Don’t Believe The Hype – Liverpool 2 West Brom 3

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Won a big game, have we?

And thus Liverpool become Liverpool.

While the Manchester City game was an undoubted highlight of the season, with Jurgen Klopp’s red men swamping all over the champions elect, it also marked the point where things went wrong. Firstly there was the Swansea game where Liverpool were second to every ball and then the delay-ridden debacle at Anfield on Saturday night when they slumped to lowly West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup.

Albion and Swansea deserved their wins as Liverpool were a pale shadow of their former selves. We should have been buoyant but instead we were arrogant – supposing that ability beats work rate. It seldom does.

Bob Paisley once said that the problem with winning the league was that the champions are still doing laps of honour four months into the following season. Liverpool have no such lofty rewards as yet, but are equally guilty of taking their eye off the ball – literally in some cases. There’s a moment where pride turns to hubris and it occurred this week.

Take Roberto Firmino’s goal in the sixth minute. It was a wonderful finish and though no one would have criticised a simpler strike, the Brazilian chose to loft the ball over Ben Foster with a deft touch simply because he could. That’s how good we are. We can do things like that. Six minutes in and Liverpool are back with a huge statement goal. Liverpool are great again.

It’s only a matter of minutes later before Wijnaldum, Can and Moreno switch off and allow Rodriguez in to thump the ball past a desolate Simon Mignolet. Then Liverpool change. They realise that they’re vulnerable. Doubt creeps in and instead of shaking them off as a more focused side would they conspire to gift two further goals. The half time score could be 1-4.

And is this against a decent side. Not really. Albion have scored only 19 league goals this season. Mo Salah has 18.

How do you beat Liverpool? Simple. You play them after they’ve had a big win and then take the lead. The second half saw the usual huff and puff around their 18 yard box but without the player to create a chance. The hapless Can went off to be replaced by Henderson who at least increased the tempo but, Salah aside, Ben Foster went untroubled.

Speaking of Foster, how refreshing it was to see a keeper command his area and marshal his defence. He is, at best, an average keeper, but proof that sometimes merely having the gumption to pipe up to his colleagues can be beneficial. In our goal stood Simon Mignolet who sat silent behind a defence which has the concentration of a goldfish. Come and help yourselves, boys.

The Belgian’s inclusion was baffling in the first place. Last week he had been lamenting that he was no longer first choice and that his days were numbered, but, once again Jurgen Klopp gave him a chance. The result? He managed to challenge for a ball with his arms vertically above him and managed to lose the challenge. The subsequent goal was chalked off, but how can that be possible? How can you be allowed to use your arms in an aerial challenge and lose the ball? What the hell is he doing in the side?

And so, Champions League miracle aside, Liverpool’s 2017-18 season will end without a trophy and though people can talk about the magnificence of our forward line or chance of securing Champions League football again, there is nothing we, as fans, can celebrate. The best we can hope for is an ‘okay’ season. Top four.

Fingers are pointed in the usual direction. Are Fenway Sports Group holding onto the Coutinho money and denying the manager the money he needs or is it Klopp himself who is happy to write off another campaign safe in the knowledge that his target will arrive next season? Refusing to ‘make do’ as it were. That’s admirable, of course, and he shouldn’t be panicked, but look what stands between the goalposts and tell me that that is an area which can’t be upgraded.

Well, one thing’s for sure. You can’t blame him for not taking the FA Cup seriously. Last season he played Ejaria, Randall and Woodburn against a very hungry Wolves side and was bitten on the arse. He said after the subsequent defeat:

“I am responsible for this performance because I thought this line-up was ready for this game but obviously we weren’t and that doesn’t feel too good.

“I could look for excuses but I don’t want to, maybe we should use this time to be disappointed, to be frustrated, to be angry at ourselves.

“All I can say. Sorry.”

If your young players are not ready enough then fair enough – you won’t know until you give them the opportunity, but the same cannot be said for this year’s exit. Matip and Van Dijk – the latter the supposed deux ex machina to cure our defensive ills – were miles off the pace while Alberto Moreno reverted to his woeful form of last season. The midfield was equally poor with Can, Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain chasing the shadows. I still have no idea how Wijnaldum has a squad number at the moment. His only role seems to be keeping the other lads company.

But it’s Tottenham next weekend and Tottenham are a good side so we know what to expect there – a resounding home win followed by the usual talk of ‘we’ve turned a corner’ and ‘Lallana issues a rallying cry’ safe in the knowledge that we’re okay again. No, Spurs don’t worry me. It’s West Ham at home in a few weeks’ time. The Hammers have just been battered by a League One side and are managed by a man with an appalling Anfield record. So they’ve got to be odds-on favourites.

Liverpool need to stop reading their own press and start acting with the concentration they afforded City. We’ve just been beaten – and bested by – the worst two teams in the league. 18 game unbeaten spells are great, but this is a division where you a night off makes you vulnerable. Liverpool need to learn from this and remember this embarrassment next time they’re preening at their own reflection.

They could also do with a goalkeeper. A proper one. Not one who ‘might’ come good if we let them practice a bit in front of us. We’re allowed to buy one at the moment and have the money to do so.

I can’t say I’m confident that we will.

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  1. Brilliant article that. Sums up my thoughts spot on.

    As long as we start a game with either of AA/Gomez or Moreno/Robertson. None of which would make West Ham or Stoke, let alone a top 6 side. As long as we play such inexperienced and poor players in such key positions, opposition will know packing the center will be enough to keep us out.

    We also need a dominant CM.

    This team is so far from the finished article it’s untrue.

  2. Brilliant article that. Sums up my thoughts spot on.

    As long as we start a game with either of AA/Gomez or Moreno/Robertson, none of which would make West Ham or Stoke, let alone a top 6 side we’re simply going nowhere. As long as we play such inexperienced and poor players in such key positions, opposition will know packing the center will be enough to keep us out.

    We also need a dominant CM.

    This team is so far from the finished article it’s untrue.

  3. Typical arrogant Liverpool article you’re living in the past.
    Take a reality check on the night the better team won.
    Foster is better than any keeper your lot have had since Clements.
    Pathetic get a grip

  4. utter shite, you lost because you paid £75m for the 5th best centre back on pitch, you have a string of keepers who can’t keep. Ben Foster average! If he played for you lot you would be watching the one show tonight.
    But you have a manger who is at best clueless, undeniably entertaining and erudite, but he is using liverpool as a stepping stone to become a global brand, sadly he isnt very good at managing and is beginning to get found out. So no champs league next year, no fa cup, no league cup, klopp gone by next xmas, you will be looking across the park with envy.

  5. ‘Foster is at best average’ lol, you ruined your attempt at being humble right there and then. That comment is more arrogant than anything, he’s a bloody good keeper who could easily be England’s no.1 and would be perfect for us.

  6. Ex39baggie you sound like a manc…looks like you wondered onto the wrong website…….anyway yes Swansea and west brom were worthy winners..we were terrible..we lost because some players are not good enough, not concentrating on LFC business…mignolet is fool, didn’t help himself..claimed that Jurgen klopp overlooked him then produces a performance that will make mr bean proud…we need to play ward..and keep karius as our no2..ynwa

  7. Mr. g I have observed your comments about Migs and defensive frailties and I am curious about one or two things.
    1.) If indeed Mr Klopp is so knowledgeable as a manager why does he continually buy attacking players as in midfielders and attackers when our problems lie in defense?
    2.) Why is he persistent with marking space and not man marking when (a) We aren’t a good defensive unit in the first place (b) space has never appeared on a team sheet and or scoring chart?
    Anybody who has played football knows a player hates to be closed down and loves the opposite which is what???? SPACE!!!!!!!!!!
    He practelly begged for VvD and is already making him look like shite with his stubbornness continuing with the mark of space nonsense! That’s a lazy man’s game created by a manager who had lazy players that refused to carry out their defensive duties. We had six or seven players in the box running into each other when Swansea had 3/4 yet they still got the ball and scored!!! Marking Space My ARSE!!!!!

  8. Well another season with NO trophy under Klopp, his 2nd one in a row. Am i surprised? Well no, there are some airhead fans who sings his name after the City win but as i had said all season, for a manager who CHOOSE to have Mignolet and Karius as his first choice keepers for starters, what do you expect? Obviously he has never heard of a spine.
    Under Klopp, at best we can aspire to be a mini Arsenal, you know “May the Fourth be with us”. Utterly clueless manager with a bunch of mediocre players.
    Someone has to tell him no one hands you a trophy for finishing 4th. Klopp had made losing acceptable to his players and some fans. No wonder Cout can’t wait to leave.

  9. Under Klopp, we are made to feel like its “normal” to exit a competition, likes it’s ok to lose a match. You know we have some f**k up players who needs practice (yes please stand up Migs, Karius, Gomez, Gini, Lovren) and yes why not an FA cup match?
    Maybe someone forgets to tell him and some of our fans, that this is an institution that was once graced by the great Shanks, Gerrard, etc that is used to winning and he was supposed to bring back the winning mentality, not turn us into feeder club for the la liga or serie a.
    But this is a tough ask for a man who is used to losing cup finals, i mean what kind of winning mentality you would expect for someone who does not learn from losing and made a habit of it.
    Fergie must be thanking us for dodging a bullet.

  10. I’m gonna be as positive as I can…current position 3rd..50pts..3 behind man who..who bought alexis & others for £200+ Inc. wages..8 in front if arsenal(who u claim we are turning into-god forbid)..2 in front of Tottenham whom we are playing on Sunday and above the current “champions”, who I tipped to struggle..don’t have humble bone in them..celebrate then lord it over everyone..albeit on goal
    Difference..with only 3 defenders to show for it ..yeah most of us are fretting, instead of getting behind the team..that’s what true LFC supporters do…YNWA

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