One thing I have started to notice over the past few weeks is an anti-Jurgen Klopp movement starting to appear amongst Liverpool fans. One set of fans have even gone as far as organising a Klopp out banner to be flown over Anfield during a high profile match.
While it is a bit early for fans to be calling for Klopp’s head, his immunity from criticism, something he has enjoyed since he took over at Anfield, needs to be looked at and debated healthily amongst fans.
Klopp is not infallible, something we have seen when Liverpool record poor results against the lesser teams in the Premier League. He is prone to making mistakes in team selection and substitutions and those fans that overlook these mistakes need to open their eyes to them.
This is a make or break season for Klopp. He has Liverpool back in to the Champions League, a competition Liverpool should be playing in every season, and has made massive strides in Liverpool’s Premier League position.
He has brought exciting young talent through Liverpool’s academy; something which stagnated over the last ten years, but his continued trust in the likes of Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klaven at the heart of the Liverpool defence is nothing short of criminal.
All summer long, the fans watched with baited breath as the Virgil Van Dijk saga played out in front. There were reports of illegal tap ups, apologies made from Liverpool and, as all this went on, there was no sign of a backup centre-back coming to Liverpool just in case the Van Dijk deal failed to materialise. Like Klopp’s continuous trust in Lovren and Klaven as centre-backs, his inability to see past Van Dijk is costing Liverpool so far this season.
His stubbornness is something that will see Liverpool fall further and further behind other Premier League clubs when it comes to transfers and the position in the league. When it became apparent that Van Dijk was not going to happen, Liverpool sold, who many fans thought was their best defender, Mamadou Sakho. For some, a pairing of Joel Matip and Sakho in defence with a combination of Alberto Moreno and Trent Alexander Arnold would be a defence that would stop conceding silly goals.
While off the pitch Sakho is a part-time clown, on it he is a leader and this is something that Liverpool are currently lacking. There is not one player in the current Liverpool squad that is willing to tackle the referee when he makes a stupid decision or bottles out of making a decision.
Not one player that is willing to shout at a team mate for not playing the simple pass. The players all look like they are afraid to hurt each other’s feelings on the pitch.
For some, Van Dijk is that leader and if he had signed he may have sorted the rudderless Liverpool ship out, but it goes much deeper than that. The players seem to be afraid of the manager and are afraid to express themselves on the pitch and make a stand if needed. Klopp, it appears, does not like or want players around him who will not conform to his ethics. He does not want players who have a personality to match his own and this is going to hurt Liverpool until he realises that the team needs someone who will not conform to the norm.
Liverpool need to sort out their defensive frailties soon. Fans are starting to demand success; something the team have lacked over the last 10 years. They showed their disgust against Burnley when they started to leave the ground early when it was evident that Liverpool were no closer to scoring the winning goal than Burnley were.
This craving for success is going to turn in to bitterness and contempt towards Klopp if he does not get the simple things on the pitch right.
Liverpool are not going to outscore every team they play this season. Teams are learning to stay compact when facing Liverpool and this is going to frustrate the players.
While Mo Salah has added a different dimension to Liverpool’s attack so far this season with his goals and assists, his brilliance has shown that Liverpool realistically are no better off this season than they were at the end of last season.
Without Salah and (from watching the Burnley game) without Sadio Mane, Liverpool are an average team. As already stated, the team is no better off than last season and this is something fans expected to be fixed over the summer. The money was there but Klopp’s stubbornness in not having a plan B prevented Liverpool from improving the squad.
If Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League this season and fail to progress past the early rounds of the domestic cup completions, I think FSG will have to look in a new direction when it comes to the Liverpool hot seat.
Some fans have started to think about a reunion with Rafa Benitez. I do not think this would be the right path to go down. Yes, Rafa will sort out the Liverpool defence and make the team harder to beat, but his history of falling out with owners could prevent him from taking Liverpool to the heights the club deserves to be at.
Hopefully, Klopp can see the error of his ways and improve Liverpool’s defence. If not, I think the fans will force him out of the club before he can complete his vision for Liverpool.