Oh no, not again. The emotions can’t change the disappointment when the reds lose to yet another team in the bottom 3. I have to say that it is now one of our traits. No longer are we the favourites when facing a team situated in the bottom quarter. Maybe it’s because the reds are a team who lack the fight, or have an concealed arrogance that it should be a given to beat these teams.
Klopp has done a fantastic job in other areas, overthrowing our ineptitude when going a goal or two behind. We now relax, because firstly, we know we will get chances to rectify the situation and secondly, we trust the manager. Mind you, it seems there is still a lot more work to do on this issue.
My point is, Jurgen’s next task (after getting us out of this rut), should be to address the cataclysmic collapse when we face up to these ‘lesser’ teams. Admittedly our squad is not the greatest, but this happens with our full strength lineups. Not just in the past 18 months, but in our most recent of glorious pasts, and it was ever present against Hull.
We’re not helped when our most experienced players are the most disappointing when called upon. It was inevitable that our squad would implode at some time this season. It has been under a blanket of wizadry that Klopp has worked with centre midfielders playing at left back and centre back, and another season with double dodgy keepers. At the KCOM stadium the string was truly unravelled, when a quite pathetic back 5 played while out of form, not to mention the next 6 who all have their individual issues.
Yes, Hull’s wall was organised fantastically for them, but it wasn’t impenetrable. We didn’t take enough shots and we were yet again caught out through our weaknesses. All teams should know we are beatable by the opposition getting a goal (they will because we are poor defensively) and parking the bus so that our attack can’t break through, then catching us on the counter (where they can and will score more). Our philosophy was to score more than them. This doesn’t work when we can’t. It just leaves our rear guard more like a sieve.
My dose of realism comes when we look at the starting XI and assign a fictional starting percentage for the Hull game, based loosely on Football Manager characteristics. Players would normally start on 93+.
- Mignolet 100
- Clyne 90 – Recently back from injury with little rest
- Matip 92 – Recently back from injury
- Lucas 89 – CM playing at CB
- Milner 87 – CM playing at LB with little rest
- Can 83 – Playing with injury
- Henderson 88 – Will never start more than 90 because of injury
- Lallana 86 – Run his socks off with little rest
- Coutinho 90 – Out of form and recently back from injury
- Mane 83 – Back from AFCON with no rest
- Firmino 88 – Played well with little rest
There numbers were arrived at by factoring in; accompanying reason (ie; injury), intensity of Liverpool’s style and number of games played.
Jurgen Klopp is not a miracle worker, but whoever looks at this summer’s transfers (courtesy of Transfermarkt) will see just how much he has already done. The squad is already unbelievably better than it was when he took over.
We are a work in progress and I truly believe that our club will not fully return to the title race before another 2 years of finishing in the top 4. I say this because cracks started to appear against Hull, but we have to trust the judgement of someone who has already made us dream in the first 12 months of his arrival.