If there is one aspect that would define Jurgen Klopp’s success at Anfield during his four-year reign it would be time. As we all know, Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same could be said for this world-conquering squad assembled by their irreplaceable German manager.
Liverpool are currently 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League table despite having played two games less than all of their title rivals. The Reds also recently returned from Doha, Qatar, having claimed their inaugural FIFA Club World Cup triumph following a 1-0 victory against Flamengo.
Klopp’s team are also one match away from going a full-calendar year unbeaten in the Premier League should they avoid defeat at home to Sheffield United on Thursday. Their most recent victory at Wolves also meant Liverpool extended their unbeaten home league record to 50 matches.
However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Anfield clash against The Blades is Klopp’s comments regarding January signing Takumi Minamino who is not in his squad for the match against Chris Wilder’s team.
Minamino, 24, is not eligible to play in Liverpool’s next Premier League game against Sheffield United on January 2, but he could make his debut against Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
Klopp recently stated in his pre-match comments that the former RB Salzburg playmaker will need time to adapt following his £7.25 million move to Anfield.
Minamino becomes the sixth midfield signing of the Klopp era following the additions of Marko Grujic Gini Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho and Naby Keita.
One glowing aspect that has been evident in each of Klopp’s midfield signings is the time needed to adjust to Liverpool’s style of play. None of the recruits were instant hits at Anfield and many seriously struggled in their opening months on Merseyside which should showcase why fans may need to be patient with Minamino who joined up with the team for the first time on Tuesday.
Gruijic is still yet to establish himself as a regular under Klopp despite impressing on several loan spells including his current loan move at Hertha Berlin. Wijnaldum needed time to adapt after joining Liverpool from a-then relegated Newcastle United.
Oxlade-Chamberlain only scored once in his opening 15 league appearances for Liverpool and had only started three of his first 12 league matches following his £40 million move from Arsenal.
Perhaps the most surprising of the lot was just how much Fabinho struggled in the early stages of his Liverpool career. The former Monaco man was snubbed by Klopp in his first nine league matches and failed to even make the matchday squad on three separate occasions.
The transformation has been remarkable with the Brazilian since emerging as one of the best holding midfielders in world football. Keita joined Liverpool after becoming the club’s third most expensive signing in 2018 but has only recently shown signs of consistency following numerous injury setbacks.
If Minamino is to enjoy similar success the evidence would suggest it can certainly take time. Luckily for the Japan international, he has joined a team that has become so accustomed to winning that the burden of becoming an instant success could be quickly lifted following the arrival of more trophies to Anfield.