HomeAlissonHas Jurgen Klopp overachieved at Liverpool?

Has Jurgen Klopp overachieved at Liverpool?

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It has finally happened. Liverpool have finally won a league title in three decades. The long wait is over but it was worth the wait for this Reds side to win the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield in 2015 with one goal and one goal only, winning number 19 for Liverpool and he has achieved it. Liverpool fans have already anointed them as the best Premier League team ever.

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They might not be that but they are very good. You don’t win league titles with close to 20 points to spare if you are not a brilliant side. But I will attribute Liverpool’s success to Jurgen Klopp.

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I think the German would have won the league with the current Manchester City squad but I don’t feel Pep Guardiola would have done the same with the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp’s success at Anfield should be a lesson on how to build a team without spending more than £50m on a defender almost every summer.

There is absolutely no doubt that his big-money purchases of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson transformed Liverpool. But those two were finishing touches to a squad who were already looking good.

But looking at what Liverpool have done, there is a feeling that Jurgen Klopp has overachieved with this side over the last two seasons.

This Liverpool team are very good but not close to getting 200 odd points in two years good.

Jurgen Klopp has overachieved at Liverpool side and he’s the prime reason for their success

Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015 and claimed that he would win the league title in four to five years’ time and he has proven to be right.

The Liverpool manager took up a meticulous rebuilding exercise that required him identifying the players he wanted to keep and the ones he was prepared to chuck out.

He was ruthless with ones he didn’t want, ask Daniel Sturridge. It helps that he is clear about his vision and what he wants from his players on the pitch, which has helped their data-driven recruitment team to identify players who would suit his requirements.

However, Jurgen Klopp has also signed players who no one actually thought were going to make this big an impact. No one expected Jordan Henderson (he was already at the club when Klopp arrived) to become absolutely pivotal in the Liverpool midfield.

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The former Sunderland man is limited as a player but Klopp has built a system that makes the most of his work rate.

James Milner on a free transfer has been an inspired signing and a surprising success, Andrew Robertson plucked out of a relegated Hull City has turned into arguably the best left-back in the Premier League and no one talks about Trent-Alexander Arnold’s defensive frailties as Jurgen Klopp doesn’t need him to defend at right-back.

Mohamed Salah had rekindled his career in Italy but in England, he was still the former Chelsea flop and even when he arrived, very few actually expected him to take the league by storm.

Sadio Mane was considered a top Premier League performer but at Liverpool, he has turned into one of the best wide forwards in the world and is now wanted by Real Madrid.

A midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and James Milner lack creativity and are workmanlike. It is Jurgen Klopp’s genius that he devised a system that only needs his midfield to win back and recycle the ball.

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Creativity is left to the forwards and the full-backs, which is a tactical ingenuity from the German.

Ask yourself, will Pep Guardiola win the league with a workmanlike midfield? The only defensive midfielder he regularly plays is Fernandinho.

The Spaniard consistently puts on one of the most creative midfields of Europe with Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan or Phil Foden playing. It is, for the lack of a better word, teeming with creativity.

Guardiola cannot envisage a midfield that only serves the purpose of recycling possession.

Liverpool have also been extremely lucky with injuries. None of their difference-makers have been injured for an elongated period of time until Alisson’s tweaked his hamstring this season.

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And we all know what happened in the Champions League without the Brazilian in goal. Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have remained consistently fit.

It is both a testament to Liverpool’s strength and conditioning staff and their medical department that the Reds stars have more or less avoided any big injuries.

On the other hand, Manchester City have not been that lucky. Aymeric Laporte’s injury troubles this season hamstrung Pep Guardiola. Imagine the Liverpool backline without Van Dijk.

Yes, it wouldn’t be a pretty picture. Of course, one can always point to Guardiola wasting millions on defenders over the last four years and still depending on one centre-back remaining fit. That’s on him and his recruitment team.

But at the end of it all, Liverpool have the superior manager and that has made all the difference. However, can they level out in the next couple of years?

Yes, they can. It would be staggering if the Reds can maintain their level for the third season running. Even the most expensively assembled squad at Manchester City failed to do it in the third year.

Difficult to see how Liverpool maintain their current level for the third season running

Liverpool squad will be a little older and their forward line still lack depth. They are one bad injury away from depending on Divock Origi to produce week-in-week-out.

He has had his moments but let’s be honest, he is not good enough to replace either of the famed trio upfront.

Takumi Minamino is yet to really show anything to suggest that he is the player who could make a difference in the absence of either Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane.

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Jurgen Klopp’s decision to not spend big on Timo Werner could come back to haunt him and if for the second summer running, he decides against making any big additions to his squad it could be a harbinger for doom.

If you are not improving, you are standing still. Manchester City will go big, Chelsea have already spent large sums, and expect Manchester United to invest heavily as well, especially if they return to the Champions League.

Can Liverpool afford to stand still? Nope, especially when there is a feeling that Jurgen Klopp has squeezed more than what his current crop of players have the talent to give.

Also Read: Championship 2019-20: Season Review and Key Stats

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