With Jürgen Klopp as a dogged and patient coach, the team that became Premier League champion after 30 years won’t stop
It has never been an easy win for Liverpool. Back in 2005, it miraculously pulled off one of football’s greatest knocks to beat AC Milan in the Champions League final. Then in 2014, when at the cusp of victory, an infamous slip effectively cost the Reds a first league title for 24 years. This season, too, its victory as the Premier League champion, coming as it does after a span of 30 years, has not been a cakewalk with the Corona pandemic throwing the game totally out of gear. Yet, Team Red has played exceptionally well, becoming an example of how a process-oriented teamwork ends up producing results, even if it takes a bit long coming. And if Liverpool peaked, remember that it has been on the ascendant the last two seasons as well. It had consecutively won 18 games and with the present win, it is left with seven more rounds which may help it rack up 107 points, thus adding another new record.
Much of the credit has to be given where it is due, to German team manager Jürgen Klopp, who took charge of the team in 2015 with the promise to turn doubters into believers. Given the string of failed coaches before him, nobody expected miracles or continuity. But rather than going for big wins, he began with consistency of performances. His entire focus has been on team efforts with the development of a squad that would trust the talent and skill of all players and not just rely on star value alone. He was against spending big on prized names, rather he chose those who would fit into his gameplan. Team members, too, believed in him and developed a telepathic understanding among themselves. Most importantly, he managed to connect the passion of the team’s diehard supporters with that of the players. And he developed a formidable asset called defence. An equal contribution has come from captain Jordan Henderson, who though criticised for not having the characteristics demanded by his job, was entrusted as a leader on field. And he proved himself. He read the game well, maintained a cool head, encouraged his teammates, thus setting an example for other superstars to follow. With the present win, Liverpool’s search for the elusive title has come to an end and also the much-circulated joke in football circles that for Team Red, the next year would always be “their year.” This year is definitely theirs and who knows, the next year, too, maybe theirs again.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)