Liverpool are on the verge of securing themselves a Champions League spot for the first time under Jurgen Klopp. Granted, there’s still work to be done, but the Reds can seal their own fate in the coming weeks.
Of course, taking last season’s mediocre eighth-placed finish into account, this is certainly a step in the right direction.
But the statistics under Klopp actually tell a less positive story…
Record as Liverpool manager…
Klopp: 66 games, 118pts
— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) May 7, 2017
That’s right. Despite Liverpool supporters calling for Rodgers’ head after just over two seasons in charge, his record after 66 games is actually better than his successor’s.
Of course, there are arguments to support both managers.
For example, Rodgers spent in excess of £250m on new arrivals during his time with the Reds, and boasted the likes of Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez in his ranks.
But there’s no doubt Klopp has likely had a similar budget available to him. However, his approach has been to improve the players already within his ranks instead of reverting to the acquisition of new talent.
That’s all well and good on the face of things. But the squad currently at his disposal simply aren’t good enough to go all the way and challenge for titles, and with that in mind, the German boss should be looking at strengthening.
It certainly looked as though Rodgers lost the backing of the board and the fans in his final few weeks with the club, whereas Klopp’s treatment has been quite the opposite.
Klopp has had a full summer with his squad, he’s had three transfer windows in which he could’ve signed players to improve the strength in depth at Anfield. This is his second season with the Reds.
In Rodgers’ second campaign, Liverpool came within inches of lifting the Premier League title. This time out, they’re 11 points off the pace at the time of writing, having played two games more than league leaders, Chelsea.
But Klopp’s biggest tests are still to come.
Number one – can he get Liverpool back in the Champions League?
Number two – how does he balance the demand of European AND domestic football? We’ve seen his squad is lacking in terms of strength in depth.
Lose Philippe Coutinho in the summer and it’ll take someone pretty special to replace him. If Sadio Mane picks up an injury, who fills in? Can they rely at all on Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origii to step up?
In truth, it’s hard to compare the two bosses at this present moment, but it will be interesting to see how Klopp handles the pressure of sustaining a genuine title challenge next year while going for the Champions League too – if he gets his side there.
What do fans think? How have Liverpool fared under Klopp? Does he deserve more criticism, or is he doing a fine job?
Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing