With the low of a Phil Coutinho transfer and the high of last week’s 4-3 defeat of Manchester City there is certainly a lot of noise about Liverpool Football Club recently; after Jurgen Klopp’s tactics played a big part in Liverpool scoring four past the league’s best defence at the time his stock has risen to possibly the highest it has ever been during his Liverpool reign in the fans and national media alike. On Sunday we saw a team that defined the managers complete footballing way; pressing from the front, giving the opposition no time on the ball right from the goalkeeper to the striker – if the other team got that far – and the ‘Gegenpress’ was probably the most prominent its ever been over 90 minutes.
For all the talent Phillipe Coutinho brought to the pitch, the Manchester City game showed that there is life after the Brazilian. The team as a whole looked perfectly balanced in all areas of the pitch and whilst we let Coutinho go with a heavy heart his departure might kick start this new look Liverpool midfield and the final jigsaw piece might fit into place. From now until the end of the season that midfield three of Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wijnaldum need to start as many games together as possible. All three clicked on the pitch and thrived in their job roles; hardly anything got past Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum showed incredible drive and determination to bring the ball forward and Oxlade-Chamberlain thrust himself into the spotlight as the team’s creative midfielder with a great strike after just 9 minutes. To add to that we’ve got a front three who are all scoring goals and a new £75 million defender in Virgil Van Dijk.
The only Achilles heel for the team is the goalkeeper situation, neither Mignolet or Karius have staked a claim for the number 1 spot and don’t look likely to turn it around any time soon. Simon Mignolet is apparently considering his future after Jurgen Klopp seemingly decided that Loris Karius was his starting keeper from now on and I don’t think the Belgian can have any complaints. Since Klopp took over at Liverpool Simon Mignolet has started in the majority of the games and whilst there have been some good moments for the highlight reel; its painstakingly obvious that he can’t remain Liverpool’s starting keeper if they want to achieve their ambitions. Loris Karius is in the same boat too, the only thing the German has going in his favour is that he hasn’t had a prolonged run in the side and that at 24, he’s still got at least ten years left in his football career.
In my opinion, I think that is why the German is the starting goalkeeper now. Klopp has made his mind up on Simon Mignolet and has now given Loris Karius four months to show him why a new goalkeeper isn’t needed. During his time at Dortmund, Klopp never dipped into the market for a starting goalkeeper and instead opted to put his faith into the player he inherited, Roman Weidenfeller. Having already been at the club for six years, Weidenfeller had already established himself at the club but it could have been easy for Klopp to bring in a player who more suited his style. Instead, as he tends to do, he worked with the player first and was rewarded with fine form during his 7-year tenure at Dortmund.
Whilst Klopp doesn’t have a history of signing goalkeepers, he also hasn’t been let down by the player between the sticks as often as Mignolet and Karius have let him down. Klopp is faithful to his players and he will always give them enough rope to either make something of themselves or commit career suicide, he gave Lovren and Matip enough time to prove to him they’re a silverware winning partnership and when they couldn’t consistently prove it, he spent £75 million on a new defender who can do the job for him. Similarly, Mignolet and Karius have had the time to prove they’re a worthy number 1, but it’s quickly coming to an end and unless something drastic changes; Klopp is going to go out and spend big to get the keeper who can do the job for him.
With only four players remaining from the near title winning season of 2013/14, Liverpool look in a better position now than they have been in the past ten years to become a league and cup winning side again. 2016 saw us get to two cup finals between January and May and it also saw us fly up to second in the league between August and December. In 2017 we hit some stumbling blocks in January and October but recovered in November and December to mean that we are now only two points off second coming into the new year. 2018 will see the arrival of Naby Keita and possibly a goalkeeper to complete the team, with all the building blocks in place and three years of Jurgen Klopp at the helm everything seems to be coming together nicely for Liverpool FC, hopefully 2018 can be the year the team starts winning silverware again and we will start seeing the managers perfect Liverpool team.
Article by Louis Connor
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