Ronnie Whelan: Liverpool owner John Henry must now back Jurgen Klopp with cash
NOW or never. That’s the message John Henry must carry away from another exercise in mild terror at Anfield which, lucky for all concerned, finished the right way.
Mission accomplished for Jurgen Klopp but he had to fret for far too long.
Personally, I’m tired of feeling like a bag of nerves before any game with a sniff of significance and if Klopp does nothing else this summer, he must bring some kind of certainty to his team.
He can only do that with leaders and they don’t come cheap. That’s the same sentence I’ve been writing for years and it’s still true.
Henry must gather his courage and back Klopp to go and buy players who will make a difference next season.
Not in two seasons as a project player but next August, when the bullets start flying again and Klopp, with miles on the clock at Anfield, won’t have any more protection.
There will be a ferocious bidding war for all the decent talent this summer and Klopp is Liverpool’s biggest card.
That’s a hard thing to say. Liverpool’s name was once all that was needed to bring players in, the very best players too, but let’s be honest, it will be Klopp’s reputation and charisma which will make the difference.
That’s particularly true in Germany but I would like to see Henry back him to the point where he can make a very big statement of intent and go all out for a marquee name.
Philippe Coutinho will not lead this team in the way it needs to be led. He needs two high quality midfielders to work with him and fill the gaps when he’s not in the game.
Klopp is overloaded with players who come and go in 90 minutes and he needs somebody to bind it all together.
He needs strikers, reliable strikers who will play every game and I’ve already said that he should cash in on Daniel Sturridge and re-invest the money he gets.
But most of all he needs a rallying point, a character who can inspire like Zlatan Ibrahimovic did for Manchester United until he was cut down by injury.
Luis Suarez was the type of man and look how everyone responded to him. When he was in full flow, Anfield felt like it did 20 years ago and that’s what I want to feel again.
I was reading what Alex Ferguson had to say about winning titles and what happened the day after final day when the trophy had been handed over. He talked about coming in early to talk to Martin Edwards about next season and transfers.
I hope Klopp and Henry have been chatting long before this morning about transfers and I hope we see some decisive moves. That would ease the jitters and tell me that the problems are being addressed in terms of personnel.
After that it’s down to Klopp and the one big lesson he must take from the season is about flexibility.
There were moments this season when I really did question whether Klopp understands that there are times to batter teams into submission and there are times to be cute.
Front foot football works but I want to see some backfoot competence too.