Liverpool Are Like Newcastle’s Entertainers Of The Nineties
Well that was exciting, unless you are a Liverpool fan!
2-0, cruising and a Twitter excitement about the performance that had me tweeting “this is football porn” when describing the red machine performance. Pace, tempo, keeping the ball which must have been dispiriting to the opposition and a swagger which had me hook, line and sinker.
And then came the first fifteen minutes of the second half which was flat, lethargic and the polar opposite of that thrilling first half performance.
Don’t get me wrong, Bournemouth had immense spirit and drive to come back from the absolute football lesson they endured in the first period, and Eddie Howe will be secretly delighted, not just because of the result but the character of a team that, if it were a boxing match, would have been stopped.
But like Rocky, they got up from the canvas, took the eight count and came back swinging, and in Liverpool they found a contender but nowhere near the final article yet, if proof were needed.
So What Went Wrong?
Liverpool need to be cute as well as high octane in their play. They need to know when to keep the ball, take an in-game rest without coming so far off the gas that they can’t get back through the gears when teams come back at them.
Add a keeper in Karius who is far from convincing, a back four without the impressive Matip and all of a sudden the team who’ve arguably played the best football so far this season look flaky, easy to get at and lacking that nouse, that ability to be streetwise in seeing a game out.
Could it be fatal?
I think in the dressing room, the Liverpool players will know that was a massive kick in the teeth.
They will watch the replay of the game, the drop off in intensity in that second half and hopefully learn and manage games that they are ahead in to get the just rewards for what was a truly excellent first half. You could hear it in Klopp’s post match press conference with an honest “we are good, but maybe not as good as we thought we were” assessment of his side.
I do think the keepers are an issue and it’s an area where Liverpool haven’t really been strong since Pepe Reina, and possibly, possibly, Grobbelaar before that. So it seems something of an achilles heel for the Reds which needs addressing pronto as Karius gifted the winner to Ake, where a better and more confident keeper makes the save and Liverpool at least go away with a point, a point that may be crucial at the end of the season.
As for the central defensive two, I just wonder if Jurgen may be thinking of not yet getting rid of Sakho you know. Great ball player he may not be but he’s one of the top two or three in box reactive defenders in the league and again, maybe if he were on duty today, his leadership and “ye shall not pass” attitude may have made a difference.
Watch this space, as if Yaya can be brought back to redemption, I’m sure Sakho can.
Other than that my concern is Liverpool remind me of Newcastle’s entertainers of the 90’s. Great football, excitement all the way through the team but just too naive and too porous to have enough to beat a Chelsea for example over a 38 game season. Conte isn’t as rock and roll as Klopp, but boy does he address deficiencies quickly and that my friends wins titles.
Add Man City who in theory could bring in any player from anywhere on the planet if they are wavering even a tiny bit come January and you see the potential problems Liverpool may have, again over the long haul, not the short term.
Credit to Bournemouth though, a great comeback, inspired substitutions, two wins from three now and if this doesn’t kick them on ahead of Christmas, nothing will.