Remember how chipper I was coming into the Spurs game last week? Well they made a fool of me didn’t they? Cheers lads.
All it took was a couple of hopeful punts down the middle of our defence and Dejan Lovren and his mates couldn’t cope. Not so much carved open as disintegrating all over the pitch for everyone to see.
It was a Sunday afternoon horror show that has thoroughly depressed every Liverpool fan I know. Slim chances of Premier League titles gone before Halloween. Any ideas of post Maribor turnarounds quashed in front of our eyes.
And the realisation that we are still watching many of the same average footballers make the same daft mistakes.
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There is a growing conversation around Jurgen Klopp’s tenure in Merseyside and how we evaluate it. It’s just two wins in a busy two months and a couple of thumpings by our rivals, who we had hoped to be challenging at the top but unfortunately currently look miles ahead. We’re two years into Klopp’s reign and a poor defence that did for the last manager doesn’t look any better. Largely because it’s the same bloody lads in defence.
Should the manager be getting more criticism? There has been several things written recently, including on The Anfield Wrap wesbite, wondering if he gets an easy ride compared to past managers. With most concluding that, because of his charm and personality, he’s basically getting away with murder. Well maybe not quite murder, but at least a fair degree of bad behaviour.
Now I’m not sure about this. Firstly, because if there are large numbers of people saying he isn’t being criticised enough for faults they then list, then surely he is being criticised. Just like only a certain number of people are allowed to think a footballer is underrated before he becomes rated. But I also think it is because a growing number of people are starting to look away from the increasingly limited role a manager plays at a football club and looking at the structure that surrounds him.
Lets look at the managers Liverpool have employed since FSG bought the club seven years ago. Firstly the English media darling who spoke seventeen different languages, but none of which were Scouse. Then the club legend and the last manager to bring a league title to Anfield. Then the man over 20 years younger than him who was seen as one of the most promising coaches in the country. And then Jurgen. The man who’s won the German double and got to Champions League finals on a shoestring by inspiring promising players to greater heights.
Four completely different managers who have largely run into the same problems (actually Hodgson was just rubbish). How do you turn good months into great seasons? How do you overcome not one but several clubs with deeper pockets to win Liverpool the league title they so crave?
We can change the manager if people want, I’m not that bothered.
He’s not my mate or anything. But if this was a science experiment and you kept changing one thing and getting the same results, you’d start wondering if you had picked the wrong variable and start looking at the constant.
That maybe it was something else that was the overriding factor.
So what is it that is causing Liverpool to fall short?
The lack of quality on the pitch or the lack of vision or ability amongst the leadership? Or does the latter lead to the former? Of course the manager is involved with transfers too, but if he doesn’t get his first choice centre half in Virgil Van Djik then whose job is it to find a replacement? The manager or the Head of Recruitment, who made such a mess of the Van Djik transfer in the first place that we had to issue a written apology to his club?
The silence leaves fans guessing. But whoever it was they failed and now we are paying the price.
But I’m getting a bit big picture here. For now Liverpool have got the manager they have got and manager has got the players and structure he’s got.
So what does he do against Huddersfield?
Nothing would be the boldest move, and the toughest to forgive if it fails.
You are always better to be seen to be trying something, even if that thing doesn’t work. Especially if it is the thing everyone is crying out for you to do.
That thing the mob is baying for is the removal of Dejan Lovren, who has been at the scene of the crime too many times. Joel Matip, who has been equally poor this season, probably gets away with it because of a lack of alternatives and the fact he has been doing everyone’s head in for a less amount of time.
The manager could also do a lot worse than change the goalkeeper and giving Danny Ward a go. Players like Ward and Gomez, likely to come in for Lovren if we can find someone else to play right back, will be giving much more grace from The Kop than their experienced, much better paid counterparts.
Youth are rarely called upon in times of crisis, but they also tend to play with no fear. And too many of our defence currently look like they are scared of their own shadow. The young and fearless could be the key to more stability on Saturday.
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