Reflecting on the Luton Stalemate
There was a sobering reality to the draw against Luton at Kenilworth Road. It will be viewed with opposing lenses by sections of the fanbase as some veer towards the ‘just did not finish the chances’ or ‘it happens’, whilst others feel it demonstrates the real vulnerabilities of this current side. Either way, we all know the saying about beating the dross and whilst Liverpool have had some good results away from Anfield this season, this had a feeling of last campaign. It does not mean things have not changed for the better this year, but it does mean there are questions that can still be levelled against Jurgen Klopp and his side. There’s only one way to erase those doubts.
Last Season’s Shadows Loom
If any Reds think back with a shudder to last season, such results away from home against teams in the lower half of the table left a real mark on the overall campaign. Dire performances against the likes of Forest and Bournemouth (on the back of the 7-0 destruction of United at Anfield) simply were not good enough as they were second best in every single metric you can name. Whilst it is not the exact same this year round, it is still right to look back to recent history and even a bit further when asking questions about this side away from home. Having failed to beat any of the promoted sides away from home last season, it was fair and natural to expect that to change at Luton.
Missed Opportunities at Kenilworth
Liverpool were abject in a lot of those games and the first of those types and opening game against Fulham set the market for a turgid campaign. This time around against Luton was altogether different despite being another draw. The Reds did control the game as the possession stats and eye test showed clearly, but wasted chance after chance with Darwin Nunez blazing over from point-blank range being the pick. If that goes in, then we are probably telling a different story, but Liverpool’s last win over a promoted side now goes back to October 2021 against Watford. Regardless of whether you feel they’re chasing the top four or a title, that is simply not good enough.
Upcoming Challenge: Sheffield United
This side has answered certain questions levelled at it this campaign and some great results against Newcastle and Wolves away (after an international break and with a 12:30 kick-off) will only help breed confidence and resilience in the long run. Luis Diaz’s late goal will fortify the mentality of ‘Liverpool 2.0’ in some way, but until that ability to win however possible against the newly promoted sides is demonstrated it’s right to ask questions. Sheffield United in midweek on the 6th of December means the Reds won’t have to wait long for their opportunity. It doesn’t seem like the biggest game with the likes of City away beforehand, but everything we are seeing tells us it is.