Jurgen Klopp’s Saturday night began with an unfortunate slip on the Anfield touchline – a moment that was captured on the BT Sport cameras. “He’ll hope that will be the only slip of the evening,” said the commentator. It was a sign of things to come.
For large spells of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Leeds, Liverpool struggled to take control of the game. It has been an unusually slow start to the season for Klopp’s men and on Saturday night, Jesse Marsch’s side took advantage with a battling display.
Rodrigo pounced on a slack back pass from Joe Gomez to give the visitors an early lead. Mohamed Salah equalised ten minutes later but as Klopp pointed out in his post-match interview, they struggled to build on that momentum and they paid the price late on.
Many expected the Reds to come back fighting after narrowly missing out on the Premier League title last season but injuries, as well as a lack of recruitment, especially in midfield areas, has seemingly taken its toll.
After the defeat to Leeds, some fans on social media pointed to Jurgen Klopp’s so-called ‘seven-season curse’ – a theory that could well have some legs.
In his first ever managerial role at German side Mainz, Klopp secured promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in the club’s history but three years after that historic moment – in what was Klopp’s seventh season – Mainz were relegated.
Image credit: AlamyThen, after his spell at Mainz, Klopp took the job at Borussia Dortmund, where he helped them win back to back Bundesliga title. They also reached a Champions League final.
But in his seventh season at the Signal Iduna Park, they lost Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich and ended up finishing seventh in the league. Klopp, in turn, departed after a poor campaign.
And here we are. Klopp is currently in his seventh season at Anfield and the results speak for themselves.
After the full-time whistle against Leeds, Graeme Souness ripped into former side, saying they look “a country mile” from what they were in the last few years.
“They don’t play with the same intensity,” Souness said on Sky Sports. “I think in many instances tonight, Leeds were more than a match for what Liverpool have been doing to teams for years.
“Liverpool used to bully teams, their midfield bullied teams. And now they’re being bullied.
“They still had enough chances to win the game, the man-of-the-match is a goalkeeper (Illan Meslier) – that does tell the story.
“Liverpool are not like the team we have seen for the last five years. They just don’t have the same intensity. They don’t have it in their legs anymore.”