Although Liverpool weren’t held up as a shining example of a great team throughout the 2020-2021 season, they managed to accomplish something extremely important this season. Even beyond qualifying for the Champions League, they showed resiliency and fight that no other side in the Premier League did this season, culminating in an excellent run of form to seal up a top-four spot in the month of May.
During most of the season, questions were asked of Jurgen Klopp, and by 2021 when the full extent of the center back injuries and squad burnout was at its peak, some wondered if Klopp had fallen into the same trap that doomed him at Borussia Dortmund and Mainz 05.
Instead, Klopp rallied the troops, bounced back from some of the doubt that may have started to creep in (the “training ground” comment at Real Madrid, for example), and helped lead Liverpool to their adjusted goals.
The Premier League has announced its shortlist for the May 2021 Manager of the Month. Mikel Arteta is on the list, as are Marcelo Bielsa and one-time Manager of the Year candidate David Moyes. But Jurgen Klopp is on the list, and therefore, with all due respect to two of the other three candidates (yes, I am shameless for singling out Arteta like that, but his brand of football is rubbish), they have no chance.
Liverpool never wavered in their finish to the season
The Manager of the Month award is Klopp’s and Klopp’s alone to win. He is the standout choice among the sea, because what Liverpool accomplished this month is extraordinary. It is even above Juventus’ mad dash into fourth, because not only did the Reds finish higher in their league table, but they also didn’t have any slips in those final matches. The Bianconeri, meanwhile, lost to Milan. They needed Napoli to drop points on the final day to make the top four, whereas Liverpool controlled their own destiny on Matchday 38 and sealed it by dominating Crystal Palace.
And that’s just it. Aside from a sneaky win over West Brom after Alisson’s unforgettable goal, Liverpool were brilliant in their must-win matches. They pitched shutouts against Southampton, Burnley, and Crystal Palace and were in command of those three “easier” fixtures. And then they dropped four on Manchester United, who had second place locked up. And at Old Trafford, no less.
Klopp has won the Champions League and Premier League at Liverpool, taking this club to new heights. But he helped the players achieve in May of this year is right there with his finest coaching accomplishments, when you look at the extent of the obstacles and the doubt both he and his team faced from pundits.
He is the Manager of the Month. There’s no question about it.