Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea
Liverpool 2-0 AC Milan
Liverpool 1-2 Roma
Liverpool 4- 0 Barcelona
Liverpool 0- 4 Mainz
Of course it was pre-season games and results don’t matter much. Of course different players were used in each games for assessments. And of course there are more positives and cohesion from Klopp’s team that’s been lacking in previous seasons.
There is a lot of optimism from the current Liverpool squad, especially after the way they performed against one of the world’s best team 2 days ago. It’s a mark of Klopp’s effect at Anfield.
So there needs to be only a few minor tweaking required it seems, to end this coming season on a high.
And from looking at the results from Liverpool’s most recent pre-season games the pattern of inconsistency is still lingering, worryingly. Something Klopp has been concerned about from the final few months of last season games.
Although Klopp and his backroom staff have cracked the whip for fitness to get the players up to speed, somehow the mental toughness is lagging. The ability to keep the momentum after each good game, the sharpness of thought to ‘kill-off’ different opponents and tactics and the smartness to break through teams who either come to defend or pressure is not too evident yet from Klopp’s men.
An example, 2 weeks ago Chelsea parked the bus in US and Liverpool lost. Roma played a fast paced game and Liverpool lost, Mainz yesterday contained Liverpool’s best players and Liverpool lost.
These negative results came ironically after Liverpool had put in some of the best performances prior to each of the losses.
It could sound a little unfair to compare the team that played exhilarating football against Barcelona and the team that succumbed woefully against Mainz.
There could be the clue as to why some Liverpool players or team is producing extreme ends of performances. Their mindset is still not synchronized. The psychological tune-up is still not at the top level. Something the Liverpool management has to look into to avoid losing to smaller, faster or physical teams in the league.
If Liverpool can arrest this problem, 10 to 12 points can be gained each season. Because the same 10 to 12 of Liverpool’s best players cannot play every game. The ones who will need to step up have to believe they can keep the momentum going.
Liverpool will not be the most expensive outfit in the English league this season, but they definitely are the most astute group of players assembled post Paisley or Shankly, for the title push. And if this group of players start thinking aggressively alike, and remain in the middle of the consistency gauge throughout the season, rather than going to extreme ends, they could surprise everyone.
For to many seasons, Liverpool have come close but just not been able to finish the job. The Reds have to embrace Klopp’s ‘no nonsense’ attitude to get over the finishing line from now on. For that key players like Sturridge, Hendo and Mignolet among others and young players with potential have to raise the bar for themselves regardless of appearances in every game.
Such is the demands of the high intensity football coupled with hectic schedules these days that the cliché ‘first 11’ is almost obsolete. It’s more like first 22, 23..i don’t know.
Which is why I believe Liverpool will finish ahead of Manure this season. Not just because of the fact I hate them, well yes that too, but the idea of having one or 2 prima donnas in a team is an old concept. Having a compact TEAM with a shared objective is what I agree with Klopp instead.
Hence Klopp is already ahead of Mourinho under this circumstance. Injury to players which teams highly depend on to win, being another. Plus Liverpool may have just pulled off not just one but a couple of coup in this seasons transfer. Mane and Grujic could well become the next 100 million pound players.
But this new Liverpool signings need a full set of players to equally brave every encounter CONSISTENTLY from the top to bottom teams in the league this season.
Klopp has rung the changes and made his objectives and demands clear. Now it’s up to the players past and present to take up the challenge to prove the doubters wrong
There could never be a better opportunity for the Reds to ‘send a clear message’ of intention than this Sunday at the Emirates.