Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Five key messages from Jurgen Klopp’s 1st presscon with Liverpool

This appears on the Monday October 12, 2015 edition of the Business Mirror.

Five key messages from Jurgen Klopp’s 1st presscon with Liverpool
by rick olivares pic from the liverpool echo

From the time that it looked like Brendan Rodgers wasn’t going to last the season as Liverpool manager, it seemed that Jurgen Klopp was the runaway favorite to replace the Irishman.

I have been critical of the “moneyball” approach that the club has taken to selecting players who most have turned out to be duds and they really haven’t lured anyone big perhaps save for Mario Balotelli to Anfield. 

I guess it is just as well that the big signing was a head coach in the form of Klopp than a footballer because really, what top flight footballer would want to go to Anfield when they do not compete in the Champions League let alone for the Premiership except for the occasional year after which they lapse again into mediocrity?

Klopp in the Kop is almost like a match made in heaven as the German will go from hearing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the Signal Iduna Park of Borussia Dortmund to Anfield where the pop song first became an anthem. Klopp in turn with his zest and enthusiasm should light a fire on a Liverpool side that looks uninspired and dispirited. 

But the man who brought Mainz to the Bundesliga and helped Borussia Dortmund to its greatest era of football ever has cautioned the Liverpool faithful during his first press conference. There’s going to be some bloodletting before things get better. Here’s hoping that we don’t wait too long because 25 years is more than a generation has passed. 

Here are some quotes that say a lot.

On going to Liverpool: “I’m back in the race and it’s the biggest honour I can imagine. It is the perfect next step for me to be here to try to help.”

My thoughts: This is a complete contrast from what Brendan Rogers was saying in his final press conference after the draw with Everton (where he was not told that a top four finish was the goal — do you believe that). Klopp is aware that yes, it is a race. He isn’t here to compete for a Europa slot. He’s here to win the Premiership and compete in the Champions League.

On the Premier League title drought: “Twenty five years ago is a long time. You don’t take history in your backpack and carry it with you for 25 years.” 

My thoughts: I think every manager who has come along since their last league title wants to win and not look back on a bygone age. But I am glad that he is forthright and he knows what he needs to do unlike Brendan Rogers who in his last press conference following the disappointing draw with Everton where he said that a top four finish was never mandated to him by the owners. That was even more disappointing. I really felt that he was delusional and it was time for a change.

On the Reds' title chances in the next few years: “We can wait for it but I don’t want to say we can wait 20 years. If we sit here in four years I think we’ll have won one title – I’m pretty sure.” 

My thoughts: Klopp did wonders with Mainz and Dortmund. If he can’t get Liverpool out of its funk right now and challenge, as in really challenge in the next few years, then he’s out.

On himself: “I don’t want to describe myself. Does anybody in this room think I can do wonders? No. So let me work. I am a totally normal guy. I am the Normal One.”

My thoughts: Of course people believe he can do wonders. He did with Mainz and Dortmund. The man is adept at turning around the fortunes of downtrodden clubs. That is why there is hope. But he does time and again want to deflect attention and temper expectations.

On his legacy: "It is not so important what people think when you come here. It is much more important what people think when you leave. And please give us the time to work on it.”

My thoughts: I think he is trying to downplay his resume so people don’t expect miracles overnight. That is the reason why he is in Liverpool because of what people said about him after he left Dortmund. 

With Klopp on board, there is now hope that he can bring Marco Reus and some top European players to England. With the German on board, there is genuine excitement. Just like the arrival of Rafa Benitez from Valencia all those years ago. Like Benitez, he was known to turn teams around. 

A return to glory? 

We’re going to find out. Here's to an exciting era of football in Liverpool. 

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