Perfection Or Nothing For Klopp’s Frustrating Liverpool

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This is a bold, hyperbolic statement, but one I believe is becoming truer by the week: No team has ever had to work harder to win games than this Liverpool side.

Tuesday’s 1-1 draw away to Spartak Moscow was the perfect example of this, with the Reds once again outplaying an opponent but walking away without three points. They huffed and puffed all evening, playing inventive football and creating endless chances, but a combination of wretched finishing and another sloppy goal conceded cost Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Few Liverpool teams have been more fun to watch than this current outfit, at least in an attacking sense, but they only seem to win when everything clicks. When it does, it is spectacular, but how often is that happening?

Klopp’s style of play is one that should be applauded for its fearlessness and willingness to attack, but it is the footballing equivalent of walking on a tightrope. Mistakes are fatal. The German’s system is a complex one that requires every single player to do their job to perfection – if they don’t, disappointment invariably ensues and criticism is endless.

One stray pass leaves several players out of position; one man not pressing means the entire approach falls apart; one player not marking zonally in the correct manner proves costly.

At the moment, the Reds are not nailing all facets of their game, and it is exactly why we are experiencing such frustrating results. A goalkeeping gaffe, defensive lapse or erratic final ball are all too regular occurrences. In the 11 matches Liverpool have played so far this season, on only one occasion has everything fallen into place, and it proved how special this side can be when that happens.

That came at home to Arsenal, when a largely solid defensive display was added to by a dominant performance from the midfield and an attacking exhibition from Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Apart from that outing, every single one of Liverpool’s other matches has seen deficiencies come to the fore, with individuals not doing their job and the team failing to replicate what their manager has demanded of them.

The defending against Watford on the opening Premier League weekend was horrendous, and that was followed up by a 2-1 win in Hoffenheim that saw a penalty conceded and a soft late goal giving the Bundesliga side hope.

The 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace was the kind of gritty display Liverpool are usually incapable of, in fairness, but the 4-2 win at home to Hoffenheim saw blistering attacking play but more iffiness at the back.

Humiliation at Man City was clouded by Mane’s unfortunate sending off, but not for one second did you think the Reds could get anything from the game with their back against the wall. The defending was never close to being good enough.

Successive draws with Sevilla and Burnley at Anfield highlighted a lack of ruthlessness in either penalty area, and both games against Leicester were far from perfect, even though one resulted in a nail-biting win.

Then there was the Spartak farce. How Liverpool didn’t beat such a limited side, having made so many chances, was fairly unacceptable, and supporters were understandably left disillusioned by what they had witnessed.

Every time Liverpool win a game these days, it is because they fully deserve it and have had to work for their success.
They cannot seem to win playing badly – the hallmark of a successful team – but they will gift points to opponents who do just that. Nothing comes easy, as it seems to for other teams.

There is an element of nice guys always finishing last about the Reds, with aesthetically-pleasing football often not getting the deserved reward. They are not getting a lot of luck at present either, which only adds to the feeling of being hard done by.

As a random example, a CSKA Moscow defender literally air-kicked a clearance against Man United on Wednesday, and Romelu Lukaku was gifted one of the easiest goals of his career. This sort of thing just isn’t happening to Liverpool.

If you look at the Merseysiders’ five rivals at the top of the Premier League, they are all able to accumulate points and win in different ways. They are clearly all good sides in their own right, but they often look no better than the Reds. The key difference is that they are not making mistakes and are putting the ball in the net when they have to. They all have strikers who are bailing them out when their performances aren’t necessarily any better than Liverpool’s, and they are not allowing opponents such disgustingly soft goals.

This has been a bad week for Firmino, and the Reds’ lack of a goalscoring talisman in general, with rival strikers proving influential and the Brazilian missing some huge chances.

Lukaku, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero,, Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette have found the net 15 times between them in the last week, which says all you need to know about the impact they are having.

Firmino is superb, and is perfect for Klopp, but you can’t help but tear you hair out when he is failing to be the hero that rival strikers are.

Whether it’s United, City, Chelsea, Tottenham or Arsenal, it doesn’t matter if certain individuals are experiencing an off day because there is often someone to save the day. With Liverpool, however, every single player has to at least be adequate if they want to win.

Although there is plenty of doom and gloom surrounding the Reds’ current issues, they are so, so close to being a special team. The problems in defence are an issue that might not go away any time soon, sadly, but in the attacking third, they are waiting to explode. The slick build-up play is there for all to see, and if the likes of Firmino and Salah can go up a gear in front of goal, some teams are going to be destroyed in the coming weeks.

You take your hat off to Klopp for having the guts to adopt the style of play that he does, but his players are failing to make it work to the best of its ability currently.

That is the reason their title challenge is already looking slim, and why they have work to do in the Champions League, following back-to-back draws,

Hopefully, the creases will be ironed out and we will see Liverpool hit a stunning run of form soon, but that will only happen if everyone starts doing their job.

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  1. The change in tone is palpable. Not long ago, even implied criticism of Klopp was moronic, but now this article impliedly does exactly the same. It took a while for the numpty to realise, but you’re getting there. Well done.

  2. People like Klopp and their supporters often forget one thing, for a club like LFC winning trophies is important, the club dont exist just for that perfect match against Arsenal at home.
    Into his second season now, all that we see is a Rodgers Mark 2, attacking everywhere but oh so “unlucky “. Top coaches like Pep, Mour, Conte, Rafa ( yes he is a top coach, Remember THAT trophy he won for us in his first season?) just don’t do that, they don’t expect perfection and if its not perfect, play with abandonment.
    It’s ironic that Klopp is facing our beloved Rafa this week, someone who last brought us significant success, someone who had to work with so little and yet produced magic.
    For sure if Rafa is unpramagtic like Klopp ,
    rotate their keepers, insist only one man can improve our defense in the whole footballing world and expext “perfection” ,would we all had enjoyed that special night in Istanbul?
    I guess not.

  3. Chan – You are so right. I often read this site &, generally speaking, the impartiality is non-existent, and as for evidence-based arguments and common sense, that is rarer than a show of decorum by Trump.

    If you read Jackson’s previous articles, from even a few weeks ago, you will notice the massive arse about face in the tone.

    Through this article he is preparing the platform to make a complete u-turn in the future in the hope that his previous fallacy of unreservedly defending Klopp can be buried under the carpet.

    The article previous to this one by Jackson categorically stated that Klopp is the man and he will prove that.

    As for this article by Jackson he argues that under Klopp it’s the footballing equivalent of walking on a tightrope and that everything needs to click for it to work, which is rare.

    Therefore if every player needs to be perfect for the system to work, and we acknowledge that this is a rarity, then how is Klopp the man to take Liverpool forward?

    This is the pro-Klopp brigade for you Chan. Often facts are nullified by spurious opinion. For example, if you present to them that, results-wise, in the PL Klopp has had almost 2 seasons, but his points tally is inferior, the pro-Klopp brigade will present spurious arguments like: “Yes but Rodgers had Suarez.”

    The shallowness of such an argument is that on that basis we can negate the record of virtually every Real Madrid or Barcelona manager on the basis that their winnings depended on world class players.

    What people like Jackson, Hamza et al. (from this site) will conveniently omit is that to this day Suarez references Rodgers’ coaching ability (not that I am advocating his return).

    These so-called intelligent writers are expecting a “title-tilt” once we are out of the FA Cup & CL, come January.

    This is where one begins to question the sanity of university graduates like Hamza & others like Jackson above.

    The obvious thing they forget is that come January, if we continue at the rate that we are going, we will be in the Europa League in February.

    But the subtle deception with these writers is, there is always an excuse in the pipeline. They know, full well, that we are likely to get out of our group in the CL, because Maribor should be 6 points.

    If we reach the last 16 of the CL, this will give them the opportunity to hyperbolically defend Klopp’s poor record in the league on the basis that a “splendid, wonderful, exhilarating CL run hampered our league push.”

    So, this cyclical game will continue & their indoctrination causes fans to forget that we exist for trophies.

    Downplaying an exit from the league cup is like a chav throwing a Casio watch from Argos in the bin on the basis that I have obtained many a Rolex in the not too distant past. Not only is this a fallacious stance, but it is a lie.

    In the not too distant future, you will see the subtle change in style and mood from writers on this site, but it is Jackson and Hamza that will have to work hardest to dig themselves out of a whole that is getting deeper and deeper.

    The liberal sprinkling of adjectives in praise of Klopp and their condescending attitude to those who don’t subscribe to their views, will have to suddenly morph in to back tracking and humility, although in Jackson’s case, I’m not sure he would understand humility if it hit him between the eyes.

    I always say this that the confused, scrambled thinking of Klopp can be summarised in two:

    1. It took him until his 4th transfer window to sign a decent left back, having played a right footed English midfielder at left back for a whole season. When he finally purchases a left back, he brings back the original one that was replaced by Milner. Are you following Chan? Neither am I.

    2. The attitude of VVD or nobody is understandable given the style Klopp wishes to play, but not to have a back up plan or not to even consider an upgrade on Lovren necessary is in itself a sackable offence. In fact, it could prove Klopp’s downfall in the next few months.

    We will then have Jackson et al. writing obituaries, being wise after the event, and conveniently forgetting that they have left a trail of smelly evidence in the form of unsubstantiated hyperbole and adjectives in defence of Klopp.


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