UNCANNY SIMILARITIES by Alex
Since Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield last October, I am constantly drawn to thinking of the comparisons between now and the start of the Gerard Houllier era. Or as I call it, the Houlliera.
Both Houllier, and Klopp we’re given a sufficient amount of time in charge of the club prior to their first full season at the helm. Houllier taking full control in November 98 and Klopp in October of last year. This allowing both a significant amount of time to get to know the club, the players and time to assess all the nessacary elements at the club.
On both occasions pre Houllier under Roy Evans, and Pre Klopp under Brendan Rodgers, the club played some brilliant football. The Fowler-Collymore combination of 95/96 and the Suarez-Sturridge of 13/14 being the stand out seasons.
Unfortunately on both occasions for Evans and Rodgers, they couldn’t quite land the major prize and eventually as the club started to go backwards the inevitable happened. They parted ways.
Could both Evans and Rodgers of being allowed more time to have another go at getting it right?? Did they deserve a second go at getting it right?? The matter of the fact is they didn’t get given more time, as on both occasions the club felt they needed to act by freshen up playing personal, and envigorate the whole club that had become a tired workplace.
To me all things mentioned above have uncanny similarities even down to the comparisons of Houllier and Klopp as managerial operators. Both instantly on arriving became very popular at the club, both trying to create more professionalism and both also very ruthless behind their smiles. Again on both occasions Houllier and Klopp could boast an in depth knowledge on talent unheard of to the average supporter of Liverpool.
Houllier’s first summer of transfer activity saw him making unpopular signings. Klopps first summer of transfer activity has the fans saying the same things again. Houllier brought in a more attacking minded midfielder from Newcastle called Dietmar Hamann, who went on to become a very important midfielder in the spine of his success. Does this all sound familiar??
For the first few seasons of the Houllier campaign he couldn’t do anything wrong, 90% of his signings worked out to be the right signings and we had a belief around the club again.
As time wore on, the elusive title didnt arrive and Houllier’s dossier on the unknown quantity of overseas talent started waring thin, the club went backwards (again).
Gerrard Houllier spent 6 years at Liverpool, the amount klopp will of spent at the club when his contract expires. For Jurgen Klopp to be deemed a success at Liverpool he for me and the fans has to win that first elusive premier league title.
I’m not sure Jurgen Klopp will get the team playing as well as Evans or Rodgers did but he at times needs to be less negative in certain situations to how Gerard Houllier was. It’s maybe an inbetween balancing act of Houllier’s defensive efficiency and the Evan’s and Rodgers all out attacking approach. Klopp needs to learn from his predecessors and use their experiences to ensure he gets it right. Alex