Liverpool started to make many changes last year now these changes are paying huge dividends. The Daily Mail: “It is a year to the day since Jurgen Klopp sat in front of a signed contract, and showed off that infamous smile for the first time as their new manager.
That was the pose and photograph used as Klopp was appointed on October 8 and it was from that day the German started to put his Gegenpressing plan into action.
Liverpool’s players were put through triple training sessions in pre-season – with 7am starts – and have endured intense times at Melwood since, but it’s paying off under the 49-year-old.
His Arrigo Sacchi style of pressing has seen Liverpool run the furthest in the Premier League this season (814.8km) and make the most sprints too (4,165).
Klopp’s contract is worth £5million per year, rising to £7m with bonuses for a Premier League title or Champions League qualification.
To Liverpool’s manager, neither target is unrealistic.
His training techniques are notorious. Daniel Sturridge said sessions are ‘intense’ and James Milner described them as ‘different to anything’ he has ever endured.
There is an idea that if training is twice as brutal as the game itself, then Saturday will seem a breeze, and Klopp has now had a year to try to put perfectly-drilled pressing in place.
The learning isn’t exclusive to Melwood, either. Klopp and his assistants, Zeljko Buvac and Peter Krawietz, use a computer in the changing room, with a projector and screen, to get points across.
And it’s working so far this season, give or take a blip against Burnley.
On September 10, Liverpool ran 118.8km against Leicester City – the fourth furthest by any side this season – and won 4-1.
It saw the 5,000/1 champions whose Premier League title win was built on energy and enthusiasm beaten at their own game.
When the international break is over, Liverpool will go up against Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho’s team could not cope when Manchester City pressed them at Old Trafford. It was intense and saw Pep Guardiola plant his flag in the Premier League.
City ran 119.6km against United – the second furthest by any side this season – and won 2-1. That was also on September 10, the same day Liverpool stunned Leicester.
Now, United are to be tested again, and Liverpool will hope they can do the same as City by winning aggressively against Mourinho’s men.
Liverpool’s defence does, however, leave a lot to be desired. They are among the few in double figures for goals conceded this season.
A Premier League table since Klopp took over sees Liverpool sitting fifth but shows they have let in 50 goals. City in fourth have conceded 41, United in sixth have conceded 35.
Crystal Palace – sitting bottom – have conceded just two more than Liverpool since this time last year. Improvement is needed.
Yet there is the silver lining in that Liverpool’s attack is as good as it gets.
That same Premier League table for the past year says they have scored the most (73). The same goes for this season, too, as no-one has got more goals than Liverpool (18).
A year after his arrival, Klopp’s frighteningly-fast style of play is taking shape at Liverpool, and it’s beginning to pay off.