Liverpool's 2016 was categorized by a consistency across the pitch in areas where in previous years the team has not enjoyed this apparent luxury. With front line players out, the Reds turned to more than capable replacements. This season's players stepped up for Klopp and dived right in with all their heart, enabling Liverpool to maintain its position through difficult patches.
Ragnar Klavan was signed by Jurgen Klopp as a backup defender and definitely not someone in the A team plans. But the experienced Estonian player was called on for nine appearances in 2016 including more recent starts due to injuries suffered by Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip. For a player without much game time, he easily slotted in alongside Matip and Lovren. He was signed as defensive cover for injury and he delivered exactly to plan, playing with composure to make an impact and impress Klopp.
2017 is poised to be the most exciting year for Liverpool fans and players alike. The Reds are playing well, they are near the top of the table and they’re hanging in there without their most valuable player of 2016, Philippe Coutinho. Championships, titles and glory potentially await, but heartache is all too familiar for fans to get carried away at this early stage.
High Praise for Klopp from Those In the Know
Praise for Jürgen Klopp has come from all corners of the world this season, but some of the best compliments have come from his colleagues, his fellow coaches. Klopp inherited a team that had under-delivered in recent seasons, and a fan base itching for change and results. Deservedly so too, the Reds haven’t won any major silverware in a very long time. So his challenge to get something extra from a promising but ultimately underperforming player group was a tough one. And to date, he has worked wonders.
After doing all of the hard work against the top teams, Liverpool’s run into Christmas against the ‘easier’ teams was always going to throw up a surprise. Bournemouth was not the early Christmas surprise many were expecting, but one can only be philosophical in these situations. Leading 2-0 early and 3-1 late into the game, the Reds conceded three late goals to lose in the most stunning of fashions away to bottom half team Bournemouth.
Sturridge Into Starting Line Up?
Daniel Sturridge is the best 'non-starter' playing in the Premier League right now. But is there a case for promoting the speedster into Klopp’s starting line up? Coming off the bench against Southampton, Sturridge posed a serious threat on attack, sparking several chances with the ball at his feet. There is now growing momentum for him to resume starting honours, but at what expense?
Liverpool face a challenging time ahead as they move closer to the December break. No one is complaining about the Reds' position on the ladder, however with some niggling injuries to key players there will be some challenges to deal with in the days and weeks to come. A promising 2-0 win over Sunderland also came with a dose of concern on the injury front for Jurgen Klopp.
Key Player Injuries
Liverpool has had a relatively positive run with injuries compared to previous campaigns, nevertheless some key players are currently under injury clouds. Philippe Courtinho is the perhaps the most concerning name on the list. Courtinho suffered ligament damage in the match against Sunderland and was seen wearing a protective moon boot in training, while he awaited for the result of his scans. Fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino was also injured in the 2-0 win over the Black Cats, from a blow to the calf, however he received a far less severe assessment and is only expected to miss one midweek match. Adam Lallana is still sidelined with the groin injury that he picked up on representative duties for England early in November.
There is much to like about the Red’s season so far. Club, management and players are all singing from the same song sheet. But in Premiere league football, troubled waters may only be a couple of results away. So, here is a recap of key activities around the club that have the potential to shape the team’s future.
As Liverpool continues their winning ways, several things have emerged for fans and coaches to take pleasure from. Attacking prowess, cohesiveness and a willingness to play attractive football now have Liverpool as the in-form team atop the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp has said that “it makes sense when you have the ball that you do something nice with it”. This summarises the last few weeks of the Reds' season and the best could be yet to come.
After nine rounds of Premier League play, Liverpool sits joint top of the table alongside Arsenal and Man City. Most Reds fans would have thought this is the stuff of dreams six months ago, but now Premiership aspirations don’t seem so far-fetched at all. In fact, it’s a distinct possibility. The cautious nature of the Liverpool fan has come about through recent years of close misses, but now fans and players appear to be following Klopp’s advice - to believe.
Liverpool have turned in a stellar performance to dispatch the Tigers in a home game victory that saw them open up on attack and confirm their position as title contenders this season.
The Red’s blistering early season form has only one glaring road bump, the 2-0 loss to Burnley, however it has also included many impressive results against top-flight teams, several of those away. In three of the toughest away fixtures, Liverpool have gained seven points from three matches against Spurs, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
Oren Shabat Laurent is a passionate Liverpool fan and a cryptocurrency entrepreneur. He has been involved with sports from a young age, and sponsored football and basketball.