In an ever evolving sport such as football, where new practices, techniques and thinking are constantly being applied and adapted, standing still is essentially going backwards. If you don’t move with the times you quickly get found out. Old ways of thinking will see you caught out and taking influence from successful sides, managers and individuals, observing their methods and principles and then applying it to your own practices is a must if you are to keep pace with the beautiful game’s elite.
And in this regard, Liverpool could do a lot worse than look at what Premier League counterparts Spurs have done this season and use this as a model for their own ambitions next term and beyond. They have already taken the first steps in ‘moving with the times’ with the appointment of progressive manager Jurgen Klopp, but they must further their ambitions even more.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss is widely regarded as one of the brightest minds currently in the sport, his style of play, emotive personality and methods regarding player improvement and psychology marking him out as one of the best managers in the game in a relatively short career to date – something that should stand Liverpool in good stead for a number of years should he remain at Anfield for a good amount of time.
In many ways he is very similar to current Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. The high-pressing, high-energy style they both like to employ at the clubs they manage is certainly in-line with the modern way of thinking in football, and is one that has bought success to Spurs already, regardless of whether they win the league or not this season.
So Klopp’s Liverpool side can take a good degree of inspiration from the White Hart Lane side and their relatively sudden emergence as a ‘top, top side’ (to borrow some Harry Redknapp vernacular) in the Premier League, something that will give them hope of improving their own fortunes in the league going forward. They have, on the whole, struggled for consistency and true quality since the departure of Spaniard ‘Rafa’ Benitez in 2010, after all.
With more recent experience of top-four finishes and Champions League football, they are arguably in an even better spot to improve their fortunes than the north Londoners. They can take a great deal of heart from the fact that a side not too dissimilar to themselves, in more recent years at least, have risen to prominence under a new, progressive manager.
Liverpool have more ‘history’ as many of their fans will often remind you of course, but past achievements are essentially irrelevant in the modern day world of football, and both clubs have a similar stature in the Premier League in recent seasons – traditional ‘big names’ sure, but generally on the fringes of the top-four battles and/or league challenges, barring the odd efforts under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers, Harry Redknapp or the aforementioned ‘Rafa’ Benitez.
If Klopp can gather together a group of players and form a ‘spine’ of a side similar to the English one Pochettino has assembled at Spurs – one that has so impressed for both club and country this season – then the Anfield side can be hopeful of a similar re-emergence amongst the country’s elite. Nationality is important, but not essential, and if the German boss can gather together a squad of talented, trusted players to carry out his instructions to the letter and play in the very specific way he has in mind, the Merseyside outfit will undoubtedly push themselves back into the upper echelons of the league.
Both Spurs and Liverpool are great names of the English game, but ones who have, on the whole, struggled to recreate former glories during the Premier League era. They have seen their respective main rivals, Arsenal and Manchester United, dominate the relationship for years, whilst also having to witness the emergence of ‘new money’ outfits like Chelsea and Manchester City. Liverpool kept pace for a while but have since dropped off, but with Spurs now emerging as one of the best and most exciting sides in the league, the Reds need only look towards their model for inspiration.