Klopp can’t fix Liverpool – but he can rebuild them. And there’s no shame in losing to Real Madrid

Klopp on Liverpool Credit: Alamy
Klopp on Liverpool Credit: Alamy

The Mailbox accepts Jurgen Klopp can’t fix this Liverpool team – no one can – but there is no one better to oversee the Reds’ rebuild than the current manager…

Get your view into theeditor@football365.com


Don’t pass to Haaland
From watching Man City actively not pass the ball to Haaland against Leipzig I cannot think of a more mismatched signing this season (I’m sure there have been plenty more).

I know he has 30 odd goals but their styles do not suit each other.

Brilliant striker, wrong club. Pep’s tactics do not suit him at all – imagine how many he would score if his team actually passed to him.


Klopp the right man for rebuild
Seems the mailbox loves a Liverpool crisis above all others – F365 too given the prominence given to multiple trolling emails – top billing in both of the days mailboxes! Stay classy guys.

Clearly the Anfield capitulation to Real is manna from heaven for Pool-haters so fill your boots guys, when things were bad earlier in the season there were at least a few Pool fans recognising that things were likely to get worse before they got better, and that has proven spectacularly to be the case. We are hitting a new low seemingly every week at the moment, and I fear there is worse yet to come – if not sooner then certainly in the Bernabeu mid-March. To be fair though, did anybody really expect us to beat them? I certainly didn’t. Obvs going 2-0 up before sh!tting the bed to a historical level certainly makes for a delicious narrative though of course. Enjoy.

I think everyone is clear on the many reasons why things are so bad, although I think we can add two new centre-backs to the must-haves in the summer (cheers Dickford!). Moving forward though, I don’t think Klopp’s departure is part of the solution. I wrote previously that you can’t blame the man at the rudder, when there is no rudder, and the same still applies.

I recall reading earlier in the season that FSG expected that this was going to be a transitional season due to the exertions of last season, and therefore that it didn’t really matter how bad things got in terms of Klopp’s job security, particularly given that he only recently extended his contract. Add to this the lack of investment in the squad where it was actually required, and you have a bit of a toxic cocktail in terms of player motivation. The whole squad seems to have given up – “well the owners said this season was expected to be sh!t, and they didn’t buy the players we need, plus I’m a bit tired, so I’ll just coast to summer”.

If FSG were gambling on getting all the players we desperately need in the summer in order to maintain the successful (before this season) status quo, then the gamble has backfired – we are not getting top four, so we are not getting Bellingham for a start, and are not getting any other elite tier one players, neither up and coming nor established. Whilst this sounds pretty depressing on the face of it, in actual fact it offers a clearer path forward to future success with Klopp.

Klopp built an incredible team that is only out of the conversation for one of the best club sides ever due to a financially-doped City, and a simply unbeatable (for Liverpool) Real Madrid. He did that by building mentality and improving players – the (sadly formerly) world class players in the team were made, not bought: Allisson, VVD, Salah (Trent and Fab were talked about in those terms once too) – they all became elite with Liverpool, they weren’t bought at their peak.

The squad currently is made up of old men and raw talent – nothing in-between. Developing talent is where Klopp excels. We will get rid of the past-its in the summer, and buy more hungry youth, and Klopp will build a fresh squad around a new spine as the current one is no longer fit for purpose (Allisson excepted).

Unless that is, the mailbox rumours are true and Klopp is at the wheel of the disastrous (lack of) recruitment policy which had led to the formerly mega-successful transfer nerds leaving, rather than FSG refusing to follow their advice. In which case Klopp needs to go and we go back into the wilderness for a complete rebuild with more unknowns and therefore less chance of success.
Gofezo (if you think things are bad now cast your mind / google back to Souness or Hodgson)


No shame in Real hammering
So rival fans got their digs in, we deserved it. but is it such a bad thing to get beaten by this Madrid team?

I don’t think so.

I watched that excellent Madrid C city tie last season and I was just amazed at the Madrid mentality. They were 2-0 and going out with 20 mins to go. but Madrid weren’t busting a gut for every ball. they weren’t raining crosses in or desperately assaulting the goal. On the contrary madrid looked super relaxed, nonchalant even. city looked nervous. Madrid KNEW they were going through. they calmly despatched city and sauntered through as if they knew the result before the game. it was a strange thing to watch.

I saw the exact same thing from Madrid against Liverpool. 2-0 down after 20 mins. at Anfield. and yet…they nonchalantly strolled around and then calmly slid a shot through three defenders and into the far corner.

This Madrid team doesn’t get the credit or rightly deserves under Ancelotti in Europe. there’s no shame in losing to them. ask city and whomever plays them next. also Ancelotti has been making a point against us ever since Istanbul.

Read more: Reappraising Loris Karius’ 2018 Champions League final catastrof*ck: was it really *that* bad?


Silver linings
Yes the scoreline tells most of the story but the 5-2 loss was still a better performance than the 3-0 losses against Brighton and Wolves.
Nik (looking for silver linings), Munich


Pundit amnesty
How can BT Sports subject the country to that commentary/punditry on a Champions League night? Obviously, I’m a Europa man at the moment but there’s a good chance I’ll be forced to watch this sh*te next year.

Take the freekick, Militao’s marker (obviously Trent Alexander-Arnold) is staring at his feet when the ball is delivered and his reaction to the near-post run is to do a very tiny jump on the spot, crouch a bit and look sad.

This isn’t discussed as Rio has just drawn… two balls and a line. He then tells us that the two balls he’s drawn should actually be a line. There’s a brief break as Gerrard mutters something incomprehensible but Rio and Owen have the iPads so quickly we’re back to Rio’s balls. For a moment he seems to suggest the two balls are smaller/less dominant players but gets lost and reverts to saying they’re a line.

Watch the Carragher rant about Van Dijk and the back four being a disgrace – it’s great. Then compare that passion and insight with the reaction of the two Liverpool legends* in the studio. Gerrard is just an expanding frown and Owen genuinely seemed delighted with the result. Almost as much as Mcmanaman.

Surely there can be a midweek Sky vs BT amnesty where semi-decent pundits can cross the divide? Even Graeme Souness.

Simon (too early to even think about gloating) MUFC


Not everything
Whenever Liverpool lose, fans quite rightly defend Klopp due to his trophy haul (his Dortmund run will get even more respect in time) saying “he’s won all there is to win”.

He lost a Europa league final so technically hasn’t won everything there is to win. Sorry to be a pedant but you know, facts. It’s still a trophy and one fans of at least 18 premier league clubs would happily accept.


Real maths
Thanks Danny, why not go back one more year to when then spent 355m euros? In a season.

And let’s compare annual salaries while we’re at it. 290m annual bill for Madrid this year compared to 162m for Liverpool.

So yes. They spend a lot more money.
TM (equally pedantic)


…You can prove anything with data, as Danny (pedantic) Brighton tried on Wednesday: he’s right that Liverpool have outspent Madrid significantly over the last three seasons, by a total of €359m to €111m.

However, it’s a pretty convenient and arbitrary cut-off that he has made: the season before that point (19/20) Madrid spent a whopping €355m, compared to Liverpool’s €10m. That would make the four-year totals €369m by Liverpool and €466m by Madrid. Going back a further year to 18/19, Liverpool spent €182m versus €165m by Madrid.

It’s all about the framing of the question.
Rob, London


Gloating Gunners
Was waiting for the outpouring from the “Arsenal faithful” about the Liverpool-Madrid game.

Yes, it was poor from Liverpool. Double yes, it was a trashing at the home of the ‘European nights’. Triple yes, it falls at the feet of the great Juergen Klopp.

But we are still Liverpool. Klopp is still a historically great manager. We still have our history while you have Rennes to await in your European tie. It was against Madrid, a true equal and on this night certainly the superior opponent. Arsenal and their fans bore me to no end – they have had one decent season in 15 years and even then, might not win a single title. A history-less team with a history-less manager ( anyone else remember Arteta as being anything more than a bang average player).

Would love nothing more for us to beat them, yes beat them in April at Anfield.
Rohit (lfc), Abu Dhabi


…Malice towards Arsenal has always been understandable from rivals and a certain local ‘whatever’ club but it appears clear now that Arsenal’s strength/arrogance is getting to everybody. Come on, are, I reiterate for the billionth time….we going to win the league?

Now, when we had no chance over the previous few years I could handle 90 minutes once a week but now I’m wound up all week like the Man U days.

A couple of Villa fans getting angry is hilarious, especially about Tom Hanks and Piers Morgan and a rather dry witted joke about Forest Gump.

When it comes to celebrating before the ball has gone in the net? It’s called ‘a rush of blood to the head!’ I did it once. I was about 5 yards away from the corner flag and I saw the keeper off his line so I curled it (Kanu v Chav style) and I was celebrating 30 seconds before it went in! Why not? Yes I scored a goal like that, my teammates asked: “did you mean that?”. Yes! We can all do it.

Finally, if people are going to keep getting annoyed with Arteta (especially hairy hands) Roy Keane is spot on. “He’s not employed to be liked, he’s there to win games for Arsenal”. Very true.
Chris, Croydon

Mikel Arteta celebrates a win Credit: Alamy
Mikel Arteta celebrates a win Credit: Alamy

Manager loans
I was thinking about development of players, specifically the youth set up at clubs and the loan system. Essentially the ability to purchase or scout a player, develop them in-house and then loan them out for first team experience. From the traditional, lower league loans, to feeder clubs. With clubs these days trying to develop an ethos. With players recruited for a system by a director of football and a head coach instead of a manager to oversee first team duties. With systems discussed like at Man City, where every side plays the same way, described in your article on Man City’s latest youth prospect, but sure it was founded at La Masia or Ajax. However, why has this not been done with coaches. Especially with a fondness for an ex player. Could Arsenal say develop Jack Wilshere as a youth manager (as they are doing), and when ready, farm him out to a feeder club to be their main manager? Why don’t top sides stockpile greatest potential coaches like they do with youth players? Is there a rule against this? Just wondered.

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