That the world of football so fickle will come as a surprise to no one.
But the speed at which a team’s season can unexpectedly change can often catch out fans and pundits alike.
When teams undergo a dramatic change in their fortunes, it’s always quite peculiar that it’s the manager who takes most of the credit – or blame.
From being seen one day as a world-class manager, or the next up-and-coming future manager of the national team, it doesn’t take much for opinions to be completely reversed and for the same managers to suddenly be considered overrated, with any former credit for historic successes shifting instead to the players – or just sheer luck.
Take Jurgen Klopp for example. Before arriving in England, he was among the most highly regarded managers anywhere in world football.
Liverpool had struggled during the final 18 months of Brendan Rodgers’ time in charge, but the appointment of Klopp immediately changed the atmosphere of the club, bringing a much needed injection of positivity to Anfield – both on and off the field.
Appearances in domestic and European finals were achieved within months, and although neither were to yield silverware, there was encouragement at the direction the club was moving in.
A first full season under the former Borussia Dortmund boss saw Liverpool back in contention for the title – albeit only up until just after New Year, when a when a poor period of results threatened to ruin the entire season. But a strong finish to the season saw Liverpool finish above Arsenal and big-spending Man United, and secure qualification for the Champions League.
However, early into the current season, and despite less than two years in the England, Klopp’s credentials were being questioned, with comparisons to other managers, such as David Wagner and Mauricio Pochettino, used as part of the increasing criticism he was facing.
When viewed against Wagner’s remarkable job at Huddersfield, as well as the way in which Pochettino was seen to be building a team heading for long-term success, Klopp was suddenly considered much more average than he had been. There were no calls for him to be sacked – not from credible sources, at least – but the managers being celebrated by the media were now elsewhere.
The problem is that in football, as in all sports, success – whether short or medium term – is not bound by a formula, and even the best and most successful teams can be hit by a change in results that no one predicted.
From riding high in the top half of the league, Huddersfield are now in a position closer to what their fans might have expected. Come the end of the season, success will be viewed as anything above 18th in the league, and a second season in football’s top tier.
For Spurs, a side who only a few weeks ago were being tipped as Man City’s only credible title challengers, results have suffered to such an extent that the midweek loss against Leicester saw them slip to 7th in the table.
The managers of both clubs have been quietly removed from their pedestals and, for now at least, are not quite being held in the same esteem as they so recently were.
It’s taken less than six weeks for the above to occur – a period of time which has also seen Leicester surge up the table under new boss Claude Puel, and Newcastle slip from just outside the top 4, to a position within of a group of teams in the bottom half who will all be nervously looking at the teams below them.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are on a run of one defeat in 14 matches and have scored three or more goals in seven of the last eight games in all competitions. Questions still remain about a defence which remains the biggest cause of so many dropped points, but the outlook is far brighter than the pictured painted by critics as recently as the end of October.
Klopp has simply got on with his job and, it seems, is still every bit as competent a manager as when he was the recipient of so much media praise. Despite their team’s recent struggles, the same can be said of Maurico Pochettino, Rafa Benitez and David Wagner, too.