THE Reds are abject again.
The Reds are abject again and it hurts.
I’m very, very fond of this Liverpool team and this manager. I feel they can do a lot this season.
But they can’t do that again. They can’t be that blunt. They can’t keep starting slowly at grounds like Turf Moor. It gives the opposition all the encouragement they need. They want to stick one on Liverpool. They need to be blown away or left to ponder their shortcomings.
They can’t keep putting themselves at a disadvantage. It happened too often last season. It has now happened once too often this. The season is young, but more of this will mean it grows old very quickly indeed.
Burnley held a good shape and had good focus. They did their jobs and didn’t lapse but Liverpool didn’t stretch them. Didn’t threaten that concentration.
There isn’t a single performance that should escape criticism. This is Liverpool emphatically losing together. Across the board they worked for each other. The effort wasn’t the issue. Instead it was the fact that across the board they weren’t good enough for each other.
Too many players were trying to force the issue early. Philippe Coutinho looking for that curler too early, too often. Daniel Sturridge too elaborate. Roberto Firmino looking for through balls that weren’t there. The decision making in the final third was about as lacking as it can be.
Conversely, Jordan Henderson spending his life looking sideways when his best Liverpool games have come when he is on the front foot, passing and running vertically. He was poor. He wasn’t alone. They were all poor – Firmino and Coutinho’s first 20 minutes amongst the worst they will ever throw out in the shirt.
Aspects of why Liverpool are poor come from a good place. There is the idea that they are a side built to play well. Playing well is what the manager looks for. He doesn’t build a side to play a 6/10 game. He builds one which can and should show trust that it will find a way to shine, that it will come alive. However, when it didn’t shine today it couldn’t improve. Every change made Liverpool worse – which was some achievement.
The pattern needs to break. Liverpool were rightly confident and excited after Arsenal, their 20 minute explosion of consciousness marking football. But to follow the big win up, again, with a lifeless showing has to stop.
Our manager is a man who focuses on process. Who will already be thinking of how to improve. Process is important. If we are fond of him and these lads we need to buy into process. We need to go on a journey with them. We need to bounce into Spurs.
But we expect to bounce into Spurs – this is our concern, dude. Process is forward movement, not deja vu for Watford and Newcastle last season. Lose 4-2 after stirring us. Not 2-0 after boring us.
It happens. It is football. No one wins every week. How you lose, therefore, matters. Liverpool lost too many games badly last season. Not badly in terms of scoreline but in terms of approach. Start poorly, be unlucky, whatever, just finish strongly. Run out of time, not ideas.
How you recover matters. We’re all in this together. We do this 36 more times. Let’s go Red Men. Let’s just go and not stop going. We need you to go. No backward steps. No sideways eyes. We’re in this together.
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