Has the fire gone out? Coach Jürgen Klopp stumbles into the Premier League and his oh so darn seventh year. At BVB he had to go after a disaster season. Will history repeat itself - or can Liverpool FC stop the witchcraft?
Of course, it's actually much too early. In the still young 2022/23 season, only three games have been played in the English Premier League. But still: It smells like a crisis at Jürgen Klopp. The nasty smell of this seventh year wafts through Liverpool. Wraps itself around the legs of the star coach and his players and pulls higher and higher - maybe until it's all-encompassing soon. That inevitably brings back memories of that other, infamous, seventh year. Klopp's bad last season at Borussia Dortmund. There's something in the air. A deja vu? The Reds should at least be warned.
Liverpool FC already failed at the start of the season. 2: 2 at newly promoted Fulham FC. "We didn't play like we should - and that frustrates me so much," said Klopp. The best was the result. A meager 1-1 draw at home at Anfield against Crystal Palace follows. Now the bitter 2-1 defeat at Manchester United. Ironically, with the archenemy, who is actually much deeper in the crisis with the soap opera about Cristiano Ronaldo and had to accept an embarrassing 0: 4 debacle against FC Brentford the day before.
Liverpool's false start is complete. 16th place in the table. Klopp recognizes his team 'losing strength' against United "At the moment only one thing counts for us - the result. That's what hurts the most today," says the coach. Although he had "not seen a disaster game", the memory of his seventh year at BVB could also cause a bitter aftertaste for Klopp.
Statistics are said to show that marriages most often break up after six years. Even if these may have been outdated for a long time, the ominous myth of the seven-year itch persists in the vernacular. In football, more precisely with Jürgen Klopp, also. After all, these special months were fatal for the star coach in Dortmund, after incredibly successful years at BVB he had to leave in 2015. Klopp also says goodbye to FSV Mainz 05, after they failed to get promoted there in 2008 - this time it's his choice (bitter tears are shed after him) - after seven years as head coach.
Everything repeats itself. Is it really like that? The thought of the same thing always coming back is just as popular when it fits, as is witchcraft with year seven. Well, in 2014 Dortmund finished the Bundesliga as a strong second, albeit with a huge gap to champions Bayern. In 2015, the second most expensive squad in the Bundesliga flopped, after 18 matchdays BVB took last place. In the Champions League, Klopp and the Revierklub clearly fail at Juventus Turin in the round of 16. Although the coach can finally heave his team around world champions Mats Hummels, Marco Reus, Ilkay Gündogan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the Europa League, BVB pulls the ripcord.
In the eyes of the BVB bosses, there seemed to be too much wear and tear at Klopp at the time. Has his fire gone out at Liverpool FC for the seventh year? How many times can the great motivator motivate his men again? How many tactical tricks are still hidden in Klopp's box of tricks, what is still working in the team?
At some point, trainers always come to the point where they realize that they lack new energy, new stimuli and impulses. That they can no longer reach their team properly. no longer feel it Is that already the case with Jürgen Klopp? Outsiders can only speculate. He should by no means feel bored with the team that so often plays furiously and the frenetic fans who idolize their coach. But always the same employees, always the same organizational structures and decision-making processes, that can be tiring and draining. And make yourself comfortable.
Convenience is devastating in professional football. Change, on the other hand, brings further development and the expansion of skills, playing styles and tactical approaches. At some point every coach realizes that the challenge elsewhere, a factor that should not be underestimated in professional football, could simply be more exciting after all these years. Everyone needs movement in life, even if Klopp didn't escape in Dortmund and it wouldn't be in Liverpool either.
The season will show whether this darn seventh year will actually come about, or whether the first games are just slip-ups. In any case, there are parallels and mistakes like in the last season at BVB. Klopp uses Jordan Henderson as a deep six against Manchester, although the latter has been playing far weaker than Fabinho of late. He then promptly initiated United's 2-0 lead with an acceptance error. In general, Klopp and those responsible miss the opportunity to strengthen the aging LFC midfield during the summer break. Has the coach lost touch for his team suffering from many injuries?
The aggressiveness that is otherwise so Klopp-typical seems to have been lost in Liverpool, like BVB did back then. In seven straight league games, the Reds are first behind rather than taking the lead after Jadon Sancho's 1-0 defeat. It is no longer played quickly or energetically enough and the combination game seems to be steadily declining. The fact that many Liverpool stars are currently performing far below their normal form could also be interpreted as a lack of Klopp fire. Even the defensive pillars Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold are hardly recognizable.
It cannot be due to the departure of attacking machine Sadio Mané to Bayern Munich alone. "No Mané, no party", wrote disappointed LFC fans on social networks after the botched start of the league at Fulham, but the Reds actually found a strong replacement in Darwin Núñez. However, the top scorer access still needs time, also gets a red card in the second game and his team is missing in this important phase.
By the way, almost exactly ten months ago, Liverpool humiliated the Red Devils 5-0 at Old Trafford. And yet some believe in the past that Klopp could have his darn experience in his fifth or sixth year at Liverpool. In the 2020/21 season, the Skyblues are circling lonely at the top, while mid-season Liverpool fall further and further with just two wins in eleven games. In 2021/22 the Reds are also in a bit of a crisis, in January Manchester City already led by eleven points. In the second half of last season, however, there was a furious run that almost gave Klopp the championship and almost ended in the Champions League title.
So a few months after this tour de force, in which Klopp's motivational speeches and tactical tricks are obviously still convincing and effective, not everything can be bad or different. There may just be lingering disappointment in the players' bones after so narrowly missing out on the Premier League title and Champions League trophy. But even then it would be up to Klopp to motivate this frustration out of his kickers. However, it would be fatal if he no longer had enough fire and drive for it.
Even if it's still early in the season. Crisis mode at Liverpool FC is a reality. The witches must be blown out of the club, team and management staff as soon as possible if history is not to repeat itself à la BVB. At least verbally, motivator Jürgen Klopp hasn't forgotten anything in terms of zeal, commitment and enthusiasm. Ahead of Saturday's landmark home game against newly promoted AFC Bournemouth, he said: "Anfield have to rock, we have to ignite the fire. We're going to fight for our lives."