Why Liverpool fans should accept a top four finish as things stand

Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on from the bench during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on October 17, 2016 in Liverpool, England.
All rights reserved by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Matthew Johnson implores Liverpool fans to be patient and argues that a top four finish this season could be classified as a successful campaign. 

After some very impressive form, including good results in the ‘big games’ home and away this season and joint first place in the Premier League, Liverpool fans have been raving about the possibility that this year could be the year they win their first league title. It is only October, however, and there are still a lot of points to be won. Liverpool may not yet be ready to mount a title challenge just yet.

Consistency has been one of the main problems with Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp coming into the 2016/17 season. A brilliant 4-3 performance away at Arsenal and then a 0-2 defeat away at Burnley a week later isn’t something the club can afford to do if they are to build a good squad that can win the league.

Despite recent form, Liverpool fans still think in the back of their heads: “what type of Liverpool team will I see today?” Are the fans going to be entertained thoroughly by a top class attacking performance scoring goals or will they cave in and be sloppy in every aspect of their game?

Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool talks with Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool after the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on October 17, 2016 in Liverpool, England.
All rights reserved by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Having had difficulty breaking down the so-called ‘lesser teams’ so far this season, if Liverpool is going to be up there fighting for the league, these are the type of games you have to win. It is clear so far teams who put numbers behind the ball against the Merseyside club have performed much better at frustrating and stopping the flow of Klopp’s attacking players and this may lead to the German manager having to change the way they play.

Recently, Jose Mourinho surprisingly parked the bus with his Manchester United team, proving it’s not just the ‘small teams’ who will defend in numbers when they come up against Liverpool to stop the flow of their exciting attack. This could make teams become more defensively cautious when they play Liverpool as they are not proven yet to be able to break down teams who use this approach.

Midfielders must make sure they become more creative, especially with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Emre Can. The impressive trio of Mane, Coutinho and Firmino can’t have the responsibility on their own, they also need service and players behind them to be patient in play but not slow the tempo of the game down (which has happened several times before making it harder for attacking players to get into the flow).

This is something Liverpool will work on and over time, and whether they have the ability and experience yet to do it this season, is a question that needs to be answered.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool scores his sides second goal past Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield on September 10, 2016 in Liverpool, England.
All rights reserved by Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

When Jurgen Klopp took charge of Liverpool last October, the German said in his first press conference, If I am sitting here in four years, we will win one title in this time.” Jurgen is a manager who likes to build teams over the long-term, using youth and turning good players into big name superstars.

Klopp has had one year at Liverpool now and during that time, he got rid of the ‘dead wood’ that didn’t suit his style, got rid of some youth he didn’t think were good enough and setting the foundation by buying players who suit his style. There were Liverpool fans who wanted Klopp to buy ‘top players’, however, that’s not how Jurgen works. He’s bought the likes of Joel Matip, Wijnaldum and Mane who have come in and impressed hugely.

Klopp’s second-year plan is to mould the new-look squad together and get them to work well consistently. This season sets a benchmark to hopefully challenge for the league title next year, where the team will know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, form partnerships and play effectively as a team.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool and team mates celebrate his goal with Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England.
All rights reserved by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe

This is exactly why Liverpool fans need to be patient and a top four finish this season (also possibly a cup trophy) would be classified as a successful campaign. Time will tell, however, whether Liverpool possesses the ability to challenge a year earlier than what Klopp expected.

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  1. If we score the most and conceed less than city then why not? Stop being so miserable.. This attitude of we should be lucky or grateful to get in top 4 belongs to Manchester based media and the likes of ian ayre

  2. “First is first, second is nowhere.” said the great man. I have supported my home to club for 50 years and start every season expecting us to win the league. Accepting second best before the season is only a quarter through is not the Liverpool Way. Defeatism is for other clubs.

  3. We have the most organised team i have seen in years.. The bench and the rest of the squad has never looked so good.. The youths are playing similar football with about 15 at least promising players.. The stadium the finances the whole general feeling around anfield.. Why not be positive.. We are going for the league title and should not be ashamed to say so.. That is just years of hurt that holding people back and some people are still believing rag paper stories about a different problem every week at lfc.. We are playing the best football and have the greatest fans in the league.. Can’t wait till plans are drawn up for a 100,000 seater stadium

  4. What a load of tosh. This could have been written by an Arsenal fan. I fully arrive at the beginning of every season hoping/expecting to be challenging for the league. The day I stop dreaming of great performances, sensational goals, fantastic wins and glorious trophies is the day I give up following football.

    Your argument that the teams needs time to adapt misses the point that this also gives the opposition time to get to understand what they are going to face against Klopp’s team. We are in a position where it seems everyone fears us. Manchester Utd came to Anfield and not only parked the bus but actually played 6 at the back. When did a Man Utd team last do that. What was truly comical was that the Man Utd supporters seemed to be genuinely happy with this.

    You are right though, we may not win the league, but in not winning the league I fully expect the players, fans and club to be hugely disappointed. Anything less and we are wasting everyones time.



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