When The Reds lose it can never be seen as anything other than shit. It’s very rare you can take positives from a defeat because no matter how you look at it, it’s a loss. You do however often hear managers talking about an eye opening defeat and the 2-0 loss to Newcastle was exactly that.
It was a reality check in many ways.
Liverpool losing to Newcastle is not typical like many suggested. This isn’t the equivalent of losing 3-1 to Hull in 2013/14. It’s different, things have changed, Jurgen Klopp is now our manager.
“Disappointment haunted all my dreams, and then I saw his face, now I’m a believer, not a trace of doubt in my mind.”
A loss like that p*sses him off and you can almost guarantee he won’t be making the same mistakes as he did against Newcastle again. He’s almost obsessive in his quest for perfection, you could hear the resentment in his voice in the press conference when he spoke about the “f*ucking Palace defeat“, this after winning the four matches after the Palace defeat, one of which was the 4-1 humbling of Manchester City.
It won’t be like the Brendan Rodgers reign, we won’t go into certain games knowing we’ll mess it up because Klopp won’t let it happen.
Klopp’s never ending assessment. The Liverpool squad is simultaneously overrated and underrated by fans, media and journalists, but it’s a defeat like this that really shows who may or who may not have a future under Jurgen Klopp. In the past week alone we’ve heard how Liverpool will challenge for the title and struggle to finish in the top 4 on the basis of one defeat. These players are still auditioning for Klopp and he’ll be judging them when they’re at their highest highs (6-1 vs Southampton) and their lowest lows (the Newcastle defeat).
Klopp will look at players like Roberto Firmino, a player who many feel is too inconsistent, and see he may have been poor on the ball yesterday but his work off the ball was as impressive as ever. He attempted 35 pressing actions in the defeat to Newcastle and only failed in 6 of them. This shows his character (don’t hate me) as a player. He may not be having the best of games but he’s still there hunting the ball and putting in an effort. The assessment is ongoing and a defeat helps shape the result of this assessment.
It’s easy to impress when you’re doing well, it’s difficult to do so when you’re losing.
The squad isn’t perfect. You can also use a defeat like this to see where the squad needs strengthening. You can argue that Liverpool fielded a weaker side in their loss to Newcastle, as they were missing Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho, Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can and Adam Lallana all of whom would be considered first team players but let’s not forget the team still contained £21 million man Roberto Firmino, £32.5 million Christian Benteke, £20 million Dejan Lovren and of course high earning James Milner. On paper it was a side that should have had enough to defeat lowly Newcastle. The players that failed to impress may be the ones Klopp looks to upgrade in the next few transfers windows. When it’s a squad game you need to be able to rely on every single individual. Defeats highlight the weak links.
No set first team breeds competitiveness. We’re going to have a competitive squad coming into the festive period. A weakened Liverpool side defeated Southampton 6-1, a different weakened side lost to Newcastle. It means starting positions are up for grabs so we’ll have a squad of players all looking to stake their claim for a starting role. Can this be a bad thing? If it’s one set team winning all of the time then momentum can come to an abrupt end when one or two injuries occur but if you’ve got 17/18 players performing when called upon then there are plenty of possibilities.
The dream isn’t dead, the quadruple is still on. A single defeat in isolation, and right now that’s all it could be, shouldn’t dampen the mood. Jurgen Klopp wants players, and fans, to be believers. Half of the challenge when trying to believe in something is to actually allow yourself to dream of it happening. One defeat shouldn’t put an end to a dream, nothing is ever easy or straightforward. The match against Sion isn’t a must win but it will be interesting to see how the squad, and Klopp, react to the defeat.