Sports Writer Alice Hunt assesses Liverpool’s recent form in the wake of Jurgen Klopp’s announcement of his departure at the end of the season

Written by Alice Hunt
Sports writer mostly interested in football and cricket.

If there ever was a week to sum up Jurgen Klopp’s premiership at Liverpool, it was this past one. It began with their emotional Carabao Cup victory against Chelsea, which ended in frantic fashion through Virgil van Dijk’s last gasp winner. An impressive 3-0 midweek win sent Liverpool into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, with great thanks to the strength and character of the academy players. The week ended with a 90+9-minute victory against Nottingham Forest in the league – Liverpool’s latest ever victory on record. These results encapsulate Klopp’s emphasis on never giving up, no matter which names are on the team sheet.

Since Klopp announced his departure from Liverpool after his ninth season in charge, it is clear the team knows that they need to achieve something special this season. Liverpool have won eight of the nine games played since the announcement on 26th January. Of these victories, one secured the first silverware of the season, and the rest ensured that Liverpool were still fighting for a quadruple, consisting of the Premier League, the Europa League, and the FA Cup – alongside the Carabao Cup. The fashion of these victories has also shown how the players are willing to fight until the very end for their manager, with Liverpool having the most goal involvements from substitutes in Europe’s top-five leagues, with 21 goals and 22 assists coming from the bench.

This is despite key personnel missing through injury or illness, including Mo Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and goalkeeper Alisson Becker. Fourteen members of the first-team squad were unavailable for the FA Cup tie against Southampton. Despite these obstacles, Liverpool continue to impress. Breakthrough performances from academy graduates including Conor Bradley, Jarrell Quansah and Jayden Danns have boosted Liverpool’s strength in depth – with Klopp’s mentality having clearly infiltrated the club’s academy.

Breakthrough performances from academy graduates including Conor Bradley, Jarrell Quansah and Jayden Danns have boosted Liverpool’s strength in depth

Liverpool’s fixtures are coming thick and fast, with a trip to Prague in the Europa League warming them up for Sunday’s showdown with Man City – with many billing it as a winner-takes-all clutch match at Anfield. Sitting top of the table, Liverpool know that the Premier League title is in their hands, though Klopp more than anyone will know how far they will be pushed by the pressure of Man City. A trip to Old Trafford is also awaiting Liverpool in the FA Cup, as well as a Europa League round-of-16 tie with Slavia Prague – with Liverpool looking to build more momentum in hope of reaching the final in Dublin

It is also important to look to the future of the club after Klopp’s departure. There have been strong links with former Liverpool midfielder and Istanbul 2005 Champions League winner Xabi Alonso, whose Bayer Leverkusen team continue to be unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season. Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Amorim and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi are two alternative names in the hat for the job come the end of the season. While each of these hold their own distinct playing style, none will be able to emulate the role Klopp has played at the club since he joined in 2015. His connection to the fans and the city is one any rival team would envy. You only need to hear the Kop’s rendition of his song at the end of every game, followed by his now-famous fist bumps to the crowd after each victory, to see the unbreakable bond, which has put the German on a level with the likes of Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly – making Klopp a modern-day legend of the club.

There is a lot in store for Liverpool in the next few months. With the possibility of a quadruple firmly on the cards, each remaining game will be a final. The inevitability of Klopp’s reign ending will fill many Liverpool hearts with dread, fans will be comforted through the knowledge that this set of players are willing to fight for the club and for the manager.

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