WOULDN’T it be great if The Reds just went and won all their games of football?
Wouldn’t it make all of this so much easier, make all of us so much happier? It goes without saying that doing this is a lot easier said, by meffs like me, than done (unless your team is managed by Pep Guardiola, apparently).
So if The Reds can’t win all their games, wouldn’t it be great if they won enough of them to achieve something, some combination of a top four league finish, a run in Europe and maybe a cup to raise in the air?
It’s that dream that Jürgen Klopp and his Liverpool team are currently chasing; to win enough games and accrue enough points to achieve something this season. And it’s that dream that was hampered, however temporarily, by the 1-1 with Everton in the derby on Sunday.
The fact that Liverpool didn’t win on Sunday and didn’t win while also not playing their strongest team, has gotten the backs up of some fans. Some are frustrated that Klopp rotated out two of our most dangerous attackers, as well two of our more dynamic midfield options, despite playing them in the 7-0 stroll against Spartak Moscow and with West Brom to come midweek.
The frustrations are fair enough, and totally justifiable. It’s the second time in short order that Klopp has rotated players for a big game at Anfield, and the previous time only garnered a 1-1 draw also. More than that, this wasn’t just another game, not just another rival rocking up to Anfield. The derby will always be the game that the fans want to win most. As such, they will always demand Liverpool’s best team and their utmost effort.
As fans, we want Liverpool to beat Everton more than any other team. But then we still want The Reds to win the game after, and the game after, and every game until the end of time. As much as we can look to the medium and long term, as fans we are dictated by what we want in the short term. Into these Reds, smash them and let’s worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
The problem is that Klopp and his team don’t just have to worry about the short term, or the medium term, or the long term, but all three at once, all the time. While we get to the end of November, size up the fixture list and puff our cheeks out at the ridiculous relentlessness, Klopp has been losing sleep over it since July.
While on derby day the fans bay for Bluenose blood, Klopp has to balance the importance of Merseyside bragging rights with the fact that the two games league games against Everton will offer the same amount of league points as any other fixture this season. When we complain that Klopp is resting players with only West Brom to come, he’s worrying about having his lads at their best for February 14 in Porto.
It is worth remembering that on New Year’s Eve last year, Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 to go top of the league. A combination of injuries, fatigue and the African Nations Cup saw the wheels fall off our season over the next month and The Reds had to hunker down for a war of attrition to make the top four.
Avoiding that collapse has clearly been on Klopp’s mind from the start of this season. Sunday brought the number of changes the manager has made to his starting 11 to 59 for Premier League games this season. Despite this chopping and changing, The Reds are two points off third in the league and have topped their Champions League group.
Of course, it’s incredibly frustrating for The Reds to only take a point from a game they dominated so totally. If Dejan Lovren does not give away that penalty, Everton would not have scored if the game had gone on until midnight. If Sadio Mane squares that ball, we wouldn’t even have to discuss Lovren (again).
Such ifs and buts are no comfort, and certainly aren’t worth any league points, but such is the randomness of football. That rabble in blue are the only side in England to take points off Manchester City this season. Shit happens, go figure.
The true context of drawing 1-1 at home with possibly the worst side to come to Anfield this season (along with Manchester United) will only be revealed at the end of the season. If we come to do end of season reviews with Liverpool in the top four, having had a belt in Europe and possibly with a cup for the cabinet, a point at home against The Ev will look very nice, thank you very much. If we’re looking back at a sixth-place finish and another wasted season, glances will be exchanged and voices may be raised.
But that is not for us to worry about right now. That is Klopp’s job. It’s his job to chase the dream of finding a way to get those lads in red to win as many games of football as possible. Rotating players and playing the long game is a part of finding that way. All we have to worry about is the next game, the next team, the next win.
Into these, Reds.
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Rotation had nothing to do with the result. It was the blinding self-interest of Mane that led to the result. Finally the Everton penalty was wily played for, and succeeded , by a skillful dive.
no, it was a poor hit from Mane not self-interest for me. I have no issues with him backing himself from 8 yards out – none at all.
Agree that it was Mane and also Lovren who ruined our afternoon. The penalty was for me. Klopp should have replaced Mane not Salah though, but that’s the only thing we can say about Klopp this time. Come on we were playing v Everton and not the best team in the premier so we had enough quality on the pitch to win that game.
Salah felt his hamstring. You, me, the Wrap obviously couldn’t have known but it makes all the complaining look silly. Is there any point in speculation, reviews and “analysis” with only half the info? Of course there is, but I do hope people take this kind of possibility into account when they’re loudly criticizing the managers decicions.
I have in my mind to wait until after the Burnley game (when this silly run of games ends) and see where we are, see how many injuries we have and compare to the other teams in the top 6 before making any judgements on this rotation.
Beat City last New Years Eve to go 2nd
Surely anyone going into the derby would think that energy and hard work would be needed. It’s always high octane, high pace, lots of chasing and harrying. More than any other game we play, the derby is the one that you just peg round like lunatics for.
So while we’d all have Coutinho and Firmino in the team, if they had missed training or were showing signs of being a bit leggy it makes some sense that this wouldn’t be the game for them and maybe fresher legs would be best.
You could well start them and hope things are going well so you can take them off, but this is Everton and there’s every chance a player or two will get clattered and stretchered off.
Anyway, get maximum points from the next three games and all will be forgotten.
Every man and his dog could have told you how Everton were gonna set up for this game under Alardyce. They were gonna sit deep and hopefully pick something up from a break, set piece or individual error. That’s means it was up to us to break them down. We had to find a way thru their 2 lines of defence at their box. So who do we have in the team to do just a thing? Coutinho and Firmino or Solanke and Ox?
I can just imagine Sam and his teams collective faces when he sees the team sheet on Sunday there. The teamsheet itself would provide motivation for the Everton players. Stick it up on the dressing rom wall. “Liverpool reckon they can beat us by resting players here lads, we’ll show ’em!”
I’m sure Williams was rubbing his hand with glee when he saw Solankes name on the team sheet instead of Firminos.
I’m all for rotation, but rotation at the right times, not against Chelsea or Everton. Last season we suffered because we wouldn’t/couldn’t rotate and now we’ve went to the other extreme where we are officially the most rotated team in the league. We won 7-0 midweek previously. We were 4 up after 50mins. Was that not the opportunity to “rotate” players knowing we have the derby at the weekend? We play West Brom in a coupla days, we coulda rotated then again and perhaps started with the likes of Milner and Ox. West Brom aren’t gonna be up for it as much as Everton are for a derby.
Chelsea and Arsenal slipped up at the weekend and instead of pulling away from them we gave them a “get outta jail free card”.
Klopp wants the fans to create this electric atmosphere on match day but then puts out weakened side against our city rivals Everton and our top of the table rivals Chelsea. Can’t have it both ways.
Fans will understand rotated/weakened sides against the like of West Brom, Hammers, Swansea etc. That’s when ya give yer players a break, not against direct rivals.
Your analysis isn’t quite correct. Truth be told, Klopp is overrated. The reason why Liverpool isn’t topping the epl table is klopp. Forget about wether the team is two points adrift top three, series of blunders, misjudgments, inability to read games, inability to effect proper subs and refusal to get lovren and Klavan sold out, buy top goalie, among others have been klopp’s weaknesses and Liverpool’s undoing. Thereto, we don’t even have a great Captain who can motivate and dish out instructions to other players on what to do. Henderson is just too average, even skill-wise for a club of Liverpool size.
With the way the match played out Liverpool would win 70-80 percent of the time. Fact is the rotated team dominated the match so it looks like the right call to me. Never a penalty, there was more contact with the front hand on his chest then the one in his back. We have gaining points on everyone besides City so Klopps rotation looks to be doing the trick.
I haven’t seen any evidence that rotation is beneficial. Just an excuse to warehouse players and provide them with enough game time to keep them happy. If rotation was beneficial it would regularly apply to every player in world football. It doesn’t. I’ll buy into it when there is absolute proof that it’s beneficial. It’s the biggest myth in modern football in my humble opinion.
but we saw in January last season that lack of rotation can have an adverse impact. So rotation might not provide improvements but what is does is ensure levels don’t drop.
Every leagues different.
Some have less games than the Prem, some have MUCH less games. Some are less intense. Some have a winter break which allows recuperation. Some have a kinder climate which can benefit muscles.
The Prem league and its associated cups plus European football is a LONG slog with no breaks bar the odd international break.
Rotation definitely has its place but must be done right.
As we all know by now, there was a specific injury scare with Salah. And even, if we wouldn’t have known, we could have as least been aware of the fact, that managers got information of slightly higher quality than TV pundits do. I loved it, how John Barnes destroyed Andy Gray!
I can understand Klopps’s frustration after the match. After a fluke goal from Chelsea at Anfield two weeks ago prevented that “weakened side” from taking the points the focus was on rotation. Then a side without Salah and Coutinho win comfortably away at Stoke and a side without Mane and featuring Can and Wijnaldum at CB thumps Brighton away. I think the focus HAD to be on the CL group until that was sewn up. First time in 9 years we have been in knockout stages. The beginning of the end for his predecessor had been failure in the European cup and resting players in that competition. What’s the point in putting all of the work in last season to get into the competition to then rest players in it? We are already playing for top 4 rather than the title this year so resting players in the biggest competition with a view to getting back into it seems madness. Coutinho doesn’t train and perhaps he wasn’t ready. If Salah felt his hamstring he has to come off. Sturridge was unfit and perhaps Klopp had already decided Firmino needed a night off.
The frustrations are understandable as there are any number of games this year where we have been dominant and drawn the game either through stupid defensive errors, refereeing decisions or missed chances. There are at least 8 of those games I can immediately think of. Struggling to think of 1 where we have been lucky and nicked a point while being outplayed or got a winner in an even game. Leicester maybe?
We ARE Everton’s biggest game of the season, it shouldn’t work the other way round. 2 wins this week and the continued fitness and relative freshness of the squad going into Arsenal would completely vindicate the decisions of the manager and put us back on 2 points per game which was the level set last year.
If rotation to this level means we’re dropping points we could be winning then it makes no sense to me. Points aren’t guaranteed later in the season just because we’re dropping them now. January has been overplayed on the fatigue levels. A new narrative has been written. Yes, Firmino and Milner looked tired but there’s sufficient cover for them to not play as many games this season. That doesn’t mean Firmino had to be dropped for the derby for a player who’s never scored. We don’t even have that many games in January. Last season we had to play 2 league cup semi’s and an FA cup reply. 10 games in January. This year we have 5. Last year we had no Matip and no Mane. It meant we found it harder to score and harder to keep the opposition out.
Also, if we look at why January was so bad it wasn’t because of fatigue. Sunderland was possibly due to that but we’d had a huge game 44 hours earlier. That’s quite natural and nothing we do in early December will mitigate that. We played a weakened team v Plymouth that lead to a reply. We played a weakened team v Wolves which led us to go out the cup. We went out the league cup because we didn’t have a goalscorer in the side. They sat back. We couldn’t break them down as is often the case v Saints. We played well v Utd for the 1-1 draw. We played ok v Chelsea for the 1-1. Did Mignolet let that goal in because he was tired? No, he was too busy thinking about his wall. Then we had our only league defeat which was Swansea. The 3 goals they scored at Anfield were atrocious defending, not fatigue. Then, into February our confidence was low. We only played 3 games. We battered Spurs but gifted Leicester and Hull the game. Again, the goals were atrocious. Letting the ball bounce over your head as a centre half is not fatigue. Spilling goals from corners isn’t. Lucas is not a centre half. Vardy was far too good for him. No, the reason for our poor run was lack of squad depth and not in terms of being able to rotate. It’s in terms of weak teams for the cup games and no cover for players at the ACN or not playing because they should have been at the ACN.
The bottom line being it was a stupid decision to play Firmino for 75 mins v Spartak and rest v Everton. He could have missed tonight. Firmino is fit. He played too much last year but only missed 1 game through injury. I don’t buy that he could have got injured had he played. It’s just excuses because people can’t bring themselves to say Klopp let us down at the weekend.
In 2 years dietary information may be made available and these same people who now use sport science as a justification for everything will be saying ‘oh Firmino had a roast dinner on Sunday, we can’t risk him for Wednesday’ Klopp is right to leave him out.
Not rotating doesnt guarantee points either. We are in our best run of the season now and rotation has been more frequent than earlier on the season when we were winning less.