Why Liverpool’s Problems Might Be Worse Than Most Think
FC Liverpool has arguably been one of the most dominant club sides in Europe and especially in England for the past 3 years. Finalists of the Europa League, UEFA Champions League, winners’ champions league 2019, and after a 2 decades wait, Premier league champions 2020.
As I watched them auto-destruct against a well-organized Man. City side by four goals to one with relatively little resistance, I couldn’t help but put on my footballers’ hat to try to figure what has terribly gone wrong with this great team.
True: Influential players like Virgil van Dijk are out injured!
Reality: A top club that has spent over half a Billion Euros on player transfers in the past 5 years should be able to be very competitive even when few players are injured.
Furthermore, other top premier league teams have been physically struggling also due to injuries and the covid 19 pandemic.
True: Liverpool’s stadium, the Fortress of Anfield, due to covid 19 security restrictions welcomes opponents without the very loud and inspiring home fans for Liverpool, a disadvantage for Liverpool!
Reality: Liverpool are not the only ones deprived of their fan base support at home or away games, all other club sides suffer the same fate.
Probable excuses are many but the reasons for Liverpool’s dip in form are way much deeper than many think, I believe.
Manager Jurgen Klopp’s coaching style is built around physical investment by all at the club with a raging bull mentality. All for one and one for all, he rightfully loudly echoes.
However, the body language of Liverpool players on the pitch lacks this mentality at the moment. I was particularly, finally pleased to see Mo Salah wildly celebrate a Liverpool goal versus Tottenham as he helped shoot Liverpool to the top of the premier league in December 2020. The goal celebrations and performances of the whole Liverpool team have been calm to put it lightly.
Prior to that, I felt the team lacked the life and fury we had been used to, lately with Liverpool.
The coach is surprisingly lately engaging in verbal public disagreements with other coaches over issues and losing excuses as to regards reasons off the pitch why his team is not top of the table. Recently Klopp seemed to suggest Man. City was top of the league mainly because they had a covid break recently. He got a prompt reply from Man. City’s Guardiola in a mocking style.
Strange when one takes into account that Man. City has an ongoing 14 matches winning run, crushing every team on its path, now Liverpool included.
As I watched, arguably one of the best Goalkeepers in the world today, Liverpool’s Allison Becker, make some extremely rare mistakes,2 of them actually, that gifted Man City 2 goals, crumble to the floor on his knees in total disappointment, I could not help but notice that not one teammate went up to him, raise him up, to cheer him up and give him the desperately needed support, like good comrades, it further reaffirmed my suspicions.
“Alisson saved our lives plenty of times, tonight he made two mistakes.” This Jurgen Klopp’s comment on Alisson Becker’s errors after the game further puzzled me. Though it reminds us that Allison has been instrumental to Liverpool’s success in recent years, it somehow seems like hiding behind these errors and shift the sole blame of the loss on Allison, as the reason why Man. City won the game, which I totally disagree with.
Man. City had missed a penalty before opening the scoring by the same “penalty miser” İlkay Gündoğan later on, had Gündoğan scored the penalty, Man City would have been 2-0 upfront before Salah pulled one back for Liverpool by scoring a penalty, he provoked.
Still Man. City won the game by 4-1, and if we take away the 2 errors, Man. City would have still won by 2-1 as they looked overall the better team.
My belief is simple, something fundamental seems broken at Liverpool, it is public knowledge some influential players of the past 3 years want to leave the club and the incessant player acquisitions linked to Germany are beginning to weigh negatively on the team.
I personally find this unfortunate as a much more competitive Liverpool, simultaneous with an equally competitive Man. City is a real thriller to experience, remember the 2018/2019 season that went to the wire till the very last Premier league match day? What I would give to relive such an experience once again as a neutral spectator.