It is quiet at Anfield before the Huddersfield visit and the journalists and media around the club lack an agenda. It is hard to say anything positive about the Reds after their 4-1 loss against Spurs at Wembley, as it is clear that Liverpool’s central defence is currently a mess. Now the only thing that the Liverpool community of fans needs is their team to win games, starting with the home fixture against the Terriers.
To be precise, Liverpool don’t lack agenda, they lack a positive perspective that drives the club forward and makes their fans optimistic about the future. Those are fans notorious for their optimism and support for a club that has not won a title since 1990. However, even they need proof that the Reds are capable of winning, in order to keep believing.
From believers to doubters?
Everyone says that Liverpool play quality, entertaining football but at the same time, LFC fans feel miserable at the moment because it looks like there will be another trophyless season at Anfield. The fact that shortly before Liverpool’s visit to Spurs, Jurgen Klopp entered his 3rd year as Liverpool manager didn’t help much. The question that everyone was asking before the loss at Wembley was:
“How much progress has been made at Liverpool?”
Time flies and unfortunately for Reds’ fans, this Liverpool side doesn’t look anywhere near winning a trophy this season.
If we look at the progress Liverpool make under every new manager, we’d find that they are at their highest during the first two years after a new manager takes over at Anfield. It was like that with Gerard Houllier, who won the Europa League in 2001 at the end of his second season with the Merseyside club. It was similar with Rafael Benitez whose Liverpool side won the Champions League at the end of his first full season in charge of the Reds.
In the second year of Brendan Roger’s reign at Anfield, in season 2013/14, Liverpool were within touching distance of the Premier League title. This Brendan Rogers’ side has subsequently degraded, instead of building on what they had almost achieved during the 2013/14 season.
At the end of Klopp’s first year as manager at Anfield, Liverpool made it all the way to the Europa League final, where they lost to Sevilla and finished 8th in the Premier League. The following Premier League campaign – 2016/17 – was more successful for the Reds, who finished 4th and qualified for the Champions League.
Within the last 20 years, Liverpool have only had one manager who ensured the club remained a challenger that competed for the Premier League title each and every season. It was Rafael Benitez whose Liverpool side finished 5th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd and 7th respectively in his five seasons as manager. He has set high standards at Anfield and fell victim to his own success as he was fired at the end of the 2009/10 season when Liverpool underperformed and finished 7th.
Will Klopp’s Liverpool compete successfully for the Premier League top spots?
Klopp has taken Liverpool into the Europa League final and back into the top four, where they qualified for the Champions League, all within his first two years at Anfield. This is not bad for a club that has been struggling to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City within the last 20 years.
However, this 3rd season at Anfield is critical for Jurgen Klopp’s future with the club. If Liverpool progress in the Champions League and qualify for next year’s tournament, everyone would agree that the club has been steadily progressing under Jurgen Klopp and kept stability for once.
The last time Liverpool won the FA Cup was under Benitez back in 2005/06. So if this Klopp-led side qualifies for the 2018/19 Champions League and wins the FA Cup, for example, it would be a very successful season for the Reds. However, Liverpool have a very important short-term goal to achieve – they need a long consecutive sequence of games won. Only when they can string together a few wins and achieve short-term success can Klopp finally hope to bring some more long-term achievements to the club.