‘I can’t remember a worse game. I mean all, not only Liverpool, I can’t remember’.
Words expressed in Liverpool’s latest post-match press conference by beleaguered Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp. Not since the final days of Brendan Rodgers’ reign have we seen such a continual poor showing from our team, with a drop off that is very hard to fathom and accept. Regardless of the need to regenerate the current midfield, there seems to be a pandemic spreading through most of the team that is rendering them unable to play football to any acceptable level. This weekend’s game ended with another poor result, with the alarming reality being that everyone saw it as probable, except for our famous manager.
When looking at the Reds’ starting line-up, it looked bleak with the likes of Virgil, Darwin, Luis Díaz, and Diogo Jota all missing. The energy and toughness seem completely vacant right now, and the Liverpool men that represented the club yesterday were wholly taken apart by an exceptionally well drilled Brighton team. Without the physical exploits of Ibrahima Konate, the score line really could have been anything, with his heart and defensive strength keeping the goals against away from outrageous.
GK – Alisson Becker
RB – Trent Alexander Arnold
LB – Andy Robertson
RCB – Joël Matip
LCB – Ibrahima Konaté
RCM – Jordan Henderson (c)
CDM – Fabinho
LCM – Thiago Alcantara
LF – Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
CF – Cody Gakpo
RF – Mohamed Salah
68’ Naby Keïta – Jordan Henderson
68’ Harvey Elliott – Fabinho
68’ Joe Gomez – Joël Matip
68’ Ben Doak – Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
With the line ups and substitutions as shown above, the match was a non-stop horror show of an away day. I had hoped that our Raging Bull, Darwin, would be that difference maker to help push back on a resilient team. When he was confirmed as injured, however, I joined the masses in expecting the worst. Unfortunately for everyone that supports this Anfield outfit, the reds delivered on our worst fears with a display that had Klopp dumbfounded.
With Moisés Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister having the run of the middle area, it became clear early on that Thiago had been tasked into an attacking midfield slot. As the only consistent figure within the heart of midfield this season, it seemed absurd to take him away from an area where he had been most effective. With this tactical alteration, it saw Jordan Henderson both targeted and exposed by a team more than happy to play through him. Fabinho was also left wanting, as the tired duo could do nothing to spot a rampant south coast outfit controlling proceedings.
Joël Matip had his worst performance as a red and it seems he is lost without Virgil beside him. Though Ibou excelled in his own work, it is doubtful that he can organise a defensive line at his tender age. Trent looked position-less at times, with a desire to impact the game further up the pitch. Robbo looked so ineffective at times, as the whole back four looked a disjointed group of strangers.
In attack you had to feel sorry for Gakpo. His introduction to this side has been the absolute opposite of what Luis Díaz delivered a year ago, with no identity evident within our attacking third. With a continual switching of personnel up front, Mohamed Salah is surely wondering whether he was wise to sign that new contract, as he stumbled through the game as a shadow of his true self.
It is pointless to go through the mistakes and goals individually, as the whole Liverpool performance was disastrous. This dark cloud has descended and there seems no light or salvation to be seen soon. Until we garner clarification on the ownership, it seems new additions are unlikely. We have Wolves this week in an FA Cup replay, followed by ‘another’ vital Premier League game against Chelsea.
At some point we simply must regain something close to our true selves, it just might be a long road until we get there…