Liverpool will be level on points with Manchester United should they win against Sunderland on Wednesday night.
When Brendan Rodgers left Liverpool, the Reds were languishing 10th in the league table, while Manchester United were flying high at 3rd, just two points behind Manchester City at the top.
Liverpool had collected just one win in their last nine games in all competitions prior to Rodgers’ dismissal. Had Liverpool not taken an action then, things could have gone worse.
The team lost confidence in their manager, and it was the right time for a change. Jurgen Klopp was appointed and so far he has done a good job. Liverpool have won against Chelsea and Manchester City, and defeated league leaders Leicester City in their last match. There have been few disappointing results on the way, but with a new system in place, there were always going to be few teething problems.
Manchester United are facing a curious dilemma with their manager, Louis van Gaal. After a good start to the season, the results have deteriorated (United are winless in their last eight games in all competitions), as a result United’s title challenge is slowly fading away.
Van Gaal has come under severe criticism for United’s unattractive style of football, while majority of fans and many former players have voiced concern whether United have made enough progress under the Dutchman. The general feeling among the fans is that a managerial change is required before it’s too late.
United have been in the title race, unlike Liverpool, since the start of the season, and only in December have they crumbled. In a topsy turvy season like this all they need is few wins under their belt, to get the confidence back in the side. They are nine points behind Arsenal, but are very much capable of closing the gap.
In Liverpool’s case, it seemed like Rodgers had lost the dressing room completely. Players weren’t responding to his methods, and one could feel that a massive change was required within the club. The best thing that Liverpool did is they acted quickly. Had the Reds waited till December to see the club deteriorating further, the Reds might not have succeeded in bringing Klopp. The German could have gone to Chelsea or Manchester United by now.
We will have to wait till the end of the season to know how far Liverpool have progressed under Klopp, if at all. But what he has already succeeded at Liverpool is arresting the sharp decline. He has restored balance and discipline in the squad and has quelled the factionalism by forging a strong bond with the fans. He has begun the process of taking the club forward.
Liverpool took a major decision by appointing Klopp early (giving him ample time to work for rebuilding) and it seems they are vindicated – the push in the right direction is highly impressive.