SIMON JORDAN: I fancy Liverpool to win at least two trophies this season - but Klopp's exit could be a moment as pivotal for the club as Gerrard's infamous slip

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Jurgen Klopp has presented Liverpool with a situation that could be as pivotal as Steven Gerrard’s slip.

If they slip — like Gerrard did against Chelsea in 2014 to hand Manchester City the title — and don’t get the right manager to succeed Klopp, they could lose all of the traction, substance and opportunities that he has built.

But although this is a very important moment for Liverpool, Klopp’s announcement will not derail their season. Whether they can win the Quadruple is in the lap of the gods but I fancy them to win at least two trophies this season. To suggest players will down tools does a disservice to Klopp and the legacy he has built there.

Top managers need a dressing room that challenges them and possesses strong characters who can self-regulate and Liverpool have them. Players like Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and others can self-motivate and uphold standards despite all the background noise.

Jurgen Klopp and his players celebrate with the Champions League Trophy after Liverpool won the Uefa Champions League Final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in June 2019

Jurgen Klopp and his players celebrate with the Champions League Trophy after Liverpool won the Uefa Champions League Final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in June 2019

Jurgen Klopp and his players celebrate with the Champions League Trophy after Liverpool won the Uefa Champions League Final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in June 2019

Clearly there is a strong relationship between Klopp and his players and over the years he has been able to manage them, rotate them and pick them up off the bench when needed without a hint of trouble. He’s never seemed to have any issues keeping players satisfied which tells me he’s a good communicator. He’s an excellent manager of people who keeps players motivated and happy.

I think that culture has seeped into his squad and I don’t expect them to let him down, deteriorate and take the weak, lazy, easy route of finding excuses if something doesn’t go their way. Now some will point to Van Dijk raising doubts about his own future but his comments didn’t surprise me. When Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley or Joe Fagan left, Liverpool players did not question their own futures but this is modern-day football, it’s different now.

At 0-0 on April 27, 2014, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped and fluffed a pass, gifting the ball to Chelsea striker Demba Ba, who scored - setting his team up for a win

At 0-0 on April 27, 2014, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped and fluffed a pass, gifting the ball to Chelsea striker Demba Ba, who scored - setting his team up for a win

Players are islands in their own right and now have the ability to say things like Van Dijk did when admitting he was unsure of what the future now held.

Although I don’t see there being an exodus at the end of the season, it goes without saying that Reds owner John Henry will need to get the appointment in the summer right. His track record since assuming control in 2010 has been mixed.

Kenny Dalglish came back as a band aid to fix some significant problems. Then Brendan Rodgers missed his 2014 opportunity and the club started to go backwards again. Even with Klopp it took a few years. He got away with it at first but his 64 million dollar lightbulb smile illuminated the media and got fans onside.

Let’s not forget he lost three finals in a row — League Cup, Europa League, Champions League — before they won anything. He was given time but this decision now is a big one that must ensure the foundations Klopp has built are not wasted.

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders and Klopp pose with the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup Trophy during the Liverpool Trophy Parade in May 2022

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders and Klopp pose with the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup Trophy during the Liverpool Trophy Parade in May 2022

It’s always difficult finding a successor to someone so influential to the culture of a club. The challenge for Liverpool is that the team is a mirror image of its manager in terms of intensity, dynamism and charisma. Klopp has galvanised the fans and brought the media along with him remarkably well. Whether the next man has that same feel remains to be seen but rarely does lightning strike twice.

I don’t envy the challenge the club face but they can take comfort in the fact Klopp has built a solid platform with an excellent squad of players.

Klopp is held aloft by his team after beating Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in June 2019

Klopp is held aloft by his team after beating Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in June 2019

If I was looking solely at Premier League candidates, Ange Postecoglou would top my list. He has the ability and personality to get people onside and a style of play that would suit Liverpool. I can’t imagine it’s an opportunity Tottenham would give any encouragement to on any level though!

From outside the Premier League there’s something to be said for Julian Nagelsmann. He’s young, dynamic and a similarly front-foot, forward-thinking manager.

For now though, Liverpool fans can enjoy the last few months of Klopp. What an ending it would be if he could deliver the ultimate farewell and lift all four trophies.

Time to read Rashford the riot act and put him on notice 

I have always felt Marcus Rashford did not warrant being put on a pedestal. So many superlatives have been thrown at him, but he has never been world class.

We build players up into superstars and expect things from them when they’re just young men.

They have so much expectation and admiration on them that they don’t really merit and often don’t have the right people and voices around them.

Athough I think some unfair things have been written about Rashford in the past, his behaviour over the weekend was ridiculous and I do think he needs to watch himself, given it’s not the first time he has seen fit to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford in Belfast with his ex, Lucia Loi

Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford in Belfast with his ex, Lucia Loi

After November’s Manchester derby thrashing, he thought Chinawhite nightclub was an appropriate place to be. This time he spent all day drinking until 4am in Northern Ireland, so much so he was unable to even get into the training ground the next day.

This situation doesn’t reflect well on United either. He’s a young man with a lot of money and plays for a club that doesn’t have the right culture.

It’s time to read him the riot act, concentrate his mind in no uncertain terms and put him on notice. He has been indulged and given the benefit of the doubt previously. He has been allowed to walk around with a hangdog look on his face, but he needs to get himself together, or it could be the beginning of the end.

If he were to leave Old Trafford, with all the expectation, adoration and recognition that goes with being a Manchester United player, irrespective of them no longer being top dogs, he is going backwards. He needs to recognise the danger signs now. 

He’s an asset, but he’s also becoming a liability. He is on the cusp of wasting a huge opportunity and if he doesn’t get it together now, he won’t be the one making the choices. Not only will he lose his place with United and England, he could also lose the last few years of what could be a spectacular career, but hasn’t been so far. 

He’s certainly miles off England. On what parallel universe, besides goodwill and muscle memory, does Gareth Southgate make the case for him? Rashford and those around him need to read the room. He has constantly been told how wonderful he is, but the body of work isn’t there. 

The attention he receives is because he plays for United, not because of his performances and it’s time that changed.

Blame society for the cocaine problem, not football  

Ugly, disgraceful scenes at the Hawthorns last weekend prompted claims that football has a cocaine problem. That’s unfair.

Let’s get it right, society has a cocaine problem and football is a reflection of society. The game has such a big platform that it amplifies things and then turns in on itself and self-flagellates.

A fan is led away in handcuffs during the match between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Hawthorns on Sunday

A fan is led away in handcuffs during the match between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Hawthorns on Sunday

What football does have is a challenge with people behaving anti-socially and while the game cannot afford to be complacent, to suggest it has a cocaine problem is like saying it has an alcohol problem.

The fact is a minority behave in a certain way and drugs and alcohol are part of that.

I’m not suggesting everything is wonderful, but we are nowhere near how bad things were in the 1970s and 80s in terms of fan behaviour. What happens now is people take isolated instances, superimpose them over a narrative and say football is going back to the dark days. Well, I remember the dark days and this is nothing like that.

Let's hear it for a quiet January transfer window 

It has been a quiet January transfer window compared to previous years and that’s a good thing. Anything that arrests profligacy and starts to drive a bit more sensible thinking into the game can only be a positive.

I do, of course, understand that people enjoy the spectacle. They like the carnival and watching endless gurning nitwits on Sky Sports talking about things they don’t really understand, but I’ve always felt the January window made you do bad business, fixing problems in a desperate manner.

Ex-Genoa defender Radu Dragusin signs a £26.7million deal with Tottenham on January 11

Ex-Genoa defender Radu Dragusin signs a £26.7million deal with Tottenham on January 11

Financial fair play is undoubtedly having an effect, but I also think people are buying more effectively in the summer.

So I’m happy spending has been suppressed in this window. I’ve always felt it was a freak show and a ridiculous celebration of profligacy. Perhaps now clubs are wising up and operating more effectively.

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