Any month is a good month to be a Liverpool supporter, of course, but September was a particularly good one as we saw the reds round into form under Jürgen Klopp. It was clear for all to see that the seeds planted by Klopp and his coaching staff since taking over last season and especially over the summer were beginning to bear fruit. Three wins, three fantastic displays of football, three wildly entertaining matches and the award for outstanding performance by a Premier League manager in an action-packed September goes to (pause) Jürgen Klopp.
Early September. Leicester City, reigning champions, arrive at Anfield for the christening of the new Main Stand. They were outplayed with little to no defensive response to the smoothness of Roberto Firmino, the quickness of Sadio Mane and the peak Lallana-ness of Adam Lallana. But that was a real team effort. And we were bubbly. We could see it all happening, the tactics working, the players moving together, the manager’s ideas permeating. We saw behind the curtain and it really was the great and powerful Oz.
Then the boys went to Stamford Bridge and added nerve and pluck to their list of superlatives and walked away 2-1 winners.
Next up was Hull City at Anfield. These matches against “weaker” sides can be tricky, have been tricky. So, we still weren’t entirely convinced, were we? But, those nerves were soon allayed after Lallana opened the scoring early. Then Hull’s Ahmed Elmohamady was sent off for his handball in the box, James Milner scored from the spot and then one Mane, a Philippe Coutinho and another Milner later and we all went home 5-1 winners.
Winning is great. And receiving awards for stellar performance is great. But, in classic Jürgen Klopp style, the focus is the club and on points and not on individual awards.
When the manager was presented with the award at Melwood he said, “I went into the office of my coaches and said ‘WE are Manager of the Month!”
“We are in a good way, but there are so many good teams in this league and so many difficult games for us, really great challenges for us that we have to be ready for.
“I’m fine with the moment but we have to play a few more games, Hopefully, we perform well.”
The message is clear: Nothing is won until it is. And when it is, the club will celebrate together. Well-earned trophy, though, Jürgen. Well-earned, indeed.