Stubborn Inflexibility, Klopp’s Forgotten 3 Rules and Taking Responsibility


Is Jurgen Klopp too stubborn? Will Liverpool be able to take responsibility for their form and fix it? Their season depends on it.
Worryingly, the manner of Liverpool’s defeat by Brentford was more worrying than the result.

It was their second boring match in a row and perhaps one of the least Klopp-like performances by Jurgen Klopp’s team since his Borussia Dortmund flirted with relegation in the 2014/15 season.

Stricken with a disease-causing bug, after more than 24 hours of lying on my stomach, I got out of my bed for this in the hope of a completely therapeutic performance in Liverpool. I probably should have stayed under the covers.

In the confrontation with rivals with a certain spring in their step, Liverpool was never going to receive such gifts from Brentford as Leicester presented on Friday. You can “swing” only a limited number of times in such a short period of time.

We repeatedly swarmed in the center of the field, struck back at halftime, collided with the central column of red and white stripes when we still ventured forward, and all this on the evening when the sliding doors were mostly closed for us, it was the death of football from disappointment.

Stubborn to error?

Brentford should have been vulnerable. We were told that there was no Ivan Tony and all that. However, the excellent Thomas Frank had other ideas.

Stripped down, he and his hardworking players mastered the basics better than Liverpool, and they constantly flooded areas of the pitch where Klopp’s players usually do the most damage.

They impressively disrupted our handling of the ball and deprived us of time and space.

It was a masterclass in containment from Brentford, from which they occasionally popped out to threaten at the other end. It’s all because of a scheme that Klopp never wanted to use at Liverpool.

Once considered a revolutionary formation, 3-5-2 is now regarded by many modern thinkers as an old hat; once a widely used way of football in Germany, it was with 3-5-2 that their national team won the World Cup and a couple of European championships. Bayern Munich won the 2001 Champions League final 3-5-2.

The world was watching this, and a significant part of it preferred imitation, including Roy Evans’ version of Liverpool. He was very close to weaving something special out of it.

This was followed by a stunning evening in Munich in September 2001, when Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England team shockingly defeated Germany in a World Cup qualifying match with a score of 5:1.

This marked the end of the 3-5-2 scheme as an outstanding scheme for sustained success. German football has rebooted and, having taken up his first managerial post in February 2001, Klopp was in the right place at the right time to become part of this new movement.

Klopp’s success was based on perseverance, careful organization and very intense motivation. As great as it is, it’s also a tedious concept. Hence the peaks and troughs that we experience; hence the ups and downs that each of his former clubs experienced under his leadership.

In Mainz, they enjoyed the peaks of promotion to the Bundesliga, but also relegation. Dortmund have won Bundesliga titles, a home double and a Champions League final, but in his last season they were at the end of the league in early February.

For someone with such a broad outlook, Klopp can be impressively stubborn at times, and he will persistently follow the path he has chosen, even when all the evidence suggests that another plan may be worth the game, even if only as a short-term measure.

As flexible as he may seem when things are going well, Klopp has a seeming inflexibility when we face turbulence.

Forgetting the basics

In the match against Brentford, we were overtaken in midfield for most of the game. When we managed to push, we were faced with a forest of opposing players in the central column, which we could not cope with in any way.

Our best moments came whenever Brentford deployed a high defensive line, and also during that short period after we scored when they chose to narrow down, which gave Trent Alexander-Arnold the opportunity to use his strengths.

What was worrying was that even though we had more than half an hour to even the score, we were getting less and less likely to achieve it as the match went on. We didn’t press effectively enough, we weren’t organized enough, we didn’t have enough motivation.

Three basic rules of the Klopp team.

Of course, the evening could have been very different if Darwin Nunez had not blocked this purposeful effort. Nevertheless, we should not be so scrupulous about the constitution as to complain about the “what if” scenarios.

Liverpool must take responsibility for their predicament and fight to fix it. We can’t indulge in our traditional sluggish start to the New Year for too long.

Next, we are waiting for the visit of Wolves and the first obstacle in the defense of the FA Cup. This will be followed by Premier League matches away with Brighton and at home with the equally dysfunctional Chelsea, and we will finish January with another match in the FA Cup if we beat Wolves.

The key moment for Liverpool will be to adapt to the approaches of our rivals. Something we struggled to master at Brentford.


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