Following their 3-2 win away to Leicester, Jürgen Klopp went in front of the media to proclaim that “the three points are the proof for the public that we are still here, everything is good.” This, folks, is my two cents on this: even good is an overstated view of the situation that Klopp has created at Liverpool and everything is, defensively speaking, not good.
The Unhappy First Goal
The reason that Klopp should be unhappy is the reason Klopp has always had to be unhappy – his defensive situation at Liverpool is an absolute shambles. How anybody can look at either of Leicester’s goals and then say everything is good is beyond me. Let’s start with Shinji Okazaki’s fumble over the line to pull one back. Firstly, the ball is played in from a corner – no matter, teams deal with this every single day in training. But oh no, unless this was exactly what Leicester had planned (which would make it an absolute masterclass of pinpoint precision), then many things in that defence are lacking. It starts Simon ‘Safe Hands’ Mignolet bringing out his not-so-secret weapon – the useless flap as he tries to scramble over his own defenders, hopelessly trying to slap the ball away and failing miserably.
– As you can see here, he’s not even close to getting to the ball, he should have left it to the TWO defenders that are jumping for it. This is a clear sign of the lack of leadership that I feel Mignolet shows in his box, his decision making can be poor and often lets the other team in. Maybe then he would have been in a better position when the next part happened….
The ball then seems to hit Joe Gomez, who is being overpowered by the man he’s marking which results in the ball going back to a keeper who is no longer in goal. The ball takes a bounce to the back post and I’m afraid it’s Okazaki who was quickest to react and in the right position to tip it over the line. What a mess.
The Unhappier Second Goal
The second goal can only be described as even worse (prepare yourself Liverpool fans because this one will hurt). The move is really started by the one and only Marc Albrighton, who really should be closed down much better by, once again, Joe Gomez – he wasn’t. Marc has all the time in the world to reach the line, spin and then push down the line past the already-beaten Gomez and into the massive gap that nobody has come across to cover (namely because Matip is static in the middle watching him go and not marking Vardy – seriously watch it. We’ll come back to him later though). His cross goes in and TAKES A BOUNCE IN THE BOX which is criminal if it isn’t cleared. This loose ball then drops to Demarai Gray who is free and has all the time in the world to line up his volley, which is well saved to be fair to Mignolet – he didn’t have time to react and push it somewhere else. It did, however, drop right on the head of Jamie Vardy, who you may remember has been left COMPLETELY on his own by Matip and can easily pop his header into a now open goal. It just gets worse! Matip has been really poor here and, instead of covering his own man, is busy across helping out his fellow defender while ball watching instead of focusing on his job. This drop of focus may not have happened were Matip to have more trust in his fellow defenders because I don’t believe he is that poor and, with the right partner, we could see much improved performances but in the current state there are silly goals being conceded here.
Rio’s Harsh Truth
Although I have only mentioned a couple of names here, I absolutely agree with Rio Ferdinand’s comments on BT Sport that Liverpool’s back four aren’t good enough – but I’m taking it further in saying that NONE of them are good enough from what I have seen here. With just some simple defending in this game they could have come out as comfortable 3-0 winners and put a real message out there to their rivals. Instead, they’ve shown once again how frail their defence is, sure Jürgen you can just continue with your ‘gegenpressing’ but what it does mean is that you have to know that your back four and keeper are going to hold you up, something they are not doing for him.
Stay with me though Liverpool fans because I do believe that there is a simple answer to your problems – a little bit of leadership. This could have come in the summer in the form of one Virgil Van Dijk. Again though, Liverpool didn’t gegenpress for his signature well enough and came off empty-handed with a weak back line that is open to be exposed – City did it well enough by putting 5 past them! So my advice is simply this – get Van Dijk in, somebody who can boss the defence around and let them know what they should be doing, or face getting your arses handed to you in defence on a weekly basis. Sure, you can just keep trying to outscore the opponents and having Coutinho back is a god-send in that regard but it certainly isn’t going to work every week.
Phew! I managed to get through all of that and I managed not to mention the £40 million pound they threw away on Oxlade-Chamberlain! Oh crap….
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