Klopp has brought enthusiasm back to the Reds faithful
Right. Let’s disentangle ourselves from the Jurgen Klopp love knot and look at some anniversary facts.
Klopp has won fewer than half of his 37 Premier League games in charge of Liverpool.
Over that period, his team has averaged 1.729 points per game – a rate that would have given you third place once in the 24 seasons of the Premier League, fourth place on three occasions, fifth 14 times, sixth five times and seventh once.
During his 122-game Premier League spell at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers won more than half of his matches and averaged 1.795 points per game.
Klopp is averaging 1.97 goals per Premier League match, Rodgers averaged 1.9.
Klopp has brought great expectations since arriving with Reds fans dreaming of the title
Liverpool were marginally tighter under Rodgers, conceding 1.24 goals per Premier League game, compared to 1.35 under Klopp.
Only one team, incidentally, has won the Premier League while conceding more than a goal a game – and Manchester United did that on three occasions.
Klopp has lost nine Premier League games.
Klopp’s nine losses came in 32 games, Rodgers’ first nine losses came in 30 games.
By way of comparison, in his first spell as a Premier League boss, Jose Mourinho’s ninth loss came in his 90th game.
Believe it or not, the Premier League is not all that matters and Klopp, thrillingly, took Liverpool to a couple of cup finals and, of the 61 matches played in all competitions, he has won 30.
Klopp has developed a special bond with his players
But the point is that, for a club with the size, stature and wage bill of Liverpool, Klopp’s statistical performance in his first year in charge has been strictly average.
It will also be a little while before sound judgement on his transfer acumen can be passed.
He actually made a bit of a profit in the summer and Sadio Mane looks a surefire success. Loris Karius, however, looks quite the opposite.
Liverpool, under Klopp, always look likely to concede.
Basically, since he was appointed on October 8, 2015 (his first match was at Spurs on October 17), there has been some good stuff and some ordinary stuff.
Yet, the feeling now is the same as it was 12 months ago – Liverpool’s executives have pulled off a coup and probably still can’t believe their luck.
They have a manager who strips away all the bull and pretty much tells it as it is – a rarity these days.
They have a manager whose enthusiasm may be no greater than the norm – but who wears it in every moment.
They have a manager who is clearly motivated by the challenge of restoring old glories to a famous institution.
They have a manager who appears to foster demonic commitment from his players. So, when Liverpool fans look back on a year of Jurgen, they should perhaps peer through the hype, charisma and charm and see merely a decent year.
But when they look ahead to many years of Jurgen, they should do so with more hope than they have had for a long time.
And no statistic can measure that.