Liverpool Klopp Episode 22: Dirty Harry

The last time Liverpool and Manchester United faced off at Anfield this happened ...

To see the above incident from the live coverage go here.

Hopefully, nothing like that will happen this Sunday. A contested match up with a lot of Passion (as Charlie is a Red would say) is what fans from both sides are looking for and desire most. No crazy stuff. Could be a very exciting match but then again it could be a low scoring affair as Kelly and Patterson at ESPNFC predict.

I think not. It is a long standing and fierce rivalry and Coach Klopp has the same kind of fiery personality as Gerrard. Here is a comment from the Liverpool boss about styles of play he has made in the past: “I don’t like winning with 80% [possession]. Sorry, that is not enough for me. That’s not my sport. Fighting football, not serenity football, that is what I like. What we call in German ‘English’: rainy day, heavy pitch, 5-5, everybody is dirty in the face.”

Could we imagine Klopp saying the lines of this classic Eastwood scene without hesitation in a Liverpool pub to fire up the fans?

Uh uh. I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?

Am looking for a lively contest with LFC wanting to take it to Manchester United right from the start like they did against Arsenal. Klopp probably selects the same lineup as Wednesday night's XI that played Arsenal to a draw. The only uncertainties right now is whether Lovren and Sturridge might be fit enough to make the bench.

UPDATE: Good morning LFC fans! How is #theKOP feeling at the half? Blogging here from Pacific Standard Time having caught the last 10 minutes of the first half. According to the analysts at NBCSN, Liverpool had more opportunities. UK Guardian Steinberg agrees. Of what I saw, the Reds seemed a little quicker to the ball than MUFC. The second half is about to begin with no substitutions.

50' Can has a good opportunity but is denied by De Gea!

55' MUFC with some sustained possession but shot goes wide.

57' MUFC in the box threatening and calling for a foul but to no avail.

59' LFC gets a brief bit of possession and take the shot but well over the net.

60' MUFC looking the better side with a corner coming up. LFC handles it and the threat ends with a goalie kick.

62' Another brief spurt of possession for LFC ends with Henderson firing it right to De Gea.

65' Mata in for MUFC and Lingered goes out.

71' MUFC Depay in for Herrera. LFC haven't used any subs yet.

66' LFC get two quick shots on goal but De Gea parries both efforts!

70' MUFC clearly dominating possession this half but haven't really been able to do much yet. But at some point will LFC defensive concentration lapse?

73' Will Benteke eventually get the call for LFC? Or will he be viewed as a liability. Will Ibe be sent in for fresh pace?

76' Ibe in for Lallana.

77' MUCF get a corner. Nervous time! Ugh! Rooney scores. Do LFC have a late game equalizer in them like they did Wednesday night against Arsenal?

80' Benteke gets the call and Toure goes out.

89' Caluker in for Milner. Last chance to dance. 3' stoppage time.

92' Benteke offside. That might be all she wrote. Goalie kick and the whistle is blown.


Man of the match has to be De Gea whose goal keeping kept LFC off the score sheet. LFC had its chances but they were not, sadly, as usual, "clinical" enough to cash in those chances.


Certainly, I think any reader of this blog will see generally positive views of Coach Klopp here.

He has changed the dynamics of the team and the relationship with the fan base and they have won some great games. In fairness to him, the team its one he inherited with all the pros and cons that go with that and so some of the complaints can't be laid at his feet. For the amount of money FSG has spent on players, one would have to say it has been a disappointment. Recruitment is not an exact science. Ask any NFL team that has selected a quarterback with a valuable draft pick! Ask any college basketball coach who has selected highly rated high school basketball players! Suffice to say there are many examples of quarterbacks that did great in college and didn't do much in the NFL. There have been many McDonald's All-American high school basketball players that turn out to be marginal college players. Likewise, in selecting soccer players. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that LFC has paid a large wage bill for mainly players that turn out, thus far, to be B+ players or worse. Klopp has decided not to spend too much in the January transfer window as he and FSG realize that they will get better options in the summer. They have realized that this year a top 4 finish is possible but not likely so for the long term future of the club, waiting until summer to retool is prudent.

So what is the "on the other hand?"

The rash of injuries can partly be blamed on "bad luck" but a certain percentage could be attributed to  Coach Klopp's usage of "gegenpressing." The English Premier League is already a high pace highly physical league and to lay on top of that his "heavy metal" aggressive tactics probably pushed a few of the players over their physical limits. No doubt, Klopp will adjust his tactics but he may have been overly optimistic in implemented the approach but not fully grasping how punishing the EPL style of play is and crowded fixture schedule of English football with its various competitions plus Europa.

As for the defeat to Manchester United today, one might offer the classic sports pundit claim that Klopp got out-coached by Van Gaal. Even a fairly novice soccer viewer like myself noted early on in the second half that MUFC was getting the better of the match. In the first half, LFC seemed quicker to the loose ball and that was not the case in the second half. Van Gaal sensing weakness sent in fresh attackers in Mata (66') and Depay (72'). Two fresh attackers against a tiring LFC club was bound to pay off. Indeed, Wayne Rooney banged home the goal at the 78' mark. Now Klopp did put in Ibe at the 76' mark but perhaps he should have made a second or even a third substitution to counter Van Gaal's fresh attackers. Instead, the goal got scored at 76' and Benteke was subbed in at 81' and Caulker at 90'. Perhaps, a little too little too late.

Liverpool get the FA Cup rematch against at Anfield against Exeter on Wednesday (1/20) followed by an EPL road match against Norwich Saturday (1/23) followed by Leg 2 of the League Cup against Stoke Tuesday (1/26). With this busy fixture, would look for the youngsters to get the lion's share of the minutes on Wednesday come what may in the FA Cup.