All Conquering Klopp Carries on

Image Credit- Sporting Life

Liverpool’s recent 2-1 victory away to Wolves, sealed by a Roberto Firmino strike, marks the 40th consecutive game in which the Reds have remained unbeaten in the league. 

During this run, which began on the 12th January 2019, Jurgen Klopp’s men have grown from a side full of potential into a genuine domineering force in English football.

Such an air of invincibility is not typical of Liverpool as a Premier League outfit. The club has had to wait 30 years for a league title, during a period plagued by near-misses, false dawns and occasionally painful mediocrity. 

Great managers and great players have represented the club during this time, achieving fleeting glimpses of silverware in Europe and the domestic cups. However, under Jurgen Klopp the Reds are producing more than just sporadic moments of success. Instead, they have delivered a sustained run of form that has brought them to the top of English and European football.

In the current Premier League season, Liverpool have defeated their nearest league rivals in style, beating an in-form Leicester side 4-0 on Boxing Day and overcoming Manchester City with a convincing 3-1 victory in November.

These landmark moments of the season so far have been accompanied by often- comfortable victories over the remaining 17 teams in the Premier League.

Manchester United are the only team to prevent Liverpool from securing a domestic three-points, and even on that occasion, Klopp’s men could not be beaten, with the match ending 1-1.

Such a formidable ability for consistency has been forged on defensive solidity, as record signings Alisson Becker and Virgil Van Dijk have ensured Liverpool are now a tight defensive unit that rarely affords the opposition scoring opportunities.

Image result for van dijk liverpool defence
Image Credit- Liverpool Echo

The individual performances of Van Dijk in particular have received special appreciation. In a Liverpool shirt the central defender has propelled himself to the status of one of the world’s best footballers, having been voted second in the running for the ‘Ballon d’Or’ award in 2019, only behind the ever-magnificent Lionel Messi.

It’s rare for a central defender to be recognised in this way-usually the Ballon d’Or is reserved for the game’s leading attacking players. The last defender to make the top three was Fabio Cannavero, when he won the Ballon d’Or all the way back in 2006.

Further up the pitch more personal accolades have been won by Klopp’s players. Senegalese forward Sadio Mane has won Africa’s ‘Footballer of the year’ award for 2019, and Mohammad Salah holds several goalscoring records.

Along with the skilful Roberto Firmino, Liverpool’s attacking trident are scoring important goals in decisive moments, which has driven the team to a comfortable points margin ahead of their closest rivals for silverware.

Individual awards are proof of Liverpool’s growing dominance on the world stage of football.

However, such rewards are not the end goal for Klopp’s men. Neither is the ever-nearing chance to break the record for consecutive unbeaten matches in the top-flight, currently held by the ‘invincibles’ of Arsenal in the 2002-2003 season, who went 49 games undefeated. As captain Jordan Henderson and the rest of his teammates reveal when interviewed, Liverpool’s players are only focussed on their next match. 

It is this strength of mentality that secured the team European and World Champion status in 2019, and one that is close to delivering the club its first ever Premier League title.