of transition. Either you trust that transition to a man who has bought the club incredible success or you chuck him in the bin at the first sign of trouble and give the job to a mercenary like Jose. I know which one makes the most sense to me. How have Dortmund done since they ditched Klopp?

The idea that there is a quick fix out there from someone other than Klopp is almost certainly wrong. But I hope they try for Spurs sake.

Mark L, Norwich

 

What’s the problem?
Well it’s half time and I may end up being proven wrong but I think we can officially call this the worst Liverpool team under klopp.

We don’t press, we can’t mark and we have zero creativity.

Do injuries play a part? Sure. But why is everyone playing badly. Nobody is good. Nobody. Van dijk does not look like the world’s best, and hasn’t since his injury. If everton have anything to cheer it’s that they ended van dijks career.

Klopp needs to take some responsibility, his team selections have been poor. Sticking with a badly underperforming Robertson when Kostas has been better is not only a bad decision it’s demotivating for players outside of starting 11 – why bother trying hard when you won’t play anyway?

Why is klopp persisting with Milner? Great servant but he’s been a danger to the team every game this year and at this point the best thing he can do is retire so klopp can’t pick him anymore. Players clearly aren’t picked on form they’re picked on whether klopp likes them or not or is familiar with them.

I said before that I felt there is a problem in the dressing room because of how players are behaving. Gone is the enthusiasm, gone is the effort and work rate, the cohesion and team work. That’s is a problem klopp needs to solve.

The owners have shown before that they will pull the trigger if need be so klopp needs to be careful now because a few more performances like this and he might find himself having lunch with Thomas tuchel.

And I guess that’s the real problem..it isn’t results (though they’re bad too) it’s that we are playing like a very bad team and have been for a while now. Why?

Why indeed…
Lee

 

…I allowed myself the time to sleep on the result last night instead of bashing the keyboard in anger. A few points on the general season and last night’s result.

Klopp and this team have given everything, especially last year. We are not entitled to win anything. It’s the journey and entertainment value that makes us tune in and go to games.

I can’t compare office work to elite level athletes, however the disappointment of last season must still weigh on players’ heads, when work is stressful for me it’s hard not to take it home. This is human nature.

Napoli played with desire, strength and speed and were totally dominant in the first half and deserved the win.

The high line and the counter press system failed. It seems managers domestically and in Europe have figured this out. Don’t play short passes from goal kicks, transition from front to back quickly, over the right sided centre back and break from there. Potentially you can attack Liverpool effectively with 3 players. Leave a sole striker who is quick upfront and follow up the long ball with midfield runners. This allows you to defend in numbers in a low block and potentially beat a more technical team. City are also finding this difficult, albeit less so than Liverpool currently.

I don’t wish to get into belittling the players as it doesn’t help anyone. It seems apt that a wounded Liverpool face Wolves next.
Mark. Dublin

 

Perspective
If you take into account net spend then who were the true winners last night?
Greg, Tampa

 

I’m not super stitious, just a little bit stitous
A lot of questions surrounding Liverpool now. Are the individual players having a slump, is the strategy wrong, is it just a transitional phase?

A lot of explanations getting thrown around but I’ll just say, we didn’t have these problems until Milner grew a beard. Mo was fine until he put highlights in his hair. You could make an argument that everything was fine until Klopp switched to contacts.

Does make we wonder whether missing out on Tchoumeni was a sliding door moment considering our midfield injuries but even when fit our midfield impotence.
TM

 

…I take it the Thursday footy headlines will all be identical for Liverpool? “This Means Four”
Ba-dum tish.
Mark (Tee-Hee) MCFC

 

When Harry met Virgil
I can only assume Maguire collided with Van Dijk at some point and they are living out some freaky Friday sh*t
Gareth, Boston (Maguire looking great on the bench)

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel stretches his face with his hand Credit: PA Images
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel stretches his face with his hand Credit: PA Images

Ta-ra Tommy
Maybe Chelsea should hold off on Potter and wait for Klopp to become available on Thursday…
Will, cfc

 

I’d love to see Potter take the Chelsea job, play his first ten games with an experimental 2-4-4 line-up, then toddle back to Brighton to take over from their caretaker manager – after being sacked by Chelsea – with an extra 25m+ in his bank account.
Niallio

 

Simple as that
We should just get Conte back. He’s a top proven manager at this level. He will make difference immediately. Plus Lukaku would come running.

We have top defense which Conte loves. And amazing wingers which Conte loves. And exiled Lukaku who Conte loves.

This team is built for Conte. He will give ManCity And Liverpool run for their money with this squad.

Can’t say enuf good things about Conte.
B CFC (Bonus: would put Spurs back in their place)

 

PE lesson
Private Equity buyers fundamentally back management teams, and if they’re not there, they put them in place.

Marina and Buck had to go due to their disastrous transfer record, no idea with Cech, but they gave Tuchel a go.

However, no discussion on a potential game-changer like Ronaldo, pissing and moaning about transfers, and seemingly no constructive engagement with the PE boys meant he was done.

Also, they’re not going to sack someone without a replacement ready to go; hence a tick from Potter, compensation clause triggered with Brighton, and Potter and his team will be in place by Saturday.

Lovely jubbly – job’s a good ‘un (or whatever the American equivalent is).
Matthew (ITFC)

 

Right decision for the wrong reasons
Spending an absolute bucketload on new players, at least some of whom Tuchel wanted specifically, only to sack him immediately when early results haven’t gone our way seems bizarre. The season feels impossibly long already, but competitive football kicked off less than 5 weeks ago, and the transfer window closed less than a week ago! He’s literally been given five days with the finalised squad, which beforehand lacked a desperately needed striker and a centre-back he’s wanted all summer. It’s incredibly naive to expect a rebuild of near Nottingham Forest proportions to work instantly. Combined with the desperate scattergun approach to transfers, the Boehly era already feels very Man Utd.

However, it’s also pretty clear that Tuchel hadn’t done a great deal to prove he’s the man for the long term. I don’t mail in often, but a month or so into the 21/22 season, I wrote in about Tuchel’s legacy so far, and what he needed to change to ensure we kept improving. The most damning part is that almost exactly 12 months later, nothing has changed. The personnel is different but our system and way of playing, with all its weaknesses, is identical. The only difference is that we now ship goals for fun on top of an inability to score them.

The gist of that mail was – the 3-5-2 with the emphasis on a watertight defence, and an attacking gameplan revolving almost solely around quick counter attacks, was the perfect way to steady the ship after the chaos of our play under Lampard, and it was the perfect plan for frustrating and dispatching elite teams on the way to winning the Champions League. The back 3 and midfield 5 were imperious, (it also helped that Jorginho & Kante were at peak form & fitness together for all of 3-4 months, that’ll never happen again), but the CL run masked our domestic form, where we were still executing the plan well against teams who liked having a lot of the ball, but looking very toothless against everyone apart from Liverpool & Citeh. Regardless of who played in the attacking trio, they always looked unsure, disconnected from one another and the rest of the team. Tuchel had a whole season to sort it out, to experiment with different systems and attacking gameplans, but if anything we’ve gone backwards.

Tournaments aside, we’ve put in a few great performances against Citeh, Liverpool and Spurs, but watch us against anyone else and it’s like watching 11 very determined but very puzzled blokes trying to draw blood from a stone. In 25 years I’ve never seen a Chelsea team so utterly clueless when given time on the ball, so lacking in ideas and thrust, so hopelessly reliant on a rampaging right-wing back to pull them out of trouble. There have been blips of course, but never a team that’s looked this impotent for this long. His reign can be summed up pretty accurately with 3 stats from his first season, because other than a newfound ability to leak goals, literally nothing has changed:

Champions League Final – beat Citeh with 39.6% of possession
Champions League Semi Final – beat Real Madrid with 32.3% of possession
FA Cup Final – lost to Leicester with 63% of possession

He’s a brilliant tournament manager, and the Champions League run was a monumental achievement that he deserves full credit for, but in 18 months he showed no signs that he knew how to even marginally improve a clearly broken system. I’d be curious to see if he gets on any better managing in Serie A, or Bundesliga again. All the best to him, I hope he does well wherever he goes next.
Ollie, London

 

Players must take the blame too
Never particularly liked TT’s set up, possession obsession tactics, lack of foresight to play players in their best position by changing system, and blind faith with players that do not work (Jorginho, Havertz, etc). Winning across first 50 games papered over these cracks and it felt like he was the strong leader needed. That said, if you are a professional, you do as the manager asks to the best of your ability and give 100% come what may. Why are the players not getting castigated for the part they have played, downing tools and effectively throwing him under bus. It happened with Jose, Conte, AVB, to name a few. Roman brought player power, but you’d hoped it had been eradicated but it lingers within the club like a bad smell. Why are the media not advancing the argument that the players are also to blame? TT has been considered in the top 3 managers in the world with Pep and Klopp. He is largely to blame for the situation but the players have questions to be answered and the same thing will happen again and again if it’s not addressed. If Potter was booed by his Chelsea supporters as he was 12 or so months ago with Brighton he would be instantly dead at Chelsea as the players would down tools. Says it all.
Kim, London


Tuchel’s level
Last year I sent a mail to the editor expressing my opinion that Thomas Tuchel should not be classified in the same breath as Pep and Klopp.I think the mailbox was comparing coaches and saying Ole is not at the level of Klopp, Pep, and Tuchel. So my argument was, the first 2 being a class apart was ok, but to add Tuchel there was erroneous. I think Chelsea winning the Champions League elevated the man above his abilities. After all that was a stacked Chelsea team, that had spent over 200M on Europe’s best, brightest, and most sought after young footballers. The likes of Kai Haverts, Timo Werner and others. Tuchel is a good manager, but not at the top class. I personally think he is a tier below the likes of Pep, Klopp, Mourinho, Conte, Allegri, Ancelotti, Simeone and many others.
That said, I’m surprised by the firing. I understand that he inherited a squad that was built with over 200M on signings, spent over 100M his first year, and over 200M this summer, so that’s a very expensively assembled squad. But to sack a manager this early into the season is a bit premature even for Chelsea.A 5 point gap this early isn’t insurmountable, hell, Man U were bottom of the table 3 games ago. We all knew Abramovich had a trigger finger ready to pull, but even he held it back for the story to develop. Di Matteo was fired in November, Lampard in January. They had time to develop the squad and failed, so that’s understandable. Tuchel just got Auba, his main man, a week ago, why then fire the manager a week later before he has had time to integrate his main player? It seems to me that the new owners think they can outspend everyone, and continue the culture of firing managers.
The reason I bring this up is because of the different spending power of the former owner, Roman Abramovich and the new American owners. For Abramovich, Chelsea was a hobby, and probably a way to launder money, for the Americans it’s a business. They have to behave more prudently, and stop with the knee jerk reactions. If they don’t get their things in order soon, with Newcastle coming and Man City, Man U and Liverpool continuing to stay therein in the player market, they could find themselves in a West ham type position.
Dave (They don’t know what they doing), Somewhere

 

Arteta criticism
Don’t really want to rehash much from my non-shockingly unpublished intoxicant-fueled rant after the United match. I will just say this – it’s hilarious to me to read all the positive feedback of United (when everyone knows it could all crumble in a snap) and the criticism of Arteta. I wrote this in aforementioned unpublished mail:

“I’ll have no criticism of Arteta. He forced his hand because he knows – just like any reasonable human being after watching those 90 minutes – that Arsenal Football Club is currently clearly ahead of whatever curve Manchester United is on. It was rash – but we were trying to make a point. For us, it was bigger than this match because we currently have higher aspirations (the league title isn’t coming this year – I don’t mean that). That triple sub was about re-establishing our identity as a club more than any actual game tactic.”

Also, I’m not exactly sure if this has already been covered in recent mailboxes but I was speaking to my brother-in-law about Liverpool (38 yo lifelong supporter and this was actually Saturday after Everton) and he brought up the fact that they are regretting and were always going to regret choosing Salah over Mane (chances created stats this season notwithstanding). He also mentioned this at least 12 months ago and I seem to possibly have vague memories of other Liverpool supporters discussing this? If this is even an issue for people then where would it rank amongst the current issues plaguing the club?
MAW, LA Gooner (Haaland scares me.)]

 

Choo-choo
So Brighton’s game v Palace has been called of owing to a train strike – bit of a surprise as it’s known as the A23 derby
Wait until clubs find out they are playing on Boxing day when there are no trains….
Steve from the Gelderd End

 

All I want for Christmas is a Belgrano away shirt
It’s not a Friday so may not make the mailbox as it’s not really relevant to this weeks football or Chelsea sacking Tuchel. But I’ll go for the old 3 paragraph format and hope for the best.

My mate came back from Argentina, they’re second city Cordoba. And brought me back a Belgrano away shirt. It’s mega! Not sure if anyones seen it but well worth looking up.

Shared it on a WhatsApp group and it led to a discussion about how good some of the South American kits are. Especially Vasco for example. Just wondered if what other peoples favourite shirts were from other countries outside Europe.
JC STFC

 

 

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