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Jurgen Klopp has cemented his reputation as the best manager in world

Jurgen Klopp has cemented his reputation as the best manager in world

Jurgen Klopp has cemented his reputation as the best manager in world

SPORTING giants rise to the challenge when adversity strikes and Jurgen Klopp has cemented his reputation as the best manager in world football over the last few weeks.

I can’t believe any team in world football could cope with the loss of Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah and produce the performance we saw against Leicester on Sunday.

This was an opponent that was on a great run, appeared to be built to expose Liverpool’s defensive weaknesses and the final analysis confirmed Klopp had all the answers once again.

Liverpool were magnificent from first to last in their 3-0 win and if you are looking to hail the true hero of their continued success, it has to be genius calling the shots on the touchline.

Klopp might have questioned whether his team had been pushed over the edge when Gomez picked up a season-ending injury training with England.

Then when Mohamed Salah tested positive for Covid-19 and found himself stuck in Egypt self-isolating, it felt the football world was conspiring against Liverpool.

Yet champions don’t know when they are beaten and what we saw that from Liverpool as they dismantled Leicester must have concerned anyone thinking they are there for the taking now.

So much negativity has flowed in their direction, but Klopp’s side was flawless as their defensive line confirmed all is not lost in the absence of Van Dijk and Gomez.

James Milner was magnificent at full-back, Joel Matip oozed classed alongside the wonderful Fabinho at the heart of the defence, while Andy Robertson was at his typically brilliant best.

On to the midfield and Curtis Jones caught my eye to a point that I feel tempted to proclaim here and now that he is a world-class performer in the making.


Liverpool's Roberto Firmino proved his critics wrong

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino proved his critics wrong

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino proved his critics wrong

I have followed this lad’s progress through the club’s junior teams and at the age of 19, he still has so much to learn.

Yet I look at the strides he has made since he stepped into the first-team set-up and it highlights once again the impact Klopp and his coaching staff have on players.

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Then up front, Roberto Firmino deserves so much credit for a much-improved performance that included a rare Premier League goal at Anfield.

I have been among those who questioning Bobby’s position in the team, especially since Diogo Jota has come to the club and made such a big impact.

Yet Firmino snapped back to his best form against Leicester and that may be because he realises his place in the team is no longer secure.

So even with so many players out injured, Klopp still has plenty of options as he picks his team for tonight’s Champions League game against Atalanta at Anfield.

Klopp has expressed his annoyance that Liverpool have been scheduled to play an away game in the Premier League at lunchtime on Saturday and he has a point.

We need to be more respectful to the English teams representing the Premier League in European competition and that means allowing them to play in more sensible time slots.

That’s one reason why I would expect to see Klopp shake his team up a little this evening against a side Liverpool beat 5-0 away from home in the last round of Champions League fixtures.

Salah is back, so Klopp could look to rest one of his forwards and he might also protect Milner and play young Neco Williams at full-back.

Jones should play again in midfield after his fantastic display against Leicester and I think we will see a lot of changes from Klopp as he heads towards a hectic month of fixtures in December.

He needs to do all he can to have his key players fit for the games that really matter and with the greatest of respect to Atalanta, he has enough in his squad to rest a few players and still win the group with a victory tonight.

By the way, despite my upbeat assessment here, it doesn’t mean I have changed my view that Liverpool need to try and sign a defender when the transfer window opens in January.

Matip and Fabinho are good enough to win Liverpool the title if they stay fit, but it is asking too much for those two to play every game between now and next May and that’s why Liverpool need to spend some money in January.

They should try and a sign a defender who will put pressure on Matip in the next couple of years and bolster a squad that is already proving itself to be among the best in world football despite plenty of pressure being applied.

Make the right signing in January and the gloom all fans felt as star men started dropping at an alarming rate a few weeks back will be long forgotten.

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