Klopp’s un­shake­able spirit

> Liver­pool’s man­ager is dis­tin­guished in us­ing emo­tion to shake the but­tresses of en­tire sta­di­ums and it’s some­thing that sets him apart from his ri­vals

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY SI­MON HUGHES

ATHEME is de­vel­op­ing at Liver­pool, one where Jur­gen Klopp en­ters the press room hav­ing watched his team crush the op­po­si­tion in a snap­pier frame of mind than you might imag­ine; the other where he takes the same walk hav­ing not achieved the re­sult he de­sires but in­stead, you find him as charm­ing and hos­pitable as an old count at the top ta­ble of a ban­quet hall.

Satur­day’s win over Sun­der­land ar­rived at a cost. Per­haps in­juries to Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino ex­plained Klopp’s state. With Adam Lal­lana and Daniel Stur­ridge also un­avail­able to him, he is­sued a de­but to 17-year-old Ben Wood­burn in the clos­ing min­utes, who in turn be­came the third youngest player in the club’s his­tory.

De­pend­ing on who you lis­ten to, Wood­burn could be the next Rob­bie Fowler or the next Michael Owen. Lu­cas Leiva later used so­cial me­dia to con­grat­u­late him, de­scrib­ing the for­ward as a “top young player.”

It would be un­der­stand­able, though, if Klopp was con­cerned by his present op­tions, for he is likely to be with­out the ex­pe­ri­ence of five at­tack­ing play­ers for to­mor­row’s League Cup quar­ter­fi­nal against Leeds United, when you add Danny Ings to the list of the fallen.

Per­haps Klopp is just try­ing to meet glory and dis­ap­point­ment by treat­ing them equally as im­posters. Seven­teen of Liver­pool’s goals at home prior to Sun­der­land’s visit had ar­rived across just four games and their suc­cess and the style with which it has been de­liv­ered has led to un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions; that Liver­pool can slaugh­ter op­po­nents ev­ery week.

At 0-0, An­field was quiet un­til Klopp twice flew into a rage, scream­ing at sup­port­ers to raise the level of noise. What fol­lowed was two goals from Divock Origi and James Mil­ner.

Later, with the re­sult set­tled in his favour, it would be un­der­stand­able if Klopp was drained. He was also in­volved in touch­line ar­gu­ments with David Moyes and his as­sis­tant, Paul Bracewell.

Some man­agers coldly de­ploy tac­tics to try and achieve their aims. Klopp uses emo­tion to shake the but­tresses of en­tire sta­di­ums.

It was sig­nif­i­cant that more than one Liver­pool fan web­site pro­posed Klopp as an op­tion for the man of the match award on Satur­day night be­cause it shows he is get­ting some­where when he says things like,

“We all need to han­dle sit­u­a­tions like this. I be­lieve in at­mos­phere. I think it’s a big part of the game.”

Klopp, in­deed, has iden­ti­fied many prob­lems at Liver­pool and has not been afraid to chal­lenge them, even if they are ac­cepted norms con­sid­ered widely as pos­i­tives: like the one about the An­field crowd be­ing the most vo­cif­er­ous in the coun­try when re­ally it only ap­plies on spe­cial oc­ca­sion, con­sid­er­ing it has long suf­fered from a sense of en­ti­tle­ment, and more re­cently.

Like ev­ery other Premier League ground – from the era of the selfie, when some spec­ta­tors on day trips com­plain of the mood not meet­ing ex­pec­ta­tions, over­look­ing the no­tion they might even be tak­ing the place of some­one who would in­crease that sense of time and place if they could af­ford it.

It also says much about the job Klopp has done when the first ques­tion asked of him re­lates to the chal­lenge of keep­ing top qual­ity play­ers like Origi happy when they are not se­lected.

The Bel­gian has not started a league fix­ture this sea­son and had Stur­ridge been named as a sub­sti­tute here, it is likely he would have re­placed Coutinho in­stead.

“That’s up to the play­ers. I’m not a ma­gi­cian - that’s the char­ac­ter of the boys,” he re­futed.

“The job is still nice even on the harder days, do­ing what you love. It’s not a big chal­lenge. I han­dle all the boys ex­actly the same. If you play 90 mins I like you as much as when you don’t play a sec­ond. If you want to be happy in this squad it’s very easy to be happy.” – The In­de­pen­dent

Liver­pool’s Philippe Coutinho (L) talk­ing to man­ager Jur­gen Klopp dur­ing their English Premier League match against Sun­der­land at An­field on Satur­day, –

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