After an unimpressive start to his Liverpool reign with a handful of draws, Jurgen Klopp has gone to places like Stamford Bridge and the Ethiad and demolished the two most dominant teams in English football of the past few years, with many seeing signs of his stamp on their system, none more so than Sky Sports pundit and Liverpool-hated Gary Neville.
One complimentary comparison Neville made was the similarities between Klopp’s Dortmund attack and his now reinvented Liverpool style. Neville paid tribute to the Merseysiders in the post match analysis against Manchester City when he said:
“The best performance I’ve seen from anyone in the past six or seven years was when Dortmund came here [to the Etihad]. There are signs of that from Liverpool today.”
One could guess that description might have hurt the former Man United right back, but one thing is for sure, he wasn’t wrong.
Following a less-impressive but important victory against Swansea at Anfield on Sunday, Liverpool now look at a great chance to reach the last four of England club’s first chance of silverware away to Ronald Koeman’s Southampton, and Klopp has as good of a chance to win a cup as he may get in his first sniff of a trophy.
A trip to St. Mary’s is far from straightforward, with flair and charisma all over the field, but Klopp must be thinking with big guns like Chelsea, Arsenal, Man United and Tottenham out of the equation, that Liverpool should be – and rightfully so – one of the favourites to walk up the steps of Wembley as winners early next spring.
Liverpool, who oh so nearly ended their Premier League drought two seasons ago with Brendan Rodgers, have only won one trophy since that special night in Istanbul over ten years ago, and that was in this competition via penalties against Championship side Cardiff in 2012.
Klopp can be realistically confident to add to Liverpool’s abnormally large trophy cabinet. Captain Jordan Henderson and prolific striker Daniel Sturridge played cameo roles at the weekend coming back from injury, and add even more firepower and leadership to a team who are quite frankly doing great without them.
However, the news will be welcomed by Liverpool fans as Philippe Coutinho hobbled off with injury on Sunday and although he is expected to be fit for the Southampton game on Wednesday, this could be a chance to rest him and get some miles into the legs of the returning pair as they seek needed match fitness.
An attack which could consist of the likes of Daniel Strurridge, Philippe Coutinho, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana, Jordan Ibe, Danny Ings or Divock Origi will not make a defence’s nerves rattle as much as Rodgers’ famous front three which consisted of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, but it will give Klopp a selection headache as he ponders through his impressive strength-in-depth which he can play around with.
If the German can further enforce his style of high-pressing and intricate passing that gives opposition teams no time to breathe (like what he did famously at Dortmund), we could be talking a trophy and a top four spot this season for a team which has seen some dark days in recent years.
Such an achievement will surely put Jurgen Klopp in a great position to have a long and happy spell and potentially see the golden days return to Anfield.