Martin King points out that team spirit may be the cornerstone for success for Liverpool this season.
This past Friday, while looking at the latest features on Liverpool’s official website ahead of their clash at Chelsea, I came across a video of this year’s LFC Hip-Hop Quiz.
Now, in case you haven’t a clue of what I’m talking about, the LFC Hip-Hop Quiz is a rap music trivia challenge that was started in 2014 and is featured on Liverpool’s official television channel. The game is mainly played by a few of the club’s hip-hop loving players in order to find out who is the most knowledgeable when it comes to the genre, whilst serving fans with plenty of entertainment.
If you have 25 minutes to spare then give this a watch
A hip-hop lover myself, I missed the first challenge two years ago but I was able to watch this one, which involved Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and eventual two-time winner Daniel Sturridge.
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A number of things could be learned from watching the video, such as Sturridge’s mild sense of humour, Clyne’s knowledge of a rapper named C.J or even Gomez’s apparent rapping skills. However, throughout all the laughter and despite the quiz being an individual contest, it was clear that the biggest thing that existed between the English trio was an unerring team spirit.
In truth, that team spirit has clearly existed amongst the entire Liverpool team this season and it’s all thanks to charismatic manager Jürgen Klopp. Ever since the German took over, he has constantly sought to banish every trait of individualism in his squad.
Not to assume that too much of it ever existed, however, in past seasons the Reds have tended to place a great reliance on some of their top class players to consistently lead them to victory. Names such as Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres or Luis Suarez – and even Daniel Sturridge himself – come to mind, as the men who know just what it feels like to have the hopes of an entire world of Liverpool supporters placed on their shoulders.
Klopp, though, has instilled a strong team spirit that now sees his players rely on each other and fans put their hopes on the collective instead of the individual. On the pitch, this has been highlighted by the fact that in all of the side’s six games in all competitions this season – barring the 2-0 defeat away to Burnley – the Reds have had an impressive nine different goal-scorers, all from different positions across the field.
Off it, a look at the club’s weekly published photos of training sessions would surely point to the same as well as Klopp’s constant reluctance to praise only one player, even after they have put in an outstanding performance.
Back in July, the 49-year-old was criticised by fans and a few pundits for not signing some big name players in the summer transfer window and instead opting to go for relatively unknown talent. Klopp’s response to it was that building a team is more important than bringing in a star player, as he explained, according to Sky Sports.
“This moment for us it is about creating and building a team for next year. We have to prove our thoughts about the team works.
“We have to build a special bond. It is using experience, using the base and not killing the base and starting completely new.”
Those words have already come to fruition for Liverpool as the former Borussia Dortmund coach continues making believers out of doubters.
Moving forward into this season and the near future, Klopp’s team ethic may mean that the Premier League’s Golden Boot award winners no longer come from the Merseyside club but perhaps it’s a small price to pay as Liverpool would certainly have game-changers all over pitch.
That would represent a huge advantage, especially on high-profile occasions, when opponents would find that man-marking one player alone is not enough to nullify the complete threat of Klopp’s army.
The German may have already instilled plenty of qualities into his squad both last season and during the summer, however, a strong team spirit may prove to be the one true driving force in Liverpool’s journey back to success and by the look of things thus far, that journey is already underway.
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