The Reds are flying high at the moment. Besides ensuring (or close to that) their top-four status in the league they are currently in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League for the first time in ten years.
Liverpool fans are already dreaming about winning the Champions League but will this season be seen as a disappointment if they didn’t? Does Klopp really need to win a trophy to prove that he has made Liverpool a better side?
The obsession with trophies is understandable.
After all, it is why competitions are held in the first place, why clubs spend millions on transfers, why managers get appointed, and why the number of trophies a club has won is an integral part of its history. But what happens when you’re solely focused on lifting a cup that you forget what is happening on the pitch?
“Liverpool is about winning. [Not] just simply saying, ‘We’re improving, progressing.’ I think team and manager have to win trophies. This is most confident I have been in a number of years.The team’s moving forward, progressing, but to go the last step is always hardest. They’ve had chances, semi-final a few years ago, so I am optimistic and slightly changed my mind [about Klopp] but until he wins trophies I don’t think he can ever say he’s arrived at Liverpool.”
These are the words of former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann. Hamann has been a strong critic of Klopp since the former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund manager arrived at Anfield. Hamann has continuously indicated that Liverpool are not a good side because they have such a leaky defense and he questioned whether Klopp will ever be able to solve that.
It certainly has taken a while but Liverpool finally looks like a team that can defend. The arrival of Virgil Van Dijk coupled with the amazing form of Lorius Karius means that Liverpool finally have a defense they can relay on. Not to mention Andy Robertson who has been a revelation at Left Back.
Klopp is slowly improving Liverpool and in the process building a team that not only can bring success in the short term but can go on to challenge for the big trophies in the years to come.
Almost every player under him seems to get better. As he promised on his arrival the German manager is changing doubters to believers. And even the biggest of doubters like Hamann, who said ‘I am optimistic’, and Stan Collymore – who admitted he was wrong about Klopp – are joining in.
The problem for Klopp is that despite the palpable progress a certain set back can invite those doubts again. Be that as it may, the Liverpool manager is being proven right for the decisions he has made on and off the pitch.
Look back in the summer and remember how people reacted when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was signed. Fans lost their minds and pundits were dumbfounded, but look at what Klopp has done with the Ox. The former Arsenal player is one of the most consistent performers in the Liverpool team.
When Coutinho left in January for Barcelona and wasn’t replaced many fans thought that securing a top-four finish would be impossible let alone beating Manchester City to reach the last four of Europe’s elite competition.
All of these tell us that Klopp knows what he is doing and he has a plan. He has done it before at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund and he is currently doing it in the most scrutinized league in the world.
He makes players better, he transforms teams, and indeed he does win trophies. However, Liverpool fans need to be patient and enjoy the ride. Every little set back shouldn’t automatically trigger crisis talks. I know it is hard to wait in the current world of social media hysteria but Klopp has earned the fans’ trust.
Liverpool now face an important two legged tie against Roma. The Italian club shocked Barcelona and can do the same to Liverpool.
This game is by no means an easy one. The good thing for Liverpool is that they are in a good form. But whether they win the big trophy after 13 years of waiting should not be the basis in which this side should be judged on.
Yes, Klopp may have to win a trophy at some point during his time at Liverpool but failing to do so must not overshadow the amazing job he is doing at Anfield.
Written by Brook Genene
Follow Brook on Twitter @brookge
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