Jurgen Klopp is an many ways, a football genius.
He has a deep understanding of the game and a way of seeing it that is invisible to the rest of us.
Klopp created a style of play that enabled a team costing less than £35m in total to win back to back Bundesliga titles and reach a Champions League final in 2013.
In a world where Kyle Walker costs £50m, it’s a feat unlikely to ever be achieved again.
It’s earned him a £7m/year job and it’s worth remembering this when freely analysing his decisions on a daily basis.
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The Liverpool fanbase is wholly behind the likeable German – whose passion, hunger and loyalty is synonymous with the values we hold dear.
But Klopp needs to be careful not to alienate reporters and fans who’ve so far made his time in England a lot smoother than some other foreign managers who’ve tested their mettle on our soil.
Yes – we don’t know as much as he does about football – but everyone has a right to an opinion – especially on a defence that has got worse during his two years at the club.
Against Newcastle, Klopp cut a frustrated figure on the touchline throughout. He visibly berated both Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren with a barrage of F-Words for picking wrong passes. Klopp should know we sympathise with how infuriating this pair can be – but when the team looks bereft of ideas and without confidence, it’s unhelpful.
We’ve won one game in six and the characters in our dressing room need an arm round the shoulder rather than a public bollocking. (The same could be said about a decision to lay into Christian Benteke on the field during Klopp’s first season in charge.)
But it’s the press-conferences in which Klopp needs to take a step back and display calmness rather than anger. Recently, his actual opinion of the reporters sitting opposite him has not only been written all over his face, but come out with sarcastic rebuttals or unnecessary rudeness.
“We don’t feel perfect in this moment – you (journalists) write things and the boys read it and they don’t feel too good about it,” Klopp recently said, but surely he has to accept this is part and parcel of modern football.
The manner in which he dealt with the ‘Do you love Harry Kane?’ question before Spartak Moscow was totally understandable, but following the Newcastle game – Klopp was irritable and ready to pick a fight.
In the video below, you’ll see a journalist asking Klopp if he felt the 1-1 draw with Newcastle was a ‘fair result’. This isn’t an especially odd question, but our manager was offended by it – asking him if he’d ever seen a game of football before…
This is one of a number examples of similar behaviour during the past couple of press-conferences or post-match interviews.
Reacting like this is a sign of pressure and something we’ve seen plenty of times before. Brendan Rodgers became increasingly sarcastic, Kenny Dalglish certainly did and Rafa Benitez basically lost the plot before losing his job. (Roy Hodgson never had the plot in the first place.)
Thankfully though, this international break couldn’t have come at a better time, unlike the last one – which cruelly arrived after our 4-0 hammering of Arsenal.
It’ll give Klopp, his squad and the fans some time for much needed reflection.
Despite our miserable September, we’re still in a strong position in the Champions League with two games against Maribor coming up and are one point off fourth. If that’s a crisis, we’ll take it.
In a week’s time when his best players return, we hope Klopp and the squad is ready to right some of September’s wrongs and approach the next part of the season in a positive manner. In turn, this might give us some of the luck we’ve been denied so far this term.
Klopp’s obviously the best manager for the job. He’s an elite tactician and man-manager. This piece isn’t so much a critique as a warning for Liverpool to not get bogged down in negativity and to use the motivation of beating Manchester United next time round to swing football’s always swinging pendulum in our favour.