LIVERPOOL find themselves defeated today, missing an opportunity to gain real ground in the race for third or fourth.
No matter what happens from this point, in what will probably prove Liverpool’s second best league points haul this decade, the season will probably feel one defined by missed opportunities. The most vexing thing for a football team is that the better you do, the more every shortcoming hurts, the more every disappointment deepens.
In taking six points from their previous two difficult away games Liverpool raised expectations in terms of being in the box seat for that top-four finish. In lacking tempo for much of the 98 minutes today they have dashed them, putting themselves back into the mêlée with the other sides whose season has been defined by inconsistency, by missed opportunities.
Since Christmas The Reds haven’t been able to reassert themselves. They had been unbeaten in the seven before today but hadn’t been as fluent as earlier in the campaign. Since Christmas they seemed at least six points down on where they should be, a chance to have a runaway season spurned not least at Anfield where seven points have now been dropped to Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.
Zest and ideas have been lacking in all three of these games. The front three that functioned at West Brom was dysfunctional today. Origi didn’t impose himself, Firmino too far from the core areas where he brings about doubt. Coutinho scored an excellent free kick but Liverpool were never banging on the door.
It’s worth pointing out that against Bournemouth and Palace Liverpool did lead and so therefore it can be argued they should be able to keep the door closed. Yet part of keeping the door closed is carrying a genuine threat. Instead when ahead what hurt was watching both of those sides grow in confidence, become more expansive, work out how to neuter The Reds. Today Palace realised around 30 minutes they had little to be scared off.
Liverpool – the resistible force. Liverpool – the movable object.
What a strange team this Liverpool side is. Top scorers in the league but oddly blunt, blunt unexpectedly, a reliable kitchen knife suddenly unable to slide through butter let alone stodge.
The whole day Liverpool didn’t seem quite right, didn’t seem quite at it. They never convinced me or themselves. Emre Can wasn’t the force of nature he had been. Gini Wijnaldum not quite as reliable. Dejan Lovren had a shocker, the sort of 4/10 performance he can’t allow himself.
Perhaps they looked at the bench and knew it was on them. Perhaps that addled brains. Twisted mindsets. Another opportunity Liverpool perhaps missed was in the transfer market last January. Yet this column loves the option of a big man especially in the depths of winter. The one Liverpool let go last summer secured the points today.
It was very much a choice to let Christian Benteke go, and it needs longer than this space to discuss it. Without knowing about morale or training patterns or anything like that, the six points that more I think Liverpool should have, I think Christian Benteke could have provided. Another option, another piece of quality and a man for the harsh midwinter.
But still. But yet. Liverpool still have plenty of time this season to finally and definitively answer the door when opportunity knocks. Nothing is lost today bar the game to a tidy side who should have one eye on top ten next season.
If Liverpool spurn one more chance though, they are unlikely to get another, likely to spend a long summer wondering what if, likely to burn their heads and our heads out, likely to be frustrated on targets.
Prior to this game Liverpool hadn’t lost since February. The high wire act only getting higher and more perilous, the fall only hurting more. They will need to go the rest of the campaign without falling again.
Up the vexing Reds.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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All you need to do is to remember all those one-on-ones on the goalkeeper where Benteke fumbled and you know why Klopp didn’t want him.
But your right, that left him very much without a Plan B. I suspect Klopp wants a squad where everyone potentially can be part of a (well-working) Plan A.
you’re (of course) not your. Ouch!
Yesterday’s game was not about Benteke. It was the idiots in Red and our manager not doing the job against a typical relegation threatened team. The poor defensive duties/tactics just opened up to a player like Benteke whose instincts are on. He showed that in the 10 odd goals he scored for the Reds.
We can still do it but the appalling vista – is there any other type of vista? – is hoving into view. Being overtaken on the line by two other contenders, a summer of furious regrets and what-ifs and a pain in the arse trying to attract the star quality and depth we desperately need while pitching Europa League. Which United will probably bloody win this season. In a word, shitbags.
Very gracious review Neil. You are a bigger man than I.
Chalk it down boy.
They’re a gang of let down pricks, to be honest.
The bottom line here is the spine was too weak today. We absolutely need more quality in there.
But then we all know this and it will be addressed in the summer so pointless losing our heads at this stage. Lovren and Matip were both poor but I still think Matip could cement a first 11 place. My hope is he’ll look better with someone who’s not a complete liability.
In the middle, Lucas, Can and Gini are simply not good enough together. I think any one of those can step in amongst some quality and be good enough for LFC but not 2 of them together and certainly not 3. I thought Can put a lot in today but just lacked a little quality. If we’re pointing blame then I’d say he wanted it a lot more than Gini. Origi has to be 3rd choice at absolute best. If Mane is out then we have to call on 1, probably 2 before Origi comes in.
May sound harsh to some but if we want to progress we need better players or results like today will continue to happen. The goals were the result of errors. Klopp will address it. We just need that top 4 place and it’ll be ok. Nothing’s changed. We still need a centre half, a ball player in the middle, a winger, a striker and left back. Same as it’s always been. I think it’s clear.
All good but, me, not so sure we will get top 4, could finish 5th or 6th easily and that will make everything very tricky.
Watford are a sort of hit and miss Palace, low rent big beast outfit, West Ham similar, higher level tho’. Southampton yuch. Boro may not matter. We are gonna have to scrap like demons for this.
I won’t say I’m not worried. It looks a bit grim tonight. I still see it as straight race between us and Utd. We tend to assume they’ll win all their games. They play City Thursday and kick off at 12 on the Sunday. Then Celta Thursday, Arsenal Sunday away. Then Celta Thursday and Spurs Sunday away. 3 days later away at Saints. It’s far from over mate. We have these games in us but we also have enough to win all our games. You just never know with us. I’m ruling Arsenal out for similar reasons to Utd. My feeling is we could probably drop 2 more points and we’d still get it.
That’s the spirit, Robin! And I am with you on this. Spent two hours checking other teams ‘ schedule right after the loss :). Cheers
I might add that in hindsight Migs should have done better to control the corner. He needs to command which didn’t seem like it. The first goal I am not sure if he could have had a touch or something to offset Benteke’s run.
Regarding the spine, you are right we are missing this since Rafa’s days IMO. Watching the fa cup semi between the plastics and Spurs I couldn’t believe their bench and ours on Sunday thinking that we are also a rich club. So we would also need a spine B to replace the ones when necessary.
I just hate it how we have to depend on other team results that seems to have become a norm, more so now with United’s resurgence.
CL is a must. All the other top 5 teams will strengthen with or without CL because they can and will, and they probably won’t all be after Southampton’s golden boys.
Klopp and this team (and us fans) need to put everything we’ve got as we cannot afford another bad day at the office as Josh K mentioned previously.
Hiya mate. I think we have to get away from looking to blame Mignolet every time a goal is scored against us. He wasn’t at fault for either goal. Goals get scored. We have to accept that.
There is an issue that no one seems to be mentioning. It’s the way we react to corners on the back of zonal marking. Can and Gini were just in front of the penalty spot with Benteke but when Benteke moved they stood and watched. Lovren had his space but a quick glance would tell him Benteke was moving in. He has to leave his zone to defend Benteke. He stood and watched. But, had Benteke missed the header completely then Tomkins scores because Origi (defending at the back post) stood still and let Tomkins move in front of him. So, every player has stood rooted to the spot. It’s basically saying, if the ball doesn’t come exactly into my area then it’s not my issue. It’s worse than schoolboy stuff. I thought Klopp was working with them on set pieces. I don’t believe he’s told them to stand where you are and let the opposition go where they like. No chance. Too many average players who have neither the fight nor the brains.
Hi both Sash and Robin,
Sash: the second goal– we definitely can’t blame Mig. Common :) it was a strange corner– low ball into the box, and flew through a few red bodies.
It is interesting to see which keeper — Mig, Karious, and Ward– would be the first choice next season. I believe Mig will, and I admit he deserves it. And we can use the funds to strengthen in other areas of the pitch.
Hate to lose to Big Sam. He talked (in the interview after the match) as if Palace had totally outplayed us, as if they have won World Cup. We MUST take it personally against Palace next season.
Despite what Sakho said, his action is still unforgivable.
Yeah I hear you both regarding Migs.
Don’t care what Fat Bastard had to say. It was us who made them look like a Top tier team.
I don’t know about the permutations for this week and weekend games other than us needing to win, but do you guys think a draw between the mancs would help instead of one of taking 3 points?
Worst result would be a Utd win. A draw would be an excellent result. It keeps both behind us but they’d only have 1 game in hand each. A City win is best for us because it makes us favourites for 4th. Utd’s run in plus us having at least a goal difference of 3 better than them (if they lose) hands it back to us. We’ll get 4th.
No excuses, we were poor again today.
Today was agony. This is the weirdest Liverpool team I have ever known. Seriously.
We have played some of the best stuff I have seen for years, but also dropped bollocks against some of the shittest teams I have ever seen. Losses at home to Swansea and Palace. Fuck. That.
Transfer targets are very obvious this summer. Obviousness and simplicity.
Good effort for putting this together. Could have saved the angst and effort and just said, ‘we were shite and could derail the whole season on the back of it’. Not sophisticated but don’t need to be fancy when it’s a bad day at the office. Fingers crossed this isn’t the defining performance that breaks the season. Onwards and upwards.
At the Everton game, I watched our corner setup closely. For their first corner, Emre Can willingly lets Phil Jagielka go and doesn’t go with him, but nothing happens. For corner 2, the exact same thing happens and they score.
Today, a carbon copy happens with Benteke.
I’ve watched the broadcast feed replays back in detail after the goal, not one person looks at him almost suggesting no responsibility is pinned. I hated the old zonal/man debate that plagued the Benitez era, but I’m perplexed by this. Emre’s role in the middle of that area – if it’s not to FOLLOW the central attacker, or even put him off – what is it for?
Allardyce has said he targeted our weakness at defending corners. It makes a lot of sense, too, evidently.
Whatever about the abysmal marking at the corner – there’s no excuse for Firmino’s kick at thin air at the near post and completely failing to prevent it going into the danger area.
We might fall over the line for 4th. But this team are still totally unreliable, and the manager doesn’t have the tactical acumen of a Conte, Mourinho or Benitez. It’s about trophies at Liverpool, and if Klopp doesn’t improve his tactical game, he won’t win any at Anfield.
Final four games, or whatever it is, have GOT to be balls-to-the-wall, heavy metal football. We have to blow through teams. One goal is not enough. We need three or four to win games at this point. We need to score, change nothing, score again and change nothing again. Pretend like we need to win games ten nil because we are not capable of holding out any other way.
All out attack on that top four place.
You can tell in the first 2 minutes how Liverpool are going to play. If we start at pedestrian pace, just passing the ball sideways and backwards like a team of Clynes, then it’s going to be hard going. Where has the zest gone? Yes Lovren and the full backs need an upgrade but that midfield, deary me it has not got the talent to outwit a decent defensive outfit. For all the effort of Can, Wjnaldum & Lucas it has no spark, no brain if you will. One of them with excellent adventurous players would be OK. I still believe we can get 4th but there has to be an influx of superior talent in the summer.
For all of Emre Can’s recent great games it is he, not Bobby Firmino at fault for the winning goal. Yeah, Firmino missed the cross coming in but that was a swerving, obscured half chance. Watch — Can lets Benteke walk into the space ahead of Lucas who cannot recognize where he has come from soon enough. As Benteke scores, Can is still standing where he was ages ago, next to Benteke above the spot.
Individual failings, individual brilliance. When there is consistency of execution throughout the team, then LFC will rise again. It is coming. Keep faith. Stand fast. Another year. perhaps. I am older than you and may not live see the next time. But I stand fast and remember. Again, a nicely written match review. Thanks Neil. Though my week, like yours will be shite now, your witnessing and interpretation does help with some sense of transformation. From raging to, well, something less…
Moreno is a total fuckwit, but he did show willingness and know how in getting to the goal line WITHOUT the ball then Coutinho put 2 or 3 gorgeous slide rule balls through which opened up Palace with ease in a matter of minutes. Lessons need to be learnt here on how to open up resilient deep lying opposition from wide positions. Ffs it really can be that simple especially if Alby can master it in minutes on the pitch, all season!!
The fact that his final ball was pants is another conversation.
Seems no one noticed the £15 bench.
And we only had the league to play in.
Not enough leaders on the pitch… Cannot just give the ball to coutinho to provide the spirit and trickery. Ultimately 2 errors from what is meant to our best defensive line up was most disappointing.