Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Klopp-factor in full effect at Liverpool

Liverpool are one of the in-form teams in the Premier League and everything seems to be coming together for them now as the finish line approaches. Had Jurgen Klopp been appointed as manager last summer, the Reds could be in an even better position now. The Klopp-factor is finally evident at Anfield and it spells good news for the future of the club.

"IMG_1552.jpg" (CC BY 2.0) by  Thomas Rodenb├╝cher 
In one of the most one-sided Merseyside derbies to date, Klopp’s high-octane Liverpool went out all guns blazing in the style that fans have become accustomed to in recent weeks. Although the final result was 4-0 to the Reds, they could have easily found themselves seven or eight goals ahead had it not been for some fine saves from the Everton goalkeeper, Joel Robles. The emergence of Divock Origi as a more than capable striker, and the return of the clinical Daniel Sturridge, have given the team a great boost as they still remain in the hunt for fourth spot and a Europa League title.
Brendan Rodgers landed two of the signings of the season last summer when he coaxed James Milner and Roberto Firmino to Anfield. Klopp has now moulded these players to his style and both of them seem to act as conduits to the German as they represent his “heavy metal” football on the pitch.
It’s these immensely skilful, hungry, and passionate players that are perhaps the reason that Liverpool are at odds of 9/5 to win the Europa League with 32red UK at the time of writing. Their main rivals, Sevilla and Villarreal, are at 7/4 and 7/2, respectively. After having beaten the previous tournament favourites, Borussia Dortmund, in the last round, Liverpool will have the belief they can go all the way and qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League.
Should they fail to find a way into Europe’s elite competition through that route, there is still an outside chance that Liverpool could gain entry through a top-four finish in the league. The race for those coveted Champions League spots could go down to the final week of the season and Liverpool are at odds of 12/1 with 32red and Unibet to knock either Manchester City or Arsenal out of the race. All of Liverpool’s remaining games in the league look winnable on their current form and the side have also shown that, even through heavy rotation to accommodate mid-week fixtures, they can remain cohesive.
If the Reds win every game from now until the end of the season they will finish on 69 points, which could be enough to secure fourth spot. This would be an improvement on last season’s points tally of 62 that saw them finish in sixth place and could mark the start of a rise back up to elite status.
There is excitement and anticipation surrounding Anfield in regards to Klopp’s first full season in charge in the next campaign. There is no doubt that he will be busy in the transfer market, looking to find reinforcements in weak areas and offloading some of the players that have become surplus to requirements. Rumours even suggest that he may be able to convince some of his former players to join him on Merseyside.  
If Klopp can offer Champions League football, this will make trying to attract some of the world’s best players to the club a lot easier. With such immense uncertainty over Sturridge’s fitness, and the fact that the player has only played in just over 66 league games for the club since joining in 2013, Klopp will more than likely be looking to sign another top striker for the season ahead. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the world’s hottest forwards and it is almost a certainty that the Gabonese speedster will make a big-money move to one of Europe’s elite clubs in the summer. With Klopp having previously coached the player at Dortmund, fans are hopeful there is a chance that they may be able to sign him. Although Liverpool may not be able to meet the £75million fee

Of course, there are plenty of other players who will be on Klopp’s radar and it will be an exciting transfer window. Judging by Klopp’s record in England so far in half a season, things are looking promising for his first full term in charge.