Out goes David Brent’s long-lost footballing twin. In comes the glossy Germany replacement. But what does the switch mean for Liverpool’s prospects as a team and for individual successes?
Forecasting what Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will look like isn’t such an easy task. The weapons at his disposal in the squad aren’t world class but there are a million of them. You might have forgotten Divock Origi, Jordon Ibe or perhaps even the £32 million summer signing Roberto Firmino. Klopp certainly won’t have and these multiple considerations make the task of visualising his first XI all the more murkier.
Watching Dortmund’s current side, that was mostly built by Klopp, it’s not difficult to make out his penchant for pace. This will be good news for Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Alberto Moreno (a Fantasy Football legend waiting to happen). In 2013/14 Liverpool thrived off pace and movement. For their attack to come alive once more Klopp must be the catalyst for increased energy in attack. Towards the dismal end of Brendan Rodgers’ stint the side seemed to have the weight of 11 Christian Bentekes on their shoulders. It could go either way but general wisdom leans towards Liverpool winning these games through their attack – buying into it could lead to huge points and as we all should know by now, points mean prizes.
A factor that is important not to overlook is the pressing game that Klopp will look to implement quickly. Rodgers wanted to press too, he just failed to enforce it consistently. However a lot of questions arise from this possibility of a high intensity press, gegen or otherwise:
1. Can Sturridge’s body hold up to rigorous play on the defensive side of the ball?
2. Where does Benteke, who’s never had to press hard in the Premier League, fit in this scheme?
3. How severely will Liverpool miss Jordan Henderson in this?
1. Sturridge’s health is pivotal to anything Liverpool will achieve this season. He has to prove that the last 18 months have been the exception, rather than 2013/14 being the anomaly. Of course this is essentially out of the manager’s hands, but it’s certainly plausible that the England forward will struggle with a constant workload on the pitch.
2. Benteke doesn’t look likely to flourish immediately under Klopp. Sturridge and Ings along with a plethora of attacking midfielders look more likely to start. Dortmund in their recent prime featured a psuedo Target man in Robert Lewandowski, but Benteke’s skillset is not equal to the Pole nor does he work as hard without the ball. He’s also returning from injury to rub salt into those Belgian wounds.
3. Henderson seems like a perfect Klopp midfielder: a relentless sprinting blur of gelled up hair while supplying a front trio with the ball and supplementary runs in behind. His presence is vital to generate the movement that transforms the promising ingredients of Liverpool’s attack into a true threat. When he returns from what seems a troubling ankle complaint, he should be a fine option for a middlingly priced midfield pick.
With a fresh manager Liverpool’s defence stands little chance of haemorrhaging multiple goals. Clyne is a sure bet but as aforementioned, Alberto Moreno could be a little bit of a sleeper. The Spaniard is all too keen to join every attack from the flank and gives you the same clean sheet coverage you’d get from Clyne anyway. Joe Gomez’ brief stardom seems to have ended which leaves the door wide open for Moreno.
The dirty little secret about this article is that just the first weekend vs Tottenham will give a much clearer picture of who Klopp is favouring and how they will play. Sturridge, Moreno and possibly Ings all look the prospective beneficiaries of the German’s influence. Firmino and Coutinho may unfortunately split playing time and Benteke is looking more like a bad investment of FSG’s funds than pillar of a potent attack. Only time will tell if the Reds can again become the regular explosion of points that we saw only two seasons ago.
Harry Wallace is a Leicester City fan and Fantasy Football enthusiast. Both have been known to be unsuccessful at times. Keep track of his football related thoughts on Twitter.
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