Monday, August 15, 2022

Sir Alex Ferguson Terms Liverpool As Title Contenders – Is He Right In His Assessment?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

For most neutral football fans around the world, Liverpool are the most exciting team in the Premier League at the moment. They have one of the most popular and attacking managers in the world in Jürgen Klopp who is a big, big presence on the touchline. That’s exactly something Liverpool have been missing since a long time. Now, the Merseyside club look like a proper Jürgen Klopp side. In fact, so good has the impact of Klopp been at the club that teams are now seeing playing with six defenders at the back (look what you’ve done, Jose and Tony!).

Already, there is a certain buzz about the club being potential title contenders. It is only the first full season of Klopp at Anfield and the German needs credit for transforming the Reds to a team who are being talked about so much. Manchester United legend and one of the best managers of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, has himself stated that Liverpool cannot be counted off the equation which is a big achievement for the former Borussia Dortmund manager.

Ferguson told German magazine, Kicker, as quoted by BBC, “For two decades, Liverpool changed managers without building their own identity. You can now sense you truly have to count them in this year.” 

In Klopp’s first season, Liverpool finished eighth in the league, lost the League Cup final to Manchester City on penalties and were beaten by Sevilla in the Europa League final.

Klopp has everything Liverpool fans missed in their former manager Brendan Rodgers. One of the most charming managers in the world, the aura of the German gaffer is often hard to overshadow for the opposition managers. After nine games this season, Liverpool are placed third in the table but are level on points with the top two Manchester City and Arsenal.

In those nine games, Liverpool have played four against the current top seven- Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United- as well as League holders Leicester City.

A banner showing a depiction of Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp is seen during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 10, 2016. / AFP / PAUL ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool had a very tricky fixture list to start their season with but still came out on top. Their next seven fixtures are all against sides out of the top seven. All are winnable fixtures and how Liverpool fare in those games will have a big say over their title credentials.

Liverpool do have a big advantage over most of the other title challengers that is they do not have European distraction. Apart from Chelsea, all other possible title contenders are playing in Europe. This could prove to be a big advantage for the Reds in their title quest.

What Ferguson said is right. In the last two decades, Liverpool kept changing managers but failed to find someone like Klopp who fits the club so well. In many ways, Klopp and Liverpool seem like a marriage made in heaven.

If Liverpool can keep up their good work, of course, they are title challengers but the club is still a work in progress. Klopp is just having his first full season at Anfield. Title talks seems a bit too early. Rather, let’s enjoy Liverpool’s heavy-metal scintillating football and if they can continue this, they surely can have a crack at the title.

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