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Phil Thompson gives Jurgen Klopp a B for his first two years at Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp on the sidelines during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St.James' Park
Image: Jurgen Klopp marks two years in charge of Liverpool on Sunday

Phil Thompson has given Jurgen Klopp a B grade for his first two years in charge of Liverpool, praising the style of football but insisting there is still plenty to work on.

Klopp reaches the second anniversary of his arrival at Anfield under pressure following a run of one win from seven games, but Soccer Saturday pundit Thompson believes Liverpool have made real progress.

"I would probably give him a B," he told Sky Sports. "He's done well, we've got to two finals but lost both, which is the reason why I wouldn't go much higher than a B.

"He's certainly improved the team. People keep comparing him with Brendan Rodgers' team but Rodgers was blessed with a fantastic spine whereas Jurgen has had to build a squad.

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"We've got a lot of pace in the side, which we were lacking after Raheem Sterling went, and obviously we're an extremely exciting side to watch."

Klopp's side have struggled defensively, however, with only West Ham and Crystal Palace conceding more Premier League goals this season.

"He's brought players in for the defensive positions but while they're good players, none of them are great players who you'd say would make it into the other top five sides," said Thompson.

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I honestly believe we will still finish in the top four because we can outgun most teams.
Phil Thompson

"I think that tells you where we are at with our defence at the moment, so I think that is going to continue to until he is really able to address it.

"I don't believe the Virgil van Dijk signing alone would have solved our problems. He'd improve our defence but I don't think he's the sort of vocal leader who would sort it out. I'd like to see a more physical and commanding presence in the side."

Liverpool sit seven points off the top ahead of Saturday's meeting with Manchester United, live on Sky Sports Premier League, but Thompson is confident they will achieve another top-four finish with the right reinforcements in January.

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"I honestly believe we will still finish in the top four because we can outgun most teams," he said. "But I do feel that come January we need to improve the defenders and get an out-and-out striker. If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang became available then he should be on our hit list.

"I think it's always hard to criticise Klopp," he added. "Yes, we can have our opinions but it's not like Klopp says 'I want that player' and it just happens. There's a whole lot of problems and there are limitations on the fees and salaries you can pay.

Klopp's first two years assessed

Klopp's first two years assessed

We check the stats to assess Jurgen Klopp's first two years in charge of Liverpool.

"We have a top three Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea who have bigger budgets, then there's Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham who have to vie for those other players.

"Where you sit in that financial pecking order does make a difference."

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