29 Mar 2016

'Klopp is...': After Anfield decline, £10m Liverpool star makes ludicrous claim about Klopp

Since arriving in October, Liverpool have demonstrably regressed in the league under Jurgen Klopp, and remain a long way from mounting a genuine title challenge. None of this matter, though, according to Reds midfielder Emre Can, who claims Klopp has already proven himself (at Anfield) to be one of the world's best managers.

Speaking to reports whilst on international duty, Can - who cost Liverpool £10m - insisted:

“You should not look at the standings. You should look at the football we have played in recent weeks. We’ve made a huge step forward as a team and have put in good performances most of the time. Klopp is one of the best managers in the world".

Sorry, but it's plain wrong to claim that Liverpool have 'made a huge step forward as a team':

* After the same number of games last season (29), Liverpool were 5th in the table on 54 points (2 points off fourth place)

* This season the Reds are 9th in the table on 44 points (7 points off fourth place), which represents a 10-point regression under Klopp..

* Last season, Rodgers achieved 10 points more than Klopp despite having non-performing players like Balotelli, Lambert, Borini, and Markovic in his squad. Additionally, Sturridge was injured for most of the season.

* Klopp has an improved squad to work with (with new additions like Roberto Firmino), yet the team has still regressed in the league. How is this possible if Klopp is 'one of the best managers in the world'?

If presiding over a 10 point regression makes Klopp one of the best, then what does that make Claudio Ranieri, who has taken a relegation-threatened team to the brink of the title, or Slaven Bilic, who has achieved 8-points more for West Ham than at the same point last season?

Between 2010 and 2013, Klopp proved himself to be one of the 'best managers in the world' (two league titles; Champions League final), but this is 2016, and over the last two years he - like Liverpool - has regressed. Klopp's high intensity style ultimately decimated Dortmund with injuries, and drove the team into the ground. Now, the same approach has decimated Liverpool, and the team has consequently regressed in the league.

With this in mind, I reject Can's assertion that fans 'should not look at the standings'. Rodgers' teams also played good football, but that is ultimately irrelevant without end product. Right now, Liverpool - with good football - are 9th in the table, and worse off under Klopp than under Rodgers. Contrary to popular belief, this matters.

I may not be the greatest fan of Rodgers, but I have absolutely no doubt that he'd be capable of matching (and probably exceeding) Klopp's 44-point haul with the same squad. The proof is in the pudding: BR achieved 10 points *more* in the league last season with an (arguably) weaker squad, so the probability is high that with a slightly improved squad, he'd do better (as he did in 2013-14, when Liverpool almost won the league).

FSG appointed Klopp to get more out of this squad than Rodgers, but he hasn't been able to do that in the league. As such, it's premature for Can to laud the manager as 'one of the best in the world'. Klopp's achievements at Dortmund are laudable, but they mean nothing now, and like the players, Klopp should actually have to achieve something significant before being hailed in such a manner.

Klopp used to be one of the 'best managers in the world', and he can be again. However, he has to prove it first, and next season, I'm sure he'll do that. He has to, as the honeymoon is well and truly over.

Author: Jaimie K


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