It will take time for Klopp to get squad where he wants them to be
LIVERPOOL fans got very excited when Jurgen Klopp swept into Anfield amid a blaze of publicity - but it may take him up to two years to get the team playing the way he wants.
The club’s supporters will not be happy to hear that such an extended time frame will be required, but it may be a realistic period for the new manager to bed down his ideas and put the pieces of his jigsaw together.
You could sense there was a change in the mood at Anfield on Thursday night for the Europa League game against Rubin Kazan, with the positivity Klopp’s arrival has created sparking a lift in spirits for all Liverpool fans.
Yet it only needed the 90 minutes against a pretty average opponent to remind us that no manager can get this group of Liverpool players winning in double quick time.
What he has inherited from Brendan Rodgers is a squad of players that needs to be organised and fine-tuned over the upcoming weeks and months.
Does he play with Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke (right) up front in tandem? Does he need to switch to a back three to tighten things up defensively?
These are all issues Klopp needs to find answers to and it will not be easy to do that in the middle of a Premier League season and against opponents of the quality we will face on Merseyside today.
Southampton will surely fancy their chances of getting a result against a Liverpool side that are not firing on all cylinders, with fourth choice striker Divock Origi showing in the last two matches that he is a million miles away from being ready to play regular first team football.
Goals will be an issue for Liverpool this afternoon because I am not convinced that Origi will score consistently at this stage of his development and the key for Klopp will be getting some finishing power back into his team.
Liverpool came so close to winning the Premier League title a couple of years ago because they had goals flowing throughout their team.
Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Sturridge were too hot to handle for most Premier League defences and that was the primary reason why they came within a couple of games of title glory.
Defensively, Liverpool have not bee the best for some time, so Klopp needs to find a way of getting a balance in the team that allows him to play the pressing game he promotes, while also keeping things tight at the back.
I firmly believe that Benteke has the class to be a key man for Klopp, as he has a proven track record of goals in the Premier League.
The new manager also needs to find a way to get the best out of Philippe Countino’s attacking prowess.
Adam Lallana and Emre Can seem to have been given a lift by the arrival of the new manager, but getting into the top four this season is going to be a big ask for the former Borussia Dortmund boss.
Any manager needs a few weeks of pre-season to bed down his plans and get a team working as he wants.
He also needs to bring in a few of his own players and get them performing in the manner that he sees fit.
It will be hard for Klopp to make too many sweeping changes in the January transfer window because it is very difficult to buy top class players at that stage of the season, even though we can be hopeful that he can pull a rabbit or two out of his cap.
I’m hoping the club throw Klopp a healthy sum of cash to spend this summer, with the new TV contract kicking in and £100m flowing into the coffers of all the top-flight clubs.
Only then will we start to see what Klopp has in mind for Liverpool and I remain convinced that he will do a great job as long as he is given the time and space to work.
While I appreciate that this is a bit of a gloomy prognosis of what lies ahead, we all need to take a step back and realise that Klopp is not going to change the face of Liverpool overnight.
Time and patience are two words that are no longer included in the football dictionary, but both are relevant when it comes to Klopp at Liverpool.
Miracles cannot be dreamed up in a fortnight and while we can all hope to see progress from Liverpool in the coming months, I would be satisfied if Klopp starts to prove his worth at some point in 2016.