Football News

Jurgen Klopp’s odds of following Thomas Tuchel drop as Liverpool “shown up” by Napoli

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:26, 7 September 2022

Jurgen Klopp’s odds to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job have dropped heavily after Liverpool were thrashed 4-1 by Napoli in the Champions League.

Wednesday started with the news that Chelsea had sacked Thomas Tuchel after the Blues were beaten 1-0 by Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, their third defeat in seven games across all competitions this season. It was a departure that not many will have seen coming, but it proved a reminder of how ruthless life can be as a football manager when results aren’t going your way.

Things aren’t going much better for Tuchel’s compatriot Klopp, whose Liverpool side suffered their second defeat of the season and the most damning result for the club for some time. Liverpool haven’t been great this season, with three draws in the Premier League plus a loss to Manchester United, leaving them seventh. The draws haven’t been much better either, as Liverpool had to come from behind to earn points against Fulham and Crystal Palace while Everton stifled their attack brilliantly at the weekend.

However, not many will have expected Liverpool to crumble as they did against Napoli on Wednesday night.

Klopp’s side were completely overrun by their hosts in Naples and didn’t look to have any chance of winning from the outset. After just five minutes, Napoli had the lead as James Milner was penalised for handball inside his own area, with Piotr Zielinski scoring from the spot. Luciano Spalletti’s men had another penalty just over 10 minutes later when Virgil van Dijk brought down Victor Osimhen but the Nigerian’s effort was tame and saved by Alisson.

But that did not give Liverpool a reprieve with the Napoli attack and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa tearing Klopp’s defence apart with a well-worked goal to put the hosts 2-0 up. It was 3-0 by half-time with Giovanni Simeone tapping in from close range after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had torn apart Liverpool’s right flank, getting the better of both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez far too easily.

At half-time, some fans may have been fearing a drubbing, and others were clearly expecting the worst long-term. During the game, Klopp saw his odds on being the next Premier League manager to leave his job drop from 66/1 to 20/1 in the final 10 minutes before half-time. By the time the second half kicked off it was 16/1 and, come full-time, Klopp is 12/1 with Sky Bet to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job. Only Brendan Rodgers and Graham Potter have shorter odds, and the latter is because many expect him to leave Brighton to replace Tuchel at Chelsea.

It’s a performance Michael Owen felt was coming, saying at half-time: “I think Liverpool fans have been expecting this for a little while, the performances haven’t been great in recent weeks. If you’re not right on it, you’re going to get shown up. And they’re being shown up.”

Things got worse for Liverpool moments into the second half as Zielinski added his second and Napoli’s fourth before the hosts finally took their foot off the gas. Luis Diaz pulled one back for Liverpool with what is becoming his trademark strike, cutting in onto his left and powering the ball into the far corner, but it could not inspire a comeback nor prevent the Reds’ biggest-ever Champions League defeat.

And Rio Ferdinand believes the players need to take their portion of the blame for Liverpool’s form.

“I think the big issue for Liverpool at this moment in time is that too many of their big star players that they relied on in recent years are nowhere near the levels that they’ve produced, that we’ve become accustomed to seeing,” he said on BT Sport.

“(Mohamed) Salah’s not at the levels where he was before in terms of output, Virgil van Dijk the same, Fabinho even looks a little bit off it. And you can go through the whole team, Trent Alexander-Arnold — the two full-backs — look off it in terms of that, the goalkeeper…

“Luis Diaz has shown good glimpses, but when you’re a manager you look at your team and go, ‘well normally I can rely on three or four of them big names to produce performances’.

“He’s not getting that at the moment.”

Klopp himself said: “Until Thiago entered the pitch, I cannot remember one counter-pressing situation. We were not connected. Everything was obvious.

“Why it happened is now the question. I cannot answer it now, but give me a little time to think about it. It’s really tough to take but obviously I have to take it. It looks like we have to re-invent ourselves.

“There are a lot of things lacking, not in all games but the fun thing is we have to do it in the middle of the Premier League season and a Champions League campaign.

“In three days we play Wolves, and if they saw the game tonight, they cannot stop laughing. They would say: ‘It’s the perfect moment’. I would say it’s the perfect moment!”

“But we have to try to find a set-up to be much better in pretty much everything.”

A big statement, as Ferdinand said.