Jurgen Klopp's obsession with the gegenpressing style of football was to blame for Liverpool's Europa League final defeat to Sevilla last season. That's the opinion of Manchester United managerial legend Sir Alex Ferguson. However, the Scot believes the German's passion is a perfect fit for the club's fans and he will help turn Anfield into a fortress.
Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool ahead in the 35th minute of that game, with the Reds in total control of an impressive first-half. However, the Spaniards rallied in the second half and dominated their way to a 3-1 victory, which saw them win the Europa League crown for the third consecutive year.
Ferguson believes Liverpool's high pressing in the first 45 minutes proved costly, as Klopp's charges ran out of steam in the second half.
"Sevilla didn't enjoy Liverpool's tackling and determination in the first half. But they started off after half-time with a more positive attitude and getting the goal right away changed the whole game," Ferguson wrote in the 2015-2016 UEFA's Europa League technical report. The former United boss acts as the head of the governing body's technical advisers. "In the second half Liverpool had no energy, they could not get to the ball. The space in midfield became bigger. I never had a team who could press a ball all season."
However, the Scot praised times when Klopp's gegenpress paid off, such as Liverpool coming from behind to knock out Borussia Dortmund in a dramatic 4-3 victory. Ferguson feels the connection between the German and the Kop will make Anfield a fearsome stadium for rivals to travel to.
"I've always thought that playing at Anfield was very difficult," he said. "Because the crowd create an amazing atmosphere that puts a lot of teams, opponents and the referees under pressure.
"We saw evidence of that when 3-1 down against Dortmund they got that second goal and the crowd lifted them and I think it inspires this team. They are that kind of football club, Liverpool, that get inspired by their support."
"He's [Klopp's] bought into the fans. And the support have taken to him because he's shown that enthusiasm on the touchline, with his energy and his personality when he's jumping out there. I think the combination of both suit each other."