Champions League

Champions League to test Liverpool progress

2017-09-12 11:30
Jurgen Klopp (Getty Images)

Liverpool - When Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in October 2015, he made a promise: "If we sit here in four years, I think we (will) win one title," he said.

Next month will mark the second anniversary of Klopp's appointment, the halfway point of that four-year cycle.

There has undoubtedly been progress in that time; a team who were 10th in the Premier League when he arrived finished fourth last season.

Whether they are significantly closer to winning a major trophy is more open to debate.

Liverpool reached two finals in Klopp's first seven months as manager, losing on penalties to Manchester City in the League Cup at Wembley, and suffering a more decisive 3-1 defeat by Sevilla in the Europa League in Basel.

That European adventure was an unexpected bonus.

Expectations at Anfield are higher now, but Liverpool look far from a complete team as they prepare to face Sevilla once more, this time in the Champions League.

The best and worst of the 2017 Liverpool were shown when they beat Hoffenheim in last month's play-off to reach the Champions League group stage.

Klopp's side showed an attacking verve that could threaten the best in Europe.

Close-season signing Mohamed Salah has formed a quick understanding with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Salah and Firmino both scored in the home leg, while Mane was heavily involved in two of the goals.

It is a wealth of attacking talent, and they still have Philippe Coutinho to come back following his failed attempt to engineer a move to Barcelona.

Defensively, though, Liverpool were weak in both legs against Hoffenheim; they could easily have conceded more than three goals in the tie.

Liverpool were defensively suspect last season, and those difficulties have continued into the new campaign.

'Like a wounded animal'

Klopp signed Loris Karius from Mainz to be his first-choice goalkeeper, then dropped him midway through last season.

Ragnar Klavan, another Klopp buy, from Augsburg, replaced Lovren for last Saturday's 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City.

However, the extent of the defeat should be put into the context that they had matched City and were trailing 1-0 when Mane was sent off.

"We have to take the first 20 minutes of Saturday's game, and how we played before the international break, and take it into the next game," said goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

"Of course, we can't neglect the performance after that, but we have another game in midweek when we can prove ourselves."

At times, it feels as if Klopp has spent two years, and a lot of money, recreating the Liverpool team who almost won the Premier League under Rodgers four seasons ago.

They are thrilling going forward, an accident waiting to happen defensively. The question is whether Sevilla are ready to punish them.

Much has changed at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium since Unai Emery guided them to a third successive Europa League title with victory over Liverpool two seasons ago.

Emery went to Paris Saint-Germain, and his successor Jorge Sampaoli left at the end of last season for the Argentina job.

Eduardo Berizzo arrived in May from Celta Vigo and has spent heavily, bringing in Colombian forward Luis Muriel from Sampdoria and Nolito from Manchester City to supplement last season's top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder.

Midfielder Ever Benega has returned from Inter Milan, with departing centre-back Adil Rami replaced by Dane Simon Kjaer.

The creativity of Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa remained, helping Sevilla make a strong start in La Liga, garnering seven points from three matches.

Berizzo, though, is wary.

"Liverpool are a great team and Saturday's defeat doesn't take anything away from them," he said. "Moreover, they'll be like a wounded animal."

Read more on:    liverpool  |  champions league  |  jurgen klopp  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 02 October 2018
Juventus v Young Boys, Allianz Stadium 18:55
Hoffenheim v Manchester City, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 03 October 2018
PSG v Crvena Zvezda, Parc des Princes 18:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Schalke 04, RZD Arena 18:55
Porto v Galatasaray, Estadio Do Dragao 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.