After losing the Premier League by a single point to rivals Manchester City, Liverpool have endured a horror 2022-23 season. The Reds are currently in ninth, 10 points behind Manchester United in fourth and have lost six of their 19 matches and could finish outside of the top four for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
Their only consolation is that they are still alive in the UEFA Champions League and could save their season with a miracle run in the continental tournament. However, despite all this, manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed that the club is going through a rebuild that will take time.
“It will not go overnight, and imagine the situation now with another coach in the chair. I would be somewhere on holiday, and everybody would shout my name ‘with him, it would not have happened!’ I’m obviously not a miracle worker,” Klopp said while speaking to the media.
So what is the Liverpool rebuild, and why Jurgen Klopp signed a new deal to stay at Liverpool till 2026?
The great Liverpool rebuild
Even though Liverpool might be suffering from a drastic season, they have certainly not been shy from spending. However, instead of quantity, the club has focused on quality. For example, Darwin Nunez, who was the star of Benfica last year in Portugal, was bought for €75 million. At the same time, they also added Ditch sensation Cody Gakpo in the January transfer window. However, these two have been the only signings worthy of the starting 11. The rest of the signings, such as Clavin Ramsay, Fabio Carvalho, and Stefan Bajcetic, are future prospects.
Furthermore, Klopp knew that for continued success, Liverpool had to alter their style of play. Throughout the last four to five years, the club’s attacking philosophy was based on their full-backs, who almost played as wingers stretching the opposition. Meanwhile, wingers like Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah would come inside and act as inverted forwards.
During all this time, Liverpool’s midfield would be tasked with ensuring that the gaps left by the full-backs were taken care of. It is why Klopp preferred hard workers in midfield, such as James Milner, captain Jordan Henderson, and Gini Wijnaldum.
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Klopp knew sooner or later, his full-backs would experience a lean phase where the system would fall flat on its face. This is why Klopp added players like Thiago, Carvalho and Curtis Jones, who love to be involved in the attacking build-up. However, the transition had to be smooth, and the drop in form from the full-backs, especially Trent Alexander Arnold, has not helped his cause.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Darwin Nunez has endured a difficult start to his Liverpool career. Despite scoring ten goals and providing three assists in 31 matches, Nunez has been unable to replicate Mane’s form on the left flank.
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What is going wrong at Liverpool?
If Jurgen Klopp had managed to raise this Liverpool team in any other era, they would have won at least three to four Premier League titles. However, such has been the level shown by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City that Liverpool have lost the title race by one point on not one but two different occasions. And even a team of Liverpool’s calibre would be left frustrated after such a season where they also lost out on the Champions League title in the final against Real Madrid.
On top of that, they also played 63 games throughout the season, which appears to take a toll on the players. One other team played 63 games last season, and it was Chelsea, a team even below Liverpool in the Premier League table. And with Liverpool only adding a handful of players, the pressure on an ageing squad seemed to have affected their form. We must also remember that Klopp’s Gegenpressing requires players to apply two types of presses, the normal and the intense, which is only applied for specific times during a match.
And this season, the players, especially the midfielders, have looked dead tired during the match’s closing stages. However, even in the current season, Liverpool have to play in the league and are aiming for a deep run in the Champions League, which means they will again play over 50 matches.
And thus, Klopp is slowly signing players that will initiate a new crop of players at the club that will bolster the squad and ensure they are better equipped to deal with the problems that come with a lengthy football season.
Will Jurgen Klopp be able to revive Liverpool?
In the Premier League, a lot can change over a season. After the showings of the previous season, no one would have expected such a flawless season from Arsenal. The Gunners finished fifth last season but have been by far the best team in England this season. Liverpool have the same quality, and if Klopp managed to make some good signings combined with the return in form for the full-backs, then the Reds are serious title contenders.
Furthermore, with Klopp’s achievements at the club, it’s highly unlikely that the club will fire him, and he will be given adequate time and financial resources to turn the tide around. In the last four to five years, every top English club barring Manchester City, have gone through what can only be described as their ‘worst phase’ in recent times.
However, most of them have come back strongly, and it needed only a few changes in their playing style, mentality, and coaching to bring this turnaround. The only thing Liverpool need to do is leave the past behind. They are still alive in the Champions League and, on their day, can put the best teams in the world to the sword.
His ‘I’m obviously not a miracle worker,’ statement is similar to his “I’m the normal one” quote which he made back in 2015 after being appointed Liverpool’s manager. Klopp is urging patience; given his reputation and achievements, he deserves that.