Last night’s 4-1 defeat to a ruthless Manchester City was Jurgen Klopp’s nadir. The LIverpool coach has taken the Reds to the peak of success in the domestic league and on the international stage during his five year tenure, but questions are now being asked after a third successive home defeat not previously seen at Anfield since 1963. Injury problems and the disastrous personal performance yesterday of goalkeeper Alisson Becker aside, the players’ motivation and the team strategy are in doubt with Klopp’s constant abrogation of responsibility – instead blaming cold feet, the pitch, fatigue and Uncle John Cobley- a major concern for disappointed fans. Liverpool’s owner for the past ten years, American John W Henry, has provided stalwart support for the club, so pundits and bookmakers reckon he is unlikely to ditch Klopp in a knee-jerk reaction to a lacklustre season. For sports betting fans, Irish bookie Paddy Power offers odds of 50/1 that Klopp will be the next Premier League manager to leave and these long odds are justified given that LIverpool remain in number 4 position in the Premier League table, just one point ahead of Chelsea but a seemingly insurmountable 10 points now adrift of Manchester City who have a game in hand. Manchester United and Leicester City are also ahead of Liverpool on points just now so Klopp has a big job on his hands to turn the club around after yesterday’s drubbing.
But other managers may not be able to count on the support of their clubs’ owners for the foreseeable future. Sam Allardyce at West Brom may be for the chop as the club continues to languish one off the bottom of the League table, with only 12 points to date. Big Sam was only appointed in December but the team has won just one match since and the patience of billionaire owner Lai Guochuan must be wearing thin. Bookmaker William Hill reckons Sam Allardyce will be the next manager to leave his post, with odds of 10/3 making him favourite to go.
Steve Bruce is also in big danger according to the bookies, with odds of 9/2 from BetVictor that the Newcastle Manager will be next to leave. The Magpies’ season has been lacklustre and the team is 16th in the league table with 25 points on the board. Earlier this year, Bruce acknowledged that he is “not bulletproof” and that neither club owner, Mike Ashley, nor the Managing Director, Lee Charnley, has given him reassurances about his future at the club. It is not certain that the two wins so far this year – against Everton at the end of January and Southampton last week – will provide Ashley with sufficient evidence of a positive forward trajectory to justify keeping Bruce on board.
The recent sacking of Frank Lampard from his role as head coach of Chelsea confirms what we already knew – football management is a precarious business, albeit well-rewarded at Premier League level, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Jurgen Klopp’s position is looking safe for the foreseeable future, but Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce may need to pack their bags soon.