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5 Failings During Klopp Era That Inadvertently Led Liverpool To Glory

5 Failings During Klopp Era That Inadvertently Led Liverpool To Glory
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Jurgen Klopp has achieved immortality at Liverpool. The German has led the club to  their first title in 30 years, with the destination of the trophy finally confirmed after Chelsea's win over Manchester City.

It has been a long road that led to this point. Klopp has done an incredible job since taking over at Anfield in October of 2015, transforming Liverpool from underachievers to juggernauts.

While his managerial reign has been almost perfect, there have been blips. However, many of those failings have led to huge strides forward further down the road.

Here are five things that went wrong at Liverpool, but ended up being a huge plus for Jurgen Klopp in the long run.

Failure to hang onto leads in games

Jurgen Klopp arrived on Merseyside with the promise of bringing 'heavy metal football' to Anfield, something he certainly did over the following months. Liverpool became an incredibly entertaining team to watch, blowing the opposition away at times.

However, this came at a cost. No matter how dominant they were in a game, it always seemed as though the other team had a chance to get back into a game.

The amount of times they gave up leads in games was incredible, even if they did often recover from that position. Surrendering a 3-0 lead in Sevilla, the 4-3 loss at Bournemouth, and even 4-3 wins over Arsenal and Manchester City provided examples of this dynamic at play.


It became clear that Liverpool could not compete over a 38-game league season with this type of football. Klopp changed their style as result. They became much more measured and deliberate in their approach, choosing to slowly grind teams down as a opposed to blitzing them in the space of a few minutes.

Whereas you could once never be sure of Liverpool securing a result regardless of the size of their lead, games now seem all but over once they go ahead. This was all part of the Premier League learning experience for Jurgen Klopp.

Mamadou Sakho's discipline problems

Klopp inherited a squad that was clearly in need of a major rebuild. Liverpool had failed to invest the money gained from the Luis Suarez transfer wisely, with a number of subpar players needing to be moved on if the club were to compete at the top level.


One player who the fans still held high hopes for was Mamadou Sakho. The Frenchman had been inconsistent over his first two seasons at the club, but he had shown flashes of promise. Many expected Jurgen Klopp to bring him onto the next level.

That appeared as though it could be the case for some time, with the centre back playing a key role in his first season on charge, including a vital goal in the dramatic Europa League quarter final win over Borussia Dortmund.

However, the player would miss the final of that competition due to questions over a potential drug ban. While he would ultimately be cleared of that charge, the following summer ensured he would have no future at Anfield.


Sakho was sent home from the club's pre-season tour of the USA in July of 2016 for 'disciplinary reasons'. It was soon revealed he had repeatedly broken team rules, including nearly missing the flight out to the States, missing a rehab session and turning up late to a number of team meals.

After being told his only chance of saving his career at Liverpool is to go out on loan, he refused to move to Stoke City in August. He spent the following five months training with the youth team and criticising Jurgen Klopp on Snapchat. He would leave on loan for Crystal Palace in January of 2017, with the move becoming permanent that summer.

Had Sakho followed showed more discipline, there is every chance he would have stayed at Liverpool for much longer. That could well have hindered the club's progress, as it has become increasingly clear in recent years that Sakho is not a reliable defender. It also gave Joel Matip a clear run at earning a place in the team during his debut season.


It showed the rest of the squad that Jurgen Klopp would be ruthless when it came to disposing of those who put themselves ahead of the team.

Failure to sign Julian Brandt

Having secured Champions League qualification in the 2016/17 campaign, it always seemed likely Liverpool would look to strengthen the squad that summer. Signing a winger was seen as a priority, with Julian Brandt Klopp's main target.


The then Bayer Leverkusen player was a massive prospect. It looked like a deal could be agreed with his club, but at 21-years old, Brandt was unsure about a move to the Premier League so early in his career. He ultimately opted to stay put.


With Liverpool having failed to secure their preferred target, they moved onto the next player on their list. A failed Premier League winger who had just enjoyed a couple of good seasons in Serie A: Mohamed Salah.

It's safe to say that move worked out for them.

Salah was a revelation in his first season, scoring 44 goals in all competitions and winning the PFA Player of the Year award. He would also win a second golden boot last season and has established himself as one of the top goalscorers in world football.


While Brandt has proven to be a good player since his move to Borussia Dortmund, it is highly unlikely that would have scaled the same heights managed by the Egyptian. Not bad for second choice.

Failure to sign Virgil van Dijk at the first attempt

Brandt was not the only player Liverpool missed out on that summer. The club needed to strengthen at centre back, with Klopp identifying Southampton's Virgil van Dijk as the man to shore up what had been a leaky defence.

A world record fee for a defender was mooted, with Klopp going as far as to speak directly with the player. That proved to be a mistake.

Southampton were furious that Liverpool had spoken to van Dijk without their permission, insisting that they would not agree to any transfer with the club. With the threat of a sanction due to 'tapping up', Liverpool released a statement that they would immediately end their interest in the player.

Jurgen Klopp was then faced with a decision: should he try and sign another centre back, or wait it out and hope that van Dijk could be available at some point down the line?

Unlike the move made to sign Salah as second choice, Liverpool took the other option on this occasion. It was the right choice.

Klopp soldiered on with his current options for the first half of the 17/18 season, before agreeing a deal to sign van Dijk in January of 2018. The transfer immediately elevated Liverpool to one of the best teams in world football.

Had Klopp opted to sign another player for big money the previous summer, is is highly likely that van Dijk never would have ended up at Anfield. His decision to wait on the Dutchman was perhaps the most important of his entire tenure as Liverpool manager.

Loris Karius' Kiev nightmare

Losing a Champions League final that Liverpool did in 2018 would be heartbreaking for any team, but it is possible that the way they lost that game in Kiev was actually better for them in the long run.

In the months leading up to the final, Loris Karius had very much established himself as Liverpool's number one. The mistakes that plagued his first season at the club had seemingly gone out of his game, with the German showing flashes of the promise that had convinced Klopp to bring him to Anfield.

We all know what happened in that game against Real Madrid.

It was enough to convince Jurgen Klopp that Liverpool could not win the biggest trophies without a goalkeeper of the highest calibre. Alisson Becker was signed that summer and turned out to be the final piece of the jigsaw.

Had Karius not had a howler in that final, would the manager have stuck with him? It is certainly possible, with it being reported that he considered doing so regardless of his two mistakes against Madrid.

We now know that would have been a huge error. Liverpool would not be the team they are today, and Alisson almost certainly would have moved elsewhere that summer. He probably would have ended up at Chelsea, who also bid for the goalkeeper.

Not only has Alisson be incredible over the past two Premier League campaigns, he also saved Liverpool on a number of occasions in their Champions League winning campaign. Had he not been signed, there is every chance Jurgen Klopp would still be trophyless at Liverpool.

SEE ALSO: Report: Liverpool Have Made A Bid For Wolves' Adama Traore


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