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Football News: Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Red Star Belgrade v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

Awful performance away to Red Star, limp, sluggish and lacking any noticeable passion and drive. It was as if the players thought that they only needed to turn up to win. Tactically it was not such a bad performance, but it was littered with such bad individual performances that it ended up costing the team overall. There were plenty of very simple chances to win the game, despite the poor performance, but they were wasted.

In fact that is what makes it all the more annoying, that Liverpool had plentiful good chances to win it and failed to make the most of it. No matter how much pressure was applied, the team spurned good opportunities that you would normally expect them to score. It would be more worrying if the chances were not coming, but it will become worrying if it is not sorted soon.

Some of the reactions to the recent results have been bizarre and ridiculous though. It is like people have never seen a football season before to know it is the results over 38 games, rather than just the last game, that matters. Every four years, after each World Cup, large numbers of players struggle to find form and teams take a while to get going, but still no one seems to remember that as they are too busy wanting everyone replaced!

 

Klopp - got the team selection badly wrong, in so many ways. Matip just reinforces van Dijk's laidback tendencies, while Lovren's rashness and Gomez's inexperience lift him from his relaxed state. I understand that the plan was to go with Lovren until he took ill, but Matip should never be near a Liverpool shirt, he is not good enough and is far too relaxed.

Added to Lallana and Sturridge, the team was so weakened that it was little wonder it struggled to get going until the second half. It did not help that the regulars were all off their game as well. The half-time changes did help and control of the ball increased, but it did not matter as the ball was not put in the back of the net as it needed to be. Even one goal looked like it would see Red Star lose their head, but it never came.

The key to this game was the team selection, which Klopp, sadly, got all wrong. Even the half-time subs, which, though they helped, were odd choices and could have been better. It certainly made absolutely no sense to keep Lallana on for so long while Alexander-Arnold got hooked. Rating: 3.5.

 

Alisson - not really anything he could do with either goal and he did not actually have a lot else to do. Rating: 6.

 

Alexander-Arnold - not playing well at the moment, but he still seemed to offer enough for it to be a surprise he was taken off at half-time for Gomez. I actually feel sorry for him then, as he was just one of four defenders who were playing poorly, as a unit and as individuals. I can understand the thinking behind the tactical switch, but it still feels bad that he was the one to be sacrificed. Rating: 5.

 

Matip - it was his usual performance of offering nothing much. He just does not play well when put under pressure and Red Star did their best to put him under pressure. Wrong choice to start him which was compounded by keeping him on for 90 minutes. Rating: 5.

 

van Dijk - after a truly excellent performance against Arsenal, his level dipped markedly. Against the Gunners he was attacking the ball, going and winning it, against Red Star it was back to the laid back waiting for it to come to him. He was also in large part at fault for the goal from the corner, he was far too slow to react to the danger. What annoyed me most about it was that he should have been there to attack the ball anyway, rather than reacting to the run. Rating: 5.

 

Robertson - again allowed himself to get caught chasing the ball, when he needed to drop off and fill the gaping hole in behind him. Sometimes it feels like the Man City game, when he got such huge cheers for chasing everything, is turning out to be the worst thing that could have happened. One day he will learn to look up and pick out a target with a cross, and when to cross rather than stopping and playing the ball back. Rating: 4.5.

 

Wijnaldum - abysmal performance. One of those games when he hides from the ball. I lost count of the number of times I swore at him as he hid behind the striker when the centre backs had the ball. His job there is to always give them the option of the easy ball, but he was making sure to be unavailable for long periods of the game. After some excellent performances, he reverts back to the frustrating Gini that no one wants to see. Rating: 3.5.

 

Lallana - he just is nowhere near ready to return, so the team is having to carry him to a degree when he plays. That is manageable when it is just him, but there were too many similar in this side. The thing that makes it worse is his refusal to accept he is not at his best and so keep it simple. Instead he constantly tries flicks and tricks that are just not coming off and losing possession. I know he needs games to get his match fitness back, but in an away Champions League game as part of a weakened side is not the time. Rating: 4.

 

Milner - it is not quite there for Milner yet, I am sure Klopp would have liked to give him a bit longer to come back after his injury, but other injuries ended that hope. His magnificent early season form has gone for now, but it is up to the rest of the team to rise to cover for him while he gets back to top form. Rating: 6.5.

 

Salah - it is just not quite happening for him yet. Teams are smothering him and he is struggling to just get that final bit right when it happens. What should be happening is the rest of the team exploit the space that is left, which then ends up dragging away some of the extra cover on him and freeing him up. However that is not happening either, so he ends up struggling to get the chances he did last season. Not really his fault, and it is amazing how close he is getting to things coming together despite the blanket defending. Rating: 6.

 

Sturridge - he just has no idea how to play from the start of games any more. When he comes on late as a sub against tired players, he has a little more time and space to operate. Without it and he just dallies on the ball too much and loses it or shoots hopefully from wherever on the pitch he happens to be standing. Awful performance and he definitely needed to be hooked at half-time. Rating: 2.5.

 

Mane - his touch was awful and he kept slipping over. Really struggled to impact on the game because of the slips. Rating: 5.

 

Subs:

Firmino - thankfully replaced Sturridge at half time, though he was played out of position on the left and never really got into the game properly. Rating: 5.5.

Gomez - odd choice to replace Alexander-Arnold with him at half-time, but it did help to a degree. His long throw needs work, it could be a very powerful weapon which forces defenders to make mistakes, when they are in a position where they do not want to give away a throw in or a corner, but it is not being utilised well yet. Actually played well, again, but he is not going to provide the attacking thrust that was needed. Rating: 6.

Origi - replaced Lallana 79 minutes too late, in the 79th minute. However it was clear he is not up to speed, having not appeared before this season and he struggled to get into the game at all. Rating: 5.

Written by Tris Burke November 07 2018 18:02:52

 

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