Jurgen Norbert Klopp…Norbert. For the duration of this article we will address Mr Klopp as Norbert. The lights are shining too bright to read any of his other names. Norbert took over the Liverpool job in October 2015, roughly 3 seasons ago now. In that time his win record stands at 41 games out of 99 in all competitions. Exactly 47.47%. To be fair to Jurg…Norbert he inherited a squad that was a little bit of a mess. Liverpool’s transfer business post Suarez money resembled a 12 year old’s first attempt at Career mode. While this cuts Norbert some slack it is also the reason why he must be put under the lights now. He has had 4 transfer windows with which to make his mark on the squad, and in that time he’s spent around 171 million euros. He has attempted to mould the squad in his image, notably with the signings of high octane attacking players in Sadio Mané and Mo Sal-ah. Norbert’s famed gegen-pressing and fluid attacking football are now a feature of the current Liverpool squad.
And yet the much maligned Brendan Rogers still boasts a higher win percentage with 50.30% percent.
We must ask ourselves what was deemed within the realms of possibility when Norbert was appointed. Yes he didn’t have Suarez, but he had inherited a squad which despite its problems had gone close to the title the season before, a minimum expectation should have been to take that team forward.
Maybe it was out of Liverpool’s reach to challenge for another title immediately but the aim must have been to make Liverpool a real competitor. Whilst Liverpool’s most impressive improvement has been with their attacking play, it could be argued that the attacking quartet of Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling and Coutinho were already a formidable proposition. Norbert has simply assembled faster players that are equally as dangerous.
The most glaring criticism of Liverpool has inevitably been defending. Watching Liverpool at the back has honestly been laughable at times this season. One should not be watching a premier league team and thinking “wow even the centre back at my school wouldn’t do that.” Norbert has had 3 seasons, and even if he cannot coach himself (which is hard to believe given he was a defender in his playing days) he has access to top class coaches and facilities. In Norbert’s defence he could argue he cannot plan for every defensive individual error, however one of my favourite quotes from the touchline fracas podcast is ” a managers job is to put his team in the best position to win a football match.” The issue with Norbert here is that Liverpool don’t seem to be set up in the best way possible.
Blame must lie at the feet of Norbert. Liverpool seem prone to extended winless streaks, notably after Mane left for the AFCON last season. Liverpool remain 6th currently with only 4 wins from 10. Time is running out for Norbert. Liverpool have to show signs of tangible improvement, success is inextricably linked with expectation and before the lights get too bright Liverpool fans must ask themselves.What can they expect going forward from Norbert ? When the 3 seasons as Liverpool manager are illuminated and theres nowhere to hide, what will be the verdict ?
Maybe Norbert could start with a bit of toothpaste?