There was a palpable – and understandable – level of excitement when Jurgen Klopp signed on the dotted line at Anfield at the beginning of October.
This was a man who took an under-resourced German team to the upper echelons of German and European football. A man with modern methods that worked. A jovial and friendly manager who was great with the press.
Everything Liverpool wanted.
And whilst things may well still work out for Klopp, he hasn’t had the best few weeks.
In their most recent outing, Klopp’s Liverpool side were soundly beaten by Watford, and although the Hertfordshire-based club are playing much better than expected, one would still expect a team as expensively assembled as Klopp’s to offer more than they did on Sunday.
In fact, this was the third league game that Liverpool have failed to win in succession, losing to Newcastle and drawing with West Brom to compound a very ordinary December for the Reds.
Ordinarily, these are sides that Liverpool should be beating and the fact that they are struggling will be a concern for both Klopp and the Anfield hierarchy.
There is, of course, no sense in which Klopp’s job could or should be under threat anytime soon, but one wonders why the German doesn’t seem to be able to extract a greater level of performance from the players he has at his disposal.
On one level, we should make allowances for the fact that this isn’t Klopp’s team. He hasn’t even had one transfer window to work in yet, and therefore, it is not a massive surprise to see a team not really dancing to the manager’s tune just yet; but on another level, there surely has to be question marks about his ability to motivate his team so far.
With no disrespect meant to Watford and Newcastle, Liverpool are vastly better than both sides on paper, and yet they have failed to pick up any points from either fixture.
Indeed, the concession of three goals to a newly promoted side hints at a lack of organisation, or perhaps even more concerning, a lack of motivation.
Whatever the reason behind Liverpool’s poor performances, Klopp will need to get the bottom of it if he doesn’t want this season to descend into the washout that it’s promising to be at present.
With games coming thick and fast, unless they buck their ideas up the Reds could see themselves heading into 2016 in the bottom half of the table. Klopp seems to have a lot of patience in the bank, but I’m willing to bet that it’s not inexhaustible.