Liverpool F.C’s performances under Jurgen Klopp have both excited and disappointed in equal measure.
It was the best of times , it was the worst of times..
Fast forward to the end of Jurgen Klopp’s tenure at Liverpool Football Club and such sentiment may in fact be fitting when summing up the emotions of Liverpool supporters.
The manager’s appointment in October 2015, greeted with such delirium on Merseyside has at times been replaced by criticism, doubt and hair pulling frustration. The task at hand – to restore Liverpool F.C to the summit of English football – a thankless task some would argue given the current football climate of oil-led wealth but one that still dangles a big enough carrot to accept; the chance to be another fabled hero in the rich tapestry of one of English football’s giants.
Jurgen Klopp, fresh from a self-imposed sabbatical was ready for the challenge, confident in his ability to succeed against those with greater resources given his achievements in his homeland with Borussia Dortmund.
Over the last two years it is hard to argue that progress has not been made. The brand of football on display is at times a joy to behold. For better and for worse the current crop can lay claim to being the best ticket in town, and yet despite the excitement that currently emanates from Anfield there remains lingering doubts among supporters and storm clouds hover ominously in the distance, seemingly ready to sweep in at a moment’s notice.
An exhilarating victory over runaway leaders and champions elect Manchester City was swiftly followed by a dismal defeat at then bottom of the table Swansea City . A first half demolition of Sevilla in the Champions League inexplicably led to a second half capitulation that invoked anger and questioned the attitude, desire and mental strength of the squad.
Liverpool had been 2-0 up against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium with half an hour to play yet conceded three goals in four chaotic minutes to relinquish their grip on the game and eventually escape with merely a point.
Further evidence of such fluctuating fortunes has been seen in the domestic cup competitions. In what is now a six-year chase for silverware, the FA Cup was seen as arguably Liverpool’s best chance this season to add fresh sparkle to a yearning trophy cabinet and a third-round victory over local rivals Everton had Wembley in everyone’s sights.
However, if this season has taught us anything it is that nothing can be taken for granted. The team’s ability to crumble from positions of strength was once again painfully exposed in the following round versus West Bromwich Albion, a chastening
defeat at home against a team with only three victories to their name in the previous 24 matches.
A predicted home banker that had instead ended as a shattering coupon-buster.
It is not only matters on the pitch that have been the source of so much frustration. Another summer of transfer movement had seen Mohamed Salah arrive from Roma for a club record fee yet few could have predicted the level of the success the diminutive Egyptian would enjoy this season.
It had been a devastating addition to an already established attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane & Philippe Coutinho. The ‘Fab Four’ had reformed and supporters were awash with anticipation.
The summer of promise however was to fade into a winter of discontent when in January arguably the club’s best player was finally granted his wish to join Barcelona and fans were left discouraged in what seemed like a backwards step.
In a season that has seemed to re-establish the status quo in the Premier League few teams have demonstrated such extreme contrasts in fortunes with the ability to excite and frustrate in equal measure.
It has become of vital importance to the club’s future prospects that Jurgen Klopp is able to strike a balance within the current side, eradicating the mistakes that are hampering their progress. They remain a team that is not too far away from challenging once more.
The full story of course remains unwritten and it seems with plenty of twists still to come. Can Jurgen Klopp still lead the team to glory?
In a club of such unpredictability you would not bet against it.
As the club anthem so powerfully enforces, at the end of a storm there’s a golden sky. We may yet get the ending that all Reds fans crave.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart.