From Gtech Group Stadium – Liverpool’s hopes of ending within the Premier League’s prime 4 have been dealt a blow with a 3-1 loss at Brentford on Monday night.
The Reds deservedly go away west London with out the factors, an apt punishment for his or her lazy and rogue defending all through.
It has been the story of their season. In response to Opta, they’ve given up 51 large probabilities this marketing campaign, as much as twice as many because the 5 groups above them within the desk.
Liverpool weren’t all the time this manner, and it is revisionist historical past to counsel so. Whereas they have been certainly fragile defensively in Jurgen Klopp’s early years, the arrival of Virgil van Dijk noticed a change of strategy on the again, enjoying with extra managed aggression and leaving fewer gaps open.
That course of has now reversed.
The place the Reds used to suffocate groups and bully them into submission, they’ve misplaced that additional edge champions want, that swagger now slipping and misplaced as conceitedness.
It was a typical which slowly crept in final season. In a number of large video games, they have been bailed out by VAR’s notorious skinny offside traces and their world class goalkeeper. These inches have not been sufficient to save lots of them this time round – the margins wanted to be the place Liverpool have been even a couple of months in the past are so effective with this reckless fashion.
Maybe their defensive stability has been curtailed partly by the departure of Sadio Mane – an brisk presser and easily one of many world’s finest gamers – and his alternative, Darwin Nunez, failing to make the requisite instant affect. Klopp’s Liverpool have all the time been a group that defend and assault in a single heartbeat, as was finest represented by Van Dijk’s absence in a struggling 2020/21 season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was one in every of their finest attacking threats at Brentford, however he was caught out for the Bees’ second purpose. Kostas Tsimikas was a catastrophe and swiftly changed by Andy Robertson at half-time, with the Scot bringing the vitality required to try to assist Liverpool out.
In the end, their efforts proved fruitless and the mountain was too troublesome to climb. Liverpool haven’t demonstrated their earlier attacking menace to be able to get away with such defensive lapses, and till the conditions in each bins enhance, they won’t contend for main honours once more.
Liverpool’s incapability to show over a squad in want of refreshing is at the least comprehensible contemplating it is nonetheless largely one which performed each single sport out there to them final season – a ridiculous feat which is under-appreciated in wider circles – however the cracks are much more apparent.
There’s at the least a recognition that they want reinforcements at each ends. Cody Gakpo brings nice depth to an assault in want of immediate purpose contributions, and their aggressive pursuit of Jude Bellingham exhibits they nonetheless have continent-wide respect. A few new defenders would not go amiss, thoughts.
Whether or not Klopp’s voice is just not as efficient throughout the Anfield dressing room partitions or he is simply turned a blind eye to this malaise, he is did not halt the slide and it is his job to discover a resolution. His monitor document suggests he’ll discover it, however the backside line is Liverpool have to be meaner on the again in the event that they’re to succeed in the highest 4.