The Reds weren’t rampant. The floodgates didn’t open like many had expected them to prior to kick-off.. Klopp’s men didn’t dismantle yet another side at Anfield.
Instead, it was tense and a little uncomfortable as Sunderland threatened to frustrate the home side. They held out for 75 minutes but in the end Liverpool came away with the all important three points to put them top of the Premier League for the time being.
Usually I take a look at positives from the match. The positive today was we won and we kept pace with Manchester City at the top of the table. The most intriguing observation from the match though is how the masks of the ‘believers’ started to slip and the doubters exposed themselves. Even though many claim to be have confidence in Klopp and are enjoying the season so far they still harbour that insecurity that Liverpool are going to let them down and the team are afforded no patience.
It wasn’t a poor performance by any stretch of the imagination. It was a continuation on from the Southampton match in which chances were created and just weren’t taken but Liverpool were in control for the entire 90 minutes.
But old habits are starting to appear. Not with the players but with the fans, both at the ground and online.
Klopp responded to groans when a move broke down by looking to gee up the crowd. Groans give the opposition confidence whereas when Anfield is a cauldron of noise it’s an adrenaline shot to the home side, which sometimes they need.
It was the same on Twitter. As the match started to creep past 60 minutes the meltdowns began. Klopp’s too stubborn. Liverpool are shit. Klopp needs to buy a striker. Liverpool are shit. Liverpool don’t score enough goals. Liverpool are shit. Klopp is one dimensional and can’t beat teams who park the bus. Liverpool are shit. Liverpool are too reliant on Lallana and there’s no squad depth. Liverpool are shit.
You wouldn’t think we’d scored the most goals in the league even before kick-off would you? It’s almost like the carnage caused by the fluidity of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho was a distant memory. Some fans seemed to genuinely want to rip up the game plan that had served us so well over recent weeks to buy an ‘out-and-out striker who knows how to stick the ball in the back of the net’.
We’re 14 games unbeaten now and have won 12 of the 15 matches we’ve played. We’re scoring and we’re winning games playing a certain style yet some still have no confidence/trust in it/Klopp when things aren’t going our way from the off.
99% of the fans treated this match against Sunderland as a formality thinking we’d just turn up and roll over them but our arrogance meant we didn’t look at the big picture. Moyes set them up to make it as difficult for us to score as possible. Liverpool were without Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge. To make things even more difficult Coutinho, arguably our most in-form player, was stretchered off in the first-half. Yet despite all of this we worked Pickford on a number of occasions and found a way to win. It was by no means a classic but it’s the sort of match title winners manage to pick three points up in.
Fans are going to need to dig deep because there will be plenty more performances like that this year, where we huff and we puff before we eventually blow the house down. But both Klopp and the players are going to need the support and the trust of the fans for the entire 90 minutes.