Is The Real Liverpool FC About To Re-appear?

Posted: December 30, 2015 in Football, Liverpool, Managers, Opinion, Premier League
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When I think back to the great Liverpool teams of the past, I think of Ian St. John, Ian Callaghan, Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Smith, Ron Yeats, Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan and John Toshack, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish, Ray Clemence, Graeme Souness, Alan Hansen and even Bruce Grobbelaar. As you will notice I have recorded these as I remember them rather than in any chronological order.

When I think back to the recent Liverpool teams, the players that spring to mind are Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and maybe Robbie Fowler. Of all the ones mentioned, Suarez showed absolutely no loyalty to the cause whatsoever. It can be argued that, as a Uruguayan, he would always feel more at home in Spain and he already had connections with the city of Barcelona if not the club, so it was rather ordained that he would end up there.

The point being that over a thirty year period from the late sixties until the late nineties, all the memorable players were around in the sixties and seventies. What has happened since?

No other team in England was as successful as Liverpool. In Europe, Liverpool are still the most successful English team but have failed to qualify for the top European competition in eight of the last ten years since winning it in 2005.

The players used to be household names all over Europe, not just in Liverpool.

What has happened to the boot room? Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Roy Evans all followed seamlessly, although the success came to a halt when Evans was appointed. Then the ridiculous situation whereby Gerrard Houllier was brought in to work with Evans, which never really got off the ground.

It seems to me that, since Joe Fagan, none of the manager’s really “got it”. By that I mean the Liverpool way, the way of thinking, the way of playing, the way of reacting to defeat. All of this was always exemplary during the days of Shankly, Paisley or Fagan.

They hated defeat with a passion, but they always reacted the right way and made sure that the team did as well. Playing one of their Liverpool teams just after a defeat invariably ended with a Liverpool victory. Their losing spells usually lasted one game, or two at worst.

Strangely enough, the nearest Liverpool have had to a “boot room” type manager recently has been Rafa Benitez. He seemed to fit the club. He came close to winning the Premier League, he won the Champion’s League and he had the fans with him. At Liverpool he had something he has never been able to reproduce anywhere else.

He has been a failure at Napoli, only winning the Coppa Italia and, up to now, at Real Madrid. He was a reasonably successful interim manager at Chelsea, picking up the Europa League in the short time he was there. His big problem since his days in Liverpool has been the fans.

Outside of Liverpool it is fair to say he is universally disliked so, even if he wins the occasional trophy or two, fans of his club can’t wait to see the back of him.

Now, of course, Liverpool have turned their attention to Jurgen Klopp who seems to have “got it” fairly quickly. He has the fans onside, he has the players onside. He will be inconsistent until he can bring in players who he can trust to play the game the way he wants it played. At the moment he is working with a squad who have been used to Brendan Rodgers for two years or so. Any relatively new players were brought in by Rodgers, such as Mario Balotelli for example, I bet Klopp can’t wait to work closely with him!

During the next two transfer windows I expect Liverpool to strengthen. I expect Klopp to get them back pretty close to the level Rodgers had them at last year. The difference is, that with Klopp, I expect them to stay there. He is the nearest to a genuine “boot room” manager that Liverpool have had for years.


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