There’s been plenty of discussion this January about what’s going wrong with Liverpool.
At the turn of the calendar year, we’d just beaten Manchester City and were well in the title race. We were also looking forward to an EFL Cup semi-final. Now, we’re out of the cup and ten points adrift in the title race, looking over shoulder in the race for the top four rather than looking ahead.
The reasons are probably tenfold, but the excellent Chris Bascombe in the Telegraph has somewhat simplified it.
He suggests Liverpool simply don’t have enough good players and it’s only natural that we’d enter a slump at some point during the campaign. And the reason we don’t have enough good players, is because we haven’t bought them.
Klopp’s been here since October 2015, yet in our EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday, the only outfield player he’d signed who started was Joel Matip.
Since Jose Mourinho joined Manchester United, nearly a season after Klopp’s arrival, he has Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly in his first-team.
Is this entirely Klopp’s decision and faith in his own players? Or a bigger issue involving the spending (will)power of our owners…
Here’s our favourite extracts from Bascombe’s lengthy editorial:
Not for the first time, [Klopp’s] passion and conviction can’t hide the fundamental question that has lingered since he was appointed 15 months ago. Is the talent really there?
We’re not talking about the talent to finish in the top six – or the talent to reach two cup-finals and one semi-final in less than two seasons – but the talent to become trophy winners?
Liverpool are not falling off the pace now because they have been overworked or they look exhausted. It is because they are not as good as we, or even they, thought they were when they went top in November.
They bought well last year, but evidently they did not buy enough.
At the start of this season – and on occasions during the last one – Liverpool were so thrilling because even though they were not Klopp’s players, they resembled a Klopp team.
If there is one lesson he and everyone has learned since the turn of the year, it is this: for Liverpool to truly to become a consistently good Klopp team, they will need to sign more Klopp players.