Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Liverpool 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 3 in the Premier League at Anfield…
I AM at my wit’s end. Absolutely finished.
There was a point on around 18 minutes where I let out what I would describe as a primal scream.
It’s so difficult. Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. The issue is that it is Liverpool who keep getting punched in the face.
The question is this — are Liverpool punching themselves in the face? Let’s be clear on one thing: Brighton played well. They looked so smart, their decision making was excellent and they had a lovely shape. I like them, I like about six of them a great deal. I would go to the end of the earth to watch Alexis McAllister play football — rail strike be damned.
But the job is Liverpool. The problem is there are two Liverpools on the pitch today: Dreadful Liverpool and Good Liverpool. We see them switch between the two like a light bulb. It’s on. It’s off.
The first 20 minutes are dreadful. Let’s have it out. These days defenders attack and attackers track back to defend. It’s what makes modern football so fluid, so beautiful. It’s how we know it isn’t the 1970s. Everyone attack, everyone defend. Or in the case of this game: no one attack, no one defend. Trent Alexander-Arnold looks ropey out of possession but to give him his due he gets absolutely no support. From anyone.
All the way through that first 20 minutes there is a problem — Liverpool make mistakes and then never dig each other out. This has been a recurring issue through this season — a lot of footballers looking at a mistake with almost academic interest. “That can’t be right,” they think to themselves. “Someone should do something about it.”
Brighton’s first goal on the fourth minute is top of the list of things Liverpool do not need. Trossard has a great game but Liverpool hand him the ball and ask him to put us behind in the opening five. The second comes soon after in a similar fashion. Utterly despondent. Virgil van Dijk looks unsure of who is supposed to be where.
We lose possession more often than we gain it. This is at the heart of Dreadful Liverpool: we cannot hold on to the ball anymore. We don’t look as fit or as fierce as Brighton and we lose the ball. As a result no passes forward go anywhere and no attackers look threatening. Fabio Carvalho who should be embracing Jurgen Klopp’s faith in him just looks inexperienced.
It looks so easy for Brighton to play out. The holes are enormous and Pascal Gross stands still and finds himself in a vacuum.
At 2-0 down the switch flicks from Dreadful to Good. Bobby Firmino remembers who the hell he is. We pull one back and all of a sudden this is a different team. Thiago, who has his worst showing in that first 20 since grounds were empty, comes to the fore and we look fighty and angry and just a bit determined. Alisson Becker has organised the back line and our high defensive core starts to look more solid. Where Liverpool had made Brighton look good, it becomes apparent that we have the better players. They fall back and we get to half time with no more damage.
We all wonder what Jurgen Klopp is going to do to make a change. Good Liverpool is working hard, and some more fresh legs off the bench could make all the difference in this game.
Every sub should make us better. But this proves only to be true for the first. The rest are a question mark. However, Liverpool play well for the first 15 minutes of the second half. Suddenly there is a lot of Jordan Henderson and Mo Salah. Joel Matip still needs to firefight a great deal but Liverpool are the better side. Actually the better side.
When it goes 3-2 the feeling is sanity should prevail. Liverpool have been jammy, but sanity should prevail. The feeling persists that they need to score another but sanity should prevail.
In 2022-23 Liverpool, sanity never ever prevails. My sanity doesn’t prevail. I am on my fucking knees here begging you, Liverpool, I need sanity to start prevailing soon. I need you to stop looking a sanity gifthorse in the mouth when it comes.
The sanest game this season has been Napoli 4 Liverpool 1. When we were abject and got what we deserve. Winners beyond 85 aren’t normal. The 9-0s aren’t normal. Games are out of hand.
Liverpool aren’t normal. Some abnormality is fine. But this is killing me. Just killing me.
On my knees. Let normal service resume.
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No top European or Premier League side would have Milner in the squad never mind coming on or Henderson as a starter. They would not get space at any top club. That says it all about or midfield.
100% agree. No top club in England, let alone Europe would see Milner getting minutes.
The lack of investment in the midfield is criminal. There’s no other way to look at it. I don’t really blame Klopp for backing his players – what other choice does he have? But if we don’t spend a LOT of money in the summer I can see him jacking it in ala Dortmund.
I don’t want to see us ravaging the same lads who have won so much and given us so much. There are multiple factors here: exhaustion from last season, truncated pre-season, maybe our training schedule is been skewed by the looming World Cup farce, and we’ve had injuries shite galore, mixed with too many players in bad form. I hate to say it but a part of me thinks some players – perhaps legitimately – thought the league was gone by 3pm day one, after we’d flunked at Fulham. €ity live in an unfair and entirely different financial universe to us. Maybe that sense that they’ll just keep buying themselves better has taken a toll. I don’t know, it could be a factor.
I do know Klopp and Co have taken us to the mountaintop and he will do so again, or as close as he can, with a new team and all that. Til then, we have to dig it out. As the arse fall away the league may become a procession for the financially doped mancs. Fuck em. We’ll be back on top again. We just might need to tough it out awhile.
Funny, I saw one top club in England almost win the quadruple 4 months ago playing Henderson and Milner.
Mistake letting Gini go?
Feels like a complete season off from the club. The owners have watched the value of the club rocket without having to make any kind of meaningful investment on their part. Players with one eye on the World Cup, players knowing they won’t be there, players given sympathy contracts with lengths even they must be embarrassed about given current age and performance. Just feels like FSG think they will always roll higher than a four with this club even if they skim the bones and throw a few quid in the pot. Have a look at the Red Sox this season- this is an organisation that isn’t in good health. Always happy to pay my subscription lads but I’d love to see a clear-eyed examination of the owners; their aspirations, their red lines, and if I’m honest, the depth of their pockets. Listening to the pods this week I felt that optimism got the best of all of us.
This is purely a result of under investment in the squad. Pure and simple.
The question really is, “ how long are the fanzines prepared to tolerate this, before access to articles isn’t enough to quell the pain of FSG destroying Liverpool football club?”.
FSG need calling out by fan magazine websites
FSG have not invested in comparison to the rest of the teams in the league for years now. We now gamble on kids or ageing players who clearly aren’t at the level they were. Now fighting for a European place at best. FSG share prices are up though so they won’t be too bothered.
I reckon we should go 3 CBs. We’re light in midfield and have 3 CBs all as good as eachother (when on form) plus Lovren, sorry VIrgil. Since Gini left and Milner and Hendo head towards free bus passes there’s no cover for when Trent pushes up/falls asleep. all teams have to do is hit it down our right flank. Seems like every goal we concede comes down that side, even today when Tsimikas had a shocker, all 3 right side. We’ve been found out and something has to change until we strengthen midfield. Thing is FSG will only buy one expensive player per window when we need 3.
and Jacko, whilst FSG will buy 1 expensive player, they will sell 4 players to balance the books
Slow-mo it on youtube, first goal, Trent naively lunges in on Trossard who turns him easily, second goal VVD playing deep, ball watching leaves Trossard acres, third goal, they overlap Trent who should always go with the overlapper, he doesn;t, the ball goes through VVD’s legs and Milner is ball watching the whole time, has no idea where Trossard is, Trossard unmarked scores. Pathetic.
Milner is a Carabao captain for the kids at best, why not bring Joe on at left back if you have to change , but inany case he should have come on at right back at 3-2, or started!
Loyalty has got Klopp! Ox, Keita sick notes needed moving on, Jones not moved on since 19, and two old men who need retiring, Thiago can play half the games, and Fab, Elliot good squad player. The title is over already, anybody want to lay money it isn’t? That team can have a CL run but nowhere near good enough to win it.
Klopp said we need to change, no sign of it. Go to 3-4-3, tighten it up and grind out 1-0’s until next season when 3 top midfielders are signed and a striker to replace Bobby. Mo we are stuck with on 400k per week for 3 more years.
Factory reset now required, change in formation and over transfer windows, personnel too. The team has team magnificent, but have hit an enormous wall where approaching the problem with the tactics that’s won us so much no longer works. Klopp is the most important cog, of everyone we cannot lose and everyone who needs to find their form it’s him. We will get through this, however, the season is most likely done now certainly league wise.
Yeah thanks I meant to say that!! At this rate we’ll be back to Torres backed up by Voronin. Just kidding!
Finally, Top reds (and i hate using that expression) have put their access (to club and hence their own wealth) ahead of supporting LFC.
Else they (fanzinea) would call out FSG for their chronic lack of squad investment