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Liverpool job is a pragmatic but imperfect return to management for Jurgen Klopp

08 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Liverpool job is a pragmatic but imperfect return to management for Jurgen Klopp

While a fine appointment for the Reds, football hipsters’ favourite boss is likely to endure many of the issues he encountered at Borussia Dortmund

Jurgen Klopp is a better manager than Brendan Rodgers.

Unlike his predecessor, Klopp has actually won trophies – most impressively in 2012 when leading Borussia Dortmund to a second successive Bundesliga title in addition to the German Cup.

Those unlikely triumphs – plus finishing as Champions League runners-up 12 months later and his proclivity for offering vivid, original soundbites – established the 48-year-old as one of the finest bosses in the game and endeared him to football hipsters in the UK.

So while Liverpool have made the best possible appointment, the decision of Klopp to take over at Anfield is intriguing.

A club that has won 18 league titles and five European Cups must be hard to resist – especially when unemployed and actively looking for work.

It is perhaps surprising, though, that the German did not wait a little longer for an opportunity to manage a team where he has a more realistic chance of success.

At Liverpool, Klopp is likely to encounter the same issues that ultimately contributed to him leaving Dortmund.

Part of the reason he resigned was because his attempts to compete with Bayern Munich – the only team in Germany richer than BVB – were continually undermined by losing his best players to them.

But in the Premier League, there are four teams – Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United – that have significantly more money to spend than the club that he has joined.

Just like Dortmund, Liverpool have endured losing their two best players over consecutive summers.

For Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski in 2013 and 2014, see Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling in 2014 and 2015.

In his latest Betway Insider column, Daily Mirror sports writer Darren Lewis wrote that the Fenway Sports Group sacked Rodgers because “they believe… they actually still have a chance of finishing in the top four or even challenging for the title”.

Ignoring the folly of the final six words, achieving a Champions League place is not means impossible if Chelsea’s implosion continues and Klopp extracts suitable performances from expensive underperformers like Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Adam Lallana.

Yet that is something he was unable to do last season with significantly-better players such as Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus.

And while his previous achievements rightly exempted him from excessive criticism, his final season at Dortmund was miserable.

Bottom of the league in November, the campaign eventually concluded with a disappointing seventh-place finish and a humbling Cup final defeat to Wolfsburg.

Despite few changes to the first-team squad, this season the Westfalenstadion has been revitalised under new manager Thomas Tuchel, who has guided them to second position.

Maybe Klopp will enjoy a similar new-manager boom at Liverpool.

But even if he secures an immediate top-four finish, Arsenal, Chelsea, City and United will all spend vast sums to reassert their authority on the Premier League.

Klopp and the Merseyside club’s much-publicised transfer committee, meanwhile, will be forced to operate in the second tier of the transfer market while also attempting to prevent Phillipe Coutinho from leaving for La Liga.

That is a familiar predicament and he will do improbably well to thriftily acquire the talent of the players – Lewandowski (€4.5m from Lech Poznan), Hummels (€4m from Bayern) and Shinji Kagawa (€350k from Cerezo Osaka) – who helped inspire his Dortmund side to success.

The challenges posed by Klopp’s new job, then, are much more difficult than those he encountered in his last one.

Being charismatic will only take him so far.

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