Written by Rahul Asnani
Over the weekend, league leaders Liverpool registered a dominant victory against Manchester United. Their performance was a testament to the formidable team they have evolved into. They have gone more than a year unbeaten in the Premier League, last losing to current champions Manchester City on January 3, 2019. However, when Jurgen Klopp took over the Reds, they were a very different side. They saw themselves floundering in 10th position in the Premier League. Klopp realised he had his work cut out. He had his vision in place and gradually worked towards implementing it.
The 2015 Liverpool side was hardly the juggernaut they are now. With clear deficiencies in their backline, changes in personnel were needed. Klopp, along with sporting director Michael Edwards, went on to achieve arguably the most successful transfer phase in the past decade. In every area of weakness, they took initiative to improve the squad. A centre-back was needed, and they spent £75 million on Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk, a decision subjected to immense scrutiny at the time. However, not many can argue with the price tag after witnessing the player the Dutchman has evolved into.
Goalkeeper Loris Karius had become a liability who played a major role in their defeat in the 2018 Champions League final to Real Madrid. In the summer that followed, Liverpool spent £67 million on Alisson Becker to take care of that problem.
Moreover, Klopp completely revamped their attack, signing Southampton’s Sadio Mane, Hoffenheim’s Roberto Firmino and Roma’s Mohamed Salah for a combined total of £105 million, an amount that seems miniscule in comparison to their contribution.
Signings like Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho were made to bolster the midfield. All these players are constituents of the incredible side Liverpool have become.
However, a crucial component of their transfer market prowess is the players they have offloaded. The sale of star man Phillipe Coutinho for a whopping £146 million to Barcelona seemed like an odd decision at the time. However, it was a crucial move to aid the signing of the two key players, Van Dijk and Alisson. It also gave the team the freedom to play in a more natural 4-3-3 formation which allowed them to be a greater threat going forward. Moreover, sales of players such as Joe Allen, Christian Benteke, Mamadou Sakho and Dominic Solanke, to name a few, for considerable amounts has proven to be key for the club.
Klopp had a vision for his club. A reliable defence, comprised of marquee signings and promising youth like Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. A midfield with stability and creativity: He showed faith in Jordan Henderson which has gone on to bear fruit along with signings like Fabinho and Wijnaldum to strengthen the team in the middle of the pitch. The front three speaks for itself, clicking together brilliantly. Klopp showed faith in players who wanted to be at Anfield. Coutinho had his mind elsewhere and Klopp took no time in letting the Brazilian star go. He has always stood up for his players and his faith has been repaid.
It hasn’t been an easy road to success for Liverpool. Three defeats in the finals in three years along with losing the league last season by a point to Manchester City, Klopp and his team are used to coming up short. However, with the defeats came the steel to learn from them. After the loss in Kiev came the victory in Madrid. The current Liverpool side has faced adversity which has paved the way for, what now seems, an inevitable triumph.
Klopp has turned Liverpool from a struggling side to a seemingly invincible line-up. Brilliant handling of business in the transfer windows along with instilling an attitude of trust within the players is paying dividends as the Reds seem well on their way to setting up a dynasty with their first Premier League title.
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