When Jürgen Klopp was finally confirmed as the new manager of Liverpool Football Club, just like almost every other Red out there, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. It was what we needed. We needed change and Brendan Rodgers had to go. A nice enough guy he was but it was never going to work, and trust me, when we were chasing for the title under him, I wasn’t even convinced then. I didn’t believe in Rodgers despite him believing in himself. I do though believe in Klopp.
As soon as Klopp was appointed, I immediately wrote off all expectations for this season. I’d kinda already done that in the summer when it became clear Rodgers would be staying on. Like most sensible Liverpool supporters, I didn’t expect the new boss to do much this term. Don’t get me wrong, I always expect us to challenge on all fronts but I wasn’t going to sulk like a big baby if we failed to win a trophy or qualify for the Champions League. I’m intelligent enough (no, really!) to understand that any new manager needs time and investment.
He’s only been here a few months and a few muppets have already started asking what was the point in replacing Rodgers because Klopp is currently no better yada yada. Numpties. It’s clear to me that we have been left with a squad that desperately needs strengthening. How anyone can come in and work wonders with that squad is beyond me. It’s not a terrible squad but it needs more than a few upgrades here and there.
We don’t just need some new players though. For example, we desperately need to inject some leadership too following the loss of Kop duo Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard. Jordan Henderson isn’t captain material (yet). I like him. I rate him. But I’m not sure he has enough entitlement and experience to skipper the Reds but from the current squad who has? Stripping him of the captaincy would be awful and a bad move for Klopp so we just have to hope that Jordan matures and starts stamping his authority and not just his feet. When I read the match-day programme and turn to ‘The Skipper’, I still can’t believe Steven Gerrard is no longer desperately trying to instill some faith in me.
When owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) appointed Klopp, this was seen by many as a master stroke, they were finally deemed geniuses. While I welcomed the move, I saw it as nothing more than what Liverpool Football Club should be doing. This should be standard. We have fallen so low that we now celebrate the appointment of a good manager and the lifting of a roof truss into place.
As I have been banging on about for what feels like years, FSG’s plan has always been to expand the stadium, put in place a high quality manager and sustain Champions League membership (not just qualify and then bomb out). When that happens, I said they would then actively look to sell the club. But for now, they remain as owners, although for how long I’m not so sure. They’re in no rush to exit and who can blame them with the lucrative TV money pouring in. The longer they remain in place, the better the return on their investment. And as they’re not all on the same page, those pesky Qataris will have to sit in the corner and continue sulking.
While FSG remain at the club, they must support the manager in the transfer market. We need more than Jürgen Klopp. The money that has been spunked over the years – even prior to their ownership – trying to cut corners by buying cheap, is sickening. Invest well and wisely in each position and we will become more successful than spending a bit here and there and hoping it comes off. When that fails, you’re left having to gamble again. However, spending big is also a gamble. Only a fool would have shelled out £35m on Andy Carroll which explains why those responsible are no longer at the club.
Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino cost more than £60m and I’m not convinced by either of those deals just yet. With Liverpool it’s shopping in the pound shop one day and Harrods the next. We’re not so good when it comes to buying but we’re bloody amazing when it comes to selling. We’ve mugged off both Chelsea and Manchester City in recent years but while we have a chuckle at them, let’s not forget that Southampton are still howling at us. I just hope that when FSG cash in on Philippe Coutinho that the money is spent wisely.
I had no faith in Rodgers (and the infamous transfer committee) but I have absolute faith in Jürgen Klopp. He’s not the exclusive solution though. The owners need to build on his appointment by backing him 100%. I also think we need to look further up the chain and bring in a proper football CEO. I have time for Ian Ayre but I can’t but help think he remains better suited to marketing and commercial areas. We’ve got the manager, we just need a shit hot CEO and/or Director of Football to work alongside him. We have to change the club’s mentality and operational procedures. Sadly, I remain unconvinced that FSG see us as anything more than a cash generator. I want to be proven wrong. I pray that come the 2016-17 season that they will show they finally mean business, although I’ve been saying that every year since 2010. It’s time to bin the advisors and think-tanks, the majority of whom are motivated by their own gains and agendas. If FSG need some advice, mine would be to not take the piss with Klopp. Give him your ear and he will tick the remaining box by delivering you your Champions League status. Then you can do one.