FOOTBALL hasn’t quite been the same since the international break, writes LACHLAN BALLINGALL.
Beating Arsenal 4-0 before it came around left the Anfield faithful feeling excited of what was to come, but Liverpool just haven’t kicked on since.
Tuesday night’s result was a tough pill to swallow. The Reds were so dominant against Spartak, yet only left Moscow with a point. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, as Jürgen Klopp said himself, at least we are creating chances. There’s no denying though, we need to start taking them, as it is becoming an all too familiar sight.
Prior to that Liverpool managed to get their revenge against Leicester in the league after being dumped out of the League Cup days before. Klopp’s side showed a lot of the qualities that were lacking from their first clash with The Foxes second time round but the same frustrations have reared their head again.
Liverpool were decent in the first half at the King Power Stadium, and ordinary in the second. The Reds created plenty of chances, but like the game against Spartak, failed to capitalise. When you have a defence as leaky as Klopp’s, then you need to take the most of good chances, and Liverpool were defeated 2-0 by Leicester, and failed to win in Moscow, because they fluffed their opportunities in front of goal.
Going into that particular game last Tuesday night all the talk was about the new boy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain getting his first start after completing his move from Arsenal for a fee in the region of £35-40million.
Many supporters were pleased when the club acquired his services at the backend of the summer transfer window and were raving about what a fantastic player we have added to our squad.
Someone with genuine pace and skill, but what supporters liked about him the most was his ability to play in a number of positions. Against Leicester in the League Cup he played out wide, but we all know he prefers playing in central midfield, and I’m sure he will eventually get his opportunity.
There’s no denying he was average against The Foxes. He looked well off the pace and just didn’t give the Reds the drive they needed. His end product, whether in front of goal or a simple cross, left a lot to be desired, his first touch was poor and he gave the ball away far too easily.
I’m sure he would be the first to admit he didn’t have his best game at Leicester, but let’s just settle down and have some patience.
It is mad to see some supporters go from happy with Klopp for completing this piece of business on deadline day to labelling him a waste of money one full start later.
When looking at Oxlade-Chamberlain going into the future, I like what we have. Put aside that Leicester performance, he will be at Anfield for many years to come.
He comes across as the type of fella that will give his all for the club and be pushing to improve all the time. He seems to have this love for the club when you hear him in interviews, and I love that.
Too many in modern football come in and are happy to go about it the easy way, you get the sense it won’t be like that when it comes to Oxlade-Chamberlain.
From what we have seen from him at Arsenal, he looks as if he’s the type of player that will benefit from a consistent run in the side. Some players need to be playing consistently and while he may not get that right now, he will in the future.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was one of the shining lights at Arsenal last season finishing with six goals and 11 assists in all competitions. Being involved in 17 goals is a fair effort for someone that played a large portion of the season at wing back.
Fans need to take into account that he’s been at the club for only a few weeks. Coming into a new environment is never easy, but it seems that some supporters fail to see that.
There’s a whole new approach and system to learn as Klopp has pointed out, and the more time he’s at Anfield the better the understanding will be.
People allude to the fact he has not improved under Arsene Wenger for a number of years, and that’s probably true. Now though, he’s playing for someone that will get the best out of him. Just have a look at the improvement in certain individuals playing at Liverpool during Klopp’s tenure.
Adam Lallana is the standout. Here was a player before Klopp arrived that showed glimpses of class, but struggled for consistency. When Klopp came in, you saw a player that was revitalised.
He successfully turned him into a central midfielder last season despite normally playing in a front three earlier in his career, and he flourished. He was creating and scoring goals, and getting more goals in his game was a massive criticism of Lallana before Klopp arrived.
It’s one of many examples, and it’s why I have confidence Oxlade-Chamberlain will be a better player under the German.
Say what you want about Klopp, but he’s the right man going forward, and his ability to improve players such as Oxlade-Chamberlain is one reason why.
The last thing Oxlade-Chamberlain needs is to be put down every time he makes a mistake. He comes across as a confidence player and the backing of the supporters will be crucial in him gaining that.
So before you all jump on social media venting about the mistakes he makes, think about it, he’s only new to the club and still has time of his side at 24 years of age. Just give him a chance to succeed without making judgements this early on in his career at Liverpool.
We all feel a bit down at the minute, but we still need to get behind the players. Up The Reds.
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