Revisited: 5 Liverpool players who will benefit from Jurgen Klopp’s appointment

16.02.2016


Jurgen Klopp has been Liverpool manager for over four months, and we revisit how those we tipped to star under him have fared so far.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 31, 2015: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates the 3-1 victory over Chelsea with Emre Can and James Milner after the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by Lexie Lin/Propaganda)

It has not always been plain sailing for the charismatic German, with injuries hampering the team and performances continuing to be inconsistent.

Despite this, Klopp has still made a sizeable impact on Merseyside and the future, of course, looks bright with him in charge.

Back in October, when Klopp had taken over from Brendan Rodgers, we tipped five players in particular to shine under the 48-year-old.

Here is how they have fared in the fourth months since.

 

Alberto Moreno

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 21, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp with Alberto Moreno during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match against FC Rubin Kazan. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alberto Moreno is a footballer of so much promise, but as was the case under Rodgers, he has continued to frustrate with Klopp as his manager.

The Spaniard’s form was actually very good at times during the early stages of the German’s reign, with pace and link-up play in abundance down the left, but too often the deficiencies in his game have reared their ugly head.

Moreno has been guilty of switching off defensively at key times – Ramires and Sadio Mane both scored headers because of his failure to read the danger – with an ability to jump needlessly into tackles also evident.

Although the 23-year-old does lack brain cells on occasions – the penalty he conceded at Norwich City was laughable – he is definitely someone worth persevering with.

He is an exciting player, and if he can just mature in the coming years, he can become one of the Premier League’s better left-backs.

Final ball, consistency and defensive work all need fine-tuning, but at 23, Moreno has plenty of time to work on them.

Verdict: Improved, but still plenty of work to do


 

Emre Can

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's Emre Can celebrates scoring the third goal against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We live in a day and age when Liverpool players split opinion more than ever among fans, and Emre Can is right at the top of that list.

It is so easy to forget that the German is just 22 years of age, though, and he has largely improved since Klopp’s arrival as manager.

Can has played as much as anyone under his countryman, outlining how highly he is rated by him, and he has finally been given an extended run in his preferred central midfield role.

Although the youngster is more noted for his physical presence than anything, he has produced some real moments of magic in the attacking third in recent months.

His back-heel against Man City was outrageous, as was his assist for Daniel Sturridge against Southampton in the League Cup, while his goal against Aston Villa on Sunday was expertly taken.

Can is not perfect by any means, and his decision-making will continue to infuriate on occasions, but he has been one of Liverpool’s standout players this season.

Verdict: Improved

 

Joe Allen

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Liverpool's Joe Allen in action against Arsenal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite the vitriol that has often come his way since joining the Reds from Swansea in 2012, there was always a talented player hidden somewhere inside Joe Allen.

Klopp has not used the Welshman too regularly, but when he has come into the side, he has often been a breath of fresh air, bringing an element of class to proceedings.

The 25-year-old has started adding far more substance to his game, and there is just a more confident, composed look about him on the pitch. Maybe it’s the beard that does it.

From fantastic League Cup assists against Southampton and Stoke City, to that last-gasp equaliser against Arsenal, Allen has proven to be a surprise talisman at times during Klopp’s tenure.

Cruelly, just as the diminutive midfielder has started to look the part, rumours are intensifying that he will be sold by Liverpool in the summer.


With Marko Grujic arriving from Red Star Belgrade, and other midfield reinforcements likely, Allen’s first-team chances would be further restricted in 2016/17.

A strong three months between now and the end of the season could alter Klopp’s opinion, however, and he has shown enough recently to justify staying at Anfield.

Verdict: Improved, but unlikely to have a future

 

Roberto Firmino

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 6, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino scores the first goal against Sunderland during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When Klopp became manager back in October, some (less patient) fans were already starting to lose patience with Roberto Firmino.

He was failing to live up to the hype he had generated while at Hoffenheim, and some were concerned that he simply wasn’t suited to the Premier League’s more physical style.

No player has improved more under the German than Firmino, however, and he has gradually shown what a gifted footballer he is.

Often used in a ‘false nine’ role by Klopp, the Brazil international has started adding goals and assists at a relentless rate, with no Premier League players involved in more goals in 2016 so far.

Firmino was particularly brilliant in the away wins at Man City and Norwich, and ran the show in the home games against Arsenal against Sunderland.

There is a subtle brilliance about the way the 24-year-old plays the game, with his tactical awareness, movement and decision-making all sublime.

He will only get better and better under Klopp, who has already improved him enormously since the dark days of Rodgers playing him on the right wing.

Verdict: Improved – used correctly

 

Christian Benteke

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 9, 2016: Liverpool's Christian Benteke looks dejected after missing a chance against West Ham United during the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match at Upton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While it could be argued that Moreno, Can, Allen and Firmino have all improved since Klopp took charge, the same cannot be said of Christian Benteke.

The Belgian has endured a nightmare first season on Merseyside and those who felt he was the wrong signing last summer have been very much proved right.

Benteke’s all-round influence has not been close to good enough, and while he deserves credit for scoring winning goals against Leicester City and Sunderland, his work-rate, link-up play and movement have been poor.


The return of Daniel Sturridge from injury has only highlighted Benteke’s flaws further, and his poor showing against West Ham in the FA Cup looks likely to be the final straw with Klopp – now 12 appearances without a goal.

Unless Sturridge and Divock Origi get injured, the ex-Aston Villa man will surely now only feature from the substitutes’ bench, before being sold in the summer.

We were willing him to be a changed man when Klopp was named Liverpool’s new manager, but if anything, he has got worse.

Verdict: No future

> FURTHER READING – James Milner shows value in supporting role vs. Aston Villa

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