Klopp’s Liverpool on Verge of Season Capitulation After Poor Start to 2017

Despite starting the 2016/17 season as one of the top dogs and looking likely of finally challenging for silverware success, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have endured a horrendous start to 2017 with a miserable run of form in all competitions.

In just one week the Merseyside club saw their run in both the EFL Cup and FA Cup come to an abrupt end, as they were sent packing from the competitions by Southampton and Wolves respectively.

Those two cup exits also followed a shocking Premier League defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Welsh outfit Swansea City, who managed to secure a surprising 3-2 victory at Anfield.

With a remarkable three consecutive losses on home soil, Liverpool have entered a mini-crisis early in the year after previously looking unstoppable domestically.

German coach Klopp had instilled a great sense of unity in his squad and many stars had begun the campaign strongly, including Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana. However, that has swiftly turned sour as his side suffer from a daunting decline in form across all fronts.

Klopp Under Immense Pressure

Having started the term in full throttle and looking capable of finally ending their wait for a Premier League crown, Klopp’s men have dropped well off the pace and now find themselves battling for a Champions League position, rather than silverware.

Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp is feeling the strain and has been a far-cry from his usual eccentric, positive self during matchdays in recent weeks. The German, like Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, may be finally realising that England offers a much tougher proposition than the likes of La Liga or the Bundesliga, with the supposedly lower ranked teams able to upset the odds on a regular basis.

For the Reds, it’s now time to recover and bounce back up the table, with cup success now out of the question following recent disappointing exits. The EFL Cup and FA Cup shocks will hurt the fans now, but in the grand scheme of things this season, those exits may actually benefit the Merseyside club in the long run.

With Chelsea running away with proceedings domestically and dominantly leading the Premier League betting at this stage of the term, Liverpool have a lot of ground to make up already. Meanwhile, they face stiff competition from rivals around them, including in-form Londoners Arsenal and Tottenham, a stuttering Man City and rejuvenated Manchester United.

Coutinho Deal to Boost Prospects

One silver lining in the midst of such a dreadful run for the club has been the new long-term deal agreed by Brazilian star Coutinho, with the Samba playmaker signing on at Anfield until the 2021/22 season. Such a deal also makes him Liverpool’s highest paid player at just 24 years of age, as he put an end to speculation linking him with a big-money move to Spain with La Liga giants Barcelona.

Former club captain Steven Gerrard recently claimed that Klopp must now build his team around Coutinho in order to enjoy success at Anfield. It could be wise advice from the former Kop icon, as Liverpool desperately need to find a spark to reignite their stuttering season before it escalates out of control.

Looking back at a year of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp celebrated his one-year anniversary at Liverpool recently and he’ll be hoping to mark the occasion with a win when his players return to action from the international break to take on their rivals Manchester United at Anfield.

Back in July, Klopp and his coaching staff signed an extension to their deals at Liverpool which ensures they will be at the club until 2022.

With no European football to worry about this season, many people have tipped up Liverpool as title challengers and after seven games into the campaign, they have certainly lived up to that billing. Klopp’s men have taken 16 points from their seven games so far and are just two points behind leaders Manchester City. They can be backed at 9/2 with Betway to win the Premier League title this season.

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Klopp” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by cchana

Klopp will need to work his magic if Liverpool are to win their first ever Premier League title but we have seen enough from the German so far to suggest success is not too far away at the club.

Here is a look back at Klopp’s first year at Liverpool with a countdown of the top five memorable games in charge of the club:

5. Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool (Premier League) – 14th August, 2016

This season started with a bang at the Emirates Stadium as Liverpool hit four past Arsenal to signal their intent in the 2016/17 campaign.

A brace from Philippe Coutinho and goals from Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane ensured the Merseyside club got off to the perfect possible start to their season.
It was a fine example of how Klopp’s sides like to play attacking football. They had 18 shots in North London and were the first side to put four past Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium since Chelsea in 2009.

4. Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool (Premier League) – 21st November, 2015

One of the earliest signs of the improvements Liverpool had made under Klopp came at the Etihad Stadium just over a month after the German had replaced Brendan Rodgers at the club.
Liverpool took a 3-0 lead in the first-half as they ran rampant in Manchester. City added a consolation goal in the second-half but their three-goal advantage was restored with Martin Skrtel’s late header.

3. Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund (Quarter-final, 2nd Leg, Europa League) – 14th April, 2016

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IMG_0352” (CC BY 2.0) by otama

Klopp took on his old club Dortmund for the first time in this Europa League two-legged encounter. When Liverpool trailed 3-1 on aggregate they needed three goals to qualify into the semi-final. Dejan Lovren sealed the most unlikely comeback in the 91st minute as the English side won 4-3 to make it through to the last four of the European competition.

2. Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool (Premier League) – 31st October, 2015

One of Klopp’s first big tests as new Liverpool manager was to travel to defending champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Klopp outfought his opposite number Jose Mourinho to record his first Premier League win in London to add further pressure onto the Blues boss.

Coutinho cancelled out Ramires’s early goal and then added a second before Christian Benteke sealed all three points for Liverpool.

1.Liverpool 3-0 Villarreal (Semi-final, 2nd Leg, Europa League) – 5th May, 2016

Liverpool reached their first European final under Klopp when they defeated Spanish side Villarreal 3-0 in the second leg of their Europa League encounter to win 3-1 on aggregate.
Klopp’s men had already reached the League Cup final earlier in the year where his side lost on penalties to Manchester City. Sadly for the German and Liverpool they lost the Europa League final too when they were beaten by Sevilla.

Their win against Villarreal gave the fans a real taster of what is to come with some big European nights at Anfield again in the near future.

Liverpool’s Young Guns

Liverpool supporters have had to put up with an abundance of mediocrity since the glory days, with only a smidgeon of brightness thrown in since the 90s. So now is the time to enjoy Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool as they are truly a pleasure to watch so far this season, blowing teams away with a mesmerising blend of fast-paced attacking football, perfectly-drilled pressing and general intensity both on and off the ball.

Only Man City can claim to be as entertaining at present, and while some will be quick to write Liverpool off because of an apparently unreliable nature, the fact that the bookies have us as second-favourites in Premier League betting markets speaks volumes for what Klopp has managed to do in a year.

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IMG_1821.jpg” (CC BY 2.0) by Thomas Rodenbücher

A Year In

It is Remarkably still less than 12 months since Klopp took charge of Liverpool, but he has already made giant strides and his impact on the team is clear for all to see. Despite a lack of time on the training ground, injuries to key men and having to field players he possibly didn’t want at the club, Klopp still managed to lead the Reds to two cup finals last season.

This year, having had a full pre-season to work with his players and bring in who he wants to augment his squad, we are now seeing a new Liverpool tear other teams apart. Klopp’s style of football is impossible not to appreciate, and for the first time in a long time, Liverpool FC are both dreaded and envied in equal measure.

The most sensational thing about all of this is that this is still early days in Klopp’s occupancy of the top job.

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Daniel Sturridge” (CC BY 2.0) by kevinzim

Young Guns

One reason for Liverpool fans to feel so exhilarated and for rivals to feel terrified is the age of this current Reds squad. Everywhere you look in Liverpool’s roster, there are players still years from their prime, and if they all seem to be committed to staying with Klopp and Liverpool.

Of the current squad, there is a strong argument to say that Lucas Leiva is the only player genuinely past his best, although James Milner and possibly Daniel Sturridge could also fall into that category.

With youngsters such as Joe Gomez and Sheyi Ojo amongst others, on the fringe of the first team, it’s impossible not to feel encouraged about what Liverpool could be capable of in the years to come.

What makes this very interesting for The Reds is that we are the second-youngest squad in the Premier League and currently looking to battle with the league’s oldest squad, Manchester City. With European commitments, it will be interesting to see if Pep Guardiola’s team will start to feel their age as the games come thick and fast over the course of a season.

Tottenham, who just eased past Man City, are the only squad younger than Liverpool, and it is no coincidence that Mauricio Pochettino has similar footballing tactics and principles to Klopp. Both managers envisage their teams covering record-breaking amounts of ground, as well as playing a fluid and sophisticated passing game.

They each seemingly enjoy coaching players that are willing to learn and are hungry for success and fit enough to run themselves into the ground. It’s captivating football all round and as far as Liverpool are concerned, it just might take us to the title.

Can Liverpool Win A Premier League Title At Last?

Well that was a mixed weekend for the Reds I think we can all admit! But what did it tell us about the team and our chances of winning a trophy this coming season?

Well firstly, what a team we have on our hands! Even without Sturridge (will he ever be fully fit??) up front we played some brilliant stuff against a Barcelona team that have swatted away all-comers in pre-season. You can’t say they were weakened at all with both Messi and a returning Suarez playing for them in front of a packed Wembley. 90,000 fans all singing YNWA before battering Barca 4-0? Great day…

The most impressive player for me on the day was Mane, who was full of running and was involved in pretty much everything. Firminho too was everywhere on the day and will have a huge part to play in our upcoming season. For this to be the early days of the squad playing together ahead of Klopp’s first full season is extremely exciting I’m sure you’ll agree.

klopp sadThe game against Mainz was a completely different situation to the Barca game. Whilst the game at Wembley was a huge occasion this friendly was clearly just arranged to get the rest of the squad fit. The problem? Jurgen clearly didn’t expect the team to get so many injuries! Some players had to play another match less than 24 hours after an energy-sapping game against one of the world’s best teams. If not THE best.

I’m not going to say that the game didn’t matter, as any defeat is going to affect morale. It may be said to have even been good for us not to get above our station ahead of a game against Arsenal next Sunday. However, I’ll be thinking that our first team has a much better chance of being successful this season than the game against the German Europa League qualifiers has shown us.

Can We Be Champions?

Expectation is often the root of all evil and with that warning in mind, we Liverpool fans need to be very careful about  what we honestly want from the upcoming season. As a bare minimum, a Champions League place would be the very least that we’d expect from Klopp’s first full season in charge. A cup is also something that we’d want after having gone four years without a trophy.

happy kloppThe biggest reason behind me getting my hopes up for the coming season is the eye-catching lack of European football. Going without continental football for a season is a shameful matter for a club the size of Liverpool, but even the most hardcore of purists will have to admit that having no regular mid-week football is a massive advantage. Leicester did so well last year without having to worry about Europe and the last time we never had Europe to play in, we went to within two points of the title.

The second major reason why I think we’ll do well this time is because I feel that Klopp has bought really well over the course of the summer. As I mentioned in my last article for this site, the only area that Klopp could have looked into is the left-back spot. And judging by the amount of air-time our “pursuit” of Ben Chilwell, Jonas Hector and Mattia De Sciglio has been gathering, I’d say there’s concrete evidence to suggest that he’s tried/trying really hard to find a competitor for Alberto Moreno as well.

coutinhoThe last time we challenged for the title it was generally seen that our defence let us down. Sort that out and get back on track with scoring goals for fun and we could have a fantastic challenge on our hands. Everyone else seems to be looking at the Manchester clubs to provide the biggest challenge (teams that finished 4th and 5th last season remember) and ignoring us. Maybe it’s because we haven’t bought any megastars like United are trying to do, but look at Leicester again last year. The pundits agreed that it wasn’t all about money but have reverted to type within weeks saying you have to spend money to win the league!

Other than that, I’d say that Klopp has been very direct with his summer transfers as he’s gone straight out and added more goals to his team. By adding Sadio Mane to the squad, he’s added a minimum of 12 goals while Wijnaldum’s addition should count for another 7 goals at least. The kind of form that Marko Grujic showed in opening exchanges of pre-season, I’d say that the young Serb could get at least 5 goals over the course of the season.

Fancy A Bet (at 25/1!!) On Us Winning The League?

I do actually fancy us to win the title, or at least get close. One offer that I’ve seen this week is mad. Betfair are offering 25/1 for us to win the league if you don’t have an account. Click on this link for more info.

There are also loads of offers on a site that we’ve got our eye on from their latest enhanced odds page. The one I got some money from last year is Coral’s top goalscorer offer. Stick £25 on someone you think will be top goalscorer and you’ll get a £2 free bet every time they score. I put it on Aguero last year (don’t judge me – we didn’t have a striker!) and won loads in free bets along the way. Might have to choose him again this year unless we can pull a striker out of the bag by Friday!!

Roma Defeat Reveals That Liverpool Won’t Be (re)Built In A Day

Watching Liverpool play their pre-season games over the past month has been like, erm, watching Liverpool play ever since I started following them in 2004. Frustration, frustration and more frustration is what comes with following a team as unpredictable as the Reds. For every blistering performance they put in, there will be two poor performances that ultimately leaves us with one step forward and two steps back.

All the good work that Klopp’s men put in against Tramnere, Fleetwood, Wigan Huddersfield, and Milan gave us fans the kind of encouragement that we so desperately needed following our dismal Europa League final defeat. But who were we kidding, the manner in which we succumbed to defeat against Chelsea and Roma reminded us to not get our hopes to high.

mignoletLooking back on our performance against Roma though, I’d say that it was clearly a game of two halves. It would be unfair to say that we played badly because we looked pretty slick in the first half. We looked sharp going forward although the same cannot be said about our play at the back

Liverpool started the game slowly but after a spell of pressure from the Italians, we managed to turn it around by inducing a similar spell of pressure on our opponents. The outcome from all those attacks, however, was absolutely nothing. If we’re to find success this season, we’re surely going to have to find a way to convert attacks into goals.

As Klopp put it in his post match conference, the game, which was an extremely open affair, could have been 6-5 by the time the referee blew for half-time. One man who could have (and should have) had his name on the scoresheet was Daniel Sturridge. The England forward had a couple of gilt edged opportunities that came at the end of some intricate build-up play that even  our next opponents would have been proud of. Sturridge, though, failed to convert any of these chances to keep the scores stuck at 0-0.

klopp sadWith Liverpool putting together a good spell of pressure that led to a couple of good chances for us to score, the most predictable and infuriating thing happened. Roma scored against the run of play as Edin Dzeko scored a goal very similar to the one Eder scored in Portugal’s victory over France in the final of Euro 2016. To our credit, Sheyi Ojo pulled us back on level terms after a good set-piece with barely a minute left until half time.

The second half, however, turned out to be one to forget as Liverpool lost their attacking flair due to the 10 substitutions that Klopp made during the break. Unsurprisingly, a relentless spell of pressure from Roma then ultimately paid off as Mohammed Salah managed to hit the back off the net after a horrendous mix-up at the back between Andre Wisdom and Simon Mignolet. Making the best of whatever time was remaining, Danny Ings went closest to an equaliser as his smart header from a delicious Coutinho free-kick drew a good save from Roma ‘keeper Ellison.

But before you know it, that was that, and our trip of the States ended as it had started, in disappointment. How our 2016-2017 season ends, however, is yet to be seen and we can only hope that the boys can finally learn to maintain some consistency. Judging by our performances over the course of this pre-season, we still have quite some way to go before we can truly term ourselves as one of the Premier League’s top dogs, but hopefully, that day is sooner rather than later.

Liverpool FC Transfer Window Review: Karius and Mane

With Liverpool’s pre-season preparations well and truly underway, we continue to take a closer look at the signings that our club has made over the summer. While the last article featured an in-depth analysis of Marko Grujic and Joel Matip, today we’ll be taking a look at Loris Karius and Sadio Mane. Continue reading Liverpool FC Transfer Window Review: Karius and Mane

Liverpool FC Transfer Window Review: The First Two Summer Signings

After a summer packed with some mesmerising international football, club football is back in the spotlight as our favourite teams begin their preparations for the upcoming season. Liverpool, like any other ambitious side, have lined up a whole host of friendly fixtures all over the world as they bid to get back into shape ahead of what should be a crucial season for Jurgen Klopp.

Remember that you can get great odds on Liverpool to win the league at 8/1 or 11/8 to finish in the top 4 next season! Plus get a £200 welcome matched bonus just for signing up at Bet365!

While the results obtained during pre-season are not of much importance, the performances put in by the players can often go on to be the reason why they make, or fail to make the starting XI. The same goes for our new signings, who offered their first glimpse of themselves as legions of Reds all over the world looked on to get a taste of what was to come from them in the coming season.

Today, we’re going to take a look at two of the stars who were signed by Jurgen Klopp over the summer, while the remaining two will be covered in our next article.

  1. Marko Grujic

20-year-old Serbian Marko Grujic shot into the limelight back in the beginning of January after becoming  Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as the manager of Liverpool. The little-known midfielder, however, did not join up with the Reds in the winter as he ended the season with Red Star, guiding them to league success.

Since joining up with the Reds earlier this month, Grujic has had a fortnight to acclimatize himself with life in England. The giant midfielder made his Reds debut just last night as he won acclaim for a fantastic individual performance as Liverpool romped to an easy 5-0 victory against Fleetwood Town.

Grujic was the best player on the pitch after earning his side a penalty, hitting the woodwork before finally grabbing a goal on his Red’s debut. Jurgen Klopp has described the youngster’s debut performance for the Reds as a “dream” and he’s already left us Kopites salivating at the prospect of seeing him do well for us.

  1. Joel Matip

Cameroon international Joel Matip became the second signing of the Jurgen Klopp era after he was snapped up on a Bosman back in February of this year. The 24-year-old Schalke man developed a big reputation for himself back in Germany and his free transfer is thought to have saved Liverpool at least 15m pounds.

The commanding defender joins the Reds as an established international who could easily have joined any club as per his desire. Like Grujic, Matip only joined up with his new team earlier this month. Matip, however, unlike Grujic, did not have too memorable a debut during our win over Tranmere. The former Schalke man did not have to do much and the most memorable action by the player was the foul that he committed just 30 seconds into the game. His display against Fleetwood is equally unremarkable as he did not have to exert himself too much.

In Matip’s case though, we need to remember that the player is coming back from minor ankle operation and it will be unfair to judge him too early. Despite a lack of intense action, Matip looked assured at the back and seemed to be doing well with his partner in the heart of defence, Dejan Lovren.

 

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool and the Premier League title hunt

Anfield(CC BY 2.0) by Robert Cutts (pandrcutts)

It has been a season of near misses for Liverpool but if we’ve learnt anything, it is that the Reds are finally capable of challenging for silverware. They may have lost in both the Capital One Cup and Europa League finals but, after a barren run, Jurgen Klopp has transformed this Liverpool side from peripheral underachievers to potential Premier League champions. And it would be fair to say that supporters are already quietly confident of getting their hands on a first league title since 1990.

Of course, they still need a lot of work but Liverpool have shown the kind of resilience and tenacity that has eluded them since Rafa Benitez prowled the Anfield touchline. On current form, the Reds are certainly capable of challenging the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal and 32Red.com are pricing Liverpool at 9/1 at the time of writing to go all the way and win the title next season. And with Klopp at the helm, the sky is the limit for Liverpool. Who knows, we could be seeing the 48-year-old celebrating like this in front of the Kop in the not-so-distant future…

via GIPHY

The German has already been active in the summer transfer window, signing 22-year-old goalkeeper Loris Karius from FSV Mainz for an estimated fee of just £4.7 million. Without a doubt, this could be the best deal of the summer. Karius is widely regarded as one of European football’s brightest, young talents and the new Liverpool number 1 will push Simon Mignolet close for the starting role next season.

Karius isn’t the complete package just yet but there is plenty of potential – which is a major worry for Liverpool’s title rivals. The Reds have been lacking a top talent in goal for quite some time and Karius’ arrival will help to shore up the defence. If nothing else, it is another pawn off the board for Klopp and the Liverpool boss will be very happy with this particular piece of business, especially if he fulfils his destiny and matures into a world class goalkeeper.

And while most Liverpool supporters were devastated to miss out on Champions League football next season, it could actually help their chances of challenging for the English title. Back in the 2013/14 campaign, the Reds were able to focus all of their efforts on their domestic challenge. Unfortunately, they slipped up and were unable to get over the line but Liverpool showed that they are a talented side and could win the title with the right leadership and guidance.

Klopp has got Liverpool believing again and that’s all fans want. The Reds are playing their own unique brand of high-pressing, attacking football and they are certainly entertaining to watch if nothing else. The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and potential transfer target Mario Gotze are all top prospects and the thought of these three stars linking up with Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi in attack is mouth-watering to say the least.

Never Walking Alone…