WE’LL get to the young lad.
Liverpool picked a team who looked like they had never played together before. Wolverhampton Wanderers picked a team who knew exactly what their jobs were.
God, could you tell. In the first half especially, you could tell. Barely a single Liverpool player had a sense where another one was, barely a single Liverpool player out of possession had any sense what a Liverpool player in possession was going to do.
Old truths made sense, what you grow up with; Divock Origi hitting channels and doing bits, James Milner splitting the centre halves. Rafa Camacho backed himself and his teammates but he was virtually alone in that.
We’ll get to the young lad.
The truth of the matter was the footballers with many senior appearances disappointed with the three behind Origi the worst offenders. Daniel Sturridge, Xherdan Shaqiri – one exceptional freekick aside – and Naby Keita offered far too little in both halves but especially the first.
All three have mitigating circumstances, and the freekick wizard has earned a pass, but it should be concerning for them and their manager how little they were able to influence proceedings when they were centre stage to do exactly that. It was an opportunity to demand selection against Brighton, but for all the mitigation in the world only Shaqiri can knock on the manager’s door on Monday morning if he doesn’t get time at the Amex.
The opening goal is a pig’s ear. James Milner looked to be playing all the dots on Football Manager up to the halfway line first half, and earns the assist for the goal in the second, but he should do better in the situation he finds himself in. He shouldn’t be put there.
Alberto Moreno puts him in all sorts of bother and before we know where we are Raul Jimenez is bearing down on Simon Mignolet’s goal and the Belgian does loads of sensible things. I mean that as a criticism. Raul Jimenez does loads of sensible things too and he is the one in possession of a goalscoring opportunity.
We’ll get to the young lad.
Wolves, in truth, were just sense all game. Sense and size and a big switch. They never went for the throat, they never tried to dominate, they never capitalised on opportunities. If anything, this should be the most damming thing for the senior members of this Liverpool team.
They trusted they could hold Liverpool at arm’s length and they waited for mistakes and they were right on both counts. Wolves played like the team they are — last season’s Championship winners and this season’s best of the rest.
Even the introduction of the boss lads didn’t rattle them, not least because they funnelled where the boss lads could get on the ball. Liverpool played into Wolves’s hands time and again, Willy Boly getting a second half entirely on his terms.
Boly may not have been the best centre back on the night. Fabinho excelled there for The Reds. He was Liverpool’s outstanding performer and — along with the endlessly thinking and grafting Milner, goalscorer Origi and the effervescent Camacho — he can go to sleep tonight feeling like he produced what was required.
There is another sense where the again impressive Boly may not prove to be the best centre back on the night. Shall we talk about the young lad now?
What were you doing when you were 16?
Take the question seriously. Pause and consider it and please don’t give it the big one. Whatever you were doing, Ki-Jana Hoever has just done that.
In fact, forget that; Hoever’s best work, most precocious work, doesn’t come tonight but comes in the days and weeks leading up to it. He has been at Melwood working with some of the world’s best and has been good enough for them to have him on the bench tonight and urge him forward.
There will be some who will think along the lines of “well 16-year-olds have no fear”. Firstly, defenders have to have fear. They have to make an uneasy peace with fear, acknowledge it exists, live in it but defeat it time and again.
Secondly — trust me — when I was 16 I had tons of fear. Was drenched in fear. Coming out of my ears. My job was cleaning show homes and I lived in fear of people working out how terrible I was at it.
There is nothing quite like what we have seen tonight. Play right wing and get lashed on and impress is one thing, but to do so at the heart of the defence is another entirely.
His performance wasn’t perfect — how could it be? But his passing was assured, his positioning almost all fine (until it really wasn’t) and when he sashayed up the pitch in the second half I felt alive more than any other time in the contest.
It was thrilling and exciting, like hearing a great new Lizzo single for the first time. Like realising a snooker player has 10 reds and 10 blacks. Like falling in lust across the bar. It tingled and the purpose of the enterprise was there. To live, but I’ve sung you that song before. You could see the Liverpool players felt the same as they leapt into life, inspired suddenly.
He looks a real player but also some character. A lot can go wrong from here but I am looking forward to seeing him again.
That may not happen for the first team again this season and that is fine. I may not see Curtis Jones who toiled valiantly again either, but I fancy both will be constants in my life for a while.
I will see Rafa Camacho again, and soon hopefully, but won’t see the fourth round of the FA Cup. That is fine in a sense — we have bigger fish to fry — I just wish some of the lads who will need to be part of the fish frying had given me a little more reason to wish to see them in action on Saturday.
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I’m gutted. Actually thought klopp would give it a go. We don’t play until Saturday. Two kids yes, but moreno and Simon, their time is up. All the other top clubs took it seriously, although truth be told we had the hardest fixture on paper. Another reason to play the bigger guns.. And now look who wolves got.. Could have been our year.. We better win the league now.. Klopp’s Cup competition away results are not pretty reading either..
I understand we have to support our players but either Camacho was given terrible tactical instructions or just chose to ignore the defensive side of his game.
He was pretty terrible all game, unable to find a single player in red and the cherry top was a 40 yard shot with his weaker foot when we were putting the pressure on.
Glad you can write about this nondescript game, but then it’s your job Neil.
These days the FA and league cups are for bleeding the youngsters in the academy. It’s better this way unless you have depth like City and Chelsea.
Problem is now Klopp has invited more pressure on him and the team to win the next 5 matches in a row.
Best part for me about the game was seeing flashes of Hoever and Curtis. 2 out of 3 youngsters showing up may not be that bad.
Loved seeing Origi try and get his goal.
The rest I will just put it down to too many changes and Wolves deserved to go through. For them the league is not a priority nor is the Champions League. That’s quite a handful.
Hope the rest of the 1st team get proper rest, because Brighton are no mugs nor are the rest of the 4 four teams we have to beat to stay in the running as leaders.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff on Twitter from our fans tonight that I can’t really disagree with.
An inexperienced side full of kids got beat away at a very good PL side with experience and familiarity.
All that is true, but it doesn’t sit right with me from the manager, unfortunately.
Naming that XI tonight speaks volumes. It says “I don’t care about winning this match.”
I’m not too bothered about the Cup as a competition. Like the rest of us, all of my thoughts go into the big one, with a few left over for the European one. But I am bothered about Liverpool winning matches, and losing two of them in a row has bothered me.
If we win at Brighton I’ll forget about it and it won’t bother me. But aside from last year, we’ve had really shite Januarys under Klopp. I’ve told myself a lot hinges upon January this season, and so far, so bad.
As I say, win at Brighton – all’s well. But anything other than the 3 – things will suddenly become very, very gloomy.
I agree with pretty much all of that but I guess that’s Klopp’s dilemma for this match. We all want to win but none of us are arsed about the cup. So pick a team to win but don’t pick any of our main lads as we want them in peak form for Brighton! BTW, your point about he needs to win at Brighton having picked a weak team would have been the same if he’d picked our first eleven (i.e. it’s only ok if they come through unscathed and fresh enough to beat Brighton).
Like I said, as a fan I agree with it, but put yourself in Klopp’s shoes and it’s hard to be right unless he wins playing the kids (which was always a big ask given the fixture).
In light of our issues at CB, I think we should look at signing Pepe until the end of the season.
He’s a free agent and the only reason he departed Besiktas early was due to the club’s financial situation and to assist them. He’s proven top quality both at club and international level, and has even contributed goals this season (5 in 17). As a bit-part player, his age is not an issue and his experience is invaluable.
If we’re seriously looking to compete for the title, we cannot afford to have a bad January (like a couple of years back). Bringing in someone like Pepe alongside VVD and in-front of Allison will be more than enough to get us through until Lovren, Matip and Gomez come back.
Not to mention, it would be nice to have some title winning experience in the side. Seems like a no-brainer, cheaper than a transfer if it’s a short term signing!
Given the nine changes Klopp made (ten when Lovren went off) it was all too predictable how Liverpool would perform in this game. With that in mind, I have a simple question:
Considering how Klopp has consistently treated the FA Cup, are we now to accept we will never win the double under his leadership?
Presumably Klopp wants to know we can the league first before thinking about a double. With the competition, it’s not even a given that this excellent LFC 1st team can win the league. So I’m ok with the narrow focus.
Let’s concentrate on winning the EPL and then we can talk about doubles.
Hahaha. If we win the league that will be enough for me. And there is no guarantee for that either.
I agree Stevie. Going to Wembley and Cardiff have given me great times but as somebody who enjoyed the sixties onward the League is the be all and end all. The great Bill Shankly managed us for 15 years and never won the double, so why heap pressure on Jurgen as he attempts to bring number 19 home? As for last night I am not too ar*ed about it, plenty of time to win the FA Cup once we are back on our perch.
Hi Frankie, Just remember the great Bob Paisley never ever won the FA Cup as a manager or player. So if Klopp can mirror Bob’s record, then that will do fine by me.
I am with you on this. So doubles etc. Let’s just win the PL and if we can’t at least get the CL. You can stick the FA Cup straight up the FA’s posterior.
suppose you have to take into account the fact that was the 10th game in 36 days with 2 CB’s out and make some allowances. I’m pretty sure Klopp would like to win the cup but a tough opponent after that run of fixtures doesn’t help, wonder if you’d be asking that question if we’d had a home draw against a Rotherham like City had.
The absolute stupidity of allowing Clyne to go on loan has already been exposed.
@SC From reports in the media, and Jurgen’s own comments Clyne wanted game time and it seemed it was voiced and agreed to way before this match.
Maybe Klopp knows something we don’t, so sit tight and wait to see if our gaffer really is stupid or brilliant over the next five games.
Klopp clearly wasn’t arsed, and neither am I. At the very least, we lost to an entertaining group of upstarts. Losing to a rival or losing to a lower league smash and grab each have the power to rankle, but I’m distinctly unrankled.
Back to the Grail quest. And not soon enough.
Not bothered about the FA Cup. What I am bothered about however is some of those players are an injury or two away from the first team.
That should give you sleepless nights.
I mean ffs, how is Moreno still here? Origi? Mignolet? Even Lovren to a degree, and I’d throw in Matip and Lallana.
All unreliable, all picking up a wage, all pretty much contributing zilch to the cause.
Why we are not out there now, actively scouting and bidding on players to replace this useless lot I’ll never know. And don’t get me started with Clyne. He let Clyne go because we have a 16 year old prospect and a kid midfielder playing right back? Give me a fucking break.
I don’t want to see Fabhino in the backline, or talk of Henderson playing CB. We shouldn’t be in this position.
Klopp in a nutshell that.
I hear you on all this. I keeping echoing your sentiments on some of the dross we retain, especially as players who should be playing elsewhere end up filling the same said dross positions because they are not up to the job.
Clear out is needed with what is supposedly our back up players.
Hi Neil, you could have summed it all up in just one word… SHITE!!!
In fact even writing shite would have been more effort than we saw from a lot of our players last night.
Watched Connor Coady in both matches now, I think we should just go buy him.
Good on the ball. Good with the ball. Physical. Will play for the shirt.
Just my opinion.