OH, the Reds. Where do we start with that one?
What about the positives — shall we start with the positives? Did anyone see any positives?
I’ve got to say this one hurt, and much more than it should have done. On the face of it, it is one of them games — Liverpool turned up got done on the break twice, had all of the ball but couldn’t quite do enough to get back in the game. One of them, isn’t it? It happens to the best teams in the world, doesn’t it?
Well, yes, it does happen to the best teams in the world, occasionally, and no it isn’t just ‘ONE’ of them, unfortunately, and therein lies the rub.
The reason this loss hurt so much is that we have seen it before, so many times, almost like a film on ITV2. The Reds were woeful and yet no one player could really be blamed for the defeat. This was a systematic loss brought on by underlying issues within this Liverpool set up.
Pre Kloppo taking over, this type of game seemed like Brendan Rodgers’s last full season prototype — have all of the ball, do shite all with it, lose the match to a couple of clinical finishes and walk away scratching our heads, licking our wounds, and telling ourselves it won’t happen next time, we are too good for it to happen next time…oh look, it’s next time and it has happened again.
Since Kloppo took over as manager we have lost seven of the 17 away league games we have played. In five of those seven losses we had at least 60 per cent possession of the ball, had a total of 85 shots, 14 of which were on target, scored 0 goals and conceded 11.
In five of those seven losses we had the majority of the ball, did nothing with it and lost each of them games to teams beating us at our own tricks. The reason this one hurts so much is that the summer transfer business and pre-season was meant to knock this type of thing out of us.
The Arsenal game last week and the Barca one before it had us all purring at the thought of Klopp’s ruthless Reds running teams into the ground, filling the box with abandon and putting everyone to bed with a minimum of fuss.
Games like Saturday were meant to be a thing of the past and yet here we are having had the shittest weekend possible petrified that this was a sign of things to come.
- Burnley v Liverpool: The Match Review
- Burnley v Liverpool: Match Ratings
- Burnley v Liverpool: The Pink — Our Post-Match Reaction Show
There were some really worrying things on show on Saturday. The first was that I’m struggling to determine, even now some 48 hours later, exactly what our game plan was to break them down.
It was obvious before the match that we were going to be unable to counter-press and break in this game but what was the alternative plan? The only thing first half that we looked capable of doing was slightly overloading them on the left and freeing up Coutinho to cut inside and twat it into Yorkshire.
We have seen this tactic before, in fact in Rodgers’s final season it was the only tactic left. This is no way to succeed. In fact, it was one of the things Klopp stopped from happening in the first few games after he took over.
“Don’t shoot, recycle the ball, keep them moving, the chance will come.”
Why, at the first sign of trouble this year, did we revert to it? If this wasn’t the plan, then what was? In games of this nature, when big, horrible, hard-working brutes want to shut up shop and occasionally break, what is our approach going to be?
Our play on Saturday was too slow, too predictable and too easy to defend. At no point did Burnley look at all stretched. We didn’t create a clear-cut opportunity, not one, in the whole game.
My worry is that our business this year and our focus has been on improving what we were already really good at — the momentum-based, disruptive, transition-loving counter-pressing warriors who given half the chance will stop teams from playing, revel in the confusion they have created and score for fun while the opposition try to re-group.
But what of Middlesbrough, Hull, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and West Brom away? What is our approach going to be there?
These teams won’t give you a chance to upset them as they won’t leave their own box, especially after Saturday’s result. We need a better solution than Coutinho whacking it first half and full backs lashing it into the box second half if we are going to improve in these types of games.
We need patience, and movement in abundance. Too often on Saturday we were trying the first-time ball, the impossible through ball, the ridiculous shot. We didn’t build any pressure because at the first opportunity we would try to find the killer ball as if we needed to score within the next 10 seconds. And if that wasn’t an option, then someone would shoot.
Conversely, we didn’t build any pressure because at times we were too happy to pass the ball really slowly sideways and backwards, acting as our own geyser at times. Burnley’s centre halves must have been laughing their cocks off.
I don’t care who you are as a defender, the one thing you don’t want is to have to stay switched on for 90 minutes — to be prodded and poked and moved around and played with until you are drawn into an inevitable mistake.
The nicest feeling in the world as a centre half is watching an over-hit through ball run through to your keeper, or watching a full-back line up a shot from 30 yards and shouting “let him have them all day”, “who do you think you are, you prick?” as the ball sails over the bar.
The Reds look at their best when they don’t have to engage their brains and think for themselves. The collective organisation and structure on show at Arsenal for that 20-minute spell showed that the summer’s work to master Plan A was a success.
The players instinctively knew each other’s position and ground Arsenal into submission.
What appeared to be lacking on Saturday was the individual and collective game intelligence — the trust and confidence to enforce any type of plan B to break down a packed defence.
Kloppo referred to the player’s decision-making in attack as one of the reasons we lost and it is difficult to argue against this.
Time and again we got the ball wide to James Milner — and subsequently Alberto Moreno — and crossed the ball into eight centre backs and no-one wearing day-glo in the box. At one point they had eight men behind the ball and we had 11 behind it — I know, it takes some doing that, doesn’t it?
I’m concerned that if we don’t improve our Plan B approach that this trend away from home — all the ball, a parked bus, unable to break teams down, getting beat — will continue. I’m hoping beyond hope that this trend is like most trends and is time sensitive and ultimately bullshit in hindsight.
Hope may well come in the form of Sadio Mane and Sheyi Ojo. The one thing lacking from the teams within this trend was pace and penetration. No-one on the pitch on Saturday was really able to beat their man from a standing start. The above two players are the only two in our squad who can genuinely do this and maybe when they are playing, or available from the bench, everything else falls into place.
Either way, given the time, Kloppo will box it. Of this I am assured. In the meantime, bring on Tottenham — they won’t sit back. Unleash plan A on Saturday afternoon and let’s tear them apart.
Excellent analysis – agree with every word.
Isn’t this (the so called lower teams) that game were we play at least two – preferably three strikers on the pitch? Loading up our offense with ball hugging attacking midfielders won’t break teams like these down.
How many times haven’t wee been deep against City or Arsenal just for them to overload one flank, play a couple of 1-2’s between our wingback and centerback and all of a sudden Silva is all by himself in the box behind our defence.
When we get the ball out wide we rarely show enough support, instead we’ve got 4 or 5 lads hovering around the opposition penalty area just…waiting. Waiting for what exactly?
Agree. We need to have at least one system at hand that gets Origi and Sturridge on the pitch together, playing in their proper positions.
Paradoxically I think the first thing we need to do in these games is not concede. At 1-0, the other team gets wings and is under no pressure. A draw is a good result for them so a great piece of skill, a dodgy decision, a stray hand in the box – a goal to us – is not the end-all, and thus not to be feared. They also have hope “maybe we could get a second”. The striker gets a chance, again no pressure, no “this is our only chance, I have to take it”
Meanwhile we need to get past the bus twice.
Kloppo had better box it and he had better box it pronto.
Or else? Sack him, pay off his 6 year contract and get in someone better? Behave, the guy is here for the long haul and I’m looking forward to watching what he can achieve.
The demoralizing thing is this has been the norm for 20 plus years. We went from the red machine to red pudding, soft and sloppy. We used to be so reliable ruthless clinical 30 yrs ago. I also think more recently (past 5 years) we have been trying to be like Barcelona without having the players for it. Last game wtf were we doing for goal one? The clowns lovren migs hendo milly absolutely cannot pass it out from back. Against burnley I was yelling kick it away but no. In these games first 20 mins we need to play hoofball and wait. Not try to implement our style without proper caution. We are supposedly fitter? We need to keep shit together until 70 mins and launch. But no. We goto these teams and play right into their oh so obvious crude traps they lay for us. Klopp needs to also share some responsibility. Stop being stubborn stop backing a everage player and get some quality into the ranks. Or this will happen again and again and again. Guaranteed
I agree with what was said above we should be playing a more attacking formation with teams who park the bus ..put in 3 forwards instead ..we need Plan B we…need Sadio Mane …
The positive is the nonsense about being league contenders has been put to bed.
By the second game.
Spurs away up next mate. Win that and its back on again….obviously Leicester at home will kill it back down. then Chelsea away is all the proof we need that we are in the hunt.
Repeat until March.
Hull at home after Chelsea innit? They ever won at Anfield? Lol definitely 0-1. History made. And me clawing my own eyes out.
0-4…We will look like Barca at thier finest.
Such is tradition….
Spot on. Could be a timely piece of reds-related writing in any season in living memory with the exception of 13/14 and even that had the Chelsea slip to kill it which is the archetypal game for all time when it comes to the kind of bullshit game we watched Saturday.
Klopp doing a number on the ‘rival’ teams then shitting it next game is quite Benitez knocking out the best teams in Europe over two legs sandwiching a Steve Bruce point at Anfield or whatever. But at a worse level because we’re getting beat by shite more often than what we were then (hence 8th rather than 4th) and recent City, Chelsea and Arsenal aren’t in Inter or Barca of the 2000’s league.
How many times the past 5-6 years have we heard ‘x with there first win over Liverpool/at Anfield in 50-odd years’? Feels like loads. Off the back of H&G and all of FSG’s mistakes this has been the worst decade since Shankly walked through the doors. If Klopp can’t cure us of this modern-Liverpool shitbagness we’re all effectively doomed IMHO.
I mean… Ibrahimavic and Pogba mauling this league resulting in Mourinho’s smug grid come May with us in 7th again or whatever might result in me picking any Olympic sport at random and following it all year round.
To be frank the writing was on the wall the day FSG walked in just as the billions came into the league. It was a case of oligarchs/ shieks or mid table.
We got the worst of both.
Sorry Ben- can’t agree with you: “Liverpool turned up got done on the break twice, had all of the ball but couldn’t quite do enough to get back in the game.”
We were not done on the break once, never mind twice.
We were done because Klaven couldn’t pass the ball out and sends it stupidly over to Clyne- a high ball cross field so he’s under pressure when receiving, loses it, great Burnley goal.
Then Klaven again disappoints. He loses possession near half way that results in another good goal. If Moreno did it- everyone (at this stage) would be livid. But Klaven escapes because … why? …he’s new? Carra et al haven’t belatedly spotted it like the 2 years it took for them to spot Moreno’s deficiencies… Give us a break. Our game plan is good. Our defenders are piss poor in general but have the qualities to learn.
What’s the point in building an attacking team when our plans are undone in 2 minutes so we’ve to now break down a decent Home winning team?
So, we’re 2 down for the 2nd half and they can let us have all the ball we want- but they’re not going to flaff about when they get it like he did.
Too much criticism this weekend has been put on decent midfield and forward players trying to get through 10 players who know their jobs well. Barca lost to Chelski in similar situations a couple of years back in CL semi.
Klaven was at fault for both goals.
He needs to respect all PL teams and not put us in those situations again. I Hope Matip’ll be an improvement and available with Mane too for Spurs. Klaven to keep Moreno company if Milner retains LB (decent job he did too against a very deep, winning Burnley (well deserved win too in fairness).
We never scored a goal mate.
Can’t think of any clear cut chances we had either.
So no matter how good our defence is (and it isn’t) we still need to put the ball in the back of the net at least once to take the 3 points.
Playing our most prolific and effective goal scorer wide right ain’t gonna do that.
No we didn’t score. They did. It’s not always about us scoring it’s also about not conceding 2 minutes into an away game. Do that twice through stupid defending and all the attacks will come to nothing with resolute defending to hold onto 2 practically gifted goals in a first half.
Writers Picking out the midfielders and forwards for criticism is a waste of energy unless we have better defending. Cost us in ’14. Won it for Leicester in ’16.
Klaven cost us the game before it started.
Enough with this ‘if Moreno did it” nonsense. Once again, the issue people have with Moreno is not that he makes mistakes – everyone does – but that he makes the same bonehead mistakes over and over again.
Moreno point was simply that Klaven escaped criticism because he’s not been identified as the weak link he was on Saturday- while boy wonder himself would’ve been the 1st place we’d be looking at if he did the same.
Klaven cost us twice and he’s to blame. This should be recognised now instead of waiting 6 months of more foolish defending from him.
‘Go on, Messi-la. I’ve got some hoary twine for yer boots.’
There is nothing wrong with us turning up for these games and looking to be resolute first and foremost. Earn the right to prove we are better than them, rather than just BEING better than them but it meaning nothing.
It is at the point where I wouldn’t even mind drawing these games, at least until we prove ourselves adaptable enough to win them.
I would have liked to see Origi and Sturridge up front for this. We missed Mane too, despite him only having played one competitive game for us. He is the sort of player that bursts past a man and rifles one into the net after 19 seconds. An unsettling sort of attacker.
Agree on that first point Dan,
Even the very best Liverpool teams often spent the first twenty minutes clearing there lines,taking a few yellows, dark arts etc,
It looked liked we rocked up there thinking we will football the crap out of you from the edge of our box because we just scored 4 at Arsenal,
I was so disappointed with every facet of the Reds on Saturday including the manager who I love to bits,
Team sheet really surprised me,
Couldn’t believe he dropped Moreno when our one other pace merchant was injured (if he is ok with Albie surely these are the types of games he starts?)
No big Divy in the team also seemed odd, an obvious outball in first half hour when Burnley would be all guns blazing,
Studge out on the right ? Not for me,
Genuinely worried he’s lost a yard of pace that’s not coming back with all the training in the world,
Fingers crossed its just an early season one of those rather than the unthinkable other scenario.
‘It looked liked we rocked up there thinking we will football the crap out of you from the edge of our box because we just scored 4 at Arsenal.’
Definitely something in this, especially as Lallana even admitted the week before we became complacent against Arsenal. It might have been Henderson actually. One of those two anyway.
Agree fully on Origi. Really hoped he would start and certainly hope he does tonight. I really believe he has it in him to become a star.
You know it’s bad when even Ben Johno can’t make you laugh.
We’ve got a bad dose of complacency which doesn’t do Team spirit any favours. A lot of self serving football on Saturday gave a nasty stench of frustration coming from players who should know better and Coutinho was at his old tricks again showing little faith or patience in his team mates.
When plan A doesn’t immediately pan out genuine class players have the ability to regroup, self assesses and adapt to plan B. I was watching Barca’s 6 – 2 win over Real Betis and the movement in and around the box combined with selfless work rate and goal assists from the best players on the planet should be a priceless lesson to all COACHES to wipe the floor with wannabe world class players and eliminate any primadonas from the squad, no matter how good they think they are, because we are a million miles away from the 2013/14 Team with no world class players anywhere to be seen. Sadly having any in this current LFC Team is but a dream. I may be wrong on this one but I’m very surprised Klopp hasn’t made an example of some of the average players who are badly letting the side down and I fear he may becoming a little too comfortable in his surroundings right now. I want to see some of the old LFC Boot Room ethos and to quote the original and probably best known LFC cliche; there is no “I” in the word TEAM. Simples
I saw a breakdown of one of the goals where Milner and Klavan were having a chat rather than concentrating on their positioning as Burnley was breaking and then scored.
I believe Klopp underestimated Burnley by playing Sturridge on the right and Milner at left back. It’s a lack of respect towards a team that may be fighting for their lives. Since we have three top strikers that can’t seem to get a game I thought it would be ideal to play at least Ings or Origi as they have some sort of aerial presence. Having sold our best striker with that attribute recently to Crystal Palace.
I like the idea of keeping the ball and maintaining possession until a clear chance becomes apparent but wonder if that works so well in English football as the crowds might be different and we moan of players don’t shoot.
Poor day in the office all around.
So to summarise then
1. Manager picked the wrong team.
2. Team went out thinking it would only need to turn up to win comfortably.
3. Opposition started quicker and pressed our back 4.
4. Individual errors cost us 2 goals.
5. Team had no plan B once plan A failed.
6. Manager made subs too late to affect result.
That’s it Frank- in a nutshell.
Simple game really…:-)
And you know what Frank,
It’s happened to bigger & better Reds teams and managers,
Brighton & Hove Albion was our annual kick in the stones !!!
Early season wake up call……hopefully.