Neil Atkinson’s post-match review after Liverpool 0 Arsenal 0 in the League Cup semi final first leg at Anfield…
ANGRIEST you’ll have been all season, I suspect.
Mikel Arteta turns it into a training exercise and Liverpool fail the brief.
Arteta deserves credit for that. Going to 5-1-3 when down to 10 was smart. If Liverpool do a bit better it wouldn’t feel smart. But they don’t do better. And in comparison to when they were facing 11, they did worse.
It was the bluntest a good Liverpool side has looked since around the 2006-7 season, when Liverpool are good enough to make the Champions League final but more than capable of making you eat your own liver.
The goalkeeper aside, there wasn’t really a good performance on the pitch. Liverpool were sloppy when they weren’t slipshod. They were patient when they needed to be urgent, they were forcing the matter when they needed to keep it moving. They generated far too many goalkicks and nowhere near enough saves. They were second to every dropping ball when it seemed to drop their way and then, in the key moment, when the ball dropped, Takumi Minamino, in the Divock Origi position, blazed high over the bar when all he had to do was keep it down.
What an evening. I don’t mean that as a positive.
You saw performances erode. Jordan Henderson was very good till about 35. From there? The less said the better. Diogo Jota was good enough to elicit red cards till 55. From there? Don’t know. Don’t remember seeing him. Firmino friendless. Andy Robertson looked scared to death of Bukayo Saka second half which has to be the main concern going to their gaff.
You wanted more from all of them and you got less. Curtis Jones came on and was bright to start with but his mojo went the way of so many others. Had he come on earlier rather than the strange interregnum of waiting for him, could things have been different? Perhaps. Could Liverpool have introduced Gordon to make the pitch huge? Perhaps. You dance with the one that brung you, always you do, but tonight I’d have liked him to have gripped my hips and quickened it urgently.
(Though when don’t I want that?)
The worst thing, the thing that hurts, the thing that makes you angry is watching Liverpool feel sorry for themselves. I hate this. Liverpool’s players feeling sorry for themselves. Liverpool’s coaching staff. Liverpool’s supporters feeling sorry for themselves. There is nothing to feel sorry about. These characters lost to Nottingham Forest at the weekend; they’ve lost to mediocre teams all season, they’ll probably lose to another one on Sunday.
But the truth is this is Liverpool’s least important game of the next two, least important of the four if we are frank. Thursday offers specific redemption but Sunday comes fast and Liverpool need to be sharper. They need to give and go. They need to work their way to the edge of the box and back one another up. They need their edge and they need us to want it.
I want it. Because it hurts.
The solution to playing Liverpool can’t be “be passive till they go mad” for a second season in a row. Because if that is the case then I will go mad. We will go mad.
That’s what none of us need. Instead it is half time and it is 0-0. No more, no less. Let them try and drive us mad again if that is the way home they choose. But if they choose it, we need to rise above it and get it out of our way.
Tonight it felt like Liverpool chose to be made mad. We chose to become angry. Chose the wrong thing over and over.
Choose better Liverpool. I need you to. Because I can’t handle the opposite. Not now. If ever.
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“I’m so disappointed because there was no real efforts on goal, we didn’t test that keeper enough. We have thrown away a first leg, a real missed opportunity.”
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— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) January 13, 2022
First off I love our legendary manager but he was sleeping on his job tonight.
We were Tactically bankrupt and absolutely inept in our attack
Our game plan for breaking them down was woeful no excuses.
I didn’t care about the actual result but I’m boarded by the performance,
it was awful
I think without Salah and Mane essentially we have no threat up front
Especially against low-block
We are terrible against the low-block
I hundred percent believe it is jurgen’s kryptonite against his style of football he gets clueless against low block even when facing 10 men.
My worry is we are about to practically get into 2 solid seasons without a trophy with the same team which literally ran away with the league couple of seasons ago
If FSG and Jurgen can’t see this squad is not complete enough for all four competition then something or someone has to change to be able to move forward in future.
I can’t see how it is the least important fixture, it is a semi final, a bridge to Wembley where lasting memories are made….Not always good mind. I can still recall vividly the defeat to Watford way back when.
Still, half time as you say and I still fancy us to progress
Proof…I’m old….I mean’t to say Wimbledon not Watford..
Can’t wait til Harvey gets back.
Frustrating night. The lads were slow and lacked intensity. It is what it is. It’s all to play for still. Arsenal will always give you a chance if you put them under enough pressure.
But first we need a win against Brentford on Sunday. No matter how it comes. Just win. One game at a time.
Poor toothless display.
Its no coincidence that this happened when Salah and Mane were gone.
This Liverpool squad has little depth.
FSG must invest or consider that the growth they have experience will plateau
Come on FSG – you asked us to believe and show faith.
Where is your belief, FSG? Where is your show of fatih, FSG?
We struggle against a low block unless we get a breakthrough from an unlikely source – a goal from a set-piece, a thunderbastard from 30 yards, an OG, that kind of thing. Once we score first, we’re normally fine, even against the most negative, obstinate side, but getting the breakthrough is key. It’s easier said than done to lash one in from the halfway line but I guess if we had a player or two (in the absence of Mo and Sadio) who could dribble past someone and take some opposition players out of the game, that would be ace. But Arsenal can’t play the same game again at their place – we can still do it.
On the broader point, the past two seasons have been clear: Jurgen is the best manager in world football. We are taking on the richest side in the world, ever, who can afford to spend 100 million quid on a bauble of a player and stick him on the bench. Who can spend 70m on Mahrez and do the same. Ignore Pep’s sad mewling about it – they’ve bought their way (ruthlessly, in more than one sense) to the top. And in any other era this Pool team would have won three in a row. We almost did two in a row. We’ve been in two CL Finals, and won one. This isn’t just management and coaching, this is alchemy. We’ve hardly ever spent big without having the dough to do it. We’ve gone years without doing the big one in the transfer window. We still have the legendary (and I mean that) James Milner playing a semi-final first leg for us. This has been the supreme coaching, the maximising of resources, by Klopp – the best example of it ever.
So, I’m not FSG-out at all, and I’m not a transfer addict either, but if ever there was a summer where they needed to go out and get the players *he* wants, and spend a few bob, then summer 2022 is it.
They should build a statue of Klopp when he goes, what a job he has done.
He does though only build one great team each club he is at. Mainz, decline and leave. Dortmund, decline and leave.
I think it will be the same at Liverpool. When his contract is up here its going to start looking like Dads Army: Milner, Matip, VVD, Henderson Thiago, Firmino, Mane, Salah all well into 30’s. Several others very close to that age.
I heard a few fans on the Kop last night saying the lack of investment is showing and I was thinking that myself during the game.
Make the most of every second of Klopp because when he leaves the decline is going to be extremely quick and very painful.
For the first time, and I do feel guilty about this, but a part of me is hoping if we miss out on top four as it might give our owners a fucking wake up call. Because these guys are coasting, I kid you not.
If we get top four nothing will change. It feels like we need a jolt or something needs to effect/threaten their business line before we get a reaction.