Jurgen Klopp continues to impress me with the way he conducts himself as a manager. Many people remember him fondly during his time at Borussia Dortmund and probably have them as a secret second club such was the aura of the team, supporters and the club in general with Klopp in charge. Now he is Liverpool`s manager, that does not make me suddenly hate the guy (I’m a Manchester United fan). In fact, I have been impressed with how he has conducted himself during his early days on Merseyside.
Last Thursday, Liverpool won away to Rubin Kazan in the Europa League courtesy of Jordan Ibe`s winner and Klopp came onto the pitch to congratulate his players at the end of the game, but saved the biggest hug for the match winner. A loud cheer of “IBE” followed, with the managers arms also being flung around the teenager. Something like that will make the player feel ten feet tall and shows Klopp`s class.
What also impresses me is Klopp`s honesty in interviews. After the home defeat to Crystal Palace, the German said he looked around the ground and at the Kop with minutes to go and “felt alone” as supporters had seen enough and made their way to the exits. Whilst Klopp has not rounded on his supporters it is refreshing that he’s not shy to come out with one-liners that will inevitably make the back pages. Klopp was referring to not so much the fact that the ground was emptying, but more as a warning to his players that the team must finish games better and not give in when losing late on, hence dictating when and how the game ends. This will then mean supporters stay to the end, cheering their side on rather than silently sloping off home. I am sure Klopp will continue to give us all a refreshing look at the game in England over the forthcoming months and I, for one, cannot wait.
Salford City. Where to start? The timing of the BBC’s two part documentary on the amateur football club now owned by the famous class of 92 – Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, was perfect as the final part was aired on the Thursday evening, 24 hours before the BBC showed Salford`s FA Cup 1st round game with Notts County, therefore wetting everyone’s appetite for the game.
What came across, not only in the documentary but even more so in the match, was the enthusiasm from the owners about their new club. From their down to earth nature, to their passion on the sidelines you cannot help but feel that emotion come through your television. The sight of Gary Neville, Scholes and Butt all jumping for joy, hugging each other when the goals went in on Friday night made you realise the passion they have for this venture and still, for football, as a fan. In the world of football it is unusual to see current or ex-professional players behaving like the average supporter, even though you know most are fans themselves and just very fortunate to play the game they love, but it was still refreshing to see that outpouring of emotion.
The game itself was superb. It was played with a high tempo, strong tackling and excellent refereeing to let the game flow. A superb second goal that Ronaldo or Messi would be proud of was also a highlight. Salford were clearly up for the game and never let Notts County get into their stride, with the amateurs chasing the ball all over the pitch. There was drama with goal line clearances, some superb individual performances and a collective team spirit that was clearly on show. Personally, I’m glad that Salford got another home draw in the second round, this time against another League two side in Hartlepool. With so many of the non-league sides left in the cup and being drawn away and not getting their glamour tie, it was nice to see Salford get a home tie. Here’s hoping we’re in for another cracker!
The axe is finally starting to fall on managers heads as we get close to a third of the way into the season, with Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United and Aston Villa all sacking their managers recently, not to mention talk of Garry Monk being on borrowed time at Swansea, Neil Lennon at Bolton and Lee Johnson at Barnsley all close to the chop. Add David Moyes being sacked at Real Sociedad in Spain and there will be another common managerial merry go round in the next few weeks.
Moyes will probably return to England with his reputation in tatters after only lasting 364 days in the job at Sociedad, not to mention lasting less than a season at Old Trafford too. Despite this, there will be plenty of clubs wanting to tempt him into a job but I doubt very much if he will look below the Premier League. I could see him being ideal for a Blackburn or Bolton but sadly these sides no longer have the funds they used to have with them relying heavily on loan deals or youth players these days, so Moyes is almost certainly out of reach.
There is nothing worse than an international break just when the season is starting to hot up, especially as they’re only friendlies. Whilst there are some important European championship play-offs, the majority of players will be taking part in, essentially, games that mean very little. Roy Keane was spot on when he remarked how players suddenly pick up an injury that will only last a week or two (the same length of time for an international break) when they are called up to their national side. As a supporter, I like the tournaments such as the World Cup or the European Championships but the friendly games are a real turn off. Whilst it is important the players work with their national coaches, I just wish the amount of friendlies would be reduced. No one wants them, fans and players alike, and, personally, I’m already looking forward to the end of the international break!
Anything I’ve missed out that should have been included? Comment below!