The score line might not have been the most flattering for Liverpool but the 1-0 win away at Rubin Kazan was the best performance for the Merseyside club under their new manager Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool are now unbeaten in the six games that Klopp has managed, picking up three consecutive victories along the way. Their defence might not be rock solid but one thing that Liverpool can do now is complete, there seems to be a hunger and desire about their game, something which was amiss at the start of the season under Brendan Rodgers.
Kloppmania takes off
Liverpool fans can finally celebrate and enjoy some of the football being played by their club, not that they did not enjoy the football under Rodgers a couple of seasons ago but Klopp’s tactical changes, aka ‘Gegenpressing’ certainly has made them more attractive. Brendan Rodgers did state that Liverpool were a side that pressed high up the pitch but Klopp has taken that to another level.
Similar to evolving his game at Dortmund, this Liverpool team likes to press up the field and retain possession as they prod against the opposition. Liverpool have maintained the greater share of possession in each of the games they have played under Klopp, while the German was known for his counter-attacking ability with the pace and attacking players at Dortmund, he has had to tweak his plan for the English club.
Liverpool might not have the talent to match Dortmund’s frontline, but the Reds’ midfielders are the crux of their system. No matter who starts for them in midfield, they are the ones who set the tempo for the club. This time against Rubin it was Joe Allen and Emre Can who were running about and causing all sorts of problems for the Kazan defence.
Liverpool had a huge number of shots at the opposition goal, but the goal came from Jordon Ibe, who was exceptional in the game. Ibe was likened to Raheem Sterling when he got a few games for Rodgers a couple of seasons ago, but his progress had somewhat stalled under the previous regime. That all seems to have changed with Klopp who has given players more freedom to express themselves, Ibe seems to be on the right path now.
That is the major difference that has been seen from the Liverpool team now. They seem confident, they want to play football and they want to do well. Klopp did state when he took over the job that the players weren’t confident of keeping hold of a lead, they were almost afraid to go out and try things. Now it is a different story, the players seem to be pressing much higher up the pitch which means they get more chances on goal since they are closer to the opposition penalty box.
It has helped the German that Christian Benteke has also come back to the club, fit and firing on all cylinders. He might not have scored against Kazan, but he was a great outlet for the Reds and gives them another dimension to play with. When Daniel Sturridge comes back from injury, it could be a lethal partnership the duo make at Liverpool but that is something for the future.
Liverpool’s defence also is transformed, Dejan Lovren played last night and even though it was just one game, he didn’t make any mistakes. Mamadou Sakho looks like the player that PSG wanted to hold onto but couldn’t, he looks like a France international and he looks hungry for success. Alberto Moreno seems to be back to his best and Nathanial Clyne has done extremely well adjusting to a new manager, despite being signed by Rodgers.
That word is the key, ‘hunger’, Klopp has always had the hunger to do well wherever he went. This time also, he wants to do well at the club. His energy, enthusiasm and emotion seems to have seeped into the players, they seem hungry as well to finally win a trophy for the club. The fans are also behind the manager, they have seen his face, they have seen his style and now they are believers.