SuperSport viewers have been privileged to watch a Liverpool team this season which is set to go down as one of the greatest in Premier League history.
So far, the Reds have taken an incredible 70 points from a possible 72 – this represents the best run from the start of a season made by any club in the history of Europe’s top five leagues (England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, and France’s Ligue 1).
Such has been Liverpool’s dominance in the Premier League – which continued last week with a win over struggling West Ham United at the London Stadium.
This includes the most points, most wins, matching Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ of 2003/04 which went through an entire season unbeaten (as well as the same team’s overall record of 49 Premier League matches unbeaten across two seasons) and the earliest ever mathematical confirmation of a title win.
Yet all these statistics will pale in comparison to the simple achievement of winning the title, something Liverpool have not managed since 1989/90. In fact, the Reds have not lifted the trophy in the Premier League era, which began in 1992/93.
The man behind their transformation has been manager Jurgen Klopp, who joined the club in October 2015. The German is a renowned tactician who favours a high-intensity, high-pressing approach which is generally known as ‘Gegenpressing’, while Klopp himself once famously described his Borussia Dortmund team’s style of play as ‘heavy metal football’.
Klopp sets Liverpool out in a 4-3-3 formation in which the front three are fluid and hard-working both in an out of possession. The midfielders must be versatile and intelligent in their occupation of space, mainly because the fullbacks are given freedom to drive forward and support the attack.
Yet these seemingly simple tactics are only a small part of the puzzle that Klopp has put together at Liverpool. Perhaps more important is the manner in which his players would ‘run through a wall’ for the German and have grown in confidence and mental strength – best exemplified by them winning the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League just a year after being humbled by Real Madrid in the previous season’s final.
Klopp has also excelled in player recruitment: Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Georgino Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Alisson Becker were all brought to the club by the German and have become key figures, while the coach has also provided ample opportunity for youngsters in the club’s development ranks to rise to prominence, the best example being the outstanding Trent Alexander-Arnold.
In short, Klopp has spent just over four years driving Liverpool to match his standard of excellence and the result is a team which is sweeping all before them in the Premier League and is set to take the Reds back to championship glory for the first time in three decades.
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