Liverpool have ‘normalised mediocrity’ and let the ‘squad stagnate’ under Jurgen Klopp

·17-min read
Liverpool players enjoy an open top bus parade Credit: PA Images
Liverpool players enjoy an open top bus parade Credit: PA Images

There are various views in the Mailbox about where Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp and FSG are going wrong. Plus, VAR, shirts from outside of Europe and more…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

 

Klopp in
Are people actually calling for Klopp to go, or is it a hilarious mass-trolling?  Paul, Bootle red says Liverpool have been bang average for ages.

That’s the Liverpool with 92 points last season, who conceded 26 goals all season in the league and scored 94.  The Liverpool who lost 1 game in the Champions League (the most important one, yeah, but still a pretty phenomenal record).  The Liverpool who won both domestic cups.

He’s won the Premier League and the Champions League in his time here, and he’s got to the Champions League final on another 2 occasions.  I’ve seen us in more European Cup finals since Klopp has been here than in the rest of my 35 plus years as a supporter.

We’ve played the best football of any Liverpool side I can remember – better even the the Rush and Barnes days – so when the standard slips, it’s like a turd in your cereal.  But yeah, let’s get rid of him because he’s had a bad start to the season.

We may be serial bridesmaids to City, but good god, for much of my time as a fan we weren’t even invited to the wedding!  At least now we can take advantage of the free bar and try and catch the bouquet.

Do fans actually want him out?  For real?  Jesus wept.
Rich

 

Let’s get some things cleared up

Liverpool are playing poorly, the ball isn’t Zipping fast enough, the press is almost non-existent.

But let’s be realistic? Klopp should not be worried about being out by Thursday Afternoon as Will Ford alluded to.

How pundits and evens fans can miss what is happening amuses me.

The press is non existant because the forward line press can not be supplemented by a midfield back up.

At 36, Milner has to pick and choose his moments to expend energy, like any player of that age (see Ronaldo.C and Ibrahimovic.Z).

Henderson, seemingly has the same issues creeping on him.

Now, if the Midfield can’t back up the forwards pressing, the front line will be reluctant to start the press (any notion this is because Liverpool are ‘missing Mane’ is ludicrous and lazy, Mane was quite poor for the majority of his last 18 months).

Then the high line gets exposed.

Now let’s look at last night. Napoli were excellent and deserved their win. Liverpool were largely poor.

However, if Joe Gomez had not been excruciatingly poor, I mean, 18st, hungover, Sunday League center half poor, this game ends in a narrow defeat against a very good team or maybe (with more motivation because they’re not 3-0 down) a draw.

Liverpool this season have not been quite as bad as pundits (broken badge hunters) and fans (used to smashing teams on a bi-weekly basis) would have you believe.

When you start with an aging Midfielder or two and a player still developing (all be it at a great rate, hold your head high young Harvey) you are going to look, in the context of the past few years, a bit off the pace.

Throw in a defender, who looks like he spent the evening at the Dog and Duck before chugging on 10 cigarettes pre game, add a very good attacking team, you get a result like last night.

Any suggestion that Klopp should go is laughable, he will know the issues and I’m confident he will fix them over the next 5 (or so) games.

If Liverpool go out in the group stages of the Champions League and finish 8th, then we’ll talk (Even then I’d back Klopp with another 5 years to rebuild).
Graham (That was the worst individual defensive performance since Lovren v Spurs in 2017) LFC

 

The reality is Klopp has a better chance of turning this around than a new manager
That was the worst Liverpool have played under Klopp. For the first time, it was clear Liverpool didn’t have the ability, and most damningly didn’t have the drive nor conviction, to turn the game around. Napoli were rampant, and Liverpool gave up – they stopped running. I never thought I would see that from Klopp’s Liverpool, but it was clear to see – only Diaz and Allison were giving it any, let alone maximum, effort – nobody else.

In terms of why it was so shockingly, unforgivably bad, there are a few reasons:

The team got further in all competitions last season than any team has ever managed before – keeping performance levels so high, for so long, was a herculean effort, and was always going to take a toll and result in a dip afterwards, even after a summer break.

Even before last season, Klopp’s football is very demanding on players – they have been giving it maximum effort for years, they are knackered – lemons that have been squeezed dry as another mailboxer put it this morning. Is the weird fitness egg still a thing?

We kept the wrong player – Mane was the game-breaker, Salah just makes hay when the sun shines, and his new contract appears to have demotivated him – understandable really, he is only human and has got his cake and it now eating it. He might get his mojo back but I doubt it – he’s getting on a bit.

Teams have worked out how to beat Liverpool, and it’s pretty easy – sit deep, attack with pace and beat the offsite trap – it was noticeable that Napoli were sending a runner past the defence to drop them deeper, then sending a secondary runner through, which Liverpool literally never tracked – it’s a common theme, everyone is getting joy playing against us this way.

Liverpool only play one way, and a low block nullifies our attack every time, and the above beats our high line every time. City have more options, which is why they always find a way to win – they always have 5 match-winners around the opposition box. We sold our only match winner in the summer.

The squad is in transition – we’ve lost key players and brought in new players which are taking time bed in – it seems to take players longer to become effective in Klopp’s system, Diaz probably the only exception. Hard to believe Nunez > Haaland was ever a conversation.

Injuries are a factor, but not an excuse.

Does all this this mean the end for Klopp? Maybe it does. It’s a lot to fix. If the players don’t show more desire, hunger and running against Wolves at the weekend then I think he will go. I think he will resign – he thrives as part of and leader of a collective – if he feels that people aren’t listening to him, then I think the demotivation will infect him and depress him enough that he steps away, and I wouldn’t blame him – it must be so hard to get so little in reward for so much effort and over-performance from his team, purely because City have been fractionally better (which they are – Pep’s genius is in keeping his team so magnificently motivated – money doesn’t buy that, it is all Pep).

That said, I think Klopp has more chance of turning it around than a new manager – we aren’t going to buy an entire new team, and the existing players are knackered, so aren’t going to be able to adapt to a new manager’s methods any quicker than Klopp can remotivate them. It’s going to be hard to be patient while things get worse, which I fear they will, but Klopp is an elite coach, and has earned this patience.
Gofezo (Christ that was depressing to type)

 

History not nostalgia…
So there you have it Liverpool.

When you’re heading into a match in one of the best/ hostile home fanbases with the worlds press focusing on young Kvaradona,  you’re on a losing footing. That result was not a shock. That’s what happens when you let a squad stagnate.

There is a certain luxury of being in my mid to late 40’s having now seen some of the greatest managers ever to preside over the great English teams both domestically and in Europe. This isn’t just rose tinted nostalgia.

For the younger readers, here’s a little synopsis.

Pep is rightly recognised with developing a style of football which yields results wherever he goes, in every league. The man knows how to produce winning teams.

Wenger was the father of English modern football in and went far beyond the pitch. A brilliant and future thinking man who produced stars, before having to pay for them.

Chelsea Jose (first time) was a ruthless and manipulative tactician who recognised and leaned how to destroy teams before a ball was kicked. It rightly got him a second outing.

And then there was Ferguson. A man who simply took no shit from players, press and managers alike, dominated with a bullying style of play and despite all this was ultimately recognised feared and respected for this.

Above all of this he recognised that once his team had had success, he questioned their hunger and as soon as they exhibited any grounds of complacency or ego, they were gone.

Just ask Roy Keane. And Ruud.

He would systematically use the benefits of a hugely successful marketing and global strategy to rebuild, time and again. By the time he was gone he had done it 4 times over a 20 year period.

He didn’t always get the individuals right, but he knew how to select the right balance to rotate and consistently win games and was more reliant on the youth system than any other manager before and since.

He just didn’t subscribe to nostalgia and this ability to dismantle teams and rebuild was his greatest strength.

Klopp has been excellent in the most part and success truly deserved with amazing levels of entertainment and quality from his players for the last 3 years, but would be wise to recognise this, and in light of how this season is unfolding. There is insufficient strength in depth, and injuries aside, the team that were beaten last night have to question their own motivation. It’s time to break up the band.

Always interesting to see then the total opposite strategy from Chelsea again. New owners for a few months and you sack someone who has guided your club to CL victory then guaranteed you CL through a period of total uncertainty . You spend months planning a total recruitment programme costing 250m and your new striker gets excited about the reunion ….only for him to get 45 mins before that’s over.

As a Utd fan I know what a shit storm looks like.

Long season ahead for all.
Chris

 

Normalising mediocrity
When Liverpool had an open top parade days after losing the Champions League/League, is it possible that it communicated to this group of players that there is no need to push on?
Jamie, Eire

 

Liverpool woes…
Untwist the knickers Liverpool fans, and redirect any ire you have towards FSG please. If there are any problems to call out it’s with the owners of the club we support.

Klopp is an amazing manager. He is rightly lauded for everything he’s done. The players are amazing players, and are rightly lauded for everything they’ve done.

Both management and players were involved in every single game they could play in last season. Think about that for a second. They played the most games they could play. More than any player for the club has played in a season before. Then after the season they had the shortest break ever thanks to the World Cup in Qatar. You think there might just be mental and physical fatigue going on? That explains the dross we see on the pitch currently.

FSG have left Klopp trying to pull another miracle out of his hat. They failed to strengthen the squad when we were after winning the Prem and CL. New players were needed as cover and depth since what’s there have been flogged to bits.

FSG need to sort themselves out. The players need a week off.
Culk the Younger

salah alexander-arnold Credit: PA Images
salah alexander-arnold Credit: PA Images

Liverpool thoughts
Well despite the result against Napoli, I actually enjoyed that game.  Was a real end to end game where neither side seemed to really have a midfield.  Whilst the scoreline is the only stat that matters, Liverpool created easily as many chances as Napoli did, it’s just Napoli scored theirs and we didn’t.

However, that’s not to say I believe we played particularly well or deserved anything from the game.  We created more in attack, and Salah, whilst not at his best was getting closer to the box than he has in recent games, hopefully he continues to play his way into form.  The defence though worries me.  The high line requires the centrebacks to be in sync.  Virgil and Gomez are both so out of form that it is bound to fail more than it works, and last night was a nadir of what can happen if it falls apart.  With Matip back, and Konate back soon, really hope Gomez in particular is dropped for a few games.  Add to that we have other players coming back, I’m optimistic we will improve considerably over the next few games.  We have to.

Anyone calling for Klopp to go needs a word with themselves.  He has deserved the chance to turn it round, and I’m sure he will.  Literally only a few short months ago we were competing for a quadruple.  Winning two trophies.  Now you want him gone?  Please.  I believe the players are struggling to get over last seasons near miss of the quadruple.  Playing in every game available to them, at high intensity for months, has taken it’s toll.

I don’t usually agree with him, but Michael Owen said that Liverpool are better at playing twice a week than once a week.  No real training inbetween games.  I have to agree with him.  Now the schedule gets more hectic, and we play more games I hope this will kickstart us into abit of form.

Overall, Klopp and this team have given me so much enjoyment and big moments the last few years.  I accept it won’t always be brilliant and we win every game, so the current poor form is annoying, but it’s part of football.  Suck it up and back the team and manager that have given all Liverpool fans some amazing performances and games.

Regards,
Kevin

 

Klopp IS reinventing himself and THAT’S the problem…
I have worked out why Liverpool are rubbish. Jurgen has simply lost focus and the players have followed suit. Ironically, this all started with laser eye surgery.

Right now, Jurgs gets more tanned with every defeat. Or his teeth get whiter. Or both. Anyway it’s clear where his attention is right now and it’s not the Wolves match. The envious glances at Luciano Spalletti’s bronze bonce were there for us all to see last night.

The £45k Liverpool would get from selling Jo Gomez to Villa should just be ploughed into a total makeover, so that Jurgen can get away from the mirror and back into the ol’ Gegenmanagereinschaft.

The Scouse massive can thank me later.
Rob (If he turns up to Friday’s press conference with his hair dyed black then I’m going big on Euromillions).

 

Running to stand still…
Dear Mailbox,

You end the season with 92 points, one behind Manchester City (this Manchester City, who’ve won 4 of the past 5 titles), and you’re told it’s an underachievement.

You win the FA Cup and the League Cup, and the big takeaway is that your team didn’t score in either final.

You reach the Champions League Final, losing narrowly to Real Madrid (who’ve won 5 of the past 9 finals) and in extraordinary off-field circumstances, and you’re told you’re a serial loser.

You win a Premier League game 9-0, and you’re told it’s a crisis because you didn’t win 10-0.

You lose your opening game in the Champions League Group Stage, and you read in the Mailbox that you’re getting sacked in the morning.

You’re Jurgen Klopp, and you have to wonder if the only way you’ll keep Liverpool fans happy is by winning every game, in every competition, 3-0.Then you realise that even if you do, you’ll be told it should’ve been four.
Mark, Cape Town

 

Wolves to beat Liverpool?
Soooooo

My missus is a Wolves fan and absolutely buzzing for two reasons:- signing Costa who for some reason she thinks will be awesome, and facing a Liverpool side ‘for the taking’ on Saturday.

Point of the email? She asked me to put a bet on for her and I was shocked to see Wolves at 9-1 to win. Really? Do any Liverpool fans really believe they’ll win Saturday? Wolves have been playing well but their usual problem of scoring goals has haunted them. Playing this leaky Liverpool defence should be no problem for them.

Oh and Paul bootle red? Maybe! Your! Email! Wasn’t! Published! Because! Of! All! The! Exclamation! Marks!
Sara HTFC (goal line technology failed Sunday costing Huddersfield a goal and a point – imagine the horror if this was in the premier league)

 

VAR and the two challenge system
James Galway’s points about why a two VAR challenges per game per team would not help misses some obvious points.

1) Yes there would still be close calls, but any calls would be limited to four per match, and we would avoid every incident being forensically examined by by an attention seeking PGMOL rep who wants to make it all about him.

2) The manager or captain doesn’t necessarily have to see any given incident themselves – that would be ridiculously restrictive.  As in cricket the Captain could consult with team mates as to whether they think there is a good reason for a review.  Thus, for example, Tuchel or whoever was Chelsea captain could have been advised by Cucurella that Romero had yanked him down by the hair prior to Spurs scoring.

3) Yes the officials may still come to the same (wrong) decision but my other point refers -most of the problem lies with PGMOL and their idiot referees who either need to have control of video reviews taken away from them or else be held accountable for obviously wrong decisions they make.
Kevin (Gerrard still there?)

 

Shirts from outside of Europe
I went to university in San Diego, California. Sadly at the time, there was no local football team present, but a USL club was founded in 2019, SD Loyal – you may have briefly heard of them as they are coached by Landon Donavan and made headlines for walking off the pitch twice in one month, once due to racial abuse and once due to homophobic abuse.

Anyway I mention them as they have routinely produced fantastic shirts, in a variety of unique colors/patterns, as one might expect from a California club. Their shirt sponsors being an awesome local brewery (Stone Brewing Co.) and an awesome video game (Rocket League) make them even better.
Oliver (Loving Liverpool’s new away kit, despite the start to the season) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

 

Following on from JC STFC’s mail about the ever so fetching Belgrano away shirt I’d like to nominate FC St Pauli of Bundesliga 2. The only club I know who play in charming, fashionable brown (a bit like that 1970’s Coventry City away kit but without the yellow piping).
Raz, Dublin.

 

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