Our lost to Leicester then Sunderland was most disappointing. I cannot put my words any other way so I’ll be direct…I hold Simon Mignolet and Sakho responsible for the two defeats. Moreno, Lucas and Can continue to play poorly when we need them at their best. Look, if, after clinching a Wembley final and moving on in the rounds of the FA Cup was giving us the best of opportunities to move forward, our senior lads play a lackadaisical game against Leicester with no leadership, commitment or enthuasism. What a difference from the work output put in by our youth squad in the Exeter and West Ham games!
I don’t know…maybe its since Luis Suarez left but since then, I do not see any Reds players having the BASIC football skill of running into space to create opportunities either for himself or other players. We don’t run into space anymore out of sheer laziness! We are more enthusiastic now under Jurgen Klopp, yes, but you can see from our goalscoring record that we are not exactly goal prolific.
There is no clear leadership in the Reds team ever since Gerrard left. Klopp must officially appoint and make a few senior players responsible for leadership skills otherwise we will be going nowhere. Its clear there are leaders in the team but without official support or a ‘proper appointment’ by the coach, players will not recognise their leaders. Candidates like Millie, Henderson, Kolo & Mignolet should step up in that order.
A few Reds players need to be moved on and I feel they are really a burden to the team. Despite giving ample opportunities to play, they have not stepped up their levels remaining mediocre. Moreno on the left continue to cross poorly and make poor decisions and very brittle when defending. Lallana is an ‘elastic’ player but he does not seem to have that goalscoring edge in him.
I can see where Jurgen Klopp is coming from when building his team. You can see from his consistent squad selections that he picks those players who are fast and prepared to run and work hard consistently throughout the 90 mins. But sometimes other skills matter – like the ability to score goals even though the player can be lazy most of the time. Its the results that matters not the hard running over 90 mins. In that, I thought JK should have put Benteke and Studge on the pitch more just to get results rather than insisting they put in a 10-12 continuous training session! Studge did tweet that he was ready to go!
Or maybe if Klopp’s assistant had the guts to put Studge on in the second half in the Sunderland game, we could just have edged out Sunderland 3-2. But that match showed we lacked resilience, commitment, desire. Steven Caulker could have played. And in all the games, I thought Lucas, Moreno and Emre Can had my lowest player ratings!
Sitting 8th at the table before the Leicester game, with very little point differential from 4th spot, it was easy to see that we needed to put that extra effort to get wins in the Leicester and Sunderland game. For Leic, we did well (or did we?) up to the Vardy goal and I don’t know if we can fault Mig for being too far off his line. But still, Emre Can, Firminho, Hendo, Benteke all played poorly. I don’t know if its because Leic were playing a tight game, putting bodies behind the ball, not giving us space and blocking every shot and harrasing our lads.
With the 4 central players – Cou, Origi, Studge coming back – I really think we should have worked hardest to get the wins against Leicester and Sunderland to keep our top 4 hopes alive. But I don’t think we can make top 4 now.
We have an excellent chance of winning CapitalOne IF and only IF we start making bold decisions and get the best players on pitch. For the FA Cup, I still don’t know if we can go far if JK continues to play youths.
Winning the CapitalOne and FA Cup would be good to make up for us unable to make top 4. We are already in the Wembley finals. We just need to manage our FA Cup squad better and we will lose out if JK keeps playing the youths. But they (the youths) did get the wins and in those Exeter and West Ham matches I really thought they played better than our senior squad. I congratulate JK for allowing all of us to see this by playing the youths.
Having said that, I think we could have won the Leicester and Sunderland matches if we had a better senior/youth mix for those 2 games. The youths bring enthusiasm and speed. I can’t see any negatives in putting in a Steven Caulker or/and Brad Smith or/and Joao Teixeira or/and Sheyi Ojo for some of the underperforming senior lads especially Moreno or Lucas or Can.
What a pity. With a little of stick and carrot I think we would still be fighting for top 4 and we could also have used the January window to make sure that happens! 35 million for Teixera? It definitely is NOT TOO MUCH if you think that we haven’t brought in a proper Luis Suarez replacement and you can all see the “quality” of our strikers as it currently is. We should have gone for him.
POSTSCRIPT – I absolutely forgot..we’re still in the Europa Cup aren’t we? My oh my … the games that we have…its well nigh impossible to win the CapitalOne, FA Cup, Europa and still make top 4. Taking things into perspective, it would be better to focus on CapitalOne, Europa & FA Cup in that order and forget about top 4. Any two silverware from the 3 competitions would be an outstanding results for JK and Liverpool!