Liverpool 1 Everton 1: Jürgen Klopp’s Rotation Leads To Anfield’s Frustration

LIVERPOOL did not lose that game of football, but like the Chelsea game it feels like it. Like the Chelsea game there were surprises in the selection and, as a result of a disappointing result, the selection is now questioned. This is the reality and the manager accepts it.

I’m not against rotation, in fact it is clearly necessary, but we seem to be doing a hell of a lot if it. In fact the numbers show we are on 20-plus changes more than our rivals. More than necessary? It does feel a bit like that.

Only an injury crisis should see a young striker who has yet to score for Liverpool lead the line in a Merseyside derby, yet it happened today with Roberto Firmino on the bench and Daniel Sturridge missing entirely. The midfield that played so well in the 7-0 win in midweek was missing completely. The change at left back was the only one forced.

It feels like something has got in Jürgen Klopp’s head over all this. Probably the January last season where we looked shattered. Possibly the criticism from many, including “some Dutch fitness guy” that he runs his players into the ground. But it seems mad we have gone from one extreme to another.

I always worry when managers seem to be making decisions that are too heavily based on sports science rather than football. Only that can explain the substitutions to me. Surely taking off your two best attacking players and leaving on the two not performing must have been pre-determined decisions. They can’t have been a reflection of what the manager could see with his eyes. What was needed to win that game of football.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 10, 2017: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton, the 229th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Managers can’t become obsessed with the future to the detriment of now. Especially when football fans live so relentlessly in the now. Right now you wonder what we are saving some of these players for. West Brom? April when we might have nothing to play for? The World Cup when they are all playing for someone else?

I’ve seen comments that “If Mane squares it,” or “If Lovren doesn’t put his arms up,” we win and the manager is lauded. But we shouldn’t need ifs and buts playing against such a poor Everton side. Luck shouldn’t come into it. Liverpool playing at 80 per cent of Wednesday steamrolls that side. Instead Jordan Pickford doesn’t have to wash his kit tonight. A lack of cohesion in attack coming from lads who didn’t know each other’s game.

My Evertonian friends used to make fun of me for my love of Rafa Benitez. They would list his faults, his strange decisions and his bad buys and I’d say “Yeah, but he wins his big games and he beats yous”.

We’re on a journey with Klopp and it’s a huge amount of fun. I think he has a better chance of winning a league title for Liverpool than Rafa did and there is still plenty of reasons to be positive even now. But some points are bigger than others.

Winning your big games and beating The Blues buys you time to complete your journey. Jürgen needs to remember that when picking his teams. Some points are worth more than others.

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  1. I find it difficult to lay the blame foe this result at Klopp’s door. The side he picked totally dominated the game. Mane and perhaps Lovren were at the scene of the xrim for the two moments which ultimately led to Liverpool not taking all 3 points and looking completely comfortable and both of them are members of our best 11. The referee decision was incredibly harsh. If mane squares that ball just before half time it is 100% game over.

    • I’m with this.

      When the team news broke I’m fully behind John’s point but seeing how they played and dominated the game (full of energy with Everton being run ragged just to keep the score down) I think it’s really harsh to criticise. Sometimes you don’t get the result your performance deserves and that is the case here.

      Bigger picture, we’re in fourth and one point closer to the 2nd and 3rd placed teams. Onwards and upwards.

  2. I agree that luck shouldn´t come into it. Klopp talks about making the “right decisions in a given situation.” Clearly Mane and Lovren chose incorrectly but this can be corrected and learned from……..Mane most likely has learnt but Lovren…….that´s another story.

  3. Redderthan Red

    Klopp was at fault all day long Raffa used to do our heads in with this rotation thing but let’s leave rotation for now. Dominance of the ball does not equal success that much is clear from this game so that must be put to bed.
    But let’s look at the real problem here, poor players, how many more times do we have to endure Lovren the lad is an accident waiting to happen Calvert Lewin is not going anywhere with that ball he was even going to fall down anyway but Lovren gives the lad a reason to fall down by actually putting his hand on him some are calling it soft but that is stupidity right there Klopp is jumping all over this because he brought Luvvie back from the dead after the Wembley debacle give him another six games and a new error will rear it’s ugly head. Henderson my goodness the lad is so poor on the ball it’s unbelievable it’s only an idiot who will try to compare him with Stevie and I make no apologies for that statement there are others but I’ll leave them for another day. Now the manager he has unfortunately been caught in a web where he says he can turn poor players into world class players so he has to stand by that instead of concentrating on bringing quality to win us something he is practising alchemy it took me just two months to realise gegenpressing in its original form would not work it took Klopp one season after slowing it down and getting it right he discovers wholesale changes to start messing it all over again God help us.

    • Mate, it’s 5 wins and 2 draws in our last 7.

      17 points from 21

      Agreed, we should have battered the blues and there are question marks over Dejan and Mane’s decision making at crucial moments, but overall we’re a team that’s going well at the moment.

      Can’t believe the way some of the fans are losing their heads.

      • 100% spot on

      • redderthan red

        what does 17 points from 21 amount to? is that the league won, 27 years mate 27 fucking years we have been waiting, no time to be pissing about with shit players and whole sale rotation too much experimenting by Klopp he is taking too long to suss out this league, how long now has Lovren been a liability, Henderson is our captain, are we serious, now that I see you love statistics go take a look at the table and come and tell me how many points we are off top place, attitudes like this is keeping us back, Klopp needs to feel the heat to deliver, he is sitting too pretty, Conte won the league but see how much pressure he has, Klopp took us to two finals we have nothing to show for it, what happens he gets a new contract, we need to start keeping people on their toes.
        Good day.

        • First things first: We were never winning the league this year. Neither are Chelsea. Or Spurs. Only team that had an outside sniff was United, and they bottled that on Sunday as well.

          It doesn’t make things easier to accept, but in terms of winning things, there’s a real argument that Spartak was a much bigger game than Everton. I’d rather take our chances rotating in a game (where we had 79% possession) against the Blues than risk not advancing in Europe. After all, now that we have a favorable draw, who knows what could happen after Quarters….

          Of course, we all want the league title. But that’s not the hill to die on this year. Klopp knows that too! And in the meantime, he’s trying to bring in the best replacement (not just any) for Lovren so that we might someday have a real shot at the league. The VVD thing just happened to backfire in the summer.

        • You’ve completely lost the plot mate, Liverpool aren’t even in the conversation for winning the league. You’re deluded if you think that we are, just because you’ve been “waiting for 27 years” and think we’re entitled to be up there because of our history. It’s embarrassing.

          Accept that we are miles behind City, and so is every other team in the league.

  4. I said at half time on Wednesday I’d like to see Salah, Firmino and Coutinho come off, so it’s not hindsight. If he didn’t want to make 3 changes he could have made 2. Again, I questioned Solanke’s inclusion before the game. Regardless of his potential he hasn’t scored for us. I could see his point. They were always going to defend deep and I still think we need a number 9 for games like this. We have to rotate. Firmino can’t play 50 plus games. Our squad would feel more complete if we had one. We didn’t beat Everton, Newcastle or Burnley and we can add Utd to that. They’re all teams who defended deep. I just don’t think Solanke is that man for this season. I’m intrigued to know where Sturridge was. If he has no future then I’m ok with that but he’s a better option than Ings today. I just hope there’s a reason he was missing and believe there must be. Again, I was left asking questions about the midfield and I’ve said a thousand times, Lovren is a good player but doesn’t have a brain. I’m disappointed at the minute so possibly being a bit harsh but this team is nearly good enough to challenge for the lot. We still need more in the spine in my opinion if we’re to go up to the final level where we win the league. Regarding the midfield, I thought a good team like Chelsea walked through us at will. We won’t know how the City game may have panned out but even before the red I thought they were winning the midfield. Overall though, this comment is a reflection of how, in my opinion, our good results are used as justification for everything. We’re still not at the level we could be with a few tweaks and today’s result reflected that.

    • Hi Robin agree with you.

      7-0 against Spartak and we couldn’t even muster a second goal against a supposedly shit side.

      Not sure why Ings and not Sturridge.

      For me it’s not having a response for 17 minutes against a crap side that is disappointing again.

      It wasn’t a sucker punch last minute goal.

      Oh well… on to the next game.

  5. Klop has this frustrating tendency of over thinking games. This was a simple home game with a team that we knew was going to sit deep why leave your best weapons for such a game. He must take the blame for lost points. His substitutions are late and reactive. I thought he was going to bring Firmino and Coutinho at half time. We are sick of this self inflicted “losses” someone must tell Klop that.

    • Any disappointing result boils straight down to Klopp? They played great against bus parkers. People like you, just know an awful lot about football and I reckon played it on a club level half of their youth to come up with such… insights.

    • We didn’t lose did we? That’s something I cannot grasp. Nowadays a draw = a defeat if it is LFC. Take Neil Atkinson’s summary as a keynote and ffs, stop looking for someone to ‘blame’. We have only genuinely lost 2 league games this season and we are the best of the rest i would say…..

      • Take a look at the games we’ve drawn that we should have won.
        Add up those dropped points and add them to our total points for the season and see where we really should be sitting in the league.
        If we are serious about winning the title we need to maximum points from these games.
        It’s great being back in the CL but to me and many others it’s simply a means to an end that end being winning the title.
        Players could have and should have been rested for West Brom. We need to be playing our best available team against the likes of Chelsea and Everton.

        • football games get drawn. It happens. There is a reason we are 4th and right with Chelsea, Arsenal and on the tail of United – they drop points as well.

          Where you think we should be is fantasy. Where we are is the reality – ticking along at almost 2 PPG which got us CL last season and with a side that should be stronger as we go into the second half.

        • Yes they do get drawn, so why make it more likely to happen by playing weakened teams against opposition like Chelsea and Everton?
          We are we are is correct, the point is we don’t have to be.
          It’s hard enough to compete for the title in this league so why make it harder for ourselves by playing weakened teams against the likes of Chelsea, another title chasing opponent?
          Why hamstring ourselves in these games before we’ve kicked a ball?

  6. Pierre Head

    Spot on, Robin.
    This team is very close but changes are needed in replacing Mingnolet, Lovren and Henderson with better quality.
    Solanke is too raw and should have gone off around 60 mins.
    I like Robertson and think he can be our number 1 LB. Ox also showed his talent today.
    Apparently Sturridge was injured as I would have played him as he always scores or creates against them.
    Watched Van Dijk in the am game and he completely missed Giroid for the equalizer.

    • VVD is the not the solution to our defensive problems.

      If anything VVD will come hyped up and more pressure piled on him or any CB, for defensive weaknesses we have had since before Klopp. We are supposed to defend as a team like Klopp says and wants but it doesn’t always happen that way.

      I’m worried that the day we play a side that knows how to beat our defense, the Spartak game will be a distant memory then.

    • Henderson is a strange one. I’ve argued with everyone about him for years. About how good he is, how important to us and even how good a captain he is. This last month I’m really not sure anymore. I’ve always know how bad he was at shooting and set pieces and I don’t think his crosses are that good either. No pace on them. All floated. I could get a highlight reel where he looks one of the best midfielders on the planet. He’s played some sublime balls and crosses but I’m starting to look deeper at him now. It was watching England games that planted seeds of doubt in me. Everyone on the Review show says how it’s the hardest position to play in a Klopp team etc etc but for me that only excuses him in his role. I’ve got concerns about when he’s on the ball and at the heart of those concerns is he’s not a brilliant footballer. To put that clearer, I think he’d be one of the star players in any club below the top 6 but I don’t think any of the others in the top 6 would make a move for him if we offered him. Not convinced his ceiling is high enough any more.

  7. What pisses me off is when we don’t win theres a great fucking song and dance. The knives come out and someone has to take the fucking blame. It happens. Move on. Believe me the 1970s and 80s teams had worse days than today.

    • Yes you’re half right Joe, but those 70s and 80s teams also won the coveted trophies so they were given a larger room for error.

      These days half the time it’s the hype or trash talking of the opposition after a few wins that gets fans thinking we’re in the clear to hammer anyone and worse off the “can-win” games as opposed to the “must-win” games ends up in disappointment due to basic errors by team or manager.

  8. “A lack of cohesion in attack coming from lads who didn’t know each other’s game.“ – totally agree John.
    To me, that was Jürgen’s main error today. We got Salah primarily as an alternative to support CFM directly on the pitch or having the 4th option if any 1 of 4 injured/suspended. While all are fit, he must play at least 3 at all times, subbing them then when damage is done. Solanke and Ings I like, but today wasn’t a day to be using them unless the points were in the bag, Peter

  9. Liverpool Red

    Mane square ball, Lovren penalty. Would be nice if Henderson could keep a shot down. I thought for all our dominance, the buildup was too slow at times. Hopefully next game will be better.

  10. I am trying to get behind the rotation even though it means we often don’t play what is obviously our best team, because it needs to be done with the amount of games we have and because we have still managed impressive wins even with heavy rotation. Nevertheless, when I looked at the lineup today I just didn’t get it. Surely you play your best players for the biggest matches like the derby and if you want to rest them do it in the next game, West Brom at home. People say that the team still dominated and ahould have won but we would likely have been a few goals ahead rather than merely dominated had the missing players been on the pitch. Penalty or no penalty it wouldn’t have mattered, like it didn’t against Brighton because said missing players had given us a comfortable lead by that point. Watching the game I was genuinely shocked at how poor Everton were, they were there for the taking. Yes Lovren was to blame for his latest brain fart to add to an already burgeoning collection and yes so was Mane for his inexplicable decision to shoot when half the team was on his left waiting to pass into an empty net. But the first mistake was the teamsheet and that is at Klopp’s door. The really frustrating part of it is that he seems to have figured out the really hard bit in building this amazing forward line but keeps fluffing his lines on the basics. It’s not rocket science – for your biggest matches play your best players.

  11. Stevie G™

    Oh John, your last line cried out for *all points are equal but some are more equal than others*
    And you – with apologies to Orwell – would be correct.

  12. Selection had f’all to do with the result. Mane was selfish today and Lovren forgot his brain in the locker room. Even if it was no penalty, Lovren was clumsy. Most one-sided Merseyside derby ever, I guess.

  13. The first half was the most dominant display I’ve seen us put in since Watford at home last season. Absolutely schellacked them. I’m holding Mane accountable for this one all day long, not Klopp. 2-0 at half time and the game is dusted, they have to come out second half and we obliterate them. What’s more he could have laid it on a plate for Solanke to get off the mark after some nice play in the build up, terrible decision. At 1-0 there is always a chance of a mistake, in this case by the referee, can’t believe he fell for that one.

  14. As much as I love Klopp, I have to say this: Klopp threw this match away.
    Yes the players wasted way too many chances, but the manager should not have taken his top scorer who kept 3 defenders occupied off for a free flowing forward like Firmino.
    You are winning 1-0, so bring in Firmino and Coutinho to deliver another goal, then Can instead of Henderson to put the game to bed.
    Stop worrying about the month of December !

    • Salah was tiring quickly and becoming less effective. He has also played a lot of matches recently and will be important in the upcoming ones too. I know he has been in great form but he can’t play every minute of every game otherwise he will get injured, and come Christmas time everyone will be complaining that we didn’t rotate and Klopp burns his players out just like last year.

      It wasn’t a penalty, I don’t care what Carragher says. He can do one, the way he keeps undermining the fan base’s confidence in our defence. Klopp had every right to think that 1-0 was enough as they offered absolutely nothing go forward (they couldn’t even get the ball).

  15. How many times are we going to have to put up with schoolboy mistakes at the back from Lovren? Had he just stood up , and not invited the fall, and therefore the decision from the ref, we would have cruised to a 1-0 victory and no one would be talking about the starting line up or the substitutions. Even had we started our strongest team, there is no guarantee that we score more.. but in Lovren, there is always a mistake waiting to happen.. Soft penalty? YES, but also a totally needless one from a proven liability..

  16. Klop is crazy you cant leave your best players on a derby like did not work against chelsea why repeating it?? I think he is unfit to manage Liverpool we have very good players that can win every game but his team selection should be questioned

  17. Whatever the initial selected team was we were still one, and should’ve been two, up by half time – that’s perfectly acceptable going into the second half against a team camping in their own half. It was the decisions made after the break – by both manager and players – that led to the unwanted outcome. Bemusing substitutions, poor finishing and questionable defending in the second half had more impact on the result than the choice of starting eleven, a selection that had managed to dominate the game and make a breakthrough against a completely defensive Everton.

  18. Honestly amazing we’re literally the only team in world football that’s not allowed to change the side. Last year we change the side to let Daniel carry us through a couple games, he does piss all, but it’s Klopps fault, not that Daniel is done. This year he picks a couple teams that spurn chances, get horrible pens called against, still get points, and it’s klopps fault. It’s honestly amazing.

    • Most people are not against rotation. It makes sense to rest your players every now and then. The problem is Klopp seems to have gone from one extreme to the other as Gibbo pointed out. He barely rotated last season, now he is doing it way too much.

      He has now made almost 60 changes to his starting line up this season. That is 20 more than any other manager in the league!

      The derby is always a big deal. Play more of your top players in it and the win can be wrapped up early enough to rest them. Everton were pure shite but it still smacked of arrogance to not play at least 3 of the ‘fab four’ from the start.

      I am actually more annoyed with the fact that he subbed off Salah for Firmino at 1 nil. Firmino should have been coming on for Solanke, to complement Salah in attack. Instead we took off our most dangerous player when the game was still in the balance.

      • 5 wins, 2 draws in the last 7 games. Why do you think Klopp is rotating “way too much”.

        Btw, the last time we won 7-0 we hardly rotated at all for the next game against Spurs – how did that work out?

        • Paddy, you’re one of the few people here talking sense. The way heads have fallen off is ridiculous.

          Us all losing our heads is what is making that point all the more sweet for the blues.

          Point gained on 2nd and 3rd ffs, you can’t win every game.

        • he hasn’t had a squad to rotate fully until now.

    • Nonsense JB.
      We are officially the most rotated side in the league.
      Everyone I know is behind rotation but you don’t play weakened teams against Chelsea or Everton.
      There are teams that are better to that against and West Brom is one of them.

  19. Unlucky. Move on. Problem is we did waste some opportunities earlier in the season and now maybe need to overperform a little. Bad luck is the opposite of what we need to drag ourselves up to 2ppg and beyond and stay there. Need another two wins and a draw in our next three games now (Arsenal away being the draw). The lads have been doing well for a while now, keep it up!

    Annoying how the ref doesn’t give free kicks for fouls in midfield and then gives that soft pen. He’s thinking “context, context, context” all game and suddenly “I won’t be seen as someone who bows to a narrative and shall give this pen whether that was a foul or not”. The absolute fkn gobshite.

  20. I’m upbeat about our team. Result feels like a loss but hey it’s a point gained. We have a really good squad at the moment. Add in VVD and Keita, we’ll then have a great squad. Lovren is just not good enough. I’m behind Klopp and his rotation. All the guys are getting a run out which is great for all concerned. It means they know they every chance of playing and that will spur them on in training. I’m proud of our team so far. We play proper football, even with the rotation policy. UpTheReds!!

    • Lovren did nothing wrong yesterday. No way he could do anything about the lad stepping right across him. If their lad actually goes with the ball he’s 2 yards in front of Lovren and facing away from goal – that’s a good defensive position for me. But he didn’t, he played for and won a penalty.

      I mean, what else should he have done? Given their lad the freedom of the penalty area in a 1 on 1 situation just to avoid this bollocks about giving the ref a decision to make?

  21. henderson next to milner is the most immaginative midfield duo in the top 6 sides,

  22. Can anyone explain why Solanke was picked to start? The lad is nowhere near ready to be starting big games for Liverpool having never scored or even looked like scoring for us.

  23. i have no problem with the rotation ,but solanke….. then ings???what am i missing ???is sturridge injured, was firmino not taken off early in order for him to be fresh for this game , milner and henderson dont offer much when pushing for a winner either, the latter is actually a liability when he gets into the final third, one of them should have being subsituted for coutinho nt the ox and this isnt reactive i was calling for that to happen even before the penalty as i thought can or gini would be introduced to bring more quality to that sideways thinking duo

  24. The criticism of the substitutions seems more justifiable than that of the selection. It seems like nobody picked up on the fact that Coutinho took a whack and was hobbling midweek, then missed training. So it made sense to be cautious with him. It’s not as if Everton stopped us scoring, stopped us creating a sitter to go 2-0, or even tried to get back in the game in the second half.

  25. Aizaz Izzat

    If we end up finishing 2nd this season, I still believe some of our supporters are going to have a moan about that.
    As for Klopp and rotating. I think fans who blame him should really learn to chill. You say that the front four should have played. I say even those front four would have missed these chances. And don’t tell me otherwise because you have no way of knowing.

    How in the world is mane not squaring the ball Klopp’s fault
    How in the world is salah missing an open header on an excellent cross Klopp’s fault
    How in the world is mane missing on a really good ball from the ox Klopp’s fault

    How in the world is the midfield selection bad. We weren’t over run, we weren’t out played, we weren’t out anything’d. In fact everton were so insignificant in this match that we scored our goal and gave them theirs. Not from open play or a set piece but a pen that really shouldn’t have been.
    4th in the league , right on the tail of 3rd and 2nd.

    Last i checked there were 16 other teams that would kill to be where we are and 2 teams and two teams looking nervously behind their shoulders.

    And for those who think Klopp has no clue, do you realize just how much harder the league has gotten int the past two years. While i have respect for Rodgers and other previous managers. I know who i’d prefer at the helm during these times.

  26. JOHN , its allowed to question JK, (despite other comments) as I believe he gets (germanic) fixation on a system and lacks the spontaneous reaction.. (see his subs & selections) … rightly sees the need to rotate, but, for me, in the wrong games, not against rivals (i,.e those currently above Lfc in the table) and NOT in a derby game which , you rightly state is more than just points! … good article , yes I am a “Rafafan” ha ha!

    JK dropped 4 points this week , maybe one of those days will happen from time to time, but has really got to show that “we have learned” and not keep saying “all good” ..not yet it isnt, but it could be!
    there is intelligence @ TAW, after all!

  27. .. JOHN ,
    its allowed to question JK, (despite other comments) as I believe he gets (germanic) fixation on a system and lacks the spontaneous reaction.. (see his subs & selections) … rightly sees (some) need to rotate, but, for me, in the wrong games, not against rivals (i,.e those currently above Lfc in the table) and NOT in a derby game which , you rightly state is more than just points! … good article , yes I am a “Rafafan” ha ha!

    JK dropped 4 points this week , maybe one of those days will happen from time to time, but has really got to show that “we have learned” and not keep saying “all good” ..not yet it isnt, but it could be!
    there is intelligence @ TAW, after all!

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