TERRACE TALK: Liverpool - Progress as madcap Jurgen Klopp born to manage Reds

Two semi-finals last season, two finals this. Technically that counts as progress I suppose but what really has the optimists salivating is the presence of Jurgen Klopp. 
TERRACE TALK: Liverpool - Progress as madcap Jurgen Klopp born to manage Reds

Easy to anger, laughing the rest of the time, almost completely nuts; if somebody was born to manage Liverpool… Once the decision was taken to oust Brendan, it was hoped Anfield would be less of a madhouse and lean sporadically at least towards professionalism and discipline.

Fat chance. If anything, it’s gone even more haywire. When confronted with his old quote about heavy metal football, Klopp conceded “I do talk a lot of shit sometimes,” but the sense of our team hurtling towards ‘all or nothing’ gets stronger by the week.

Exhibit A: a few days in December 2015, when the Reds put six past Southampton then lost to the worst Newcastle team ever. Read that slowly. Worst. Newcastle. Team. Ever.

They battered City home and away, knocked United, Dortmund, and Villarreal out of Europe. Nearly all of these matches were bookended by other displays so inept, you’d think Hodgson had snuck back with fake beard and spectacles.

Rodgers began the season with seven points and three clean sheets. Was the rollercoaster closed? Nope, the wheels were just getting an extra ton of grease and the breaks were being dismantled.

It’s a decent team on its day but that may be Klopp’s biggest challenge. Getting the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, and Sturridge to hit the heights more often and then, on days when the magic isn’t happening, knuckle down and apply themselves for the team’s sake.

Nearly eight months into the Klopp reign and you might as well ask a pack of drunken monkeys to build a life-size Eiffel Tower out of Lego. When you’re also asking the likes of Moreno and Sakho (hmmm, perhaps not) to be your foundation, you might as well light the fuse and stand well back sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong; when it all clicks it’s wonderful and at some stage you maybe have to go with the flow and resign ourselves to chaos. Except you know deep down in your heart that’s never going to get us to the places Liverpool need to be, where Liverpool by rights should be.

As an older fan, it’s tempting to cop out, say “I’ve seen it all anyway” and just settle for entertainment. Klopp will certainly provide plenty of that, just watching him if need be, but there had to be some element of discipline at Dortmund to help get them where they got to.

Once he starts recruiting his own men, there’ll hopefully be more to this side than the occasional melodrama. The squad he inherited, in painting terms, looked like a Jackson Pollock on days he just idly knocked cans over.

A big exodus is probably needed but wouldn’t be the smartest idea in the world. Klopp needs to gauge what he can use briefly. It’s a squad game. Who can contribute, who’s just along for the immensely profitable ride?

When it comes to buying players, surely Klopp must get his own way? There’s been begrudging reassessment of the Transfer Committee since the likes of Lallana and Lovren definitely improved under a new coach, but even now, someone like Benteke needs to be crowbarred into a round hole — and why should the boss of one of the biggest football clubs in the world have to do that?

If Klopp doesn’t get director’s cut, it’s hard to think of anyone else who’d come in and get it either. There’s a lot riding on this. Maybe the owners do want to just pocket their profits and hide o’er the ocean, but then hiring a world-class coach and increasing the ground’s capacity (oft-promised, never delivered until now) does hint at ambition.

Mo’ trophies, mo’ money. First-rate business minds must understand that, surely? Let’s hope the trip to Basel can get the Moneyball rolling.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox