The season is far from over, but Liverpool Football Club find themselves in the first significant tailspin of the Jürgen Klopp era without a clear route back to mere stability, to say nothing of the effervescent form late-2016. In this type of situation, there’s never any shortage of pundits and former-professional observers to chime in on the underlying causes of the current ailment.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand has tried to solve the puzzle of Daniel Sturridge’s declining form. The omnipresent Jamie Carragher has urged the club to finally pull the plug on the Simon Mignolet Experience (one of the least popular jam bands currently around). Now, another stalwart of the Houllier and Benitez eras has called into the question the club’s decision to offer Klopp a contract that will run its course in the summer of 2022.
“I like Klopp, but they lost two finals last season, so I’d be careful,” noted Hamann, who, to be fair, had been cautious about the prospects of the current management even before yesterday’s miserable defeat against Hull City. “I wouldn’t have given him a six-year contract. That’s absolute madness. They won’t win anything this year and they may not finish top four.”
In the club’s defense, they evidently saw enough substance in Klopp’s methods, his relationship with the players, his enthusiastic rapport with the supporters, and his simultaneous unwillingness to suffer fools to commit to the manager long-term last summer. It was a decision that preceded the 2016-17 campaign, so it’s not as though the club were suddenly beguiled by the title-run whispers of the first half of this season.
Whatever the reason, Liverpool and Klopp are probably bound to each other for at least the near-to-mid-term, despite the building chorus of “FSG out” and “Klopp out” voices during this most recent calamitous run of form. An unprecedented collapse over the remainder of the season might see the strength of that bond sternly tested, but in all likelihood, Liverpool will right the ship before too long. The question is whether or not they can do it in time to preserve a top four spot that is already slipping away.