Liverpool continue to frustrate. Capable of brilliant football, Klopp's men have driven fans and pundits mad this season with terrible defending and a shocking inability to hold a lead. This week's Champions League game in Russia was a prime example of Liverpool's strengths and weaknesses: amazing at creating goal opportunities, woeful at preventing goals.
Disquiet towards Jurgen Klopp's approach is on the rise. We've seen the likes of Jim Beglin criticising Liverpool's defence on RTE. Well another Liverpool legend expressed his frustration with Klopp this week. Ronnie Whelan, while speaking after lending his support to 'Seeing is Believing: the Free Eye Tests campaign' at O’Brien’s Costcutter/Amber Forecourt on the Bandon Road in Bishopstown, Cork, was less than impressed with Liverpool under the German.
"It’s difficult, because you’ve got Man United, Chelsea, Man City and they are going to keep buying better players, but I thought we had an opportunity this year to get a centre-back but unfortunately, we didn’t get Van Djik but there was nothing else after that. Klopp was like, there’s no other centre-backs out there that I want. They also need a centre forward, they need a centre forward who’s going to score you goals, take Europe the other night when they couldn’t score and then they conceded and this is happening every week. So you look at what City and Man United are doing and it’s going to be a while before Liverpool can win the Premier league. I think it’s more defensively they don’t have the level of players."
Whelan was especially dismissive of Alberto Moreno's role in the team.
"I think it’s the players, you take Moreno, I don’t know what he sees in Moreno, we bought Roberston in the summer and James Milner was one of our best players at left back last year, now I don’t know if he wants to play left back anymore but you must get a little worried about the manager and wonder if he sees what’s going on? I’m sure he does see it but he just doesn’t have the players."
Players aside, Whelan believe that Klopp must ship a lot of the blame for Liverpool's struggles.
"Liverpool are not good enough to go all-out attack and not protect your back four. Klopp has said recently that his back four isn’t getting protected by his midfielders but if he has them running forward at every opportunity then it’s not going to happen."
"I think he needs more time, the gameplan is built around getting in people’s faces, I don’t think Liverpool can slow things down with the forward players they have, when it goes into Mane or Salah now it’s like go, go now, get forward as quickly as you can, there’s lots of times where they’ve been too open, Bournemouth last year, where they were 3-1 up and kept bombing forward, and it eventually cost them, the players and the manager have to know when to take a step back and say Ok, we’re 2 up, everyone stay in position. It was one of our things, where you’d hear Ronnie Moran from the touchline saying just stand in position, so everybody, fill the space and then there was nothing people could do against us. I think Liverpool need to learn that, to slow it down to say we’re 2 up, don’t concede and they’ll be OK but they’re still mad to go forward."