In recent years, Liverpool have had managers that have failed to shoulder the blame and Jürgen Klopp is a refreshing change of face as he continues to soak up the criticism.
You can keep José Mourinho and the like, who all deflect the media’s spotlight onto their players when the going gets tough. I’d rather have a coach like Jürgen Klopp in charge of my club, leading his players forward and refusing to throw them to the dogs – even if it may seem as though they deserve it.
I can’t remember how many press conferences I watched where Brendan Rodgers would cite Liverpool’s strength of character as a positive after a disappointing loss or draw instead of simply admitting that he got the game wrong tactically or made a poor substitution.
You could argue that Klopp has done all of that in the last four weeks. The difference? He has the humility and strength of character to see his faults and publicly accept them.
Liverpool have won one game out of their last eight in what has been an abhorrent January. Only defeat to Chelsea tomorrow night could make this month any worse. So much for 2017 being better than 2016, eh?
Klopp has recognised how dismal the last four weeks has been and Liverpool’s shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers emphasised the need for a return of form for the Merseysiders.
At the post-Wolves presser, Klopp was asked if he felt the team had let him down and this was his response, “No, I don’t feel that they let me down or something. I am responsible for the line-up; I saw them training and I thought ‘That’s the line-up’.
“At the press conference on Monday we can talk about who can play and cannot play [against Chelsea] because today not a lot of the players who were not involved could play. I said – and it’s what I mean – that I am responsible for the bad things and not just the good things, and today was obviously not good, so that’s my responsibility.
“We could have played better, each boy could have played better and I know this. You always learn a little bit about [the players].”
It may seem irrelevant to have a manager that is willing to shoulder the blame when things go awry but it allows the players in the training camp to feel a sense of security as they know that their manager will protect them. Of course, it can lend to a sense of complacency but we all know that Klopp has every player on his toes.
Liverpool host Chelsea at Anfield tomorrow night in a game which will either condemn them to an uphill battle to secure Champions League football or send a statement of intent to all those doubting the Reds.
Jürgen Klopp will be at Melwood this afternoon for his pre-Chelsea press conference and I am sure there will be many questions about Liverpool’s season and what is left to play for. We’ll have the presser for you once it’s released so check back this afternoon.