IT suddenly all looked so hard. When it had looked easy. At least relatively easy. Too often this is a Liverpool side on top until they aren’t. And too often a Liverpool side failing to make hay when the sun shines.
The sun shone on Liverpool against Leicester. They utterly dominated the first period and created more than enough clear-cut chances to go in two up. Instead they were none up. As against Burnley, as against Sevilla, they didn’t have their just deserts.
And as against Burnley, as against Sevilla, they did have their just deserts come the end of the contest. They deserve a point by the end of both of those games. Here they deserved to lose because they got worse, far worse, as the contest wore on. Two goals conceded but, on a far more concerning note, none scored.
The game turned on a substitution. Not Phil Coutinho off but Shinji Okazaki on. Suddenly Leicester found themselves and their endeavour and their shape. Everything made sense for them when he came on. Everyone had 10 per cent more, everyone was galvanised. The last phase of the whole game saw Okazaki picking the ball up in the right-back position. He was everywhere, the most underrated cog of the 2016 title win demonstrating how he was part of feeling like Leicester had 12 week in, week out.
None of that is to relieve this Liverpool side of responsibility. Okazaki isn’t Leo Messi. He isn’t unplayable. The worry is that the feeling persists Liverpool find their football a tiny bit unplayable when under the cosh. Everything becomes hard and becomes laboured when there isn’t the valve of goals to release it. This wouldn’t be the first Liverpool side to become claustrophobic of themselves. There has been quite the litany across the last 20 years of sides who have found what should work suddenly, painfully not. Disjointed becoming dislocated and equalling disillusioned.
The main way things should work though is footballers turning the ball into the net. It cures everything that ills you. Buy goals. Have goals. Score goals. Goals equal belief, equal love, become energy. Goals are the lifeblood of a football team and the savage reality is that Liverpool haven’t scored enough of them against sides that finished between eighth and 20th last season in our league in all competitions. Talk to me about defenders as much as you like. About defensive errors. Liverpool aren’t putting the round thing in the rectangular thing with sufficient regularity. Far from it.
There are reasons to be optimistic. Andy Robertson, for instance. His delivery was excellent but his movement even better. He emerged into space rather than exploded into it. There are reasons to just laugh. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain kicking it into touch. Laugh because not laughing gives that sort of thing power it shouldn’t have. But Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a relatively torrid first week as a Liverpool player. Hopefully it gets better than this for him.
It’s a competition worth winning but it is also a competition worth going out of early if you aren’t going to win it. That is:
b) Easy to say
c) Absolutely no comfort whatsoever
The lads in Red are your lads, our lads. Watching those lads toil away and not get results hurts. Watching similar shortcomings from recent games hurts. It may be better to go out now than January but it should never be the case that any Liverpool defeat offers succour to any Liverpool supporter. I’m sick of the same shortcomings at both ends of the pitch.
This thing of ours. The pressure never stops piling on and Saturday piles it on even more. Liverpool need to be a whirling dervish and sweep Leicester away, up in their air, devastate everything in their path. Liverpool need to be a force of nature and not a victim of circumstance. Liverpool need to be intense. Not least because this thing is intense. I’d like some emotional football where the main emotional response I get isn’t hollowness.
Seriously, let’s go Liverpool.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Lot of players gone off the boil simultaneously. Trust in Klopp to turn things around but as the games go on the transfer window is looking less and less positive (apart from Mo of course). Cant bear the thought of that fat-eyed mess Shakespeare beating us again on Satdee. Feel we just need some luck to go our way.
Now Ragnar Klavan seems like a nice fella. An absolutely lovely fella but he is consistently bullied and outfought. Absolutely mad that he has already played so many games and our manager can say with a straight face that we weren’t able to identify a potential upgrade in the summer. We are so fragile it is untrue.
Neil, we’re not that great man. I sorry but we’re just not that great of a team for all competitions. I think each competition (league included) requires a frame of mind, a coach whose tactics are not just attack, attack and a set of players who turn up for games because they have a responsibility and a job to do for 90 minutes not 45.
I think John Barnes had spoke of this recently on Sky Sports, and that is nearly all teams are so focused on what the manager tells them to do, that they forget to just shake these instructions off and take the game by the scruff of the neck. Gerrard and former players did that from time to time. However the current reds and Klopp demonstrate that there is a lack of communication to begin with. And with the captain gone missing, who really steps up and changes the game?
I didn’t expect to lose 0-2 tonight, but just wasn’t sure how a team plays first half well enough to say “okay during half time we should figure out that one step needed to finish the game off”. Instead we have a second half with Leicester scoring two.
I have to say that Coutinho doesn’t offer the same stuff he did before the summer. I think he must have really tried hard last season to impress them and was sure of landing a spot in the summer. That said, him going off should not have changed the game so much. What was the rest of the team doing in the meantime?
And to see Klopp sitting there after the second goal goes in, is for me very worrying. Looked like Brendan Rogers in that Hull match with no answers.
In a cup-tie match just figure out a way until you run out of steam, or minutes of play. Don’t sit there like a fucking lump and look bewildered; it’s your team. Figure out something, change formations, whatever – sorry but this is really disheartening to see that. I can’t imagine what the traveling fans were thinking or felt then.
Without Mane, this team is average with maybe Salah, who is a good, but not great finisher. He lacks that pass and finish when needed most, especially since he finds himself in spaces so quickly. And Salah seems better playing on the left side, while Mane on the right.
Well like you said, undue pressure is on Jurgen and the Reds for this weekend’s game. Leicester is without Vardy, but they have enough to come out and beat us again. They just defend for 45 minutes and then let lose against the Reds in the next 45 minutes and will bag 3 points.
I’m not arsed about individual performances really. The team as a whole isn’t where it should be, but let’s hope we at least have a better plan or two against the Foxes on Saturday. Where’s the heavy metal football? What is heavy metal football to be honest?
Hope we win this Saturday otherwise I fear Jurgen will not recover from this. City stabbed us deep and good it seems now.
Up the Reds!
To be honest Sash I’m not sure Klopp knows what to do when the chips are down and even his 2 sidekicks on the bench seem quite limited when it comes to helping him when things aren’t going well. It was a similar story towards the last few years at Dortmund. The right attacking patterns of play don’t seem to be there. Mane seems to make up for this with his pure energy and pace in much the same way Suarez did for Rodgers. The gegenpress is a system that relies on opponent mistakes rather than your own creativity and that’s what is hampering us when the press isn’t on.
At the moment it’s a predictable pattern of high energy football followed by the realisation we cannot kill the opponent off followed by a drop in confidence and an increase in edginess.
He’s hamstrung himself so badly in the transfer window that all he can do is hope we keep doing the right things and slowly improve. There aren’t many options left in terms of player changes and the youngsters simply aren’t anywhere near the level required yet.
Agree Ash, especially the Mane-Suarez bit as it presents itself this way, but I prefer to see if we can think of a way to sort some of this mess out then.
How about begin focusing the team on the CL and League having being ousted now from this mickey mouse cup? I’m not using this as an excuse, but rather seeing the glass and team half-full.
What else can be done from now until Jurgen gets an opportunity to bring in the players in Jan? He’s hamstrung, but is there something else to try?
I for one am not accepting things as the way they are. We’re not there yet, but something or someone’s going to have to give in order to get past this slow drift towards precarious waters.
Yes all is not lost but I think there’s such a dangerous predictability about how to play this team that things could unravel quickly. I never thought I would say this but the less games we have this season the better so Klopp has maximum time to prepare for league games. Top 4 has to be the priority now.
The defence won’t get much better and the personnel hasn’t changed much in terms of quality. Not expecting too much to change there.
I think the only hope lies in keeping Mane, Salah and Firmino fit and hoping they form a deadly partnership as a front 3. Plus get Lallana fit to give Phil some proper competition in midfield.
Given Klopp’s past transfer windows I’m not holding my breath for January.
That’s better Ash. I like the thought of Lallana and Clyne coming back. Didn’t realize how vital their contributions were.
Klopp fucked up, but he might come good in the next transfer window. I wouldn’t be sure of VVD though, but he knows his defense sucks right now.
Anyways mate, I would love nothing more than to give Leicester an absolute beating this weekend. They will think they’ve beaten us already is my guess after tonight’s game, so let them.
“It’s a competition worth winning but it is also a competition worth going out of early if you aren’t going to win it. That is:
Cuts 5 games out of a WC CL PL congested Calendar. Good. In fact Great.
That’s me. Good article Neil apu.
Dire. Obvious. Predictable. We’d lost that game when the ref’s whistle went for half time. None of us can pretend not to know this was coming.
We all know what the team can do when on song but it’s time to lower expectations for the season already I’m afraid. That City defeat, as Sash mentioned up there, was so chastening. A deep stab to the heart of our ambitions.
In terms of Saturday, I’m obviously concerned. We’ve got to work out what to do after Leicester score. It all hinges on our ability to ram home any advantages we get ourselves or are given. If we can do this then we can have them. If not then another like tonight is likely.
This is a bad period for us. Very disheartening. We miss Lallana. I’d say we miss Clyne too. Not saying either player prevents much of what we’ve seen recently but both lend a degree of calm and solidity that we badly need.
Also, I want possessiom stats and shots on goal stats to fuck the fuck off. I’m not interested. I don’t care. I don’t care about having possession, having more shots, completing more passes or any of the other irrelevant stuff. I care about goals. Any kind of fucking goal.
Ward, Robertson and Grujic were decent tonight. It doesn’t matter but whatever.
you bring up good points so take heart mate. I am with you as are the rest of us who are feeling and thinking the same.
We/Jurgen/the team need time together. It just doesn’t seem quite right. But to your points:
– It all hinges on our ability to ram home any advantages we get ourselves or are given. If we can do this then we can have them. *** We will Dan. Jurgen and the Reds will (especially since Leicester will be on a high) otherwise they’ve learned nothing from tonight’s game.
– I’d say we miss Clyne too. Not saying either player prevents much of what we’ve seen recently but both lend a degree of calm and solidity that we badly need. *** Yeah I realize this too and think it will add what you stated for sure it will.
– Ward, Robertson and Grujic were decent tonight. It doesn’t matter but whatever. *** No it does matter Dan. It will matter. We need to give it time.
– Also, I want possessiom stats and shots on goal stats to fuck the fuck off. *** ME TOO!
We both know this team’s capability Sash for sure. I do believe it will come together when we have the full compliment to choose from.
Clyne has been a strange one. He picked up something in pre-season and then appeared to disappear into a ravine! There’s something about Clyne. He’s strong, quick and blocks crosses. Rarely gets beaten either.
As for Lallana, you could argue he’s one of our most important players. His energy, control of the ball and ability to set our pressing tempo has been badly missed. More than I thought it would.
Coutinho also looked to be approaching something like his best tonight. I thought he looked a bit sulky but then remembered he plays with quite a sulky demeanour even at the best of times!
It’ll come together. It has to.
But have you seen their haircuts? They’ve all got lovely hair.I bet you wouldn’t get much change out of £100 for those haircuts.And what about the fancy flicks and double twists? Pretty eye-catching that wasn’t it? And the passing? Always found a man in space.And that’s what you’re supposed to do ? Just find a man in space?
Second half reminded me of that Indiana Jones film when that bloke comes out with a whip and starts cracking it and making threatening gestures and showing off.
Indiana Jones just pulls out a gun and shoots him.
And that’s what Leicester did to us.I guess their Manager told them what the whole point of the game was?
It was a sword not a whip, mate.
Heads are falling off left right and centre here. Seems we have big portion of fans that wouldn’t look out of place on ArsenalFanTV.
Well done our fans, kept behind the lads right to the end.
Does anybody really think it will be much different on Saturday?
Our boys are decent footballers, better than most we come up against but FFS they are so mentally fragile. I dont see how that will ever change. I would like to think that the whole of our club would be thinking “let’s really get stuck into these bastards on Saturday”, with their shit klakkers and shit songs. You know, really be intense from the first minute to the 94th., but I can’t see it happening. There will be setbacks in most games, particularly away from home, it’s how we react to them.
Come on Reds, let’s get mad!!!
What we are trying to do is hard. Harder than what other teams are trying to do. And when it doesn’t work, when the system isn’t delivering, then you need really good players to bail you out. Does any other top 4 club have a cheaper first choice defensive five – including GK – than us? Genuine question, but I think that is where the answer is. To state the obvious. I hear the manager say that ‘we know what we should do….it is not like we don’t know….but in that moment we don’t do it’, as though knowing is enough. Players that do the doing regularly in that part of the pitch cost a lot more than our boys.
I agree what we are trying to do is hard. When we do play well it looks like the drills from training are being implemented on the field, so if there’s no time to practice those or players are missing then the system seems to fall apart. Our players aren’t good enough for the system right now because our recruitment model has us buying what are perceived to be ‘almost there’ players that should improve with training. But it’s clear not all these players develop quickly enough or at all, and the number of games during the season means there is very little time for training. And other than the failures in the transfer window, I think we also had a really bad preseason – the trip to Asia for marketing did not help at all (serious question about priorities), and then Lallana got injured and Coutinho decided he’s not going to play for us just before the first match. Two key players in preseason were suddenly not available so the whole preseason appears to have been a waste. Add to that Clyne’s injury setback and we are where we are. So taking all these things into consideration, if you are saying our recruitment model together with our system will not win us the league unless we have incredible luck during the season, I agree with you on that as well.
I think things will get better now that they can focus on only two competitions and with players coming back from injury/tantrums.
Am I allowed to be relatively optimistic on one thing. That first half did show we look like we are figuring out how to break down compact defenses. OK, we didn’t finish the chances but we created a good 4 or 5 opportunities, not from blaming it from 20 yards but from decent build up play, stretching their line and getting the ball across the face no more than 6-7 yards out.
Its not often we’ve seen that against the likes of Leicester.
How about Liverpool try to do the basics right:
– Our corners, the least we can do is beat the first man and put it in an area where we can challenge.
– Don’t switch off in dead ball situations. Same old same old.
– Captain Hendo, stand the fuck up and manage a game…know when we need to hunker in and have a tight 10 minutes.Know how to absorb the pressure like every other team in the league.
– When our elaborate attacking game is not working (e.g. 80+ shots for only 3 goals), whatever happened to putting two upfront, wingers down the flank, cross the ball into the box and the two blokes try to head it in…maybe pick a loose second ball! Probably a tad too simplistic for modern day football.
Get it right Liverpool.