Jurgen Klopp’s winning mentality has revitalised Liverpool ahead of top-four push

07.03.2016


Liverpool’s thrilling late victory at Crystal Palace was further proof of the belief and winning edge that Jurgen Klopp has instilled in his players.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 6, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates his side's injury time 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As Christian Benteke stroked his last-gasp penalty into the net on Sunday, you could almost hear rival supporters saying, “jammy Liverpool, scoring late again.”

There is absolutely nothing lucky about it, even if there are those who believe it should never have been a penalty in the first place—it was, by the way.

The ability to dig deep and grind out wins in adversity is an attribute that makes the truly great managers so special, and Klopp certainly fits into that category.

The German has made a sizeable impact at Anfield since replacing Brendan Rodgers, but the most telling aspect is how he has transferred his winning mentality into his players.

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The Proof

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 6, 2016: Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the winning second goal against Crystal Palace from a penalty kick with team-mate Emre Can during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool were a soft touch under Rodgers. While the Ulsterman did get the Reds playing some superb football at times, they lacked ruthlessness and belief.

The players Klopp has inherited are no different to those who played under Rodgers—losing Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard made Liverpool even less mentally strong—but they now look like completely different footballers.

There is more of an edge about them—who knew Adam Lallana could get so angry?—and there is a togetherness when their backs are against the wall. None more so than on Sunday.

To win at Palace, when you have been trailing with 10 men, is quite an achievement, and there is no way such a turnaround would have occurred under some previous managers.

The Selhurst Park triumph was far from a one-off, though. Liverpool have recovered from a losing position to take points in nine matches since Klopp took charge.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 6, 2016: Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the winning second goal against Crystal Palace from a penalty kick with team-mate Emre Can during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 5-4 win at Norwich is clearly a standout in that respect, and at 3-1 down at Carrow Road many former Reds sides would have wilted. They would also never have responded after Sebastien Bassong made it 4-4 late on.

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The Merseysiders may have ended up losing the League Cup final to Man City on penalties, but they dug deep and grabbed a late equaliser in normal time.


Klopp’s men recovered from gifting early goals to both Chelsea and Southampton, winning 3-1 and 6-1, respectively, while Divock Origi and Joe Allen both rescued a point in the dying seconds at home to West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal.

Even the 2-2 draw at minnows Exeter City was a strong show of belief by a young Liverpool side. At 2-1 down it really felt like a shock defeat was on the cards, but they didn’t panic and got a hard-fought equaliser.

There have been strong, late comebacks left, right and centre.

 

Special Characteristic

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 6, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates his side's injury time 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace with match-winning goal-scorer Christian Benteke during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Watching Man United dominate English football in 1990s and 2000s was a depressing experience, and the amount of late goals they scored was unbelievable.

Back then, we were no doubt among the rival fans calling them “jammy,” but deep down we knew that they possessed a remarkable amount of belief that they always grind down the opposition.

Sir Alex Ferguson was a born winner with a ruthless edge, and over time, that shone through in his players.

It took a bit of time, like it has with Klopp, but it became their greatest strength.

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The same applies to Jose Mourinho, another great manager who it is impossible not to loathe, with his Chelsea, Porto and Inter Milan sides all lauded for their never-say-die spirit.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring the fifth, and winning, goal against Norwich City to seal a late 5-4 victory with manager Jürgen Klopp during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Considering Klopp has only been at the helm for five months, for this mentality to be making such a difference so soon can only bode well for the future.

The likes of Lallana, Emre Can and Dejan Lovren, among others, have become noticeably more gritty and determined under the 48-year-old, and it is a huge reason for their current improved form.


It will undoubtedly still take time to make an even bigger impact, and “winners” will likely be brought in over the summer, but we are seeing a very different Liverpool to the one we saw last season.

In fact, we haven’t seen a Reds side with such belief since the Rafa Benitez era, when some truly gutsy victories were churned out time and time again by big characters.

 

Big Months Ahead

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 6, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp arrives at Selhurst Park before the Premier League match against Crystal Palace. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With a couple of months of the season remaining, Liverpool have given themselves a chance of finishing in the Premier League’s top four.

Three wins in succession for the first time in a year have put them to within six points of fourth-placed City, and if they win their game in hand, they will be level on points with sixth-placed United.

The Reds are gathering momentum by the game, and who’s to say they can’t finish the league campaign stronger than anyone?

There is also the small matter of the Europa League, with the last-16 showdown with United promising to be a hotly contested affair.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 2, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lallana scelebrates scoring the first goal against Manchester City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This Liverpool team is already a different animal to the one that lost at home to Louis van Gaal’s side in January, on a day when the Reds looked lacking in character and mercilessness.

Klopp’s men will now firmly believe they can knock their biggest rivals out of Europe, which again epitomises the faith the manager has injected into his players.

Having spent so long having to endure our rivals being the teams that win ugly and notch last-minute winners, Klopp is making sure Liverpool are as strong-willed as anyone.


To do it in such a short space of time is testament to what a fabulous manager he is.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. The never-say-die mentality is growing which is great, but we should never have been in that situation in the first place. We got lucky with both goals. Though Im not complaining.

    • I really don’t see it as lucky tbh.

      Was it lucky that the team was pressing high up the pitch and collected the ball on the edge of the box. If we hadnt would have Firmino’s name still been on the scoresheet?

      I personally think it was a penalty, the defender clipped Benteke and as such committed a foul BUT even if it wasn’t. We was pushing hard for the winner with a man down, where other teams (and teams of Liverpool old) would have been happy for the point and defended it, Liverpool like a boxer with a broken rib saw they had there man up against the ropes and went for the knock out……….and got it.

      To coin a phrase “A real team makes there own luck”

      • I agree with you when you say we make our own luck.
        Lucky –
        The keeper slipped
        Firmino was there to slot it in
        Benny went down
        Linesman saw it as pen
        and wasnt the incident after the allocated injury time of 4 mins
        Thats just me. That’s how I see us being lucky.
        These thing dont often happen, and especially to us.

        • After hitting a hole in one Gary Player was asked ‘was that a lucky shot or what?’ to which his response was ‘yes I’ve been practising for 30 years to be that lucky!’.

          Or something….the point being really that whatever Klopp is doing, in their mentality the way they are pressing for the opponent to make those mistakes etc it’s clearly doing something.

          #ynwa

        • right…we have also had our share rotten luck especially with ‘slipping’ don’t we, just ask Stevie. How about that beach ball incident? Slips will happen and I for one am happy that it happened to a team that we were playing.

        • well, Origi was closing down the keeper and with Firmino on the edge of the box he had to sky it beyond him or kick into a narrowing angle between Origi and Bobby. A yard or so out in his kicking and he was potentially in trouble so it was more than luck in that case especially as we had switched to 2 up top – Watford style!

          And with Tekkers, he parked himself up against the slow defender, turned him and made a direct run drawing the foul. That’s creating the conditions for something to happen rather than just luck, and that’s not what a Benteke of a few months ago would have done which is down to coaching I believe.

          The signs may be modest but there’s stuff happening, we’re changing as a team kind of like the way your lawn grows. There are significant changes happening.

  2. A good run of form to end the season will not only be a confidence boost for the start of next season, but will also help us in the transfer market.
    We all know players like Coutinho, Firmino, and Studge will stay, just as we all know Bogdan and Sinclair will leave. But we are only guessing when it comes to players like Moreno, Migs, Lucas, Allen, Lallana and Benteke…IF any of these players are not in Klopps longer term plans, then they will be easier to move on and for better fees if they hit some form before the end of the season.

    • Exactly if we can get around 30 million by selling these buggers,then good. I will however see lallana and probably Lucas to stay. One of the cbs will leave(Sakho,Lovren,skrtel).

  3. title is still mathematically possible
    this season is a so much unpredictable so far ,
    there is still a chance to make this season our season

  4. What ever happens,we should just turn up for a united clash for once and thrash those scum’s!! I’ve got some serious sh#t on the line,and it’s not just pride!!come on lads,okay with you’re hart!we can do it!!YNWA

  5. “I like Liverpool, we always win against them”. We need to ram those words down LVG’s throat, come Thursday.

  6. It was almost the same ol story…LFC smash a superior opponent and than stumble in the very next match. Low and behold, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Reds fight to the end…as a “UNIT” a team possessed. Long may this passion continue.

    If we can keep this performance level consistent, a top 4 finish is a guarantee.If the players are not willing to put their body on the line…blood sweat and tears…they need to move on.

    • “If we can keep this performance level consistent, a top 4 finish is a guarantee” , so that’s a big “if” but ok let’s say we are consistent etc top 4 also depends on at least 1 of the current top 4 falling out of the position – who would that be? Even discounting West Ham and the scum (of course), do you see any of the current top 4 finishing below Liverpool no matter how well we may play for the rest of the season? I don’t.

      • Either city or arsenal, for me, will be the team to drop out…as ridiculous as that sounds, who would have thought Leicester would be top of the log come march.

        Mathematically, LFC will have to win 8 and draw 2 of the upcoming fixtures.

        I’d rather LFC gain champions league qualification by winning the europa ….Boy do i need to see some silver wear heading to Anfield

  7. Just hope the LFC against city turns up and not the one against Palace.
    Couts Firms and Studge to start, should be a few goals there..

    in other news, Great hattrick for Ojo last night.. gotta be pushing for a subs appearance soon surely!

  8. Look, I’m enthusiastic about the club and I think Klopp is doing a good job but it strikes me that there are a lot of these kinds of articles going about where we talk about these vague qualities the manager has instilled in the players. It’s as if we have this belief that the team is better but we can’t quite quantify it, so we wax lyrical about “passion” and “belief” and “mentality”. And while I’m sure those things are important, they are also really elusive concepts and extremely subjective from a fans point of view. It could well be that we see these things in the players simply because we want to, or because that’s what the manager tells us he’s working on. Or we might not have seen these things in the team previously just because we were frustrated with results or maybe we just didn’t like the manager. That’s the problem with those ideas … your view of them can change extremely quickly, often based on little more than a different state of mind or perspective.

    For me Klopp will prove himself at Liverpool very simply with the results. If and when it really starts to consistently work for him and Liverpool it will be obvious and we won’t need to talk in such vague terms. Right now it’s just too early. The results are not consistent, the goals are not flowing, we still make defensive errors and the decision making is still questionable. So while it’s fun to talk about less concrete, more romantic ideas such as “grit” I think it’s actually a demonstration that we’re not there yet as a team. We can’t show the club’s path to success with simple numbers because the numbers are not there. So we resort to less tangible ideas. And I don’t have a problem with that, of course that’s what we do as fans, and they are not invalid or incorrect concepts in any way. I just think it’s telling that those are the words we use instead of simply talking about “winning” and “goals”.

    • of course it’s ultimately about results but there were and are so many fundamental things broken that they have to be fixed individually before we’re going to see consistent success in results.
      We were a team that would wilt under any pressure and couldn’t come back once we conceded.
      That’s a fact and it’s not true now. We don’t win every time and we do struggle to score sometimes but there is a big difference to where we were.

      Individuals who were like a fish out of water before are now doing a job and looking competent doing it. Origi looks like he belongs, Tekkers made a run to win the pen that he wouldn’t have done just a few months ago, Lovren is getting MotM awards, Migs is coming off his line in a timely manner to make crucial blocks in the last couple of games.
      Players look like they’re playing in positions that suit them and when Klopp changes it or makes subs it actually has an effect and gets us goals unlike so many of BR’s changes.
      Remember we spent 10 games in relegation form near the start of last season and 9 games to end the season too. That was half of the season in relegation form and BR wants to ignore it like it never happened.

      Work is far from done but these are some of the essential fundamentals that have absolutely changed and are necessary for results to follow.

      • I suppose I should say that I don’t discount the change in mentality under Klopp, I’m just questioning if it’s really what’s going to make the team competitive again and if it’s really as dramatic as we think it is. I concluded at the end of last season that the underlying problem with Rodgers was that he could not give his own team the kind of stability, confidence and mental toughness that they needed to play well over a whole season. Klopp seems to be a bit different in that he emphasises hard work and, while accepting that bad things happen from time to time, just encourages his players to go back again and just try harder. Work harder, train harder, always push to the last minute.

        • oh, I’m with you on that. It’s not enough on its own, you always need special players.

          Vardy is on fire after scoring 6 goals last season and Mahrez is unleashed now he doesn’t have Pearson playing him at wing back (ring a bell?)! So you need something special. I was cursing Hendo for revealing himself as a bang average player, swinging stevie g’s from one side of the pitch to the other for no clear benefit, and then he puts that ball through for Benteke and the game is suddenly won!

          But this is the platform that klopp is trying to create and he does make changes on top of telling his guys to work harder. That formation change made us more attacking with 9 than we were with 10 players. His subs always seem to have an effect where BR’s changes seemed to just mix the same old pot giving the same old outcome.

          By developing all the different parts of the whole – individuals, setups, attitude &mentality, transfers, supporters you really provide the best chance of hitting on the winning formula without having to predict what it is that’s going to make the difference. We’ve got into a mindset where it’s only about transfers and summer churn was getting us nowhere and we weren’t prepared to think of development over a number of seasons.
          It’s clear to me that this is exactly what we’re going to see and Klopp keeps repeating it – and now the Dortmund chief is saying it too.
          Development over time, improvements over time and that will include transfers.

          The question for me comes down to the FSG wage policy in their transfer activity (relaxed big time last summer it seems). Will it work or will it shut out success. Can Klopp do it with players who aren’t bought in on £150k/wk wages which frankly we’re only going to pay our strikers.
          I guess at least we’ll be in a financial position to up the wages if it doesn’t work.

  9. Don’t let’s get too carried away, we are still a Jekyll and Hyde side and its always a question of which one turns up on the day. United have had the Indian sign on us for quite a while, I would say the first priority at Anfield is to make sure they don’t score so I expect a cagey start from us rather than all-out attack. A couple of goals from us in the last 10 minutes would then be icing on the cake!

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