Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool Have Been In A State Of Constant Change From One Season To The Next | OKTUNES            
       
               
        
       

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool Have Been In A State Of Constant Change From One Season To The Next


Squads do not remain static, as much as supporters may wish they could do whenever success is achieved.

Time, opportunity, talent and, yes, money all play a part in stays coming to a natural – or, on occasion, not so natural – conclusion.

And what applies to the Reds’ players is also relevant to the backroom staff.

There is often a sense of unease among fans when someone from behind the scenes departs, the greatest example of which came with the partial meltdown prompted by Zeljko Buvac, Klopp’s long-time right-hand man, suddenly leaving Liverpool in April 2018.

But that largely comes from the unknown. Supporters can see what players do on the pitch and judge their contribution accordingly.

With one or two exceptions, that isn’t so easy to ascertain regarding those working elsewhere at the club.

Hence questions being asked this week at the news Gary O’Neil had left the Academy set-up to join Championship side Bournemouth as first-team coach.

In truth, it was a hugely understandable move for O’Neil to want to make the step up from working with youngsters to senior professionals as he starts out on his coaching career.

The real intrigue came from the fact he had only officially been in the job barely six months. But that O’Neil had initially switched to Kirkby was evidence of the changes that are constantly being made away from the pitch.

It was prompted by Neil Critchley leaving his role as U23s coach to take over as boss of League One side Blackpool, a chain of events that saw Barry Lewtas appointed as Critchley’s replacement by moving up from the U18s, whom Marc Bridge-Wilkinson took over having been with the U16s.

The injuries that have decimated Liverpool’s first-team squad have also prompted scrutiny of the senior backroom staff.

First-team physiotherapist Chris Morgan was compelled on Tuesday to defend himself on social media over suggestions he was to blame for so many players being out.

Virgil van Dijk leaves the field with Liverpool first-team physiotherapist Chris Morgan having suffered a serious knee injury at Everton in October 2020

Physio responds to criticism

Morgan, who had 10 years of previous service with Liverpool, had returned to the club last August after spells at Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

He came back as part of an overhaul of the medical and physio departments prompted by key departures last year. Indeed, turnover throughout the backroom staff has been high since the Champions League was won in 2019.

Richie Partridge left for the Aspetar facility in Qatar in March 2020, fellow first-team physio Christopher Rohrbeck moved back to his native Germany after three years at the club while Phillip Jacobsen, the medical rehabilitation and performance manager, is doing likewise.

 

As a consequence, Steve Lilley arrived as a first-team physio after nine years at Manchester City.

 

Further changes were required in the medical department with Andy Massey taking on a position with FIFA in March 2020 after seven years as Liverpool’s club doctor.

 

In his place came Jim Moxon, who moved up to the first team having joined Liverpool as head of sports medicine and fitness at the Academy in 2016.

 

A new role was then introduced in December with Dr Andreas Schlumberger arriving from Bundesliga side Schalke as head of recovery and performance, his task to work with players after they have gone through rehabilitation with the physios but still need extra preparation before joining the performance team to resume full training.

 

The fitness department underwent a revamp in the summer of 2019 when Tom King took on a full-time role as fitness coach and Jordan Fairclough became full-time assistant fitness coach after an initial temporary assignment.

 

That close season also saw sports psychologist Lee Richardson taken on by Klopp, while in October 2019

 

Mark Leyland moved up to head of post-match and elite player development analysis following the departure of Harrison Kingston to join the Moroccan Football Federation in November.

 

Filling Leyland’s old role, Daniel Spearritt became post-match and elite player development analyst with the first team having previously been a performance analyst with the U8 to U14 age groups and then the U23s.

 

And two new masseurs, Michelle Hudson and Motonori Watanabe, joined the club last summer to work alongside Paul Small, who has been at club for almost two decades.

 

“We wanted to have the best people here in all different departments, that means in all the coaching roles as well,” said Klopp, speaking after Critchley’s departure 12 months ago.

 

“That means there are some requests – and will hopefully be more in the future – from other clubs.

 

“That’s exactly how it should be, we don’t want to have somebody here for like 20 years who is doing the same job. No, it’s exactly like that.”

 

Such a philosophy goes a long way to explaining why, behind the scenes at least, Liverpool are rarely able to stand still for long.

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