When Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool as the club’s new manager in 2015, he brought with him a philosophy that had produced rewards. As the coach of Borussia Dortmund, Klopp had won silverware and had challenged the dominance that Bayern Munich had previously placed on German football.
The style was known as ‘Gegenpress’ and revolved around the holding midfield which holds a key to the rest of the game. With Liverpool, it would provide the ultimate prize as the Reds claimed their first Premier League title in 2019/20. A year later, however, Klopp’s men are out of the title race and are struggling to make it into the EPL top four. The obvious question is, what’s gone wrong?
What is Gegenpress?
Gegenpress is defined as a counter attacking style of play. That’s a simplistic view of the art which literally translates from German as ‘counter pressing’ but, naturally, the exact process is a little more complicated.
It starts with the front line who are obliged to close down opposition defenders as soon as they get the ball. The holding midfield are crucial to its success as they are ready to support and provide the link to the forwards, As Jurgen Klopp explained as he brought the philosophy of Gegenpress to England, it’s about winning the ball as close to the opposition goal as possible. Effectively, his teams are counter attacking the counter attack and it requires a lot of running and supreme fitness throughout the side.
Gegenpress helped Jurgen Klopp bring major trophies to Anfield, firstly with the Champions League in 2019 and then with the Premier League title the following season, In 2020/21 however, things have gone horribly wrong.
After reaching the top of the Premier League at the end of 2020, a dreadful run of results has seen Liverpool drop to eighth. As a result, the title race is effectively over, at least according to the sportsbooks linked to sbo.net. After 30 games of the season, runaway leaders Manchester City looked virtually unbackable at odds of 1/100 to win the league. In contrast, Liverpool’s chances of a successful EPL defense are rated at a distant 400/1.
The aim, for Klopp is to forget about the league and to get back into the top four. Sbo.net will also have top four betting available and they have odds relating to Liverpool’s quest to win a seventh Champions League title. News reports and opinion posts will be in place and anyone wanting to place a wager can also consider a good choice of sportsbook offers and promotions.
Missing Piece of the Jigsaw
Jurgen Klopp didn’t just succeed by implementing a new philosophy on the English game. He recognized that Liverpool were weak in key areas and he filled those gaps with world class signings. The arrival of centre half Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton helped to solidify the defense while new goalkeeper Alisson took over after a series of high profile errors by Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius.
Van Dijk has missed much of the 2020/21 season through injury and that certainly hasn’t helped Liverpool’s cause. Alisson has also been missing at times but Klopp would not like to use injury as an excuse for his issues this season.
At the other end of the pitch, Liverpool’s star striker Mohamed Salah has enjoyed another prolific campaign and he’s in the running for the Golden Boot as the league’s leading scorer. Salah hasn’t perhaps, had the same scoring support from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino that he’s enjoyed in the past but that’s another minor concern.
Reading the Reds
It may just be the case that other teams have worked out how to play Liverpool and how to cope with Klopp’s Gegenpress. Sides know that they are going to be quickly closed down and, to counter that threat, they need to move the ball quickly.
It’s unlikely that Liverpool are going to dispense with Jurgen Klopp’s services after he brought such success to the red half of Merseyside. However, it appears that Gegenpress might just have had its day and the likeable German manager may have to rethink his tactics if that success is to be repeated.