Liverpool CANNOT just move on from the Burnley defeat. Forget about the score line, never mind about the perverse manner of the defeat. Because Liverpool have just sent out an open invitation to 19 other teams in the Premiere League with a detailed plan of ‘how to beat Liverpool’ each week.
It would read something like this on a tiny stick-on note pad.
• Pack the defence
• Hit them with a sucker punch
• Get 3 points
For all the high profile pre-season preparations and summer buys, the same problem remains for the Reds. A strike force with no clue of how to break down a stubborn defence, a soft center which at times doesn’t seem to exist and a set of defenders who do not have any sense of game management.
For all of Klopp’s plusses he has the most worrying minus of his predecessor. A lack of Plan B.
Liverpool was a mess at Turf Moor. They lost their shape, lost for ideas and lost the plot completely in only their second game of the season. Managers can be stubborn to do things their own way, but when predictability and staleness sets in, Klopp must make immediate changes. Spring a surprise, explore new tactics, play with 2 strikers etc, if not opposing managers will all be looking forward to play Liverpool each week for the points.
Playing best 11 players do not necessarily means having a balance in the team. So it’s confusing to see why Klopp would pay 25 million for one of the highest scoring midfielder from last season and play him in a defensive role. Because Couts, Firmino or Sturridge needed to be replaced at Turf Moor and Wijnaldum would have been the freshness Liverpool needed from the bench last weekend.
If there’s one consolation for Liverpool from the defeat, is that the transfer window is still open. Not for panic buys, but buying to plug glaring holes. If a Championship team can point out Liverpool’s weaknesses so easily, no Liverpool fan will want to see what better teams can do to the Reds home or away.
Mane was hugely missed against Burnley of course, but huge credits to them for varying the tactics against Liverpool to get the win. Exactly what Liverpool need, options, alternatives, variations rather than just slotting another player to fill the gap with the same predictable formation.
If Klopp wants to do things differently from the last Liverpool manager, he must not go down the same path as Rodgers did but buy players who can be activated for Plan B.
The lesson from Burnley defeat is quite obvious. Liverpool still lack players to break down these types of opponents. Such as a strong header in front, a hard man in the middle and for heaven sake a natural left back.
It’s not just a knee-jerk reaction from one lost, but an existing problem for a few seasons Liverpool managers are constantly ignoring.
Klopp is definitely the right man at Anfield and may have his team this season. But he must address the shortcomings from previous seasons and spend to solve a long overdue problem at Liverpool or it’s adios to another title charge.