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Why Klopp Has Not Implemented Gegenpressing At Liverpool

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Gegenpressing is Jurgen Klopp’s one of the most effective strategies. He had used it at Borussia Dortmund and it was very effective there. Gegenpressing is an intensive strategy where the players have to press high up the pitch. In gegenpressing the players have to close down their opponents and deny them the opportunity to pass forward or else they are forced into a mistake. Each player will press down an opponent, which will frustrate the opponents and they won’t have an opportunity to pass forward and create goal scoring chances. At Borussia Dortmund gegenpressing has often given the Dortmund players the chance to score. When Jurgen Klopp was appointed as Liverpool’s new manager in October 2015, it was certain that he would bring gegenpressing with him and we saw it in his first game as Liverpool manager against Tottenham Hotspur. Even though the game ended in a 0-0 draw, we were able to see how effective gegenpressing is. But, we have not seen much of gegenpressing lately. Liverpool have been inconsistent in their recent games and many fans have been asking why gegenpressing is not being used by Klopp.

One of the main traits that is required to gegenpress is stamina. The players will have to run hard as long as they are on the pitch and if we look at Liverpool’s squad, players like Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, etc are such players with stamina and who can run hard throughout the ninety minutes. But still Klopp has refused to put gegenpressing into use. We may just say that Liverpool’s injury problems is the reason why Klopp is refusing to put gegenpressing into use. Liverpool players are very much affected by injuries recently and it has to be noted that the injury rate at Liverpool has risen after Klopp’s arrival. Many professionals have come out and blamed Klopp for the injuries. They say that his intensive training regime has overloaded the players and much of the players are unable to handle the intensive style of Klopp.

But it may not be right to blame the German for the injuries. Anyone who has watched Borussia Dortmund under Klopp knows that he prefers highly intensive style of football and that is what he calls ‘Heavy metal football’. Klopp was not expected to turn things over at Liverpool all of a sudden, but it was always going to be a slow process. Jurgen Klopp tried gegenpressing against Spurs in his first game as Liverpool manager. Even though it worked out pretty well, he understood that many of his players are not able to handle the intensity. So imposing gegenpressing since day one was not possible for Klopp. If we watch Liverpool’s recent games we cannot see much pressing. This is because Klopp does not want to overload his players and he has enough injuries already. He knows that many of his players are not used to high intensive football, so he is in a process to change the nature of such players. High intensity is Klopp’s style and he will want his players to do that and to be suitable for such a style, the players will have to work hard on the training ground. Klopp’s training regime might be an overload for some of the players, but we cannot expect them to play Klopp’s style unless they work really hard on the training ground. Klopp’s current training regime is not as intensive as his real training regime, but he is taking it step by step.

Blaming Klopp for the injury woes is pointless. Jurgen Klopp is slowly enabling his players to play heavy metal football and it will take some time for the players to adapt to the intensity. He made an attempt to implement his style of play straight away, but soon realized that many of his players will take time to adapt and now he is in a process to turn things over. Players might get injured in the process, but his training regime will only make the players stronger. We cannot expect Klopp to hit his full intensity this season, but we can expect him to completely implement the gegenpressing by the start of next season.