Since making the switch to Anfield from Borussia Dortmund back in 2015, Jurgen Klopp has transformed the Merseysiders, turning them into a European powerhouse once again. They also finally ended their long wait to win a Premier League title in 2020 and won both domestic cups in 2021/22.
However, by their high standards, Liverpool have had a poor 2022-23 season up to now. They have struggled for consistency and are surely already out of the title race. Is it time for change, or is Klopp still the man to take the Reds forward?
Can Liverpool Regain Form in 2023?
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Liverpool had a season to remember last year as they battled for four trophies, playing in every game that they possibly could (making it to the finals of all three cup competitions, only losing one). They beat Chelsea on penalties at Wembley Stadium in both domestic finals to win the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.
The Merseysiders reached yet another European final. They were excellent en route to Paris, though old nemesis Real Madrid were just too shrewd in the UEFA Champions League final, with the Spanish giants nicking a 1-0 win.
They also finished runners-up in the Premier League. They pushed Manchester City to the final day and even looked like overhauling the Citizens at one point. However, City came from behind to beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, so Klopp and Liverpool had to settle for second place.
Too Many Defeats
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Liverpool kicked off the current season slightly behind Man City in the title betting odds. Before starting their league campaign, they beat City 3-1 in the FA Community Shield game at the King Power Stadium in July.
The Reds started the Premier League season with a 2-2 draw with EFL Championship champions Fulham, which kind of set the tone for a poor first half to their campaign. They drew at home with Crystal Palace and lost at Manchester United before picking up their first league win.
At the time of writing, Liverpool have already suffered six Premier League defeats, three more than they did in the entire 2021-22 season. Man United, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Brentford and Brighton have all beaten them. They also only managed a home draw with both Crystal Palace and Brighton and dropped a further two points at Everton.
Before and after the 2022 FIFA World Cup break, Klopp’s boys put together a four-game winning run in the league, though they never looked too convincing. They then suffered a bad 3-1 loss to Thomas Frank’s brilliant Bees at the Gtech Community Stadium. They weren’t much better in a home 2-2 draw with Wolves, a game they probably deserved to lose. Worst of all, most recently they were hammered 3-0 by Brighton, a performance Klopp described as “… bad. Really bad.” The Reds manager also said “I can’t remember a worse game. I honestly can’t.” Oh dear!
Where Next for Klopp & Liverpool?
No managerial job is safe in football, and Klopp could feel the heat if Liverpool continue their slide away from the top four. With half the season gone (for most teams) they are 10 points adrift of fourth and a massive 19 behind Premier League leaders Liverpool. Champions League football is a must for the Reds, but winning this year’s edition could be their only way into next year’s Champions League.
Right now, the Merseysiders languish in ninth spot. They have managed to win just eight games and have already shipped 25 goals. Moreover, the Kop side are set to be without key defender Virgil van Dijk for some time, whilst new signings up front have not hit the ground running.
With Arsenal flying and Newcastle United hitting dizzy heights, breaking into the top four will be a tall order. Liverpool desperately need to put another long winning run together to pile the pressure on the teams above them.
Will Klopp Survive?
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Needless to say, Klopp has been an incredible manager for Liverpool throughout the years, but all good things must come to an end. Will the German survive if Liverpool fail to make the Champions League next season?
There has been a lot of talk about the Klopp suffering from the seven-year itch, a theory based on the fact that he hasn’t made it to an eighth season in his two other managerial roles. At both Mainz and Dortmund things began to unravel at a similar stage and whether this is coincidence or something more, many are suggesting Klopp may leave, or be pushed, before the start of the 2023/24 campaign.
When asked about this last autumn, the German said, referring to his first job at Mainz, “The situation in the clubs was really different. A seven-year spell is not planned or because I lost energy, or things like this,”. He added that he “was full of energy (and) went directly to Dortmund and it was all fine.” Talking about the current situation he said, “I have absolutely no problem with energy and the situation is completely different here.”
Whilst Klopp’s energy may be fine, fans are most concerned with a lack of energy in their midfield. Liverpool’s success has been built on having three workhorses in the centre of the park, allowing the fullbacks to attack and the front three to wreak havoc. However, this is an area of the pitch fans feel has been ignored, with players being allowed to grow old and replacements not being good enough.
Ultimately we feel the current boss will lead his side into next season but who knows in football? What is certain is that if they do finish outside the top four the pressure will mount and a poor start, or even just a poor summer transfer window, could really see the fans turn against a man they once loved so much.