By Mihail Vladimirov.
PART TWO – Klopp at Liverpool
What Klopp is greeted with
Although Klopp won’t be able to work with his whole squad (at least those who are currently not injured) until only a few days before his official debut game at Tottenham, the German manager will without doubt be quite familiar with Liverpool’s squad. Still, it’s not until a manager has at least a couple of months working, speaking and observing his players closely on a daily basis that he would be fully aware of what each player can and can’t do, whether each individual is suitable for his immediate and potentially long-term tactical vision, and indeed who he can and cannot trust to follow his instructions and buy into his specific training and tactical methods.
On paper Liverpool have a very good, if far from world-class, pool of players. A case could be made that the biggest shortcomings of the current squad are two; first, this is a quite unbalanced squad in terms of numbers. Certain positions and/or roles have an excess (box-to-box and #10-type players) while others are lacking or don’t have enough depth (full-backs, defensive midfielders, natural wingers).
Second, the absence of certain types of players – mainly a proper inside forward – greatly limits what formations and systems the new manager can count on from the start.
Starting from the back, Klopp has a Weidenfeller type of ‘keeper in Mignolet – an excellent shot-stopper, good (or at least improving) in commanding his box and dealing with aerial balls but far from a possession-friendly player bar passing it short to an unmarked teammate when under absolutely no pressure. Like his former Dortmund player, Mignolet is also inconsistent when it comes to comfortably sweeping up through-passes and balls in behind the backline.
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