FIRST half here and there has been a ton of excitement. Being excited because the change of manager should make The Reds immune to taking setbacks such as late injuries to Sturridge too much to heart. The Reds on the pitch broadly have been up to the break. The Reds off the pitch, the wider diaspora? Well let’s see.
It’s important not to let anything shake off the vibe. The manager has been very clear about enjoying it since his arrival. He is very much on brand and we’d like to thank him for that.
Beer. Small wines. A pick up at six, a breakfast at seven, a second breakfast at half ten. How I share a BMI with Darron Gibson there. Very much on brand and I’d like to thank you for that.
And then the first half and a new approach followed by a series of reminders that:
a) Inconveniently football matches don’t follow a narrative.
b) Inconveniently football matches tend to be influenced by decisions footballers make in very tight parcels of time and space – i.e. football matches tend to be decided by footballers. Not by how wonderful and talented and tall and handsome managers are.
Liverpool started the game with grit and gusto. The better side giving it everything. They looked pleasingly compact, shorter distance from front to back, tighter from side to side. Making the pitch big can be a virtue but doing it constantly may well not be.
The better side pushed Spurs back, making their early dominance look easy. Making their early dominance look like it was two good players doing something very good away from a deserved lead.
But then football got in the way. Spurs are good at football and were the side who looked most like having two players do very good things, eliciting saves from Mignolet.
There’s a patch just before half time when Liverpool hunt Spurs down like maniacs. An end screaming. Go ‘ed. Go on. One more. One more. Win your battles.
Win your battles. Win our battles. Win this. For us because there is nothing else. Nothing else enters into your brain. Nothing else but this. What a thing.
Enjoy it is a funny thing really. Do you enjoy it? Do I? Half time I think about it but what occurs to me is that there was just nothing else. Nothing at all but shouting screaming willing Liverpool on.
Nothing but that. No questions in my mind about my BMI, no questions around this in work or that headache on that project. Just this one thing amongst these people, some of whom I know and most I don’t.
And I enjoy that. Come out of that like getting out of a sauna, everything different and new jokes, new thoughts.
Second half Liverpool start more on the back foot but grow into events and while not creating they are a set of lads who can be willed on. They want us, but we need them, we need them to show and show and show for us. They do that. They were doing that anyway, I think, but now all of us can think there is a greater purpose and we can think and be as one.
A few times heads need to be kept in the final third. A few times decisions need to be a smidgeon better. But on the whole these lads made us happy with work ethic and intelligence and communication.
Finally, Moreno drills his cross into the wall when all decent scriptwriters with a leading man looking like Jürgen Klopp do the decent thing and see the ball fall into the net.
Inconvenient stuff, this football. But enjoy it? I hope so. I hope you did. I hope they did. We can ask only for 90 minutes of everything they can give us and we can then give them our full, undivided attention for 90 minutes.
And for that period of time I thought of nothing else but The Reds. I thought of nothing but being part of a travelling band. I thought of nothing but winning this one thing. Than willing. Than singing/shouting.
There is, for 90 minutes, nothing more than one thing in your life. How pure. How delightful. How inconvenient when they don’t follow the script but you know what, what would we do if they always did?
Haven’t seen that much effort and workrate in several months.
This will come good
The writing? :-)
Agreed. That the team took his instructions on board so quickly tells you all you need to know. Very promising.
Had me puzzled too.
Thought he meant BMW, the ponce :)
Body mass index. Maybe it’s just an American thing, thou no idea why Neil would be using it then. Basically he’s calling himself heavy.
It was recently revealed that Neil had the same BMI as Everton midfielder and advanced driver Darren Gibson, which is an appalling thought (unless you happen to be Shirley Crabtree or Mark ‘The Beast’ Labett off The Chase in which case you’re quite flattered)…
Its just an american thing until brits adopt it:) I remember when words like transition and stats was also an american thing…nowadays the epl is full of these american phrases:) Ive always said US is way ahead in sports including sport terminology, and england is just now catching up.
ps – great article as ever Neil.
nice piece that, every story needs a good start, if not good interesting. That was almost really good today, as you said one or two star players away from leaving the lane with all the points. I liked it a lot and i enjoyed seeing our cool new manager being well into it all game.
Actually looked like a team instead of a group of rag bag bunch of strangers. I drink only vintage claret on away trips now
Played with heart and ran their guts out, enjoyed watching the game for the first time in ages. Can surprised me, thought he’d struggle with speed and fitness in an aggressive pressing game, but he looked really good out there, perhaps he just needed to want to run for something?
More quality in the front 4 positions and we could have had the win today.
Under present circumstances a draws a decent result.
Onwards and upwards!!!
Every reason to be satisfied today everything considered. I was worried that our early workrate would knacker us for the last 20, but we finished the game well and I reckon Sturridge or Benteke finish that chance Origi had on the left near the end.
RIP Howard Kendall
Hendo, Sturridge, Benteke, would put us closer to 3 points in a match like this.
Allen, Ibe, Rossiter, Texiara could be effectively used for squad rotation along with Lovren. Because it is not possible for the same 11 to play another similar pressing game mid week.
Excellent teamwork and fighting spirit.
Started well. At one point 4 of us were closing down loris . I panicked as I thought we were over committing but you can have a positive draw or negative one and that was positive . Concerned about goals still and we don’t have goal scoring midfielders to take some of the responsibility. With Lucas and can in there we look too static in the defensive midfield. I can see Allen getting a run under Klopp. That said thank god for a positive vibe now in the club . We need to still be patient though .
For the life of me, I can’t see anything different. Reminds of something I saw in a book one time (Ways of Seeing, I just remembered!) that showed a picture of a Van Gogh painting, then you turned the page and it was the same painting but with the caption “This is the last painting by Van Gogh before he killed himself.” At which point, you start looking at the painting completely differently.
Not only was this 0-0 much like the 0-0 against Arsenal, perhaps not even as inspired, but it also shared much with several of our games this season – with one key difference on the pitch. We were not punished for an individual error that undid all of the other strong play (without much quality in the final third).
The hope is that Klopp will know enough to bring players close to Benteke when he returns, and play Firmino in a role that suits him. And that we can literally wrap Sturridge in cotton wool until the players line up for the game.
In short, it was all a bit meh with lots of reasons for optimism. Kind of like the end of the Rodgers era, only with more singing. Which matters, of course.
On some side notes: It seems silly to change the armband waiting for Henderson, but I’d love to see it on Sakho going forward. And anyone else get a twinge of pain when you heard Sterling scored a hat trick. Full on “D’oh” moment for me.
“For the life of me, I can’t see anything different.”
There were clear, very obvious differences, but even if there wasn’t, how much difference do you expect in 90 minutes?
614 sprints today, the first team to out-sprint (by 50) and out-run Spurs this season and one of the few to do it since Pochettino. Compare that to sprints in the 300s and 400s for Rodgers teams for pretty much every game for 15 months.
Are you sure you didn’t notice something so utterly…..noticable? Or is it that you just didn’t want to notice it given your undying loyalty to (and continued defence on most threads of) the previous manager?
We were more compact today – our solitary striker was nowhere near as isolated as so many of our one up front strikers were under Rodgers. And amazingly, after one game, we already looked a bit more organized in general play – when the pressing didnt win the ball back we filtered back in to good areas and restricted them well. Emre Can looked more motivated and happier in his own skin than at any time under Rodgers. There’s another three changes. After one game. The rest will come.
I’ll second that, mate.
Effort alone was 10 x more noticeable.
I reckon Walter is BR’s love child.
We were compact against Arsenal, too. And Can’s best games have still been as a CB with license to roam. I expect him to be one of the players sacrificed when Sturridge, Benteke, and Firmino return.
Praising the side for running more and not winning is precisely the kind of contextual analysis that no one wanted to hear, but now we are happy to roll out. You could say that we our last 5 games to Spurs were 5-0-0 with an aggregate of 18-4.
I’m glad that people are returning to their senses. I already mentioned that I hope Klopp will maintain the compact play when Benteke returns, because Rodgers wasn’t able to find that balance.
Yes, I thought highly of Rodgers, and felt that he was hamstrung by a transfer process that made the squad a kaleidoscope, rather than the extremely tight collective of 13/14. An under-reported injury/red card/contract-saga crisis in April didn’t help, either.
At the same time, I am over the moon about Klopp and know full well that he is a massive upgrade.
But, really, I am bemused by the supporters claiming that everything has suddenly changed. Of course it hasn’t. That doesn’t mean I am out to get Klopp. Why the hell would I be? I am for the club, first and foremost. If I see someone peddling some meat-headed, manichean revision about Rodgers, then I call it as I see it.
So, yes, I noticed the minor changes, but I also noticed they are minor. I expect greater things once we have our attacking force back fit. And, being a Liverpool fan, I secretly expect that Klopp will lead us on a shocking title charge this season, but never say it out loud.
“praising the side for running more” Thats your entire view in a nutshell? same as ol arry and some other so called pundits? Liverpool are just running running more so what every team should do it? Yeah but as carra said every team DOES NOT DO IT. If its that simples why cant everyone do it? This is as hilarious as brendon rodgers cockily proclaiming “ANYONE can park a bus” after THAT defeat to chelsea. Yet rodgers coudnt park a bus despite having tried for a WHOLE season and ultimately his non-ability to stop the leakage of goals and defeats cost him his job. Talk is cheap when fools are doing the talking
After realizing that just a few months after scoring 101 goals we couldn’t hit a barn door with Super Mario up top, Rodgers did park the bus in 14/15 with Can-Skrtel-Sakho.
The result was an 17 game run with just one defeat and 12 clean sheets. Then Sakho was injured, Can got a red card, and the whole thing collapsed. No Sturridge up top, no Sakho in back, plus another injury for Lucas in the middle.
That’s before you realize that our starting RB – Flanagan – was out injured for the season just as he returned to full training.
“Effort alone was 10x more noticeable”
This was our third away draw of the season after Arsenal and Everton. I didn’t notice any lack of effort against Arsenal (our best performance of the season, arguably) and Everton (who were the form team in the league going into that fixture). But now you mention it…
Does it make someone a Rodgers fanboy just because s/he refuses buy into any old shite his detractors want to pull out of their arse?
I love these match reports – even if reading one is like watching someone wanking into a sock – at least it’s a Liverpool sock! Good stuff. Keep it up! Defo capturing the mood.
You watch people wanking into socks?
Nice one. I really enjoyed it. I thought they all put all their guts into it. There seemed to be a clear plan and clear organization. This will get better and better with time. Keep working. Keep enjoying.
I am beaming. After watching endless , soul less , miserable draws , I quite enjoyed this one. Absolutely end to end stuff. I think the players need time and extra fitness for the Vollgas for full 90, but I guess with intense training sessions , they will be doing it.
Another thing that Klopp pointed out was what the players did when they had the ball was not “cool ” enough , thats where it shows he is very much closer to reality unlike BR. Thats the part strikers and midfielders need to work on. I guess with benteke and studgie, firmino , intelligent play once they have the ball wont be a problem. Lots of positives to take. I thought the away section was louder than usual as well. The enthu is rubbing off. Above us only sky ! Go Kloppo!
Coutinho can be our Gundogan in midfield.
I think till now coutinho was taking his time and space for attacks, now he has to play full speed. meaning lesser time in thinking , more pace. I think he looked a bit odd in that midfield, and couldnt do much. He cant be a Gundogan. He is our most creative player , but it will be interesting to see if he fits klopp’s style of play and system.
Gundogan was Klopp’s most creative player, hence the comparison. Sahin also played in a two. Players can be creative from deeper positions, you know.
Neil, great read. One thing that struck my eye watching the match again is Jurgen’s actions. He went out and shook the official’s hands, no doubt as a sign of respect for the job they did. Now, I am not saying this means he loves all officials, and is going to bow to them, or even that the officials were particularly great today, it just isn’t something you see everyday. I appreciate that he took the time to recognize their effort (this isn’t a love-in for officials just saying it was refreshing), What was even more impressive though was his discussions with Sakho and Lucas. He was clearly taking advantage of the opportunity to coach them while the game was fresh. I have never seen a PL manager do this. What a joy, and confidence boost to see that he is always trying to improve each player. I was more than satisfied with the team today (not that it means anything), and thought we showed great spirit, organization, and grift. I am looking for more to come. Really excited to see where this goes. YNWA, on we march, as Jurgen’s men.
EXACTLY. I too noticed and THIS is what sperates him from shall we say mourinho. Mourinho reall y HAS NO CLASS. A winner yes, class no. He is almost the uneducated street fighting brawler whereas Klopp is the educated and tough aristocrat who can ALSO street brawl when needed. Another example of this is mou’s treatment of eva (a decent hardworking woman who did her job). Compare that to Klopp when he went postal on the 4th official. Both actions were due to high stress game environment. but unlike mou, klopp immediately went to shake the 4th officials hand, contrite and apologetic.
Good performance, the pressing especially first half forced Spurs into mistakes, how many times did they kick it out of play as they were harried? Good to see people playing on their correct position. I thought Lallana was superb first half until he faded as ever. Klopp & his coaches will hopefully get more out of everyone fitness wise. My concern is Moreno, loads of effort but what does he actually bring to the team? Skrtel as ever drove me mad by either being too close to Kane & wrestling, or being too far away from him & then backing off allowing a shot.
You wonder some other teams in the PL will start adopting this approach.
Were there any loopholes found in it at Dortmund apart from the amount it taxes the players?
They did, actually. Kloppo’s tactics did very poorly against teams which just parked the bus and hanged very deep in defense. They couldnt find ways trough sometimes and got countered themselves. It took a few years but eventually they got found out, hence the poor last season.
Here’s to hope he finally found a solution for that. I REALLY hope so.
An observant fan from Germany
Decent point as Spurs have improved a lot and are unbeaten for a few games. We seemed more compact especially the the two full backs being closer in. Having Lucas there gave more assurance. Some nice input from Origi at times. Just a bit more about us compared to recent times, a bit more steel. Keep it up.
Very promising indeed. The first 20 minutes was great. Rubin Kazan could be a walkover if the lads can manage to play like that for even 60 minutes.
This piece provides some excellent analysis (to complement Neil’s idiosyncratic reportage, of course!):