Dave Davis outlines a plan for Jurgen Klopp’s future at Liverpool by drawing from the past.
There will always come a tipping point in any situation. Something that happens, even a unique incident which ensures a strong reaction. The substitution of Dejan Lovren after 30 minutes against Tottenham may well be one for Jurgen Klopp, but the effects need to be far wider. Klopp may well need to look to one of his predecessors at Anfield for guidance.
When Gerard Houllier finally took sole charge of Liverpool, he was under no illusions that his side’s defence was good enough. When another Sander Westerveld error proved too much, the arrivals of Jerry Dudek and Chris Kirkland weren’t far away. Stuanton, Babb, Kvarme and others were cast aside as Babbel, Hyppia and Henchoz became the defensive pillars on which treble success was built.
Yesterday, the manager look mystified on the touchline at what he was seeing unfold in front of him. Lovren may well have been taken off for his own protection and become the scapegoat for now, but he shouldn’t be alone. Emre Can was again well off the pace and looked even worse at right back, whilst Joel Matip must be delighted the focus has been on his defensive partner in recent times. The fact Simon Mingolet was at fault for an opposition goal was of little surprise to Reds everywhere.
The quote that keeps coming back to bite the manager was his statement that there aren’t centre halves better than we already have at the club. It’s worth keeping in mind though that José Giménez, Giorgio Chiellini, Juanfran, João Miranda and Stefan De Vrij are all out of contract next summer. It would take some going to find a Liverpool fan who doesn’t believe a combination of those players would improve our defence and that’s without a fee. That’s also without bringing the van Dijk saga back into play.
There will naturally be calls for Danny Ward to be given a chance, although long term it’s hard to look at any of Liverpool’s current crop of keepers and say we can win trophies with them as number one. Jack Butland wouldn’t come cheap, but again appears attainable, although it’s all easier said than done.
That being said though, there needs to be a significant change in personnel aside from any discussion around setup. Houllier displayed a ruthlessness that proved to be a key part of his successful times at Anfield whilst Rafa too wasn’t adverse to bombing a player out if he felt it was needed. Klopp has been loyal to many of these players, but the application of lessons from the past may well define how he’s ultimately viewed.