Since Jurgen Klopp took over as the manager of Liverpool FC, they’ve been the most fun to watch club in the English Premier League. While it’s not a championship, something every football fan knows the Reds have been missing out on for 26 years and counting, it’s a milestone on the way there.
Liverpool are setting themselves up to be one of the top 4 contenders and probably more than that this season, along with Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City, while Manchester United slowly drift away and defending champions Leicester City have problems of their own, also dealing with the euphoria of actually competing in the Champions League.
That’s something that should be an annual thing for Liverpool; the basis for something bigger. Title challenges, which have been too few and far between over the years. They were at this place for the first decade of the 00’s, but they’ve only had one Champions League appearance since 2010 and one title race to speak of as well. Klopp, after a first season of steadying the ship and forming a team to his own liking, looks like he’s on the right track.
Liverpool in the Premier League since Klopp took over:
Most goals (75)
Most tackles won (660)
Most chances created (530)
Boss tha’. pic.twitter.com/Y5vPYr26H3
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 22, 2016
In the long run, it’s safe to assume Liverpool won’t be champions this season. They’re basically playing without a striker, and although they don’t have European football weighing them down, their squad just doesn’t seem as deep or top-end quality like the previously mentioned clubs. But Liverpool have won at Chelsea and Arsenal, while drawing in London against Tottenham. Klopp, for now, seems to make up for what his squad cannot. Can tactical ingenuity and fluidity take them to a championship?
Right now, it seems that it’s completely possible. Liverpool still need to figure out two main things: What the hell is wrong with Daniel Sturridge, and stopping the goals coming from set pieces. Changing goalkeepers hasn’t helped, while Klopp is growing frustrated with Sturridge simply not fitting in. Divock Origi, still not scoring, is outplaying him and fits the tactics a lot better, while Liverpool overall are at their best when it’s the foursome of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana working up front.
Klopp reminds people of the romantic side of football, which Liverpool have always been strongly connected with, maybe because their success came before the rise of the Premier League, winning only one major title (Champions League in 2005) since their league championship drought began. Klopp has often been compared to rock stars. A manager who is happy and tries to show it through the football his team plays. Someone who has a special connection with his players. Maybe it’s even deeper than that, reminding a lot of us of loving football at the most basic level, like kids.
But beyond the nostalgic feeling of it all, Klopp was hired to do one thing, in two steps: Win a championship, but first set up Liverpool for long term success and relevance at the top of the Premier League, not have a one-off title run and then fall right back to finishing outside the top 4 for a number of years. There’s only one thing big better than entertaining football: Entertaining football that wins, which right now, seems to be Klopp’s speciality.