5 things Jurgen Klopp needs to fix
We’re over halfway into the 2022/23 season and there are plenty of problems at Liverpool.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has already admitted to recently watching the worst performance of his career as his side were humbled 3-0 by Brighton, just a few weeks before goal-shy Wolves secured the same result.
The Reds would love to be in a top-four battle in the Premier League but are now clinging onto their faint hopes of playing any form of European football next season.
If they are to climb up the table, Liverpool need to find some urgent solutions.
Behind the scenes, Liverpool have gone through a lot. From the transfer team to the medical department, plenty of influential figures have left Anfield recently and there isn’t a lot Klopp can do about most of that.
That being said, Klopp has power at Liverpool. The German gets a say in plenty of positions on Merseyside, including coaches, and may need to change something.
Reports have suggested some in Klopp’s backroom team are starting to outstay their welcome at Anfield and the boss may have to make some tough decisions to get the most out of his squad.
There’s no denying that Liverpool’s biggest issue is in midfield. On both sides of the ball, Klopp’s trio just aren’t cutting it anymore.
Is it down to age? Jordan Henderson is 32, Thiago is 31 and Fabinho is 29, so there are reasons to suggest they may simply not have the legs to play Klopp’s preferred brand of football anymore.
If that is the case, new signings may be needed. There are plenty of options for the future, including the likes of Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic, but some stop-gap transfers could be necessary until the youngsters are ready to shoulder more responsibility.
Nobody in Liverpool’s midfield is free from blame, but even the most passionate Reds fan would admit that Fabinho has given them the biggest cause for concern.
Once viewed alongside Casemiro as one of the best holding midfielders around, Liverpool’s Brazilian has suffered a massive fall from grace and has been offering very little at either end of the field.
It’s up to Klopp to figure out why, and more importantly, how to fix it. Maybe a change in role is in order, or maybe Fabinho needs to head to the bench.
Klopp has his core group of trusted players, and rightly so. After all, Liverpool’s spine won him the Premier League and the Champions League, so you can’t really blame the boss for having favourites.
However, when those favourites are well out of form, Klopp needs to put his head before his heart and do what’s best for the team, even if it risks upsetting those closest to him.
We’re at a point in the crisis where Klopp has to be ruthless. Everything has to be done with a view to salvaging something from the campaign, and nothing else matters.
After so long at Liverpool, it seems as if Klopp’s tactics have been worked out by teams who have long suffered at the hands of his gegenpressing.
Teams are countering Klopp’s system and, as of yet, the boss hasn’t figured out how to counter that counter. A switch to 4-4-2 has worked in the past but it may be time for something more drastic.
A three-man defence, which would offer more cover while maximising Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson in attack, could be worth considering for Klopp.
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Tottenham director Fabio Paratici banned from football worldwide by FIFA
Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici has been banned from football worldwide after FIFA extended the punishment imposed in Italy following his involvement in Juventus’ penalised accounting practices.
In January, the Italian giants suffered a shock 15-point deduction after the club was deemed to have inflated player transfer values in swap deals among other financial offences.
Paratici joined the Juventus hierarchy in 2010 and was the club’s sporting director between November 2018 and the summer of 2021, before he took up a similar role at Tottenham. The investigation into Juve’s accounts scrutinised transactions between 2019 and 2021 – when Paratici was at the heart of the club’s dealings.
At the start of the year, Paratici was one of several former Juventus board members that were banned from football following the conclusion of the investigation by the Italian Football Federation. Initially, Paratici was handed a 30-month ban from just Italian football, although the threat of extending the scope of that punishment internationally always loomed.
On Wednesday, FIFA released a statement confirming that they had indeed taken up that option, extending the ban handed out to Paratici and the other Juventus board members – including former owner Andrea Agnelli – worldwide.
The statement read: “FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA (FIGC), the chairperson of FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect.”
Paratici was due to be in court this week for a a preliminary committal hearing regarding a portion of the charges levelled at Juve, but the date for those proceedings have been shunted back to 10 May. Juve appealed their 15-point penalty – which the prosecution only recommended as a nine-point punishment – and will hear the ruling of which on 19 April.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
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Sir Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The duo won 16 Premier League titles between them across respective long-term spells with Manchester United and Arsenal.
With 13 of those championships, Ferguson is the most decorated manager in the history of the competition. He is the only coach to have won the Premier League three times in a row, doing so on two different occasions.
Ferguson said: “I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
“My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
“I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further. Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
Wenger arrived in England in 1996 as one of the Premier League’s first foreign coaches, and quickly proved sceptics wrong, transforming Arsenal into title winners and changing English football’s culture with his scouting and dietary expertise.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, including an unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04.
Wenger said: “I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
“I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together. At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.”
In addition to Ferguson and Wenger, there are 16 other inductees in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry were the first two people inducted when the Hall of Fame was created in 2021. They were followed later that year by Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.
In 2022, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes and Ian Wright were inducted.
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