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Liverpool need to rediscover 'unfunny' chaos Klopp fought to end

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Liverpool are virtually unrecognisable from the team Jurgen Klopp inherited in October 2015.

Sure captain Jordan Henderson and vice-captain James Milner remain on the books, along with Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Joe Gomez, but the Reds’ swift transition to first European and then Premier League champions has been nothing short of remarkable.



Re-established as European heavyweights under the German, supporters have been spoilt in recent years as he built one of the greatest sides Anfield has ever witnessed.



And while a five-game winless run in the Premier League, with Liverpool goalless in the last four, might on the surface undermine such positive prose, the fact that such a feeling is now so rare only highlights further the job Klopp has done on Merseyside since first joining the club.



The Reds’ dominance last season, destroying virtually every side that stood before them to win the Premier League title with a club-record points total, was extraordinary as team after team struggled to stop them.

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Even when not at their best, Klopp’s men found a way to win to grind out victory last season as they won 14 matches by a single goal and picked 21 points in the final 20 minutes of matches, scoring 10 winners and one equaliser.

Nicknamed the mentality monsters by their manager, such traits have deserted them in recent weeks as Liverpool sacrificed top spot in the Premier League with ease at a time when the title looked like theirs to lose.

Since thrashing Crystal Palace 7-0 last month, the Reds have scored just once from their last 89 shots in the Premier League.

For so long consistently consistent, they now look devoid of confidence as they struggle to break down stubborn defences and continue to wonder where on earth their next goal will come from.

The two extremes are a world apart yet a combination of the consistently inconsistent side Klopp inherited back in 2015 that could only finish eighth in the table that season.

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From the historic 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund and demolition of Manchester City at the Etihad to throwing away victory over Sevilla in the Europa League final and getting rolled over by Watford, it was certainly a rollercoaster ride of a first campaign for the German.

In a season which saw his side suffer two cup final defeats, such erratic performances amidst a litter of increasingly-encouraging displays highlighted the difference Klopp had already started to make as well as the hard work that lay ahead.

After sampling the highest of highs in the past two-and-a-half seasons, spoilt fans could be forgiven for not fully remembering the depths from which their side has climbed.

While now temporarily derailed, having fought so hard to shed such former inconsistencies, Klopp should look back to his opening months at Liverpool for inspiration and embrace his side’s origins when trying to revitalise his defanged champions.

Afterall, with the Reds suddenly hopelessly predictable, is what they’re lacking not a little rock and roll chaos?

While Dejan Lovren’s 90th minute winner over Dortmund in April 2015 will never be forgotten on Merseyside, it is an infamous last-gasp victory from three months prior that emphasises what they need to rediscover most in the rough and tumble that is Premier League football.

It was on this day in 2016 that Klopp’s Liverpool clinched an astonishing 5-4 victory over Norwich City in one of the Reds’ most emotional Premier League encounters to date.

On paper such a result against a side that would end the season suffering relegation is not one that should be celebrated five years on. But it is one the German will never forget.

Coming in the middle of a run which saw them win just three of 12 matches in all competitions, and off the back of a three-game winless run in the Premier League following a home defeat to Manchester United, the Liverpool side of 2015/16 was not one for the purists.

Yet so predictably unpredictable, you could never write them off and never knew what they were going to do next. In truth, neither did they.

Leading through a Roberto Firmino sliced effort inside the opening 20 minutes, any hopes of a routine victory over the struggling Canaries were quickly extinguished as some shambolic defending gifted Dieumerci Mbokani a cheap equaliser with an imaginative backheel.

Former Everton man Steven Naismith fired his side ahead as Reds defenders watched aimlessly as he ran free into the box before some moronic tackling from Alberto Moreno on the Scot allowed Wes Hoolahan to fire Norwich into a 3-1 lead.

Yet little over 90 seconds later, Jordan Henderson had halved the deficit with a first-time half-volley before Firmino levelled the scores with a deft poke from an Adam Lallana cross soon after.

James Milner then ran onto a weak defensive backpass to fire Liverpool back ahead, but there was still to be two late twists in the tail in Norfolk.

With victory almost in their sights in stoppage-time, the Reds again looked to have surrendered all three points when Sebastien Bassong leathered home from outside the box to mass Canary celebration.

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However, such scenes paled in comparison to Liverpool’s own celebrations in the final minute as they finally did clinch victory thanks to a scruffy Lallana volley, with Klopp later in need of a new pair of glasses thanks to an excited Christian Benteke after the German raced down the touchline to celebrate the moment with his players.

However, despite his delight in the immediate aftermath and at his side collecting maximum points, he was well-aware of his side's failings when speaking after the final whistle.

"At the end if you win 5-4 it's a funny story but of course it's not that funny and we have to solve it," he admitted at the time. "I am not happy with the situation for sure."

Such a back-and-forth encounter is exactly the sort of performance Klopp has thrived to steer his all-conquering Reds away from in the years that have followed.

But a time when they can’t buy a goal for love nor money, never mind a win, Liverpool need to go back to basics with their seemingly flawless tactics now coming unstuck.

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Now six points behind league-leaders Manchester United, with Manchester City able to leapfrog their rivals and extend the Reds’ gap to the top further, Liverpool could be as low as seventh after the next round of Premier League fixtures.

It will not be their Premier League and Champions League winners’ medals that will inspire them back to their best in the weeks ahead, but rather their origins and collective journey just to fight for a place at the table.

Afterall, Klopp’s men are not the all-conquering side of last season anymore.

Admittedly any revival might come too late to defend their title, with their manager conceding they face a battle just to qualify for the Champions League next season.

But at a time when they need a spark to light their title-chasing fire, throw in a little old-school Liverpool chaos and who knows what could happen?


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