And then came Burnley.
Summary: We took lots of shots. Burnley not so much. We scored a goal and so did they. It finished 1-1, which means Liverpool lost.
A Liverpool home draw with Burnley can only be that.
Oh, you can argue the ‘that’s the point that could win us the League’ line all you want, but Liverpool should always beat Burnley.
The Liverpool manager seemed baffled by the scoreline and took it out on the crowd around him. He went nuts at the collective groans after moves broke down and shots went wide or hit Nick Pope in the Burnley goal. ESPN’s Glenn Price noticed this and tweeted:
Klopp is going mad at the lack of patience within the crowd
It’s not the first time he’s vented spleen on the public. He made this remark following a draw with Chelsea in 2016:
“I love this stadium, I love this atmosphere but everyone lost patience tonight and the crowd did too. In a game like this the crowd force you, when you need to be patient, everybody shouts: ‘Go, go!’ and you say: ‘Where am I going to go?’
A while back it was the lack of atmosphere in the ground (and, let’s face it, he has a point) and now it’s the wrong kind.
Of course, this is nothing new. Jurgen Klopp is a very passionate, heart-on-sleeve sort of manager and we’ve seen him furious at the crowd before. Either it is people leaving early or not being loud enough and even singing his name. I can’t help but feel that that’s a little bit out of his remit.
Criticising the fans after a dodgy result is always a risky strategy. You can’t go from saying that you’re happy with your squad and defensive cover and then complain when the crowd points out that we’re not doing well.
And we’re really not. The City debacle, the Sevilla game and now Burnley all point to a testing week. The latter, current away form notwithstanding, should have been cannon fodder but the Red artillery fired only blanks.
Klopp may have a point inasmuch as players get jittery and make poor decisions if swayed by the crowd, but there’s a simple solution – help your players to develop a thick skin and believe in themselves. That’s an issue for him, not the Anfield faithful. If Philippe Coutinho thinks that the best option is to try yet another shot from 30 yards and ignore his overlapping left-back for the umpteenth time because the crowd told him to, then he should really be in sole charge of his own mind.
I agree with the manager on one thing, there’s nothing more irritating than the crowd shouting ‘Shoot!’ at a player who rarely scores just because they have time and space to take a shot on. Xabi Alonso, following his wonder goals against Luton and Newcastle, always ignored the shout and I love him for that. Let them play. They know what they’re doing.
But, not to sigh when things are going wrong. Jesus, we’re only human.
What is more worrying for Klopp is the current vogue in conceding the first goal. We took the lead against Hoffenheim (twice), Arsenal and Palace and won those games. We conceded first at Watford, City, Sevilla and now Burnley and didn’t win any of them. That’s why the crowd were so anxious. It’s because they’d seen this before. Concede the first goal and take, at best, a draw.
Had we took our early chances at City and gone ten minutes without the usual defensive mind-melt in midweek we could still be riding the Arsenal wave. Instead, we conceded stupid goals and struggled to get back into it or, in the Sevilla’s case, fail to hold on to the lead.
If Klopp will take any positives from Saturday it’s with the speed of the reply once Arfield scored. Another ten goalless minutes and we may not have even had the solace of a point.
Of course, it’s Klopp’s frustration talking and in those instances it’s always easier to point at every chest other than your own. He too is probably wondering how we can go from the side who swamped the Gunners only three weeks ago to a collective score of 3-8 in the past week.
Crowd impatience will always be a factor and sometimes, yes, it can be unfair. In 2012 the Kop booed Liverpool off the park after a 1-0 home defeat to West Brom despite hitting the woodwork a handful of times and wasting numerous one on ones. We were unlucky and on another day, we could have won 12-1, but when you see the lads squander chance after chance it’s not always easy to take it reasonably.
As fans we’re often told to be patient and it’s an instruction which often confuses me. We’re nothing but! It’s been 27 years since we last won the League and though that’s not Jurgen’s fault it does stick in our craw to be told to wait a bit longer. So when an expensively assembled side is held to a draw by a team consisting of players who wouldn’t make our squad, never mind the first team, it’s more than fair to frown a little.
And yet we look around the League and see what our rivals can do. City destroyed Watford in 45 minutes; United huffed and puffed against Everton and then laid them to waste once they had the second. Meanwhile we score one in thirty five attempts. How are we to win the league if we can’t at least match what the others are doing, never mind surpass them? How are you not going to kick the chair in front in frustration when you see us fail and fail again?
Look, Liverpool fans can be quite annoying. This is hardly news. Some will see the positives in everything and ignore what’s in front of their faces (5-0 defeats etc.) while some will bitch and moan at everything. This leads to intense debate and fury. I try to be somewhere in the middle but when the manager blames a wasteful display on the crowd, it makes you think a bit.
Had the manager said ‘things didn’t go well, we were a bit shit but we’ll get there’ then fair enough. We’re all in this together after all. But to shout at the people who pay your wages when it’s your tactics and players that are causing the issue rather than them then, well, we’re going to have problems, aren’t we?
Jurgen wants an atmosphere. He wants passion. That comes in all forms, not just the ones he wants.