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Jurgen Klopp officially became Liverpool manager a couple of weeks back.

But in the minds of many Liverpool fans, he was Liverpool manager the moment he decided to leave Dortmund.


What are realistic hopes and expectations for the Klopp era at Liverpool?

Fans had given up on Brendan Rodgers last season itself and it seemed only a matter of time before he was gone. Chants of “Klopp for the Kop” had begun ringing long before he actually came.

As expected, Klopp’s arrival to the Merseyside club was met with fanfare not seen in a long, long time. There was so much hype that fans were tracking Klopp’s every single moment, even when he was on a plane. Indeed, the hype was so great that a casual observer might have thought that Liverpool had won the league.

However, all this hysteria and excitement aside, it has almost gone unnoticed that this was the same Liverpool team met with vitriol and derision by the same fans now singing Klopp’s name. This is the same Liverpool team languishing in mid table in the Premier League and unable to create any chances.

No matter how good a manager Klopp is, it will take a considerable amount of time to implement the desired changes. As much a cliché as it might be, the situation with Liverpool is not going to change overnight. We already saw this in Klopp’s first two games, which were dour draws with limited attacking edge. So, what are the realistic hopes and expectations for Klopp’s Liverpool reign?

First, and Klopp has already stressed on this, the passion and belief needs to return to the Liverpool team. The problem with the team under Rodgers is that it was one devoid of any hope of belief. The play was just lifeless, monotonous and almost as if the team had given up before the game started. Before anything, Klopp absolutely has to change this. To quote Coach Mitsuyoshi Anzai from famous anime Slam Dunk: “The game is already over if you give up.”

Klopp has to restore the Liverpool mentality and the will to win. We have already seen signs of this happening in the games against Spurs and Rubin Kazan. Even though the Reds were unable to win, at least there was more belief, pride and passion than what had previously been seen.

With this, the Anfield atmosphere also has to improve. What was previously regarded as scary place to visit, Anfield has sadly come to possess an atmosphere akin to a library. Klopp needs to bring the voice out of the fans as well. Fans are the 12th man and they have to be brought into the game. As Klopp said in his first interview, he needs to change the fans and players from “doubters” to “believers”

Next, he has to fix the semantics with semantics in the team itself. By this, I mean he has two main problems in the team itself, which is insipid attacking play and a leaky defence. The Liverpool defence was a major problem during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure and one that was never fixed. Needless to say, it is imperative that this be changed under Klopp. The defence was always guilty of never playing as a unit because of poor communication and constant chopping and changing of personnel. Klopp needs to work on a settled defence in a fixed formation.

In attack, Klopp needs to play the players in the positions where they thrive, which was a huge problem under Rodgers. There is no point in having players on the pitch in ineffective positions. The balance is absolutely crucial and Klopp has to be spot on with his formations and tactics.

He also has to find a way to make the play more incisive and with a cutting edge. Under Rodgers, the Reds were always guilty of one pass too many and were unable to break down “parked buses”. These were problems seen in Klopp’s first two games as well as the Reds struggled to break down sturdy defences and create meaningful chances. Fixing these problems is easier said than done.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Klopp has to get it right in the transfer market. If his past history at Dortmund is anything to go by, that should hopefully not be a problem. But, even then, Klopp has to spend his money smartly and on players that are of the required quality and will benefit the team. Rodgers was guilty of buying too many “duds” that never had a meaningful impact on the team. Particularly, this January transfer window is crucial as it decides who stays and who goes in the Klopp regime.

When all is said and done, what must be remembered is that it will be a slow process. Fans expecting instant success will most probably be let down. Of this season, finishing in the Top 4 should be the goal and a trophy in one of the cup competitions will be an added bonus. Time will tell whether Klopp can bring Liverpool on the world map again.

Originally published at madaboutepl.com

Post written by Siddharth Raj Kapoor, Twitter: @KopChants
for Mad About EPL, Blog: Mad About EPL, Twitter: @MadAboutEPL

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