Fans who thought that Klopp would immediately transform
Liverpool have been left disappointed by his opening
three games in charge. All have been drawn - while there are positives to take
from all of them, the performances have not, in truth, been particularly
different from those under Rodgers. The latest in this run of occasionally
promising but ultimately disappointing games was a 1-1 draw with Southampton: Benteke’s bullet header was cancelled out by
a scrappy late equaliser for the visitors.
Let’s start with the positives. While the team certainly haven’t developed a new, distinct identity just yet, there are signs of gradual movement away from the side we have become used to under Rodgers. These changes are most noticeable at the back – there is a clear focus on a tighter back line, and the constant presence of Sakho has helped to partially achieve this. He still makes the occasional dangerous sloppy pass, and is still partnered by the largely incompetent Skrtel, but even though we are only three games into the Klopp era the defence has definitely already improved a little. The Frenchman was probably man of the match against Southampton – his commanding presence at the back meant that the visitors had limited chances, and his game intelligence and technical ability meant that the transition from defence into midfield was usually fairly rapid. This quick movement of the ball was apparent throughout the team. Passes had a purpose to them, each ball stretched the opposition and opened up a little bit of space for the players to work in. This rapid pass and move style could well have directly resulted in a goal or two – Milner, Lallana and Coutinho all mis-controlled a pass to feet when a good first touch would have seen them through on goal. Finally, the good old gegenpressing must be mentioned: despite what the tactical analysis essays may tell you this has in reality basically turned out to be a simple high press, but it has certainly been effective. Although most of the players simply do not yet have the stamina to sustain it, the first twenty minutes of games have been very positive indeed. Southampton was no different – when not on the ball
Liverpool put pressure on the visitors, pushing up to
them to try and regain possession and return to the front foot.
|Could the narrow diamond best utilise our players?|
It is ludicrous to definitively judge Klopp either way after just three matches, but I think it is fair to say that the start could have been a lot worse. His emphasis on the defence has led to a slightly less shaky looking back line already, and
is looking very dangerous under the German’s guidance. The quick passing and
high pressing is also refreshing, and with practice the team could be very well
suited to this approach. Personally I believe he is under-utilising some of our
attacking players, but that may change after he has had time to properly assess
the squad once everyone is back fully fit. In short, while Klopp’s tenure could
absolutely still go either way, I for one am happy in the direction we appear
to be slowly heading in.
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