‘Liverpool fans who want Klopp gone are fake supporters’
A season of nothing. Squeezed between Brighton and Brentford in place eight. Nineteen(!) points behind leaders Arsenal. No, the yearbook on the Premier League of the 2022/2023 season – barring a miracle – will not be a bestseller in port city Liverpool.
The soccer machine of Jürgen Klopp, in recent years winners of the Champions League, the World Cup for club teams and the Premier League, among others, is faltering. And then in the eighth finals of the Champions League, record champion Real Madrid comes to visit. A reprise of last year’s final, when Real won.
“It is the first time that fans and players are not sure of a good result at Anfield,” stated Sander Westerveld, former Liverpool goalkeeper and still avid follower of the club. Committed follower too, Westerveld still talks about “we” when it comes to “The Reds.
Westerveld says Liverpool’s poorer results are due to a “combination of factors.” He says the club has been very unlucky with injuries and the American owner not wanting to invest.
Thus, the only major purchase was Darwin Núñez (€80 million), while Klopp had also hoped for a good midfielder. “Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, for example,” he said. Núñez is the replacement for Sadio Mané, the Senegalese who excelled for years and left for Bayern Munich.
In addition, Liverpool missed many players in recent months due to injuries. “Liverpool played the most games of any club last year, so many players, who also played for their country, started this season overloaded. In addition, Liverpool’s style of play is intense.”
Gakpo sometimes still too sweet
Star strikers Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz were long-term injuries this season. “That does make a difference,” said Westerveld, who is still a regular analyst along the Anfield pitch.
Because of these injuries, a major purchase was still made in the winter. Cody Gakpo transferred from PSV for over forty million euros. “By necessity. He was not originally on the list, but a striker was needed.”
After a difficult start, Gakpo scored his first two goals for Liverpool in recent weeks. “It’s a good player for Liverpool. You see he can do it, he’s just still a bit too sweet sometimes.”
Gakpo’s difficult start cannot be blamed on the striker either, Westerveld believes. “He would have been among the Premier League’s top scorers if he had ended up in a well-run team. Now he needed time to adapt quietly, when he didn’t get that time at all. He had to be there right away.”
Gakpo: ‘Showing that we are overcoming bad period’
Westerveld says success for Liverpool will come again. Even under Klopp. Some journalists question the German coach’s shelf life. He left his previous clubs, 1. FSV Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, for example, after seven years because the cake seemed to have run out.
“As long as the supporters, board members and players want to keep him, he will stay at the club. He won’t just leave. He has really built something. Fans who want him gone are fake supporters,” Westerveld said.
There is hope for Liverpool
According to the six-time Dutch international, Liverpool is not in such bad shape this season either. “Okay, Liverpool won’t be champions anymore, but qualification for another season in the Champions League is not far away at all. Certainly not after the last two wins.”
Klopp, however, will focus on the current Champions League season. He is confident. “I am very happy that we can play this match now instead of a few weeks ago,” he said.
The German, who only looked back at last year’s lost final this weekend – “It was pure torture” – does realize that it won’t be easy. “We have to play a super match to advance. Two super matches to be honest.”