Anyone who has watched a press conference with Jurgen Klopp will know that the German is a keen student of the game. Ask him to comment on his side’s performance in a game and you will be given an in-depth analysis of what they did well, poorly and everything in between.
Ask him about a goal his team have scored, something he has been questioned on regularly this season, and you will be provided with an in-depth analysis of how it came about. Conversely, questioning him about a goal his team has conceded and you will be provided with an in-depth analysis of all the mistakes made and how they will look to improve upon it moving forward.
Sometimes the detail is minute in the extreme, showing that Klopp is the kind of manager who does not miss a trick.
He wants his team to be perfect in every aspect of their play, to make the right movements, decisions and follow the plan he sets out for them to perfection.
It is somewhat strange that his persona on the touchline is often as far away from the deep analytical thinker he clearly is.
On the touchline, Klopp becomes a beast powered by emotions, both positive and negative, often acting wildly in either jubilation or anger. That’s a fact that any fourth official can attest to.
No side in world football is built in the image of their manager like Liverpool are, and at times it is to their detriment. The last week, though, appears to have marked a drastic change in approach.
With his side taking on Porto in the Champions League last week, Klopp was presented with the perfect opportunity to be the wild, passionate animal, pacing up and down the touchline as he has so often been.
Those situations are made for such a character, and Klopp is not a man to hide his emotions.
Instead, the cameras were treated to Klopp in a calm mood, sitting deep in the dugout and analysing from afar, controlling his side like an orchestrator.
It was a theme that continued at Anfield on Saturday as he once again took a back seat and watched his side dominate West Ham United.
In both games, Liverpool appeared to be following the manners of their boss.
Rather than the wild and unpredictable Liverpool, the Reds were calm and composed throughout.
And rather than the wild, rash attacking football that gets the blood pumping but leaves them vulnerable defensively, it was calm, patient, controlling football with deadly finishing at the end of it.
Just like with Porto, it meant Liverpool were able to dominate West Ham from start to finish, controlling the game throughout and coming away with a scoreline that could have been far less flattering than it was to the Hammers.
Both results showed that, finally, this side may be ready to take the next step in their development and shake off the fatal character flaw that has been holding them back since Brendan Rodgers’ days in charge.
Under the Northern Irishman, they were too a fierce attacking beast, plundering goals left, right and centre. However, like today, they were also weak defensively.
It was their inability to slow games down and control them, to grind out 1-0 victories in the tight games, which ultimately cost them the title that year, and it is a problem that has been holding them back ever since.
Liverpool simply didn’t have the maturity of champions and the often-emotional Klopp only helped to exacerbate the issue.
It is often why a 1-0 win is celebrated so strongly by their fans to this day; those wins show a level of control that only the top sides are capable of on a consistent basis, and it is those kinds of victories that often win teams titles.
The last two victories were not such performances, but the control and composure shown by both the manager and team in both should be something those fans are thrilled about.
It showed that both Liverpool and Klopp have more to them than the fast-paced, chaotic side they have been for a number of years.
Instead, this side is now a many-faced beast, capable of mixing up the fast and furious with the calm and collected. That development is an exciting one and would represent a big step forward for both the German and the club.
If it is a sign of things to come then their fans should be rubbing their hands together and licking their lips; a Liverpool side that can win things in this manner is one that can challenge at the very top of the Premier League.
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