How Jurgen Klopp Plans to Prevent Liverpool's Annual January Dip

A trend has emerged at Anfield ever since Jurgen Klopp took over as manager from Brendan Rodgers in October 2015—one that the German coach will be looking to avoid in the coming months.

The overwhelming belief on Merseyside is that Liverpool made the right decision in replacing Rodgers with Klopp. The former Borussia Dortmund coach is yet to win a trophy at Anfield but, they say, he is heading in the right direction.

The problem for Klopp is that he is heading toward the new year and January as well. It may be a time for powerful clubs like Liverpool to assess their workforce: Can we improve? Who could come in? Will this signing propel us toward that first trophy?

But since the German took over at Liverpool, they have experienced a dip in form at the beginning of the new year. Klopp's first campaign in charge saw Liverpool lose five games, draw four and win just three between January 2 and February 9; their only win in the Premier League came in a 4-5 thriller against Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Fast forward a year, welcoming in 2017, and Klopp has settled in at Anfield. He's begun to form his own team, with the addition of Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan. And Liverpool suddenly looks like a force in English football again, challengers for the Premier League crown as they sit second in the table and six points behind leaders Chelsea.

A month later, they had slipped to fourth in the table and 13 points from Chelsea, fallen off a cliff and out of the title race. Again, Klopp's team was beaten five times at the start of the new year, with only one win and four draws. They didn't win any games in the Premier League and were eliminated from both the League Cup and FA Cup.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, Liverpool, England, December 10. Klopp's Liverpool has a trend of struggling in January. PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty

This could be put down to the outstanding difference between English and German football—and most other leagues across Europe. Klopp was used to having a month off around the festive period at Borussia Dortmund and Mainz, while the English league hits top gear at the end of the year with a tendency of three games a week. Liverpool and Klopp have experienced a hangover into the new year and the German coach will be keen to avoid that in 2018.

Klopp, then, may turn to the transfer market. In the summer, he attempted to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton but the south coast club refused to sell the center back. Yet, according to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp will return again in January as he looks to add a mix of steel and class to his defense.

With Van Dijk, Liverpool can have a balance in their team. Van Dijk can be the link between defense and Klopp's lethal attack. And, most importantly, he can help prevent the annual dip in form that is harming Liverpool's top-four hopes.