Since the news broke on Sunday evening that Brendan Rodgers was no longer Liverpool FC manager and Jurgen Klopp was favourite to take over at Anfield there has been a mixture of feelings being aired on social media. Fans are either in denial about how good the German is and what he brings to Liverpool or jealous at the fact he much sought after manager is now at the helm of one of your rivals.
These are understandable feelings.
These fans are looking at the now instead of the future and right now, If I was a fan of Man United, Man City, Arsenal or Chelsea, I’d be worried too. You may still be confident of finishing within the top 4 but that confidence would’ve halved as soon as Klopp to Liverpool was confirmed. The man that toppled the great Bayern Munich. The man that embarrassed Real Madrid. Media and fans keep saying “Klopp has to topple the big 4”, he doesn’t. He has to topple one of them to break into the top 4.
That’s the immediate fear, but look at the long term.
England are one bad season in the Champions League away from losing that 4th spot. As soon as that happens the gap between the top 3 and the rest of us will grow each season. The English teams in Europe are continuously underperforming, or maybe they just aren’t good enough anymore and there are various reasons for that. One of the reasons being the fact the managers haven’t been the best in the Premier League for some time.
Look back to 2005-2009 when English sides dominated in Europe. The big 4 clubs at that time had Rafa Benitez, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho in charge. You had the old guard, Fergie and Wenger playing not only for the win but for pride. You had the new kids on the block in Rafa and Jose, both wanting to show to the world who was better tactically. You then had Fergie and Wenger wanting to show Rafa and Jose that they couldn’t just waltz in to Premier League football and be the best. It was competitive and it was to the benefit of the Premier League.
If you’re playing at high levels all year round because you have so many rivals and mini battles to win it was leaving these teams in good form and condition for when they play in Europe. The competitiveness in the Premier League meant English clubs had an advantage in the Champions League and this showed. From 2004/05 to 2008/09 England had a representative in each of the finals.
This was never going to last though and with the likes of Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and Alex Ferguson all leaving the elite managerial pool within the Premier League became even smaller. You had the likes of David Moyes, Avram Grant and Brendan Rodgers managing these big clubs. David Moyes did a superb job at Everton but that step to United was too much and the club suffered. Brendan Rodgers has all the potential to be a good manager but for now he’s a lot to learn. Avram Grant, well his level was Portsmouth for me. This combined with the emergence of Manchester City meant the Premier League’s big 4 took a hit. I wrote about this here for anybody that’s interested.
However, the Premier League is once again looking healthy in terms of managers. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Man United and now Liverpool all have world class managers at their disposal and this can only be seen as a positive for their respected clubs and the league in general.
The League now has the self proclaimed ‘Normal one’ in Jurgen Klopp. A manager who in his first press conference said he’d be setting Liverpool up to be playing full throttle. Liverpool’s 2013/14 season was built on this style of football and opposing teams couldn’t handle it, could the league handle a team that plays like that but on steroids?
We also have ‘The Special one’ who is having a torrid time as of late. We’ll see how special Jose is in the next few months if he’s able to turn the mess around at Chelsea. He could be in for a fright on Halloween afternoon if Jurgen Klopp’s Reds turn up at Stamford Bridge. The first ‘big’ game for Klopp and Jose’s first opportunity to show he’s still the alpha manager in the league. It’s for the benefit of the League.
‘The Borrowed Time one’ is a nickname I’ve seen associated with Manuel Pellegrini. He’s been rumoured to be close to the sack for the last few seasons and yet he’s still here. He keeps proving doubters wrong and getting revenge against Klopp for the Champions League game his Malaga side lost to Klopp’s Dortmund must be a prospect that excites the Manchester City manager. He’s already defeated Jose Mourinho this season comfortably, could City really sack a manager that defeats Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Arsene Wenger and Louis Van Gaal in a season? It’s a real possibility.
‘The Teasing one’ is my nickname for Arsene Wenger. Arsenal often give fans and watchers of football a glimpse of what they could be but that’s all it ever is. A glimpse. A snippet. He teases success in the Premier League but as of late he falls short. The dismantling of United was scary to watch but you know there’s a dodgy performance just around the corner.
‘The masquerading one’ is for now Louis Van Gaal. He masquerades as this tactical genius but you can’t help but feel as a neutral he’s failed to live up to expectations. Last season he managed to finish 4th and a lot of that was down to David De Gea. For the money spent we’ve hardly seen Manchester United blow a side away. You don’t see United playing football that leaves teams envious. He’s just doing the minimal requirement for now but maybe with Klopp making Liverpool a serious contender in the long run for top 4 he may up his game.
The league now has 5 world class managers and another 4 potentially brilliant managers in Roberto Martinez, Eddie Howe, Garry Monk, Mauricio Pochettino who will all improve when pitting themselves against these managers.
Jurgen Klopp’s appointment could be the catalyst. The spark that awakens the League from its European slumber.