Wednesday, 13 January 2016 00:00

Klopp's dilema and pivotal time

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If you have watched Jurgen Klopp’s rant at his own set of players after the loss at West Ham in the weekend, you would realize his vexation at the abject performance of his team. He was simply venting his opinion that the team isn’t performing to the level it should.

Klopp arrived in England with reputation. He was one of the most decorated managers in Europe during his time at Borussia Dortmund. Having effectively challenged the might of Bayern Munich with the limited resources at his disposal, Klopp was one of the most sought-after managers. His touchline antics make him a fan favorite because he believes in keeping the crowd engaged. His passion for the game and involvement through the game – before, during and after, made him one of the most loved managers of the recent time.

There was no dearth of opportunities when Klopp took a break from Dortmund. So, when he arrived at Anfield, it was a pleasant surprise for the ‘Kop faithful’. Here is a guy who puts his every inch in every game for the betterment of the club. With Liverpool struggling to get back to its glory days, there was never a doubt that Klopp is the ideal guy for the job.

His start of life as a Liverpool manager hasn’t been over the top but it hasn’t been bad either. There were some wonderful performances – most notably the 4-1 dismantling of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and the 6-1 drubbing of Southampton. Equally, there were some inept performances – the losses to Watford, Crystal Palace and West Ham. No wonder then that Klopp felt enraged at the performance (or otherwise) at Upton Park.

In this context, it remains to be seen how Klopp and his team reacts to his outburst – especially considering the fact that Liverpool faces an intriguing set of clashes. These games can set the tone for the rest of the season for the Reds and decide how the year shapes up for the club. First up is a trip to Stoke City for the Capital One Cup semi-final. There is no doubt that this presents Klopp his biggest chance of winning silverware this year.

Then of course is the FA Cup Third round tie at Exeter which, Liverpool should start and end as favorites. Pressure of expectations? Think again because the next set of matches are in the Premier League against Arsenal and Manchester United – two of the biggest games at Anfield any season. Qualifying for Champions League next season by securing a top four position remains the priority for Klopp and hence these games are very important.

Klopp knows very well that he needs to arrest the slide and engineer better performances if he harbors any hopes of resurrection at Anfield. The next week could probably prove pivotal.

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