What Would Success Look Like This Season?

What Would Success Look Like This Season?
November 18, 2015 Chris Rowland

TTT Symposium.

We asked our esteemed writers and symposium panel a question: what should be the targets for Klopp for the rest of the season? Does it lie in a certain league position? Winning a trophy or two? Instigating a certain playing style?

How should we judge it?

Here are the responses we got:

Anthony Stanley: The target for Klopp has to be finishing in the top four, and Chelsea’s hilarious recent wobbles means that, despite an underwhelming start to our own campaign, that is still an attainable target. Spurs look ominous though and I wouldn’t fully discount the Blues so it’d still be a massive achievement if we managed to get Champions League football for next season.

For me, success would be to see a recognised pattern of improvement and I think we’ve already witnessed that. I didn’t get too disheartened at the Palace loss because we were seeing a team create chances, not the dull, sterility that we have become accustomed to over the past 18 months. When the likes of Sturridge and Henderson come back, things will surely improve as well. What Klopp famously did with Dortmund (and Mainz to a lesser extent) was to have them playing like they were more than the sum of their parts. If we can see genuine progression to this level I think we’re genuinely in for an enjoyable couple of years. I still believe this squad is top four quality and with maybe one or two key additions, we could really challenge.

So a successful season for Klopp – without any pre-season, still getting used to the unique intricacies and idiosyncrasies of English football, no Christmas break, two games a week for vast swathes of the season – would be merely to see real progress in the style of the Reds’ football. The Klopp blueprint is, I believe, in place. We’re witnessing this evolution and something like the second half of the 12/13 season which was a harbinger for the thrills to come the following year would do me.

But I’ve a sneaking feeling that we’ll get a cup as well this season. How nice would a Europa League win be if we finished 5th or 6th? How nice would it be even if we finished 3rd or 4th? Some tired cliches coming up but Klopp has the pedigree in Europe, looks like he’s taking it deadly seriously and these players all have some very important experience in this arena at this stage.

So the Reds to show progress, play in an identifiable style, start finding the net a few times and start to turn the frustrating draws into victories but ultimately to finish just outside the top four but win the Europa League.

Andrew Beasley (Beez): Top four? EL win? Any cup? Just playing good football? As someone who is always patient about this sort of thing, I almost don’t really care about any of that stuff this year.

I want this season to *essentially* be a successful pre-season for next season.

I think it’s fair to say that for the last six summers bar one (2012/13 to 2013/14, which surely not entirely coincidentally lead to our best season), we’ve veered wildly in terms of style of play and/or the players in the squad.

2010: Rafa to Hodge

2011: Kenny’s pass and move to Kenny’s crossers

2012: Rodgers comes in, possession football is the key

2013: The same manager and largely the same players: SUCCESS!

2014: Best two strikers are absent, attack falls apart

2015: Start again with Benteke, Origi, Ings, Firmino etc.

2016: ???????? But if we can go into this season with mostly the same players and attacking patterns becoming well defined, I think that 2015/16 will have been a good season.

Stop the LFC player churn, have a good man in charge (which we usually do, to be fair), and I think we can start moving in the right direction in the longer term.

(This was taken from this post on TTT )

Bob Pearce: There are many possible measures of success for Klopp this season. For me there are two that are not about results, goals, style, possession, points, signings, boot mileage, tactics, player development, etc. These two measures are not even about what happens on the pitch.

For me a measure of success would be that every seat in Anfield is still occupied at the final whistle. That is a success you can point to and see whether it has happened or not. It’s even measurable (if someone wants to count up the visible red squares in Anfield at the final whistle).

For too many fans their ‘walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart’ words at kick off turns to ‘walk out, walk out, go home in your car’ actions before ‘the end of the storm’.

What would a full Anfield at the final whistle in every game tell us? That fans felt they could not leave before the end in case they missed the drama. That they always felt their team could make something happen. Whatever the scoreline, fans would have changed in their judgement from ‘game over’ to ‘game on’. Win? Hopefully. Draw? Maybe. Lose? Perhaps. But whatever the result they felt compelled to stay with their team until the very last kick. All four sides of Anfield would ‘Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart’ until the ref called time. Fans would be demonstrating what Klopp calls ‘belief’. And for the fans to have belief the players would need to have demonstrated their belief too.

At Anfield it should become a badge of honour that fans stand beside their team to the last. Maybe we’ll even see some peer pressure, with those departing early being asked ‘Where were you in Istanbul?’ What are they going to do, reply with a witty chant from the streets outside?

I said there were two measures of success. The second is the noise levels of the crowd that stays to the very end (again, success that can be measured).

These measures of success would show that, while there was still time on the clock, every game was seen as winnable. There would always be something to play for. And a team that gives their fans that belief will increase the chances that when they reach the last kick in the last minute of the last game of the season there will still be something to play for and to stay for.

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