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Everything's the Worst: The Undefeated

There is more to Jürgen Klopp's first month in charge than being undefeated.

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While Liverpool are still mired in a difficult run of games referred to in the last column, Jürgen Klopp's side remains undefeated. Tottenham Hotspur, Rubin Kazan (twice), Southampton, AFC Bournemouth, and Chelsea have all been unable to inflict a first defeat on the charismatic manager. If Liverpool can find a way past a Crystal Palace that have beaten the Reds 3-1 twice over the past year, Klopp's undefeated record will be tested at the Etihad after the international break.

The interesting thing here is perspective, which has been informed by performances and results. Liverpool went into the last international break on a six-game run without defeat but in search of a new manager. Brendan Rodgers hadn't lost since consecutive league reverses against West Ham United and Manchester United, games that were separated by an international break. The problem was that they appeared, and indeed were, a continuation of the uninspired displays of last campaign. The opposition teams were relatively modest—with the exception of local rivals Everton—but in the process of drawing or winning the odd game, Liverpool were losing. Confidence. Belief. Conviction. Sight of a way forward.

Klopp's arrival has instigated some sort of a revival, one not unique to Merseyside's finest as more sustained progress has been made elsewhere in the most financially bloated league in all of humanity. Slaven Bilić has brought freedom to West Ham that has seen that Hammers win league games away to Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Crystal Palace. Chelsea have fallen too, albeit at Upton Park. Sam Allardyce may think highly of himself, but West Ham won just three league matches in their last 19 games last season. Bilić has won double the amount of league games since August than the club had won in the rest of 2015.

Claudio Ranieri performed a different task, one that can be just as difficult as reviving a squad shorn of belief. Ranieri might not have the middle-aged cool of Klopp or Bilić but affable Italian has managed in Italy, Spain, England, and France. He's also ventured into international management, but perhaps that chapter is best left closed for now. Succeeding Nigel Pearson—overseer of seven wins in nine league games to keep Leicester in England's top flight—was an unenviable job.

Keeping a top side ticking over is often spoken of as a job anyone could do, but the capable David Moyes might have a lot to say on that. An underdog punching its weight above two managers in the space of six months of league action is impressive. Leicester score with ease, concede goals, come from behind frequently and successfully, and delight Fantasy Football managers everywhere.

West Ham weren't undefeated for very long in the Premier League and went out early in the Europa League to a Romanian side that couldn't make the group stages. Bilić has seen successive home defeats to Leicester and Bournemouth in August's early Premier League offerings, couldn't find a way past Leicester in the Capital One Cup, and lost their last game away to Watford FC. Leicester City have lost just one league game all season but were entertainingly lost 5-2 at home to Arsenal before exiting the Capital One Cup on penalties away to Championship side Hull City.

Winning games is fun of course, but more is needed for fans and players to completely buy into a manager's way of working. The first half of Thursday's historic victory was a fine example of an away side operating as a swarm of pressing acolytes in the opposition half. Liverpool certainly need to improve in creating better chances and taking advantage of frequent turnovers of the ball, but the progress is real in Klopp's first month at Anfield. Clever rotation, a few clean sheets, coming from behind, defensive organisation, and gegenpressing have featured so far.

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When defeat eventually arrives with "the sound of inevitability" to quote the chirpy Smith formerly known as Agent Smith, it will only serve as an opportunity for Klopp to learn more about his players and the demands of managing in England. Just as West Ham and Leicester have pushed on from a promising first month into a second and third with losses that haven't altered a buoyant atmosphere, Liverpool fans will be hoping for a similar continuation of results and performances for the rest of the year. Losing is part of the process, and while we'll hope for this run to continue for a while longer, we should not rage against the fates when it ends.

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