To be fair, there was no way that Jurgen Klopp could have lived up to the hype and hysteria surrounding his appointment as Liverpool manager in October was understandable.
While Klopp had a brilliant CV he was taking over a Liverpool squad that had been badly managed by Brendan Rodgers and the infamous Liverpool transfer committee and he needed to learn the nuances about managering in England.
But 17 games into the Klopp reign and even the more avid kopites had to have been hoping for a little more than what they have seen from the German.
25 games into a season in which the former Dortmund boss has taken charge of 17, Liverpool sit ninth, six points closer to the relegation zone than the top of the table. While there tends to be a bedding in period for any new manager, Klopp was appointed to stop a run of underwhelming displays and improve results quickly. Few would say that he has accomplished both tasks.
With 23 points from 17 league games, Klopp is now averaging fewer than Brendan Rodgers had managed in the opening 8 matches of the season (1.35 per game down from 1.5). Liverpool have scored more goals since the new manager’s arrival but conceded more too.
Klopp has has to battle constant injuries, especially to defenders, and a relentless schedule that has had them play more games than anyone in Europe since his arrival, has made it difficult for him to spend any time on the training ground implementing his ideas.
Despite that, I expected Klopp to have more of an impact with Liverpool’s defensive than he has. The Reds now conceded only 4 goals less than bottom club Aston Villa.
One reason for the Reds dismal defensive record is goalkeeper Simon Mignolet who has committed more errors leading to goals than any other player (9) in the Premier League. Of the 22 goalkeepers to make 10 or more appearances in the Premier League this season, only Wayne Hennessey has a lower rating than the Reds’ number 1 (6.41). Goalkeeper Danny Ward impressed during his lean spell at Aberdeen this season and it is mindblowing to me why Mignolet keeps making mistake after mistake.
Klopp still has two chances to win a trophy this season. Liverpool meet Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final later this month, and they are still in the Europa League.
While a trophy would no doubt mask the inadequacies of the season to some degree, there’s no getting past the fact that Liverpool, having sat just three points off a Champions League place upon Klopp’s appointment, are now as close to the drop zone as they are to the top four (12 points).
I still think Klopp is a terrific manager and will get it right at Liverpool but I have been disappointed with their performances under him so far this season.