Jurgen Klopp’s work at Anfield has recently received plaudits from legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who believe Liverpool are now worthy contenders for the Premier League title.
Ferguson believes Klopp’s personality and attitude as boss of Liverpool manager has gone a long way to restoring the identity of the club, which he thinks had gone astray during the Premier League era. “He has done a really good job and revived Liverpool’s enthusiasm,” he said. “It can happen that big clubs lose it. For two decades, Liverpool changed managers without building their own identity.”
As for more recent years, Ferguson definitely has a point. The Brendan Rodgers era may have brought about one of the more fruitful seasons in Premier League history for Liverpool, falling just short of a league title, but Rodger’s struggled to find consistency, bemused many with his post-match press conferences and left the club in not much of a better state than when he first took the job.
Before the Northern Irishman was spells with Liverpool icon Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson, the former of which was more of an appeal to the heartstrings than the solidity of selecting a manager who the fans knew could take Liverpool to the next level. His sole full season at the club brought some truly awful performances in the league, finishing in 8th position with just 14 wins, though he did manage to add a League Cup to the club’s trophy cabinet. One of his more questionable decisions had little to do with football, though, as it was his public relations nightmare involving the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra racial abuse situation that truly brought the club’s reputation and identity into disrepute.
Roy Hodgson’s time at the club will be remembered by Reds fans as a bad dream that they were thankful to wake up from; Hodgson admitted Liverpool were involved in a ‘potential’ relegation battle in the 2010/11 season before his exit from the club by mutual consent on January 8th, 2011. Liverpool fans will shiver in unanimous horror at the thought of those words applying for a club with such prestige and history, making them even more gracious for the appointment of Jurgen Klopp this time last year.
“You can now well and truly sense that you have to count them in this year,” said Ferguson. “You can see Klopp’s dedication on the sideline – I’m convinced his work in training is similar. He’s a strong personality. That’s absolutely vital at a big club.”
The Premier League title race continues to heat up as we rapidly approach the hectic Christmas period; Manchester City lead the race on 20 points, even with Arsenal and Liverpool, while Chelsea and Tottenham are breathing down their necks on 19 points each. Ferguson considers all of them to be within a shot of the title come May, and he hasn’t forgotten his former side, who are six points behind the league leaders.
“I think there are five potential candidates. Manchester City as favourites, Tottenham and Liverpool, but also United are still there if we get some consistency soon,” said the Scotsman. “You shouldn’t forget Arsenal. The team is more sturdy. They’ve got better and more aggressive…Guardiola’s skills are beyond debate, Antonio Conte is getting Chelsea on track, but Mourinho can also rival Guardiola.”