The Jurgen Klopp era is one of the most successful in Liverpool’s history. They could quickly bring it to a premature end, however.
There’s little doubt that the Jurgen Klopp era at Liverpool has been fantastic. In just under six years, he’s moved the club from hoping for Champions League qualification to becoming the best team on the planet.
It doesn’t get much better than that. Sure, Liverpool haven’t quite seen the dominance of the late 1970s and early 1980s but Klopp has beaten anything since.
But things are moving towards a roadblock. Liverpool have built their squad on a core of players all moving through their prime at the same time. That comes at a price, though – they all decline at once, too.
So with that in mind, Liverpool need to squeeze what they can out of this core. Last year was a lost year, unfortunately, as injuries prevented the team from competing.
But going forward, this is still very much a team capable of delivering. Striking when the iron is hot it vital, too, as what comes after is a rebuild.
That could take another four or five years and then a new problem occurs – Jurgen Klopp only has a contract until 2024. He may well be gone by the end of a rebuild and Liverpool surely must remain competitive while he’s here.
So considering all of that, reports in the last few days looks truly mad.
End of the Jurgen Klopp era?
The opposite of ‘striking while the iron is hot’ would be to dismantle the team prematurely. And yet, that might happen.
We’ve already seen Gini Wijnaldum depart on a free, meaning Liverpool are down one title winner. And that may be two.
The Daily Mail, among many others, report that Jordan Henderson could leave this summer. Talks over a new contract have stalled as the captain wants reassurances over his long-term future.
Executives at Liverpool can’t give him those, however. They see his decline coming and don’t want to pay him. Thus Henderson could push for a move now as he seeks that long-term security.
Henderson is an absolutely vital player. He’s the organiser, the captain, and a world-class player. Liverpool have lost just twice in the Premier League since January 2019 with Henderson starting in midfield.
But couple that with Wijnaldum’s departure and that’s a key component of this team ripped out in one go. The Reds rely on their midfielders to fill in gaps all over the pitch. They cover the full-backs, stop counter-attacks, dictate possession and press all over the pitch.
Losing two midfielders who know how to do all of that could be catastrophic. Thiago might be able to replace one of them but the other? That doesn’t seem possible.
It would take an elite replacement. We see Declan Rice as possibly that, though he’s not on Henderson’s level yet. He’d be an immediate downgrade and by the time he’s at his best, the other stars will be past their primes.
And that’s before you consider he’d reportedly cost £100m. Liverpool don’t even have that; they can’t afford what would still be a subpar replacement.
On top of it all, we’ve seen how long it takes for new signings to gel at Liverpool. It can take six months or more and we’re talking about replacing one of the team’s best players.
If Liverpool get this one wrong, they ruin their chances of winning titles and trophies with this current side. And with that, they enter a rebuild that would see Klopp’s contract end.
This could be a premature end to the Klopp era.