January performances show that Klopp will leave strong foundation at Liverpool

The foundation laid under Klopp will carry on into the future.
Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Liverpool supporters will forever be grateful to Jurgen Klopp. The German manager arrived in September of 2015 with the Reds sitting mid-table, absent yet again from the Champions League, and starved of silverware.

He’ll leave Liverpool in May as a club icon having restored its status as a major powerhouse in English and European football and guided it to every trophy possible. 

Even after Liverpool’s performances dropped well below the level it so often reached throughout Klopp’s reign last season, its return to the upper echelons of the league table has been swifter than most anticipated.

The Reds looked to have quite the rebuilding job ahead of them last summer following their first finish outside the top-four in seven years, but currently sit top of the table, have booked their place in the League Cup final and already knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup away from home and with a depleted side.

That his side remain on course for a possible quadruple this deep into the season is yet another achievement for Klopp.

Absences of key players over the past month threatened to derail the Reds’ campaign, but they have navigated through the last set of fixtures impressively.

Klopp’s men began the New Year with a dominant performance in their 4-2 win over Newcastle before top-scorer Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo departed for international duty. Trent Alexander-Arnold then joined Dominik Szoboszlai and Andy Robertson on the sidelines after he picked up an injury in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Arsenal. 

Yet even with a weakened squad, the Reds progressed to the final of the League Cup and the fifth round of the FA Cup as they overcame Fulham over two legs and thrashed Norwich 5-2 at Anfield this past weekend.

In the Premier League, they remain top after their 4-0 rout of Bournemouth and emphatic 4-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday. 

Robertson, Alexander-Arnold and Szoboszlai all came off the bench against Norwich, but after this month, Klopp will surely feel that he can ease the trio back into the first-team rather than rush their return.

Joe Gomez has filled in brilliantly at left back for Robertson. Ryan Gravenberch has proven himself a reliable alternative in the middle of the park while 21-year-old center back Jarell Quansah continued his fine breakout season. 

However, of the players who have taken on greater roles over the past month, 20-year-old Conor Bradley has stood out the most.

Alexander-Arnold’s injury presented an opportunity to break into the first team and he has seized it convincingly. The academy product’s rapid rise continued against Chelsea as he notched his first senior goal and registered two assists, bringing his tally to a remarkable five in January. 

Liverpool’s success over the past month have sent the clearest signal yet of their title credentials. As it progresses in the cups, fixtures will pile up and Klopp will need to rotate his squad in order to keep their legs as fresh as possible.

The past several matches have offered strong evidence that Klopp’s squad players can still deliver when he calls upon them. 

That bodes well not just for the remainder of the season, but the post-Klopp era. It reflects well on the quality and depth of the Liverpool squad that it’s been able to earn results even with a number of its first-team players unavailable. 

Liverpool supporters will look back on Klopp’s time with immense fondness.  And crucially, Klopp has also ensured that they can also remain optimistic about what lies ahead, even after he’s gone.