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Ronnie Whelan: Expect Liverpool summer clear-out as players are simply not good enough

By Ronnie Whelan

Published 25/01/2016

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp doesn't trust the players he inherited from Brendan Rodgers and I'll bet he cannot wait to get this season over with so he can make real changes.

Year after year, month after month and game after game, Liverpool have been making the same mistakes and Klopp's arrival has not really changed that a great deal.

That was the lesson from the defensive chaos which played such a huge part in an extraordinary game against Norwich.

Individual blunders, collective mistakes and just poor defending have been persistent problems for a whole series of managers and I don't think it is too difficult to figure out the reason for that.

It's the players. They are not and haven't been good enough for a long, long time.

Successive ownership regimes and managers have built several teams since the turn of the century and each one shared a brittle quality and a scarcity of true super-stars.

Klopp has arrived and is dealing with that legacy. He has no super-stars and he cannot rely on his players to delivery consistency.

I think his impact on the team is obvious. I don't think Liverpool would have won a game like that in the months before Klopp was appointed and his mission to give the club back some confidence has delivered some unlikely results.

The difficulty is that we have no guarantee that this group of players will display the same resolve and determination in the next game or the one after that and Klopp can only give them so much of himself.

That's why I think there will be a clear-out in the summer.

With his shirt off, Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana (C) celebrates scoring their late winning goal with teammates and Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (3rd R), as Norwich City's Scottish coach Alex Neil (R) looks on during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. Liverpool won the game 5-4. AFP/Getty Images
With his shirt off, Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana (C) celebrates scoring their late winning goal with teammates and Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (3rd R), as Norwich City's Scottish coach Alex Neil (R) looks on during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. Liverpool won the game 5-4. AFP/Getty Images
File photo dated 23-01-2016 of Liverpool's Adam Lallana (20) celebrates with his team-mates and manager Jurgen Klopp after scoring his side's fifth goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PA
Adam Lallana (C) of Liverpool ceelbrates scoring his team's fifth goal with his team mates and manager Jurgen Klopp (2nd R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
With his shirt off, Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana (C) celebrates scoring their late winning goal with teammates and Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (2nd R) during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. Liverpool won the game 5-4. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) celebrates after the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. Liverpool won the game 5-4. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
With his shirt off, Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana celebrates scoring their late winning goal with Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (C) holding his glasses during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. Liverpool won the game 5-4. AFP/Getty Images
Adam Lallana (L) of Liverpool ceelbrates scoring his team's fifth goal with his manager Jurgen Klopp (R) and team mate Kolo Toure (C) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Lucas Leiva (right) and Norwich City's Matthew Jarvis in action during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday January 23, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Norwich. Photo credit should read: Jon Buckle/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Kolo Toure during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday January 23, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Norwich. Photo credit should read: Jon Buckle/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino scores his side's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday January 23, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Norwich. Photo credit should read: Jon Buckle/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Norwich City's Irish midfielder Wes Hoolahan (R) celebrates with Norwich City's Scottish striker Steven Naismith (L) after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. Liverpool won the game 5-4. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno (L) vies with Norwich CityÕs Scottish striker Steven Naismith during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at the Carrow Road stadium in Norwich, Norfolk, England on January 23rd, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno (L) vies with Norwich City's Scottish striker Steven Naismith during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. Liverpool won the game 5-4. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
LiverpoolÕs captain English midfielder James Milner celebrates scoring their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
LiverpoolÕs captain English midfielder James Milner celebrates scoring their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
Norwich City's Congolese striker Dieumerci Mbokani (L) turns to celebrate after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (R) celebrates with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson and Liverpool's English midfielder Jordon Ibe (C) after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England, on January 23, 2016. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Adam Lallana (C) of Liverpool ceelbrates scoring his team's fifth goal with his team mates and manager Jurgen Klopp (2nd R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Adam Lallana (C) of Liverpool ceelbrates scoring his team's fifth goal with his team mates and manager Jurgen Klopp (2nd R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: James Milner of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Alberto Moreno of Liverpool reacts after his challenge on Steven Naismith of Norwich City resulting in the penalty kick during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: James Milner of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Ivo Pinto (C) of Norwich City and Adam Lallana of Liverpool compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: James Milner of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Jordan Henderson (L) of Liverpool celebrate with Emre Can (R) after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Adam Lallana of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Roberto Firmino (L) of Liverpool ceelbrates scoring his team's third goal with his team mates Jordan Henderson (C) and Adam Lallana (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool and Wes Hoolahan of Norwich City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Wes Hoolahan (L) of Norwich City converts the penalty to score his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Wes Hoolahan (R) of Norwich City celebrates scoring his team's third goal with his team mate Steven Naismith (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool scores his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Wes Hoolahan (R) of Norwich City celebrates scoring his team's third goal with his team mate Steven Naismith (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Steven Naismith of Norwich City is fouled by Alberto Moreno of Liverpool resulting in the penalty kick during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Wes Hoolahan (L) of Norwich City converts the penalty to score his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Wes Hoolahan (R) of Norwich City celebrates scoring his team's third goal with his team mate Steven Naismith (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Jonathan Howson of Norwich City controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Young football fans wait for players' arrival prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Timm Klose of Norwich City warms up prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the warm up prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on during the warm up prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Matchday scarves are on sale prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: A general view of the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Matchday programmes are on sale prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Norwich City uniforms are displayed at the official marchandise prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Norwich City mug cups are on sale at the official marchandise prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Norwich City uniforms are displayed at the official marchandise prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Matchday scarves are on sale at a stall outside the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Bicycles are parked outside the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Matchday programmes are on sale prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Matchday scarf is on sale at a stall outside the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on January 23, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

It must be very frustrating for Klopp because this Premier League title is there to be won.

Liverpool are ten points off second place and it is very clear that any team that can string together a decent series of wins will be in with a fantastic chance of winning the title.

Read more

Jurgen Klopp: My new glasses make me look like a serial killer, says Liverpool boss  

I must say, I was beginning to think that Arsenal might just do it this time. Their maddening inconsistency hasn't changed from the previous eight seasons but everyone else has dropped below their level.

Arsene Wenger had a big chance to silence doubters with a result against Chelsea but they lost and doubts bubble to the surface again quickly.

Here's a statistic which makes for very bad reading for Arsenal fans. It's now 30 games since the Gunners won after they were trailing at half-time. Four and a half years.

I've always been a big fan of Wenger but this is a very stark record. In 30 games, he could not inspire his players to turn a game around. He lost 19 and drew the other 11.

It was notable after Liverpool's win over Norwich that the players praised Klopp's half-time message and explained that their boss had told them to "find a way to win".

Wenger doesn't seem to be able to do that from a losing position or at least, his players do not seem to respond to him.

Across the top clubs we see the same. I'm sure Klopp drills set-piece defence into his players on the training ground but time and again they let him down and with schoolboy stuff.

I'm sure Manuel Pellegrini is working endlessly to make his defence better but without Vincent Kompany, it just doesn't tick.

All of this contributes to a strange sense of borderline hysteria surrounding this season.

So much has happened in such a short space of time and there is the sense that it's not over yet.

Think about it. Chelsea and Liverpool have both sacked managers and Manchester United are not far off doing the same. Everyone seems to think that Pellegrini is on his bike in June and that Pepe Guardiola is coming in.

The most stable club in the top half is Spurs and that's a first. Normally at this time of the year we've either had a White Hart Lane sacking story or are about to have one.

Perhaps this general air of uncertainty is having an impact on the players. It certainly looks that way.

I don't think we've had a season in the Premier League era with such poor quality teams on show.

That's why Klopp will not be alone when he sends out his scouts and hands his wish list to John Henry at the start of the summer.

With the possible exception of Spurs, all the top teams badly need to be resuscitated.

Herald

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