Observations from Liverpool’s disappointing Cup exit at Leicester

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Liverpool crashed out of the League Cup with a 2-0 defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. The Reds dominated large parts of the game, but their wastefulness in front of goal was punished. Islam Slimani’s sensational second goal to add to Shinji Okazaki’s opener was enough for the Foxes to progress to the 4th round.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke made their first competitive starts for the Reds, in a disappointing outing at a stadium where Jurgen Klopp has tasted defeat for the third time in succession.

Here are the major talking points from the game:

Profligate, wasteful

You can insert all the synonyms to those words here, and only that would best describe this Liverpool performance. Solanke, Philippe Coutinho, Andy Robertson, all had good chances to score in the first half, but the opportunities all went begging. Liverpool should have gone into the half-time break out of the hosts’ sight, but instead, it was goalless.

Andy Robertson can cross a ball

And that is an understatement! It was a pity that there was no meaningful touch on the end of the many crosses that went in from the left-back in the first half. In the second half, maybe it was due to the absence of Coutinho, but Robertson never found as much space to work in, as he did before the break.

Forget the defence Рthe midfield needs a real fix

Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are starting midfielders for the club, and they just did not throw their weight behind the side. Wijnaldum, as is the norm in away games, was virtually invisible and Henderson was poor as well. The skipper’s passing is a growing concern, as below-par performances have been the order of the season so far for him.

Danny Ward must be given more chances

Now that the League Cup campaign is over, Jurgen Klopp must find a way to strike a balance between his three goalkeepers so that they are given their opportunities. Ward’s performance was encouraging, despite the two goals that Liverpool conceded. He looked confident and his reaction to set-pieces looked very assured.


The recurring theme of the last week has been this side’s mentality. The capitulation at Manchester City was followed by an indifferent second half against Sevilla, and again, an indifferent half tonight. Whether it is the intensity not being replicated or that the heads drop after conceding, I don’t know, but both are equally concerning.

Should we be so bothered about a loss in the League Cup?

Maybe not, but given the current scenario, Liverpool needed this win to lift the confidence of the players and the entire mood around the club. This loss means that we’ve blown an opportunity to get silverware, and it makes the league game at Leicester on Saturday and the Champions League game in Moscow all the more crucial.

Welcome back Danny Ings

There was no real impact on the game from Ings, apart from one sight of goal that he had. But it is nice to have the striker back playing first-team football after two absolutely horrendous years for him. Hopefully, the Gods will now be kinder and he can get a run of games under his belt.

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  1. I want to be positive and support the team but it just gets more and more difficult. We only made two worthwhile signings this summer, one not yet getting the match team he deserves, and totally failed to address any defensive issues and it’s already looking to have a massive impact on our season.
    I’m at a loss at how this can be rectified unless there are academy players that will make stone wall holding midfielders. The fact that this article totally omits Oxlade-Chamberline speaks volumes…

  2. It’s been a disappointing few weeks and watching the team feels like repeated groundhog days. Everyone’s disappointed and things feel a little bit stale. But in my view the staleness is wholly down to not signing VVD and Keita, who Klopp rightfully saw as difference makers.

    I felt all summer that FSG would give Klopp license to spend as he saw fit but was signing VVD and Keita dependent on some sales? Was Klopp handicapped by the lack of sales? Did Edwards give Klopp false hope that we could land at least one of VVD or Keita, even at the very last minute? Is this why Klopp didn’t have a plan B?

    My feeling, looking at Klopp’s exasperation last night, is that maybe he isn’t to blame after all for the failure to secure defensive reinforcements. Rather than him being stubborn maybe he was simply let down by Edwards which is a plausible line of argument given the VVD cock-up. Just a note for the FSG critics – it would have probably cost 150m at least to sign both VVD and Keita this summer and they were already over priced at 140m (which we were apparently willing to pay despite not being successful). I think the fact that we were clearly willing buyers show that FSG aren’t scared to back their manager.

    The past 4 results don’t actually change our position or objectives for this season. What they’ve done is undermine fragile confidence to compound the sickening blow to team morale because of Coutinho’s poorly timed transfer request and subsequent “strike”. Now that he’s decided he wants to play again, he’s out of fitness and form and is playing for himself and not the team. I thought his decision making was his headless chicken worst last night and he has a fair few games like that every season. Too often he plays for himself and not the team. Shooting on sight instead of passing to better placed team mates and so on. Sadly we need him because he does offer the threat other players lack. Once Mane is back he’ll hopefully be forced into a more playmaking selfless midfield role which should give the team better balance.

    My honest opinion is that if Klopp can’t succeed at LFC then nobody can, such is the financial disparity between us, Chelsea and the Manchester clubs. We can’t spend crazy money every season because we have to comply with FFP. I don’t think Klopp’s skillset is suited to overcoming the parked bus which we face regularly but a trio of Mane, Salah and Firmino may be the key to compensating for that if they can all stay fit. What Klopp does well is being the underdog, and we are still the underdog, particularly in the top 6 games and the ko stages of the CL. He can also build teams and improve players, if given time.

    The Premier League is an altogether different animal to the Bundesliga. Klopp knows that now. With the financial mismatch and the sheer number of rivals in England I think it’s actually unfair to *expect* Klopp (or indeed any manager) to win the title. The hope has to be that he can build a team that can start to knock on the door. We’re all desperate for number 19 but it won’t happen this season. VVD and Keita might have had us knocking on the door but once the transfer window shut it was clear that we had to recalibrate expectations.

    What’s less clear, the more I think about it, is why we didn’t bring in alternatives. January may be too late to right the wrongs and even if we land VVD it won’t be until next season that he’ll be fully fit and firing alongside Keita. I do hope, if that happens, that Klopp is still around to see out the project. We may have frustrations with the manager, and no manager is perfect, but on balance he’s still the best man for this job.


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