“Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.”- Ross Perot.
This pearls of wisdom resonates with this current Liverpool team and particularly epitomizes the mastermind behind the club’s resurgence- Jurgen Klopp. I will call this team as an imaginary flywheel which is self-aware, conscious and autonomous.
Five years back, many experts opined that Liverpool’s dream of winning the league title again looked as distant as Bezos’ plan for space colonization. Liverpool story looked like that of medieval knights on a quest to find the Holy Grail: full of hopeless optimism, dead ends and bitter disappointments. The plot that best fits this Liverpool team is ‘Fall and Rise’ and was notorious for ‘boom-and-bust’ cycles, and before Klopp, the bust had been so severe that it seemed like the club would never recover to smell the Premier League coffee again. His arrival has provided this club with an injection of adrenaline rush and high-octane fist-pumps, bear hugs which the club was in dire need of. This sounds like a prologue of a sports fiction story, but is just pragmatic acknowledgement of how far Liverpool have leapt from a caterpillar to a butterfly with wings giving them meteoric rise. It feels like a shift from an industrial society to a digital transformation world, such has been the metamorphosis.
Last season, they must have felt jolted by a surge of negative energy, like a dark spirit had brushed past them, when they missed the Premier League summit by one point. It was like two raging bulls, locking horns and wrestling till the end. It would have been easy for Liverpool to blame the stars and gaze outwards at City to conclude that their only hope was that Pep Guardiola’s Galacticos take their foot of the pedal or shoot themselves on the foot. But to the contrary, Liverpool this season have been a Rolls Royce with added gears, with Klopp in the driving seat. Manchester City simply have been blown away by this Liverpool hurricane and have slinked away without a fight.
Ask Klopp to walk on fire for his team and he will oblige without a smirk. His passion and doggedness is unmatched and that has rubbed off on his team like a rash. Van Dijk’s signing was a huge turning point in Liverpool’s renaissance. The 75 million dollar signing provided the required muscle in the heart of defence, when he was signed in January 2018. Joe Gomez alongside Van Dijk in the centre of defence has allowed Klopp to operate with a higher line than before, putting the squeeze on the opponents. The acquisition of Fabinho and his chameleon like ability to adapt provided greater defensive protection when needed. Henderson, Fabinho and Wijnaldum act as an extra line of defence to allow the full-backs to join the attack on the break. Neiby Keita offered the option of extra fizz from midfield if the situation demanded it. The signing of Allison Becker last summer fixed the goalkeeper problem in an instant. His save was the thin line between elimination and qualification in 2018/19 Champions League season when he produced that marvellous save to deny Napoli in the group stages-one where Liverpool would have been knocked out. Instead, they went on to win the trophy with Alisson keeping a clean sheet in the final. Liverpool’s chief playmakers have been their full-backs, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold who have grown leaps and bounds in stature and performance. The team without them is like a cake without the cherry on the top. One came from the academy. Other was bought at £7m from Hull. It also certainly helps having a world-class delivery in Alexander-Arnold, having giants in Matip and Van Dijk in both boxes. Salah has been the ornament on top of a Christmas tree to complement the flair of Firminio and steely resolve of Mane. One thing Liverpool have added to their arsenal is killer instinct, In the last 10 minutes of Premier League games, Liverpool have earned 12 points, that symbolizes the “over-my-dead-body” attitude. Akin to Manchester United in 1999, Liverpool have earned that luck by sheer persistence. The two games in particular – against a United side who routinely upped their game for their rivals – signified a paradigm shift in Liverpool’s big-game thinking, they were prepared to look ugly and grind out results. The major impediment was that even though they could trouble teams that attempted to play through the press by springing lightning quick counter-attacks on the transition, they were devoid of ideas to break down those sides that did not allow them such space in behind. Despite being unbeaten against their rivals at the top end of the table, five of their six defeats in the 2018/19 season came against opponents in the bottom half of the league table. Those parked buses that led to seven draws in that season. In order to counter that, Klopp adopted a high line of defence, which permitted Jordan Henderson to join attacks, and the full-backs to become out-and-out wingers. Benefits of Klopp’s forward-thinking tweak were quite evident. Liverpool made the pitch compact and the most of the drama was almost exclusively played in their opponents’ half.
Jurgen Klopp is the reality-TV impresario. Liverpool football club was stuck in no man’s land in 2014 languishing in the middle, and struggling for identity with one win in their previous nine, it was bleak, staring down the barrel. The media were sharpening their knives. Storm clouds that had gathered slowly started to scatter by the ray of hope in Jurgen Klopp. He has been as tough as nails and a man of great determination. He is someone who is imbued with a frenetic energy that resembles to a human whirlwind. He drummed in the ideology in his players that no club was bigger than Liverpool-no matter whether their owner was richest person in the world or had all the oil in the Persian Gulf, or gold mines in South Africa. He ensured that all the pieces of the ultimate product-fitted together. He has worked farmers’ hours and had an astonishing work ethic, that has shown in the results. Klopp is the sort of teacher you liked and respected at school, but you didn’t mess about with because you knew he was still the boss. The Liverpool fairy tale is similar to Margaret Thatcher’s Big Bang deregulation of finance industry, which sparked an epic boom.
The Klopp flywheel has certainly no intention of relenting and Liverpool are in boom times again. Excitement is at fever pitch. The club for now have discovered the magic ingredient to propel them to their destiny and if it innovates in the fashion that it has over the last couple of seasons, sky is the limit for this team.
Article by – PDelites