Josh Sexton’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Wolves 3 Liverpool 0 in the Premier League at Molineux…
Feeling defeated isn’t an emotion that you simply feel after every single defeat. Some defeats you can take positives from, especially if there still feels like there is something to be optimistic about in the future.
I’ll admit I did once feel optimistic about this season. I had natural reservations because Liverpool had failed to strengthen in the summer transfer market, and I had an underlying concern about the impact coming so close last season would have, though the parade — I felt — had gone some way towards healing those wounds.
However, I cannot say for a second that I foresaw just how low things would feel on days like today.
Because today I feel defeated. I’m struggling to take positives and there isn’t much I feel like I can be optimistic about in the near future — and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that way. Tomorrow might be a different story. By then I might have experienced another wave of rationality and used that to build back some optimism.
Just not today, sorry.
Today my overriding rational thought is that we might honestly be better served finishing outside the qualification spots for the Europa and Conference Leagues, so that we can use a lighter load next season as a chance to get our legs back under us.
The manager has tried his level best to provide the platform to get our legs back under us. When it felt as though he was too wedded to his usual 4-3-3, he changed it. When that proved fruitless, he changed back. Both moves saw marginal, yet ultimately unsustained success.
Since then he has tried to simplify the tactics and the message further, at least on the face of it. He’s tried to find and express reasons for optimism within games where the result hasn’t provided a natural platform for positivity. He even followed up our worst result of the season by playing a much-changed side in the cup, which got us a now-rare win.
Today, though, may just be our new worst result of the season, and it’s hard to see how many more changes we can make before we end up just playing the kids in the Merseyside derby — which, even with the evidence of one particularly enjoyable FA Cup tie, feels a bridge too far right now.
So what does the manager do from here, having tried his best to simplify things for his team?
At half time today, I felt as though we were missing that bit of fight. He’d gone with the team that, for the most part, had overseen incremental tactical improvements, but they lacked any real fight. So it felt like the next move was to bring back in the lads who would put up some fight.
Perhaps that is still the next step. After all, it is the one thing that Sean Dyche will be coaching into his team before they visit Anfield next week. They certainly showed some earlier today.
But I’m done thinking about today for now. I’m done feeling defeated and trying to figure out how to bounce back from the lowest ebbs.
I just want something to cling onto, Liverpool. You’ve given us so, so much these past few years. Now I’m just asking for the bare minimum. Fight.
See yous next Monday, then. I sincerely fucking hope you bring it.