JURGEN Klopp has only been in charge of Liverpool for a week but the excitement in Merseyside is palpable. With his first game at White Hart Lane on Saturday, Quays News reporter Max Merrill looks at five players who could finally kick-start their careers under Klopp.
The new Liverpool manager will have to settle for the squad at his disposal, at least until the January transfer window opens. His brief is, for now, to improve results with the playing staff at his disposal.
However, the German has a proven ability to get the best out of his players, taking several from obscurity to international stardom.
Many who have left his teams have gone on to underwhelm at their new clubs – Nuri Sahin at Real Madrid and Liverpool, Mario Gotze at Bayern Munich, Shinji Kagawa at Manchester United. Only Robert Lewandowski was able to sustain the level of success he demonstrated under Klopp’s management.
The main characteristics of the ‘Klopp prototype’ are energy, industry, and incisiveness – all prerequisites for his high-pressing, counter-attacking philosophy.
The likes of James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne are players that are almost certain to appeal to Klopp, due to their work-rate and dynamism. Equally, Christian Benteke will be likely to feature as main striker, as he shares many of the characteristics of Lewandowski in that position.
However, these players have already established themselves in the Liverpool starting line-up. There are, though, five players who could finally kick-start their Kop careers under Klopp.
Since his £25 million move from Southampton in the summer of 2014, Lallana’s Liverpool career has yet to take off, having been hampered by injuries and competition by the likes of Raheem Sterling and Phillipe Coutinho in his favoured positions.
Watching him play for England during the international break, he looked like Klopp’s kind of player – a versatile attacking option who is quick on the ball and able to pick a lethal pass. He has the potential to feature in a role akin to that of Kagawa at Dortmund – and is likely to feature in Liverpool’s lineup under the German.
@Saki_LFC lallana has a slight advantage because he’s v good at pressing.also a capable 2nd striker.unpredictable.anyway kagawa isn’t fast
— Xavier Lutta (@Luttxav) October 15, 2015
— Rob Sutherland (@zeribbo) October 16, 2015
Klopp’s forays into playing three at the back have been extremely limited so far and it would be a safe bet that he will employ a back four at Liverpool.
With six (!) senior centre-backs in their squad, the Liverpool hierarchy will definitely prefer it if Klopp can make use of what he has already got before spending big in that position.
Traditionally, Klopp likes his two centre-halves to be a combination of silk and steel – Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic being the prime example. Those two formed a formidable partnership reminiscent in style of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Martin Skrtel will almost certainly present the ‘steel’ in the equation, leaving Dejan Lovren or Sakho to battle it out for the silky side of things. In order to fulfill this brief, a player needs confidence, something that Klopp provides in bucket loads.
Sakho’s self-belief certainly took a hit under Brendan Rodgers and the Frenchman admitted he felt restricted under his manager.
If Klopp can get him in the right state of mind, Liverpool might just have a top class centre-back pairing on their hands. In contrast to Lovren, Sakho has already played well for PSG and France at the highest level, giving him the edge.
Klopp will turn Sakho into the best CB in the league. Mark my words.
— the nòrmal one (@RedOrDead__) October 6, 2015
The left-back showed promise early into his career with the Reds, but injuries and a few big mistakes have seen him lose his place to centre-back Joe Gomez this season.
Alongside Clyne, Moreno has all the attributes Klopp looks for in the full-back position – pace, endurance, and an ability to cross.
At the height of their success, Dortmund boasted two full-backs that were the thorn in every opponent’s side: Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek ran tirelessly down the flanks and Klopp is unlikely to rely on a centre-back to provide that.
With Gomez expected to be out for the season, it seems certain that Moreno will nail down the left-back spot and could run opponents ragged.
Dear Liverpool fans, the days of Emre Can playing at centre-back are numbered! Especially with Jordan Henderson out injured, Can could become the midfield-motor that the Kop has yearned for since the departure of captain Steven Gerrard.
The German boss is a fan of dynamic midfielders who can tackle, score, and build up play quickly. Can has the ability to do this, even though he mostly showcased this in Leverkusen not Liverpool.
His career at the Kop has mostly been restricted to being played out of position. Despite his overwhelming talent, Rodgers and even Germany manager Jogi Low have played him in defence.
Touted by many in Germany as a future captain and mainstay in the national team, Can will hope that Klopp will put faith in him in his favoured position of central midfield. Those who saw him in a Leverkusen shirt will certainly share in his desire.
Klopp will turn Emre Can into one of the best midfielders in football. Was wasted under Rodgers by being thrown in defence. #KloppForTheKop
— King Emre of Can (@Anfield_RoadL4) October 7, 2015
The Brazilian forward’s arrival this summer was greeted with much excitement. A versatile attacking option who can score and provide, Firmino was expected to hit the ground running.
So far, he has seemed ineffective and off the pace in his six league appearances, managing only five shots. However, once he has recovered from injury, the former Hoffenheim player could see Klopp put his faith in him.
There is stiff competition in his area of the pitch, but if Klopp plays his customary 4-2-3-1, the Brazilian could form a formidable three behind the striker, alongside Lallana and Coutinho.
His ability to play in a variety of positions will certainly endear him to the German manager. If he can increase his work-rate and play with more confidence, the Kop might have a star on their hands.
Jurgen Klopp will make Firmino world class, and one of the best CAM’s in world football. Remember this Tweet.
— Kloppholic (@Kloppholic) October 14, 2015
Klopp’s Kop career has only just begun, but already an aura of excitement has captured the dreams of the Liverpool faithful. It may very well be that there will be little need for major additions to the squad.
Could we dream so far as to think he could even reform Mario Balotelli? Klopp is a genius man-manager, but even he might concede early defeat in the case of Super Mario.
By Max Merrill