How Jurgen Klopp Would Change Liverpool’s Fortunes


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ popularity has faded at the club, and his days as Reds boss are certainly numbered. Several managers are being linked with the Liverpool organization, including Andre Villas Boas, Jurgen Klopp and Rafael Benitez — who is said to be keen on a return.

Out of the three, Klopp seems the most likely to land the job, but how would he turn things around?

On paper, Liverpool’s more direct style of play would match Dortmund’s. However, Liverpool still prefer possession football, and their attacks rely on Steven Gerrard’s passing ability from deep to initiate their attacks. Gerrard has aged, and he lacks the ability to play the German’s brand of high-energy football, he would certainly be no more than a substitute for Klopp’s Liverpool.

Klopp would have no problem forming a dangerous and complete attacking line at Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge would continue to start at center forward with Rickie Lambert serving as his primary backup. Mario Balotelli, who is the most talented of the trio, only seems to be concerned when he has the opportunity to score, and Klopp would never allow such lack of intensity throughout a match.

Sterling slots into the left wing position and Lazar Markovic would most likely partner him on the right wing in a more functional role. Markovic — who has been a peripheral player under Rodgers — has the electric pace to make attacking runs at defensive lines. Again like Arsenal, Liverpool have a winger who offers a technical option; Adam Lallana can replace Markovic when Liverpool is forced to break deep opposition down.

Liverpool would also offer Klopp many options at the central attacking midfield position. Philippe Coutinho, a technically skilled central midfielder who also brings enough physicality and energy to play regularly as a central midfielder in the Premier League, would be Klopp’s first choice.

He would have the freedom to link play with Sterling while Markovic would offer more pragmatic positioning; balancing Liverpool’s central midfield. If Coutinho was unable or unavailable to fulfill this position for Klopp, Lallana and Sterling are also able to play centrally.

Since Gerrard is not a viable starter, Liverpool will have to rely on their other central midfielders to act as the foundation of Klopp’s central midfield. Lucas Leiva offers a more reliable defensive midfield option, but after sustaining multiple leg injuries, he now lacks the ability to press for continued periods of time.

This would suggest that Emre Can, a German youth international, would be deputized as Liverpool’s deepest holding midfielder, partnering with either Jordan Henderson or Joe Allen.

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  • Liverpool possesses a trio of attacking fullbacks; Glen Johnson, Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno theoretically fit into Klopp’s attacking style of play. The German would prefer to play young Spaniards Manquillo and Moreno over Johnson, whose attacking threat and defensive awareness have waned as he has aged. Left back Jose Enrique could also be sacrificed as John Flanagan is ready to be handed a bigger role for his boyhood club.

    The club has a myriad of issues at the center back position. They have bought many players in hopes of finding a consistent pairing that can provide protection for a consistently under-performing unit. Dejan Lovren, a €20 million addition who was bought in the summer, has struggled to cement his starting position in Liverpool’s central defense.

    He was expected to bring the combination of technical ability to initiate attacks from deep, and defensive stability to support Liverpool’s defensive line, but he has failed on both accords. His passing has been non-existent and he has brought no stability to Liverpool’s defensive line. Lovren has recently been replaced by Kolo Toure, the same central defender who manned the line for Arsenal’s Invincibles.

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    Martin Skrtel, Liverpool’s most consistent defender this season, would not fit into Klopp’s plans because he is more comfortable playing with a deeper defensive line, plus he is technically limited. Most likely Klopp would attempt to rehabilitate Lovren and partner him with Mamadou Sakho, who is physically and technically superior to Skrtel, and who Rodgers preferred to pair with Lovren until he became injured.

    Liverpool will provide Klopp with numerous attacking options and more technical variety, but he would need a transfer window to build a squad of his standard. It would be best for Liverpool to wait until the end of this season if they are serious with their intentions of signing Klopp.

    Next: How Would Klopp fare at Arsenal?