Observations from Liverpool’s loss to Burnley

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Same shit different season. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, a full Jurgen Klopp pre-season was supposed to get the Reds in the right frame of mind to blitz the Premier League. No European distractions and reinforcements arrived in the summer. If there were any positions / areas Klopp wasn’t happy with he’s had ample time to address them. So a 2-0 defeat away to Burnley just isn’t acceptable.

It’s scary that a side tipped for relegation, no matter how well structured and set up they are, were able to keep a clean sheet against us. It’s not like they had many attacks to repel either, that’s the worrying part. There was zero creativity from the midfield, the attack looked blunt and there was a strong sense of deja-vu as Liverpool had 81% of the possession and 26 shots to Burnley’s 3 yet failed to work the ‘keeper. It was a systematic failure and, as much as every single player let themselves down, fingers should be pointed at the manager.

Observations from Liverpool loss to Burnley

Jurgen Klopp’s tactics 

He’s rightfully lauded as a genius when he gets it right so it’s only fair to question Klopp when he gets it wrong. In the opening 45 minutes against Arsenal he got it wrong but the spell after half-time made many forget that. Today he wasn’t so lucky. Burnley played exactly how every man and their dog expected them to play yet Liverpool seemed rattled and bereft of ideas. Mane’s injury may have disrupted the original game plan but It’s no excuse not to be better prepared.

Burnley were always going to be compact and narrow so playing Sturridge on the right, who will always drift inside and look for pockets of space, is effectively playing into their hands and there was just an abundance of players centrally with very little room to do anything. Why not use Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi, Adam Lallana or even James Milner? The former two offer pace in behind which Liverpool desperately lacked whereas the latter two played there at times last season so can do a job there.

While Sturridge playing that withdrawn role would work against teams looking to play football, against Burnley it was a poor fit.

Then there was the issue at left-back. Against a deep-sitting side you need your ball movement to be quick but having a right-footer playing at left-back is the opposite of that. Milner often cut back onto his right foot and it allowed Burnley to prepare for the cross. Much like Sturridge playing on the right, Milner playing on the left meant he was always looking to cut inside where all the bodies seemed to be. Alberto Moreno may not be flavour of the month but somebody like him would’ve made more sense today against a deep, compact side.

You can’t help but feel he waited too long to make the subs. It was often a criticism aimed at Klopp last season. When Liverpool were losing he seemed to wait 10 minutes too long to make the changes.

Mane already influential

The Liverpool attack looked dynamite against both Barcelona and Arsenal. Firmino’s movement, Coutinho’s creativity and Mane’s pace coupled with the goal threat and the off-the-ball work all three put in meant it was the perfect blend for a Klopp attack. The only one missing today was Sadio Mane yet Liverpool’s attack looked like a ghost of what it was last week.

There was no pace and no incisiveness. In truth it was pretty easy for Burnley and they rarely looked troubled. Granted, the fact they scored so early on made it easier but even so, it was like a training session for them.

There can’t already be an over reliance on Mane, can there?

Not much creativity in midfield against a compact Burnley side

It’s been the elephant in the room all summer. The Liverpool midfield basically hinges on Emre Can being fit, when he’s not they’re in trouble. When teams press Can he has the composure and the calmness to play through it. Whether it be with a single pass forward or a dribble he gets Liverpool forward and it takes opposition players out of the game. Without him Liverpool are pretty easy to press. Against both Arsenal and Burnley chances have come from Liverpool not being able to play out from the back. Lovren to Klavan, Klavan to Henderson, Henderson to Lovren, Lovren to Mignolet and then the ball goes long. That passing sequence is to tease the opposition into pressing us to open up the space in advanced positions but what use is it if the ball never gets there?

Henderson looks fairly limited in that role, it doesn’t really play to his strengths, yet Liverpool will continually toil until Emre Can is fit unless they bring a new player in.

Defensive issues 

Much to the delight of many, Alberto Moreno didn’t start. No more brainless, rash, individual errors eh? Fast forward 90 minutes and Liverpool conceded two goals after mistakes from the defence. Burnley capitalised on Clyne’s poor touch and pass for their first before Klavan’s indecisiveness was punished for the second. The game highlighted that the defensive mistakes aren’t exclusive to Moreno and it (the defence) still needs to be addressed.

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  1. Why is it that the managers of today insist on playing players out of position to fit their tactics rather than changing the tactics to suit the strength of the players? I like Klopp but playing both Milner & Sturridge out of position seems pointless. I think he bowed down to media pressure by using Milner in place of Moreno but it didn’t work and just showed that the defence was still prone to error even without the so called worst defender in the league. The English game is different to the German game and maybe his gegenpressing just isn’t really suited to the Premiership on a week in week out basis. Maybe the tactics need to be reviewed and revised slightly, maybe even changing how Moreno is used as he obviously struggles with his defensive duties when he is encouraged to push so far forward all the time.
    Today’s game would have been a good one to have been able to use Joe Allen instead of Henderson if he hadn’t been sold off to Stoke. I’m not a manager and Klopp obviously knows more about the game than I do, but I do think managers should look to play to the strength of the players they have rather than making it difficult by expecting them to change the style they’re most comfortable with on a regular basis.

    • Lets face the fact there are no specialist left winger any where even though we tried to be. The manager should have a clear idea/s of the formations of his team Match by Match and not be a jumping Jack.

  2. Saw a very tame Liverpool team in the 2nd half. There is NO PASSION and players like Firmino, Lallana & Henderson look lethargic and loss of ideas and creativity. Have been a Liverpool follower for the past 40 years and had seen greats like Greame Souness, Ray Kennedy, Kenny Dalglish, Xabi Alonso, Gary McAlister, Steven Gerard, etc who had shown the passion and creativity. In last night’s game, the attack should use the width to draw out the opponents and time the crosses rather than to crowd the center with so many players. This will provide more avenue to use the width. Any team that plays like Burnley will defeat Liverpool, that must now play with more passion and creativity !!!

    • I think these players especially Lallana just like their manager had become arrogant and thought they can just show up a place like Turf Moor and all they needs to do is relax, keep the ball a lot and out passed their opponents. Yes teams like Burnley are expected to roll over, play dead and in the process be awe inspire by the passing prowess of Lallana and Firmino. Well guess what, none of these happens and we are left biting dust.

      The players shows no passion and the manager no tactical nous but plenty of arrogance, it would be a wonder if we did not lose the game.

    • It is the Manager’s job instill no sensemar in his/her team when ever they are on the pitch playing for the team, and once he fails to do this the team would become Mr.BIG. Klopp hasn’t got that in him. And it’s sad that we were all made to believe in his mirage Mr. Normal one, Whu!!!!!!!. He must wake up and look around him of other Teams. He better not LOOSE to Albion tonight

  3. agreed…square pegs in round holes never win you anything…and that’s a cold hard fact…we have tried that several times in the past and had no success with them…hendie just do not have the composure and strength to hold the ball/position in the defensive midfield role…likewise for milner…a right footer in a leftback role only wastes the space and threat down the flanks…the cut-ins/pull-backs only serves more congestion in the central areas and slows down the attacking threat…with coutinho already cutting in from the flank, the congestion in the middle will just get worse…liverpool simply has no width and power down the flanks today…and sad to say, after two games…despite having won against a depleted gunners squad…klopp has yet to find a proper solution to last season’s liabilities…and a top four spot still seems far beyond our reach for now…

  4. Another observation must be that Klopp lacks either the ruthlessness or eye for a player to be a title winner in England. He inherited Henderson as captain. He’s nowhere near captain material, and not one side across Europe with ambitions of being title winners would consider him a nailed on starter in the most important position of the pitch, let alone make him captain. Klopp just doesn’t have the balls to do whats needed and change the captaincy. The fact too that a club of Liverpools stature, standing and financial resources cannot find a footballer with a left foot who can defend is a damning indictment of the planning that goes on behind the scenes. If Liverpool have genuine ambitions of being winners, which should be a given at that club, then they certainly don’t behave like they do. The stats speak for themselves. We’ve too many players who contribute too little, and who wouldn’t get near a City, Utd, Barca, Real, Munich et al kind of side. If that’s not the benchmark we’re aiming for then Liverpool isn’t the club I grew up supporting. It used to be them clubs who strived to be Liverpool. Todays performance and result is simply unacceptable. Gutted Klopp hasn’t addressed issues that almost every Liverpool supporter can see.

    • “We’ve too many players who contribute too little, and who wouldn’t get near a City, Utd, Barca, Real, Munich et al kind of side. If that’s not the benchmark we’re aiming for then Liverpool isn’t the club I grew up supporting”-You couldn’t have said it any better Buster, you are SPOT ON!! LFC need to be targeting players like Axel Witsel, Kevin Strootman and shipping out players like Henderson, Milner; Joao Mario for players like Lallana. Ever since Rafa who had world classers like Reina, Carragher, Alonso, Mascherano, Gerrard, Torres the succeeding managers have replaced them with average players: hence LFC consistently finishing between 6th and 8th while Chelsea, Man City, Man U etc going ahead of us.

    • t was the Manager fault. He hasn’t got a clue how to win a game, Two Cup finals and got Nit wasn’t a good CV. I don’t know if he will be good as thought and believe.

    • What has Henderson’s captaincy got to do with the loss? Most of you guys seem so bias, and I order to cover up your bias, hit out at certain players. Do you want to tell me that Klopp is so blind that he cannot see that a proper defensive midfielder is needed? Hendo played his best football till date not as a defensive midfielder, so why force him in there? Get in a proper shield for the defence and unleash Hendo and co to maraud d central midfield. Sure he’s so blind to see this. As for Moreno’s detractors, hope u can see he isn’t our problems in defence. Milner I think should not be seen anywhere near that left back position again. If Klopp refuses to bring in Hector, then let him keep playing Moreno there.

      And again, Klopp should learn how to be flexible atimes. being rigid takes u nowhere.

    • You are right, just look at the ruthlessness of Conte, Pep and a certain Jose, wonder why they are serial winners ?

  5. Mr. Klopp hasn’t any idea/s, Period! He has taken Liverpool into two cup Finals and what do we got NIT. Here we are again, beat Arsenal lost to Burnley. Shame on to those that has been critising Moreno, have you lot got your reward?. Our manager was clueless what to do as has always be.I hope that he would realise this in time.

  6. It’s a problem we have had since Rafa days, beat up on the top 4 but get beat up by the bottom 4. Actually a believe Klopp struggled with this problem in Germany also after his Dortmund blitzkrieged to the titles and other teams wised up that you can’t let Dortmund play on the counter against you. Worst part, you can bet teams will watch this tape and copy it.

    Solutions, you can’t play 4-3-3 against weak oppositions, need a bully in the middle, Origi has to start, would actually consider playing 2 strikers and a diamond midfield. Henderson should get comfortable on the bench. Need wingers that can cross the ball in instead of cutting in and trying to shoot, thus congesting the penalty area. Ojo seem to be decent at crossing last year, he should start against teams that will bunker in and whip those crosses in.

  7. WHY is everyone beatin Henderson up?? OK with the captaincy bit,i always thought the captain should be in defence and vocal but in his own position there aren`t any problems,in fact before his heel injury he was defo on the ball and good passing and set ups too, dare I say under Rodgers he played his best football, THEN LFC decide to employ another manager playing good players out of position then blame the players??? I think tactics played a LARGE part of yesterday`s shenanagans !! YNWA

  8. There’s a problem in the dna at Liverpool, there has been for years now. Like many have stated, we beat the top teams only to lose to the minnows the following week. I really hope that klopp is the man to stop this rot although it’s a worrying state of affairs when again it’s glaringly obvious to all a sunder that we need a bastard dm ASAP but he’s hell bent on trying hendo there. Why spend money on wijnaldum when it was really required elsewhere, and then for the love of god play him out of position. I would not be surprised if we beat Spurs, get a draw at Chelsea and then fuck it up the following week. It’s so frustrating especially with Utd addressing exactly what they needed to and how they have apparently righted their wrongs and are at the very least a top 4 certainty. Alas, being a lfc fan is a roller coaster ride, I just hope there’s more thrilling moments then lows

  9. Didn’t see the game but I saw the first game and the pre season games and I will say this Henderson is not a Liverpool starter let alone captain period!!!!

  10. The problem with a manager such as Klopp is that he thinks we have a team has a divine right to victory just because we had a lion share of the possession. Well as the Burnley manager rightly pointed out we do not and they won the game quite deservedly so.

    I was quite happy when Klopp was appointed as i felt he could bring our club forward but now i have my doubts.Tens of millions of pounds and half a season later we have a sense of deja vu and we are back to square one, no defense and dependent on 1 or 2 players, and when they did not turn up the whole team does the same.
    As the author pointed out, Klopp is a very poor tactician, got it wrong many times from the start and many times took too long to make changes when we needed one and often left little time for the substitute player to make an impact. He loss ALL his major tournament finals, that should be a red flag. We had got an upgrade on BR no doubt, but just.
    I often wonder how our beloved club could achieved much more if we had just appoint a real winner and gives him the necessary support instead of mucking around with these Pep wannabes.


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