Premier League: challenger with draft

Premier League: challenger with draft

Expensive strengthened and tactically more varied: The Liverpool FC is ripe for a big title this season. The top match against champions Manchester City is an important yardstick for coach Jürgen Klopp.


By Sven Haist, Liverpool

The day after the lost Champions League final at Liverpool a video spread that Jürgen Klopp had recorded with confidants early in the morning. Arm in arm, the coach shows up alongside his assistant Peter Krawietz – and on the side of Campino, the front man of the Toten Hosen, who published the musical insert with the words "six o'clock in the morning: From Liverpool with love". The chant addressed to fans, players, staff and the public is meant for everyone in Germany and England. Versions were recorded in both languages.

The text recommends not to mourn the missed opportunity to win the most important trophy in European club football – but rather glad to tackle the new season, for which Klopp once again offered the renewed attack on the trophy. This recalled one of his lasting speeches in Mainz in 2003, when he turned the disappointment into action after the one-goal and then one-goal ascent to the Bundesliga: "We'll show we're the only ones to do that twice happened and still get up! ", called Klopp back then to the people on the Town Hall Square – actually managed Mainz in the third attempt the rise.

The nature of the jackpot helped Klopp now also in Liverpool over the pain of three lost finals (League Cup, Europa League 2016, Champions League 2018) away. This season is now emphatically a title, preferably the championship in the Premier League, waiting for the former record champions since the introduction of the 1992 Premier League. The first championship title since 1990 would earn Klopp a place in the club's gallery of honor.

After seven games Liverpool is at the top of the table with Manchester City. The Reds have already made unpleasant away trips to London to Tottenham (2: 1) and Chelsea (1: 1), while City played predominantly against relegation candidates.

Since the 2008/09 Manchester United Championship, no club has won two league titles in a row on the island. On Sunday, there will be a meaningful duel between challenger Liverpool and titleholder City at Anfield – almost three years after Klopp started working for the Reds on October 8, 2015. After Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) and Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham ) Klopp, 51, has already the longest stay of a current coach in the Premier League. During this time, he has communicated his personality and ideas to the club striving for success in the past.

Klopp, previously reserved on the transfer market, has recently bought new players for around 180 million euros, with proceeds of just under 20 million euros as the equivalent. In European comparison, no club had a more negative transfer cost balance in the summer – even Juventus Turin, which invested more than 250 million euros.

"People want to hear that we can win this or that," says Klopp, "I do not know if we can win something, but we'll try everything we have." The resolute squad improvement gives him a depth in the squad that allows him to absorb the wear and tear of his best players. Even the disregarded Daniel Sturridge Klopp has reintegrated, making it hardly noticeable that top striker Mo Salah has not reached its peak form of the preseason yet.

With four goals this season, Sturridge, along with Sadio Mané, is leading the internal classification and a week ago he shot the equalizer in the top game at Chelsea just before the final whistle. For Liverpool it was already the fourth important goal in a final phase. The Reds have learned to keep house with their forces while still successfully completing their duties. In the past season, there were only two victories in six duels with the later relegated and also rarely victories in tight games – now based on four victories already on one goal lead. And there was a home defeat at Anfield last April (1: 2 against Crystal Palace). The further development of the game system benefits Liverpool especially against low standing opponents. Previously, the attacking was considered possession of the ball as a game engine of the Reds. After the separation of Klopp's longtime assistant Zeljko Buvac in the spring now takes next to Krawietz Pepijn Lijnders an exposed position in the coaching team. The Dutchman may have contributed with his expertise to increase the flexibility in the construction game.

Constant shifts of the players in the design of an attack make it difficult for the opponent to keep track. Liverpool stands out from the approach of Pep Guardiola, who continues to emphasize at City that his players do not leave their assigned zones. In any case, Klopp 's personal record gives him courage: In 14 duels he has triumphed eight times against Guardiola from the position of the outsider.

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