jurgen klopp liverpool

Picking the Worst XI of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool tenure

Jurgen Klopp has had quite some impact on the red half of Merseyside. The Liverpool manager arrived just over four years ago and has transformed the club’s fortunes, turning the Reds from an under-performing outfit into one of the best sides in European football.

His hugely successful tenure delivered the Champions League last season, whilst the club look on course to secure an elusive top-flight title after establishing a significant lead at the top of the Premier League in the opening months of the current campaign.

Klopp’s side may be a formidable outfit at present, but it has now always been that way for the charismatic German at Anfield.

Here is Jurgen Klopp’s worst Liverpool XI…

Goalkeeper: Adam Bogdan

The Hungarian goalkeeper would arrive at Liverpool in the summer prior to Klopp’s October appointment, joining on a free transfer from Bolton Wanderers having impressed in a cup tie between the two sides the previous season.

He would make his debut under Brendan Rodgers and prove to be the hero in a penalty shoot-out victory against Carlisle in the League Cup, though his opportunity under Klopp would be a nightmarish experience later that same season.

Handed his Premier League debut against Watford, Bogdan would produce a howler after just three minutes, dropping a corner to allow Nathan Ake to score as the Reds were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at Vicarage Road.

An outing in the FA Cup the following January would prove little better, Bogdan conceding directly from a corner kick against Exeter City and Klopp had soon seen enough.

He was shipped out after making just six appearances, the 32-year-old currently on the books of Scottish side Hibernian.

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Right-back: Connor Randall

A Liverpool-born right-back emerging from the club’s hallowed academy system, Randall would not have quite the same success as a certain Trent Alexander-Arnold would enjoy in recent years.

Joe Gomez’s long-term injury saw Liverpool short of defensive options and Randall would be handed his debut shortly after Klopp’s arrival at the club, making seven first-team appearances during the manager’s maiden season.

However, the youngster never looked up to the required level to become a first-team regular, despite being handed a contract extension and after three Premier League appearances and was soon deemed surplus to requirements.

Loaned out to the likes of Hearts and Rochdale, he is currently playing in Bulgaria with Arda Kardzhali.

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Centre-back: Tiago Ilori

The Portuguese youngster would be another Brendan Rodgers signing, arriving with a burgeoning reputation as a promising young defender from Sporting Lisbon.

Born in London, there were reports England wanted Ilori to switch international allegiance, though his career would never hit the heights expected and he only featured under Klopp due to a defensive injury crisis.

Recalled from a loan spell at Aston Villa having played a grand total of zero minutes, Ilori would feature in FA Cup ties against Exeter and West Ham as the Reds only fit centre-back.

He would make little impression and feature just once more before his exit in 2017, the now 26-year-old having returned to Sporting last summer.

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Centre-back: Steven Caulker

A rarity during Klopp’s time at Liverpool, Caulker was a somewhat strange and confusing signing when he joined the club on loan for the second half of the 2015/16 season.

The defender had shown promise in his younger years and was capped once by England, though he had spent the first half of the campaign struggling to get into the Southampton team in a similar loan spell before moving to Anfield.

Stranger still was Klopp’s use of the centre-back, utilising the imposing Caulker as an auxiliary striker late on in each of his three league appearances for the club, his only appearance in his preferred defensive role an FA Cup tie against West Ham.

Maybe Klopp saw something we didn’t…

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Left-back: Brad Smith

Alberto Moreno’s Europa League woes made him a candidate for this position, though we’ve opted for Australia international Brad Smith who has handed his opportunity in Klopp’s opening months in charge.

The youngster impressed fleetingly and scored his first senior goal against Exeter in the FA Cup, though like fellow full-back Randall, it soon became apparent he was not of the quality to be a Liverpool regular.

After just ten first-team appearances under the German he was sold to Bournemouth, where he has again failed to make an impact and spent last season on loan at MLS side Seattle Sounders.

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Midfield: Kevin Stewart

Signed following his release from Tottenham, Liverpool saw something in the young midfielder that the North London side had missed and he would be given his chance under Klopp during the second half of the 2015/16 season.

Stewart would make 11 first-team appearances in all competitions, and would be given a new deal in February 2016. However, the signing of Georginio Wijnaldum the following summer pushed the midfielder down the pecking order and after being deemed surplus to requirements he was sold to Hull City in 2017.

The fee received for Stewart was around £8m, roughly the same figure that took Andy Robertson in the opposite direction. We’ll let you decide who won that particular trade…

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Midfield: Pedro Chirivella

It is perhaps surprising to see that Chirivella remains a Liverpool player, having spent almost four years on the sidelines at the club without making a first-team impact.

The Spaniard arrived amid great hopes in 2015, and after being handed his debut by former manager Rodgers would be given an opportunity by Klopp in FA Cup ties against Exeter and West Ham in addition to a Premier League start against Swansea City.

A tidy player, but just not quite at the standard needed, he would remarkably return to first-team action this season against MK Dons, featuring against the League One side some three years and four months after his previous appearance.

He would feature again in League Cup ties against Arsenal and Aston Villa, though at 22-years-old seems to have no long-term future at the club.

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Midfield: Joao Teixeira

Another promising Portuguese talent who would ultimately fail to make the grade, Teixiera joined the club in 2013 before enjoying spells in the lower leagues with Brentford and Brighton.

His spell at Brighton proved a success and he was introduced into the first-team fold the following year, with Klopp arriving two months into the campaign and giving the youngster a chance in cup competitions, scoring in an FA Cup replay victory over Exeter.

That would be the highlight of an otherwise forgettable career on Merseyside for Teixiera, the midfielder joining Porto the following summer at the expiry of his contract.

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Forward: Jordan Ibe

Plucked from Wycombe Wanderers as a preciously talented 15-year-old, there were some at Anfield who regarded the talents of Ibe as greater than that of a certain Raheem Sterling.

Sterling’s acrimonious departure to Manchester City would be compensated for some fans by the prospect of Ibe receiving greater playing time, though his spell at Liverpool would ultimately prove one of unfulfilled potential.

Despite featuring regularly during Klopp’s debut season, he would fail to develop as hoped despite being utilised in a variety of roles.

Ibe would score just four goals in 54 appearances before his move to Bournemouth, the winger stationed on the right-hand side of our front three here.

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Forward: Dominic Solanke

A prolific goalscorer for England a whole host of youth levels, it was seen as somewhat of a coup by Liverpool to sign the talented forward following the expiry of his Chelsea contract.

Solanke had enjoyed a successful loan spell in Dutch football with Vitesse Arnhem and believed he was ready for first-team football after failing to break through at Stamford Bridge, though despite regular opportunities he failed to show he had the quality to be an elite Premier League striker.

21 appearances in English footballs top-flight would yield just one goal, Solanke sold on to Bournemouth last January where he has so far failed to open his goalscoring account.

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Forward: Christian Benteke

The Belgian forward’s decline has been well documented, the once fearsome Benteke having terrorised Premier League defences at Aston Villa prior to a then club-record move to Liverpool in 2015.

A powerful target man, he would seem ill-suited to Brendan Rodgers style, whilst the arrival of Klopp did little to alter his prospects despite a return of nine league goals in that debut season.

Unable to provide the energy required from a Klopp side, he was sold less than a year after the German’s arrival to Crystal Palace, where after a bright start he has continued to toil in front of goal scoring just four league goals over the past two seasons.

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