THE REAL PROBLEM
Liverpool FC and all who follow them have had a difficult time lately with some very disappointing results that have really started to get even our own fans so frustrated that they’ve been rather outspoken on what change they want to happen in order to provide a solution for this problem and making sure they won’t be this disappointed ever again.
Some of the more popular targets to speak out against that these disappointed fans often choose include the manager (currently) Jurgen Klopp, the goalkeepers (currently) Mignolet and Karius and even our club owners (currently) Fenway Sports Group. All over the internet in sports groups that are there for online chat that involves discussing Liverpool FC you’ll see quotes like “KLOPP OUT”, “MIGNOLET OUT”, “KARIUS OUT”, or “FSG OUT”. Basically, it’s a war cry of protest against the people that fans have decided are so bad for the club that they should be removed from the club altogether. The “OUT” part is suggesting rather strongly that the person who was named should be fired and no longer be a part of Liverpool FC any more. You can’t really “fire” the owners of a club (they usually have to decide to sell their stake in the club themselves and are officially CEO – the boss who does any firing, not getting fired themselves), but they’re still wanted to be gotten rid of by many Liverpool fans. Yes, it’s true. Not everybody feels that way though.
We’ll talk about how responsible all these people are for unwanted results though and just how much they’ve really contributed to the club. Are they REALLY deserving of all the hate and anger that comes to them ending up with you demanding that they are taken OUT from Liverpool FC? Are they the REAL problem? Well, it’s complicated but we’ve got plenty of time to discuss the answer.
Now the manager is responsible for team tactics. Jurgen Klopp has tried his best to bring the success he’d had in the German Bundesliga where he’d won the League twice and also claimed 3 more trophies (DFB-Pokal – the German version of the FA Cup once and the German Charity Shield/Community Shield called a “DFL Super-Cup” twice). 5 trophies total.
Klopp was chosen for his significant success in Germany and known for using tactics that have been good enough to bring real trophies to the club that he was manager of.
Having said that, Klopp’s tactics often are criticised now by fans who become unhappy with squad members they don’t particularly favour being picked, a rotation system they might not want used, even the transfer list of players to bring to Liverpool (or even sell) that has been drawn up by Klopp may not gain their approval. All of this can lead to fans being dissatisfied with the Liverpool manager and then there’s the unwanted results from any given game that happen. All of this can lead to the “KLOPP OUT” cries. Well, you’ve been heard and now it’s time for you to listen to the response.
1. Jurgen Klopp’s tactics are strong.
Yes, Liverpool have lost (or even drawn) some games that you’ll be unhappy about but at the end of the day, the entire reason he was even picked to be Liverpool manager was because his tactics were so good that he won 5 trophies using them in Germany. Eventually he’d end up in Liverpool and we all saw first hand his “Gegen-pressing” and more of his tactics from the moment his job began at his new club. If the tactics he had when he showed up (and has used ever since) were so awful, he wouldn’t have lasted a week with Liverpool. He’d have been replaced very quickly. The tactics work just as well as most other manager’s choices for how they’ll operate their squad on the pitch.
I’m still just as confident with Klopp’s tactics as I was in 2015 when he was first given the job.
2. Transfers are complicated.
Yes, Jurgen Klopp has a list of players he knows are good enough to try and implement into the Liverpool first team. It’s not simple though. Firstly, the owners (Fenway Sports Group/FSG) may place limitations on just how much money Klopp will receive for making new signings. Nobody knows the exact amount offered to the manager for a single transfer window. General rule of thumb is that they’re likely to only want to spend however much has actually been earned in player sales. So, you sell Coutinho for £140M and you can definitely afford to buy Virgil Van Dijk (worth £75M) and Naby Keita (worth £65M). That’s just £140M IN, £140M OUT. Smart business, really. Nobody wants the club to go into debt although we will want new players that will undoubtedly be worth many millions on the transfer market. Jurgen Klopp has to accept these kind of limitations on who he’ll be able to bring to the club as his own signings. So, the next time you’re complaining that “why didn’t we buy Neymar when he was ready to leave Barcelona? Now he’s in Paris instead of Liverpool! Klopp is awful, he didn’t even make a bid” etc then please remember the limitations that would be stopping Klopp from making the bid you wanted him to make. Maybe Klopp wanted to sign him but the first thing that FSG would likely say to the person that needs the money for him is… “That’s the most expensive player in the world right now! We can’t afford him”. Sorry, but that’s all part of the limitations which Klopp and fans alike have to accept.
3. Jurgen Klopp’s the manager, not a player.
Yes, Liverpool have just been knocked out of the FA Cup by West Brom and Jurgen Klopp as our manager holds SOME responsibility for that kind of unwanted result. We’d rather still be in the competition and wondering who we’ll be drawn against in the next round after progressing with a victory. Unfortunately we’re out of the FA Cup now.
However, was it Klopp that put the ball into his own net scoring an own goal? NO, that was Joel Matip. Klopp’s the person who picked Joel Matip in his lineup, but Klopp did not put the ball into his own net. When you start to blame Klopp for the defeat, you’re placing more responsibility for these negative events than he deserves on him. It’s not all Klopp’s fault. Be smart. Think about who’s mostly at fault. The players actions on the pitch are their own. They’re given tactics to use by the manager but it’s the players themselves who are most accountable for unwanted results. Better player performances and stronger defence would have seen Liverpool perhaps get a clean sheet and still score the two goals they’d gotten. A 0-2 win for Liverpool would have been more expected than how it actually turned out. Just ask the bookmakers who the favourites to win were (Liverpool were favourites to progress in the FA Cup). The players didn’t do enough at the back and their sloppiness saw an own goal and two other goals conceded to a side that had not beaten Liverpool in two earlier games this season before the FA Cup fixture. We’re dealing with events like this as they come, but is the solution for making sure we don’t get beaten by teams like Swansea and West Brom in the future really to start demanding that Jurgen Klopp is FIRED? KLOPP OUT? NO! It’s not the solution and Klopp is not the real problem.
Mignolet and Karius
Moving on from the manager to a couple of key players. The Liverpool goalkeepers! Oh, they’ve had a rough time from fans this season. Even the Liverpool fans, yes. EVERY TIME a goal is conceded there are some fans who instantly react by pointing their fingers right at whoever was the goalkeeper at the time Liverpool let a goal in. We’ve spoken already about how players are more accountable than the manager for when unwanted results happen but there is more than 1 player in a team. In a regular 4-4-2 formation, you’ve got 4 other players who are supposed to be doing their job as defenders well. If they don’t do their job at defending well enough, yes goals can be conceded. It’s actually far more rare to hear any defender criticised than it is to hear Mignolet or Karius being blamed for the unwanted goals that get scored against us. Not every goal that’s conceded is the goalkeeper’s fault. The defenders should share just as much responsibility for conceded goals as Karius or Mignolet. Sometimes a defender is entirely to blame. Certainly in the West Brom fixture, Mignolet could not have been expected to know that he’d have to save the ball from being put into his own net by a Liverpool defender. That’s not something you even prepare for. Matip’s the man to blame. Accountability, people. Be smart and know when you should give the man between the goalposts the benefit of the doubt a break as you’re about to cry “KARIUS OUT” or “MIGNOLET OUT”. In general, I’ve been very happy with the success of Liverpool and the consistently unbeaten run for very long periods of time are partly due to our goalkeepers.
There’s highs and lows in an entire season for goalkeepers but ultimately, you’ve got to weigh up whether in the long-term you’ll be better off having them or not having them in the side. Karius has been used exclusively as a Champions Goalkeeper, helping us claim 7-0 victories TWICE with clean sheets kept on multiple occasions in our European fixtures as we progressed beyond the group stage and into the knockout rounds. So NO, I don’t want Karius “OUT”. Mignolet’s been used as first choice goalkeeper for Premier League fixtures and of course, we know that we’ve come away with many wins and draws that saw our unbeaten run go on and on for almost as long as Manchester City who are top of the Premier League. We’d just gotten more draws than wins is why we’re not 1st placed. “Unbeaten” is still unbeaten though. Counting up the Ws or the Ds on the League table isn’t as important as letting everybody you’ll play know that you simply are not going to let them defeat you. Mignolet’s been a part of why we’re confident enough and able to do that. NO, I don’t want Mignolet “OUT” either. Performances can differ from game to game. You won’t always see your goalkeeper have to explain himself or why Liverpool have lost. We’ll draw or win in the future with them in the side. Have some hope and put your faith in them to bring you better results than the ones you’ve been so disappointed with lately.
We’ve touched on these people briefly as we discussed the transfer list Jurgen Klopp has and the fact that Fenway Sports Group are the guys with the money that helps make the new signings (and sales). If fans are so unhappy that they’re starting to cry “FSG OUT”, it’s almost entirely due to one major issue… MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!
The finances of Liverpool FC are now run by FSG and often, if fans think the club’s money isn’t being spent wisely enough then FSG are the people who get lumped with all the blame for that. I personally appreciate their involvement in the club and am grateful for what they’ve done ever since becoming the owners of Liverpool FC in October of 2010.
Does anybody even remember how desperate we were back then for new owners? FSG bailed us out. George Gillett and Tom Hicks had run the club’s finances into the ground and eventually, the Royal Bank of Scotland forced them to make a sale or declare bankruptcy. Not much of a choice for them, so they sold the club to Fenway Sports Group for around £300M. Gillett and Hicks got to not be broke (still staying as multi-millionaires instead of having nothing) and Liverpool could begin a new era with people who were certain to be better with the clubs money that previous owners were. THANK YOU and “I’ll never forget this” were what I was feeling about all that in 2010 for sure and I still hold some appreciation to FSG for coming along to make that possible.
Move along to 2018 and we’ve seen a lot of things happen in many transfer windows (two per season, Winter and Summer Transfer Windows). It’d take far too long for me to name every player that FSG/Liverpool have bought and sold since January of 2011 but trust me, my numbers are accurate and include the transfer fees of every Liverpool player we’ve seen come and go, right up to the current day.
FSG have spent £635 Million on players signed to Liverpool. That’s a total of money spent on all signings brought INTO the club from every transfer window since becoming our owners.
FSG have then made a profit of £522 Million from players sold by Liverpool. That’s a total of money earned on all signings that were going OUT of the club from every transfer window since becoming our owners.
Ultimately, after doing all the math on income and outgoings you’ve got a total of £113 Million debt (also called “NET SPEND“) that FSG have had to deal with since taking over and that’s not including the £60M they spent on expanding Anfield to increase the capacity of our stadium. These owners have been the guys to foot the bill on some seriously big receipts and I believe they do deserve some credit for doing that.
If you’re unhappy with our results and being knocked out of the FA Cup or losing to the bottom-of-the-Premier-League Swansea, I don’t believe the finger of blame deserves to be pointed at FSG as you get ready to start with your “FSG OUT” rant. No, I don’t want FSG OUT. I am grateful for everything they’ve done and the fact that since arriving they’ve just been your regular businessmen. They’re unlikely to ever be bankrupt like Gillett and Hicks were before selling out but they’ve sure put up with some serious debt as they balanced the books on all our finances. I’d say they’ve run the club and managed our money just fine.
BACK to the big question. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO (to increase our success in the future)? Well, I do believe that we’ve established here that getting rid of Karius, Mignolet, Klopp or FSG are all bad ideas. Sign a new goalkeeper maybe and players in some other positions (attackers to score goals hopefully), but we’re ultimately just in need of better performances on pitch. The team as a whole which is already in place can improve and let’s be honest, some of the players we’ve got are fairly new and just need more time to start adjusting to the high pressure of life playing for Liverpool FC. HAVE FAITH, fans. I have faith and confidence in much more better results coming our way and we won’t need to get rid of any of the people you love to cry about needing “OUT” to do it.
WALK ON…. THROUGH THE WIND.
WALK ON…. THROUGH THE RAIN.
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on…. WALK ON! WITH HOPE IN YOUR HEART.
AND YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE!!! YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan and one of the most dedicated Liverpool supporters you’ll ever meet.