Much excitement has greeted the arrival of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
His effervescent style; cool, calm exterior and management of press conferences have given the Liverpool fans a sense of anticipation not seen since the club came so agonisingly close to the title just two years ago.
The German boss turned a mid-table Borussia Dortmund side into champions, breaking the dominance of Bayern Munich and taking Europe by storm with his high-tempo, high-intensity tactics. This "Gegenpressing" startled opposition, gave them less time on the ball and put Dortmund on the front foot.
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Quite rightly, lots of the praise went to Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze, now of Bayern, and Marco Reus, but there was another very important cog in the unstoppable Dortmund machine.
The only way "Gegenpressing” works is when defence seamlessly transfers into attack in a matter of seconds. It requires a player who can break up play, pick the ball up from the back and deliver it to the electric front men with metronomic precision.
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For Klopp, this was Ilkay Gundogan.
The German international was the engine room for Klopp’s system, providing the ammo for the sharpshooting front three to feed off.
Liverpool’s current squad do have players with enough similarities to the three stars mentioned above. Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings can provide the firepower of Lewandowski somewhat.
A combination of Jordan Ibe, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana bring the pace and trickery of Reus, whilst Phillipe Coutinho provides the silky skills and eye for a pass of Gotze.
But what about Gundogan? Is there anyone?
Yes, there is Lucas Leiva, who is adept at breaking up the play, but he doesn’t have the speed or range of passing to be the link between defence and attack.
There’s Jordan Henderson, a workhorse, he never stops running and he certainly has the energy to play this role, but does he possess the skill required to feed in the attackers?
He might develop these skills, but one would think that just a couple more years working with Steven Gerrard could have done him the world of good.
As for the others, Joe Allen has consistently failed to set the world alight, Emre Can is still a very raw talent and Jordan Rossiter, whilst clearly a great prospect is too young to make the position his.
So it seems Klopp is in trouble. With Liverpool strapped for cash, what does he do?
Sell a first-team star to raise money for his own man and bring Gundogan to Anfield? The expected £40 million would probably require the sale of Coutinho or Sturridge.
Or does he work with what he has? Utilise Henderson and Lucas whilst moulding Can and Rossiter to fit his style?
The young raw talent of Ruben Neves is also calling. But £30 million for an 18-year-old? That’s an Anthony Martial-style gamble, and not one Liverpool can afford.
It is unlikely Klopp will have much money to spend in January. This is his first big test at Liverpool, and fans will already be crossing their fingers he gets it right.
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