Squad Depth. It’s how you win things.
The luxury of having a large squad filled with enough quality to compete on many fronts… every manager’s dream.
That is a luxury that has not always been afforded to Liverpool managers in the recent past.
Never-mind the squad as a whole; just the subs bench alone would leave much to be desired. The bench is an asset, often providing the manager with an inventory of options to change the outcome of a game if a plan B is needed.
Reinforcements. Defenders can be brought on to close up shop. Strikers to get a goal if needed. Midfielders to drop the handbrake on a parked bus.
This season, Jurgen Klopp seems to be blessed in all departments. However, it hasn’t always been this way, though not for a lack of spending as the Liverpool owners have splashed a lot on players over the last couple of years. Problem was, the players brought in were seldom good enough.
It was often left to a strong starting eleven to get the result. Those coming off the bench would solely be providing fresh legs, not fresh ideas, and hardly ever filled the supporters with belief. This weakness in squads can be blamed for Liverpool not doing as well enough as they hoped to.
But now, under Jurgen Klopp, that is beginning to change.
24 players were used by the Liverpool manager in the last two games. Twenty four!
Usually, “playing the B team” ends up in defeat or utter humiliation… Not anymore.
1) The kids are alright.
2) The second string are now strong/capable enough to do the job.
That was clearly evident against Spurs on Tuesday night. A lot of the younger players will have wanted to ensure that they catch the eye of Jurgen Klopp and write their names in his future plans. Many, may well have succeeded in doing so.
Whilst there has been a significant and much needed clearing of deadwood in the summer, Klopp has somehow managed to add quality AND quantity.
Very often nowadays, Liverpool’s subs bench consists of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Emre Can, Ragnar Klavan, Simon Mignolet; players who, when called upon, can do a job for the team as opposed to filling space or making up the numbers.
This is precisely where Jurgen Klopp and his team have excelled superbly and deserve the praise lauded upon them. Remember when the Reds bench consisted of David Ngog, Jay Spearing, Christian Poulsen, and Paul Konchesky? Nightmares linger long in the mind.
Nowadays when a player or two get injured, there aren’t sighs of hopelessness and anxiety around the club as previously experienced. As much as Raymond “Ray the Fitness Egg” Verheijen would like you to believe to the contrary, the squad is now deep enough to absorb the loss and go about the game plan without much fuss or fear. Klopp’s tactics involve players manoeuvring all over the pitch and he has redefined the matrix of conventional formations. The text book has well and truly been thrown out.
He does however have the difficult balancing act of keeping all the strikers happy/ motivated/ match fit.
Daniel Sturridge went a long way in silencing his long line of critics who have prematurely written him off. Against Spurs, they had to write his name down twice.
He’s showed his poaching ability for the first goal latching onto a deflected Marko Grujic shot/cross/pass… then showed his athleticism and pace for the second- pouncing onto Gini Wijnaldum’s through ball with a well timed run and finished through the legs of the spurs keeper…yep, he’s certainly back in Vorm …Young Divock Origi continues to develop with him garnering a standing ovation from the Anfield faithful when he was subbed off, and Ings is fit, however, Firmino will remain the first name on the teamsheet, and rightly so.
The signs are looking good for Liverpool currently, supporters are buzzing, Anfield has become a fortress again and Klopp has enough players to keep the ship moving forward.now. Ze German has all his ducks in a row, and those ducks can Gegenpress the heck out of any team that comes in its path.