Liverpool Fans Are Getting Restless

Yesterday’s emphatic scoreline of Tottenham 4, Liverpool 1 does not really fully reflect how the game went. Yes, Tottenham were clinical, yes Tottenham were good, but were they 4-1 that good? Tottenham fans will probably say that they were. But as ever with Liverpool, a scoreline does not necessarily paint the complete picture. Is it really worth going through all the statistics….again? As with virtually every other game (with the exception of Manchester City), Liverpool dominated possession, had more shots on target and more corners. But so what. These are just numbers. What is standing out loud clear is that it is not about quantity. It is all about quality. Really good teams take the opportunity to turn the statistical dominance into the required result. Sadly, Liverpool fail to do that on a regular basis. Not surprisingly now some Liverpool fans are getting restless. Is this restlessness justified?

Liverpool Fans Are Getting Restless

So why are Liverpool fans getting restless? In actual fact many of the Liverpool fans I speak to are either restless, or quite worryingly apathetic to what is going on. There are some I speak to are so indifferent now. There is a resignation that the results are expected. Fans expect us to dominate but not turn the dominance into goals. Some fans expect Lovren to have a brain fart (or two, or three etc). There is an expectancy that Mignolet will flap at set pieces. It is taken as read that we will struggle with any set piece thrown into our penalty area. This apathy is more worrying in many respects than restlessness.

Should Liverpool fans expect such poor quality running through the team? Of course, no team can win every game. We don’t expect that. But, on the other hand, we are still identified as one of the biggest clubs in Europe, if not the world. So, there is some justification in hoping, or expecting, that we should be better than this. A lot better than this.

It’s not as if there are different weaknesses to report. There are no new incidents for the manager and his coaching team to work on. There is no surprising, “Wow, I didn’t expect that, or see that coming”

Oh No, It’s A Penalty!!

We are witnessing the same issues game after game. For instance, around by us in the Kop, we often groan, “Oh shit, a penalty!!” every time we concede a corner. This has been going on for a long time. You would think that the ‘joke’ if you can call it that, would be old hat by now. Or, more significantly resigned to the back of the memory banks, as the joke is now defunct as the problem has been sorted. But no, the joke is still current and still being revisited on a regular basis.

Where Does The Problem Lie?

Another thing loud and clear is that the honeymoon period for Jurgen Klopp is well and truly over. The famous turning doubters into believers message when he was first appointed was like a breath of fresh air at the time.

Do you remember the short video?

In a rather cynical way, the statement has been lived up in some ways. Back in October 2015, there were many that doubted if Dejan Lovren would ultimately be good enough for Liverpool. Fast forward two years and now you will find that there are so many believers who are more than convinced he is not good enough.

The question has been asked above. Where does the problem lie? Rather commendably, Klopp said when he first arrived that he was happy with the squad he’d inherited. A few eyebrows were raised then. But, who were we to argue? After all, Klopp had a great track record of turning underachievers into stellar stars. Wouldn’t it be great if he could do that with our massed ranks of underachievers? Or even a few of them.

Water Into Wine

To be fair he has with a few. Probably most notably has been how he has got the very best out of Adam Lallana. But, on the flip side of that there has been an almost over reliance on turning a “Sow’s ear into a Purse” or water into wine. He has so loyally stuck by some regular underachievers even though, quite clearly, they have not deserved such loyalty. Two years on it now looks as though this loyalty is going to firmly bite him where it hurts.

But is it a case of Klopp staying loyal to certain players though? This raises the fundamental question of what goes on behind the scenes at Liverpool regarding transfer policy. Is the transfer committee still in operation and does it still have the same power it apparently had during Brendan Rodgers reign? To be fair, it did seem that blame was being attached to the committee when things started going wrong for Rodgers. When things were a bit rosier, it seemed that Rodgers was happy to take the plaudits.

The HOLELY Trinity

But let’s be clear here, there are some players still at this club who are just not good enough. Why is this? To use a couple of examples, and two of yesterday’s biggest culprits, let’s consider Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet. Again to be clear, they were not only a problem yesterday. They are regularly at fault for a variety of comedy goals against us. To a lesser extent, Joel Matip is catching them up in terms of culpability. The three together could be classed as the HOLELY Trinity. Clearly because of the holes they leave all over the place in our backline.

This is the key question though. Does Klopp really, truly rate them? If he does then the question as to where the blame lies with the problems we have may well sit solely with Klopp and his coaching staff. It’s all about opinions, but can he really rate them? In the simplest sense, laying the blame at Klopp’s feet makes things a lot easier. What I mean by that is that there are no darker forces lurking in the background preventing Klopp bringing in the players he wants.

Most fans were amazed we didn’t bring in a defender (or two) in the last transfer window. Really top teams are always looking to improve their squads. Even after a trophy winning successful season, top sides will consolidate. Even going against the mantra of, “if it’s not broken then there’s no need to fix it”

It Is Broken So Why Haven’t We Fixed It?

But in our case, our defence and our goalkeepers have been ‘broken’ for a good few years. So, why did we not tackle this situation in not only this latest transfer window, but in others as well? Mohamed salah has been a great signing for us and I think Oxlaide-Chamberlain will be as well. But, their signatures were not the most pressing requirements were they? Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased we have them. But have they been signed at the expense of more pressing needs? Hopefully it wasn’t a case of either or.

In the ideal scenario it is down to Klopp to identify the targets he wants and we get them if they are available. So, the fact we didn’t get Virgil Van Dijk, or a Plan B or a Plan C, means that none of them were available. But hopefully they are still on our radar.

The worst case scenarios though would be if Klopp was prevented in some way in bringing in the players he wants. Or, even worse maybe, Klopp really does think certain players are good enough. Or, he still thinks he can turn them from water into wine. If the latter scenario is the case then there is an understanding as to why Liverpool fans are getting restless. And there would be justifications in questioning Klopp’s continuance as manager. Because, as we have already stated, certain players are simply not good enough. No more polishing turds Jurgen. You’ve tried it, but the plan’s failed.

Seeing such glaring weaknesses it is hardly any wonder that Liverpool fans are getting restless.

Time To Get Tough

It really is the time to get tough with certain players. If we don’t, we face a double whammy. Any prospective new transfer targets will be looking elsewhere. Not only that, the few gems we have will be looking to move on. And who could blame them!! If we don’t get top four this season then could we realistically expect to see Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah stay? Notice I didn’t mention Philippe Coutinho. It looks like he’ll be going anyway.

No surprises then to read that it is felt Simon Mignolet needs to be dropped for next Saturday’s fixture against Huddersfield. As, of course, should Dejan Lovren. Unfortunately though we are limited on who to replace Lovren with as we let Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho go without replacing them. Bizarre decision.

We should replace Mignolet with Danny Ward. Why not Karius? Because we’ve already seen him and we know he’s not good enough either. The only way to find out whether Ward is the answer is to give him a chance and play him. If not, then what’s he still doing at the club?

Short term, Klavan needs to come in for Lovren. Or move Gomez to centre-back. Who should be right back then? Trent Alexander-Arnold is a promising talent but has already shown quite a few defensive weaknesses. What on earth has happened to John Flanagan? If he was at the same level as he was at in 2013/14, then that would be a no-brainer. Another alternative, what about James Milner at right-back? He is such a model professional who never lets any of the teams he’s played for down. I would be tempted to play him there if we moved Gomez to centre-back.

What About Some Of The Youngsters?

I went to watch the reserves a few weeks ago and Rhian Brewster stood out. Harry Wilson scored a hat-trick but the stand out player was Brewster. As we are struggling to score goals and Klopp does not seem to trust Sturridge any more (goes against the grain of the loyalty he shows Lovren and Mignolet really doesn’t it), then why not look at more minutes for Solanke, Wilson, Woodburn and Brewster?

I also think Oxlaide-Chamberlain has shown enough in the last few games to warrant a start in place of Wijnaldum. Against all the odds Alberto Moreno has seemed to resurrect his Anfield career. Credit to him. Could he be an option for a left-sided midfield berth though with Andy Robertson coming in at left-back.

We still have a large squad and a squad with quality. Between now and January though we need to show some toughness and bite the bullet and bin certain players. Starting with Mignolet and Lovren and possibly making Milner captain instead of Henderson. If Emre Can doesn’t sort his contract out soon then he should be another casualty.

In short and in conclusion, it would appear that Jurgen Klopp has to make some tough decisions immediately. And some even tougher decisions in January and next summer’s transfer window.

Title Challenge Over

It is sad to say that our title challenge is over after a mere nine games. But over it is being realistic. The teams that will challenge have made their tough decisions and got themselves in the position of having a squad of players they can trust. We are some way off that. But we shouldn’t be. Between now and 31st January will be a huge testing ground for Klopp.

If things don’t change and change soon then the headline of “Liverpool Fans Are Getting Restless” will be quite a mild one compared with the ones other LFC platforms may follow up with.

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