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Football News: Everton v Liverpool - A Quick Liverpool Perspective

Everton v Liverpool - A Quick Liverpool Perspective

Everton v Liverpool


A truly awful performance from Liverpool, almost every player failed to turn up. Trying to write this review is very difficult to do without swearing, my notes on the game were nearing 50% curse words! How do you express just how bad Liverpool played without emphasising it with a sprinkle of swear words. Truly awful does not really tell you the truth of it, while truly fucking awful at least comes close. The thing is that losing happens, we as fans can cope with that, it is when our team lets us down that bothers us. Playing badly is fine, it is not trying that really hurts because they represent us out there on that pitch and it is like they are saying we fans do not matter enough to bother trying. In reality there is lots more to it, but that is the feeling it leaves behind, which is why fans get so upset and some can act irrationally. It is because it genuinely hurts. Even more so when it is a rival and you know that there will be a hundred gloating messages on your phone afterwards.

That is not really relevant to this review, it is just me prevaricating rather than ripping into the team. The thing is that this has been coming. There are so many things over the last couple of years that have been holding Liverpool back that now, with hindsight, it feels like maybe Klopp should have left two years ago, much as I love him. I was clinging onto a hope that he would somehow come back to being Klopp, the Klopp that was a breath of fresh air (and not fresh of breath air as I initially typed for some unknown reason!) and brought that heavy metal football that was so enjoyable to watch and brought so much success. Instead he has been moving further and further away from it. Now when I look back and remember how he tried to step back before the start of last season to let Lijnders have more control to develop him as a successor, that should have been the moment he left.

Since then Klopp has not invested all of himself in the job, which is sickening when you consider the huge amount of money he is paid to do so. I get there is stress and pressure, but it is first world problem stress and pressure of the privileged rich. And this is why I had so much trouble with this review and it took me longer to even get started than normal. Criticising Jurgen Norbert Klopp as a Liverpool fan feels so wrong. He has brought so much joy that it is not that I begrudge him the money or wanting a break, I am annoyed that he stayed too long. Instead of dreading him going, I am now actually just looking forward to it all being over. It is a shame because it should not be that way after all he has achieved. It should be like when he left Dortmund and the BVB fans were just broken-hearted. Instead it is almost going to be a relief.

And, looking back at it now, it should have been foreseen two years ago as it was so obvious. It is not just when he started to step back, it was allowing Lijnders to write that book, just before completely abandoning the intensity it was named after. Taking Lijnders tactical advice, despite his tactics being so abysmal he could not even last a season as a manager, allowing him to write a book, letting Lijnders take the credit for just about everything that ever happened and appear on podcasts and do interviews like he was the prime mover behind everything. The book was a huge red flag from an assistant, who is just one assistant in a team of them. But it is mostly the abandonment of Klopp's ideology on football, the high-octane 'heavy metal' football, in order to move over to playing slow, turgid, possession football, with no width, that really is the biggest issue. I can understand that evolution is necessary and that there were ways to make it better, but there was no need to throw it all out of the window the way Klopp has.

Last season was abysmal, but people blamed it all on the midfield being past it, rather than the tactics being poor making the midfield look done. People were claiming it was the players' ages that stopped them pressing with intensity like before, but it is clear that it was Klopp's choice to play with less intensity. It was Klopp who decided that style was done and moved on to something different that simply did not work. Instead of abandoning it after the way it failed him, Klopp has doubled down on it by buying a whole new midfield instead. The problem is that he bought midfielders who suit the old way of playing, rather than the new way. And what it has resulted in is the team conceding the first goal in a match 22 times this season. Earlier in the season the team would be changed back to the old way and rescue it most of the time, but it was always going to catch up eventually.

Then Klopp made it even more messy by announcing his departure at the end of the season, while there were still months to go. That was always going to provide a short-term boost as the players wanted to go out with a bang for him, but also that was always going to fade and lead to the players struggling to motivate themselves. Add that to Klopp losing his ability to motivate with everyone knowing he was going. It is little wonder the performances have become so lacklustre as Klopp looks lost on the sidelines now, almost resigned to the defeats as the time ticks down, when he used to just get more and more agitated right up until the final whistle blew. What it has led to is a team sleepwalking through the end of the final season, which is ending with a whimper amid turgid football. The amazing thing is that this season has been characterised by turgid football, by giving away the first goal constantly, yet still somehow ending up competing at the top of the league. If someone had told me that before the season started Liverpool would be in this position at this point, I would have been delighted by the thought. Even after the first few weeks, I would still have thought it was a ridiculous idea.

The most frustrating thing of all is that being top of the table was clearly a false position because it was achieved in spite of the tactics, rather than because of them. Or maybe the most frustrating thing is that I am having to criticise Klopp? I really want to just enjoy the end of an era, to see the players give their all for him to end it on a high and to leave me nothing to say but to eulogise about a man who turned us, most of us anyway, into believers.


Everton played well, they had a simple plan - win free kicks in Liverpool's half and then put the ball into the box. To that end, they did go down very easily shall we say, helped by the referee giving them every decision even though there was, at best, minimal contact. However that was not why they beat Liverpool, it just made it a little easier for them. Why they won is because they attacked every ball in the air and chased everything. They outworked Liverpool completely and it was a fairly comfortable win. The question that needs to be asked is why they have not been able to play like this more regularly. However, this week they have earnt their moment to gloat as they were by far the better side and fully deserved their win.


Quick notes on the players:


Alisson - one of the very few who actually bothered to turn up, but was given absolutely no protection.

Alexander-Arnold - terrible performance. I do not understand why a player with his vision cannot spot the need for someone to get down the right and put the ball in. There were acres of space out there but still he constantly inverted to where there was no space, right up until Klopp made his first set of changes. Clearly at that point he was given instruction to stay wide. It is so frustrating watching a player of such quality failing to use his brain and do what fits the way the match is going, rather than just mindlessly following instructions that are clearly idiotic. I get he wants to play midfield, but he needs to do what is best for the team first and foremost.

Konate - he was bullied by Calvert-Lewin, but at least he tried. The biggest problem is that having Alexander-Arnold constantly inverted left him almost playing right-back when the team had the ball, and he is not good enough on the ball to push forward out there. Nor should he have been asked to, as it just left a huge space.

van Dijk - the worst performance I have ever seen him give. All the worst characteristics of van Dijk came to the fore in this game and he was far too busy moaning to the referee or throwing his arms up and blaming everyone else for his failings to actually do his job. He failed to win a single first header from an Everton setpiece, most of the time not even getting near them despite almost all of them being played into his area. The second goal he never even challenged for, when it was his ball to win. This was all about attitude, it was so poor in this game, like he had already given up. After such a stellar season, it is a shame to see this happen.

Robertson - another completely off his game. He has not come back from his injury spell well, like many players he is looking like a different player on his return. It often happens when a player has missed a significant spell with an injury. They often just need time to get back to their best. However, he really needs to do better defensively, especially stopping crosses against a team like Everton.

Mac Allister - another who was terrible. He is not at his best at the base of the midfield anyway, but he was particularly poor in this match, which seems an odd choice to play him there anyway. Everton, and Dyche teams in general, are known for being physical and direct. This was a game for a fighter like Endo to start, but it is just another one in a number of very strange team selections by Klopp recently. Mac Allister is very good at keeping possession, but he tends to do it by passing back and sideways when deep, rather than looking to thread passes through the opposition defence like he will when higher up. That just put Liverpool in trouble, added to by the fact that the ball was moved so slowly, just rolled around, allowing Everton plenty of time to organise and making it easy for them.

Szoboszlai - he has been struggling for a while, since he has had time to learn the tactical set up of the team, rather than just playing the way he feels is right. It is clear he needs the high press, high-intensity football to be effective. This slow, methodical build-up play is not helping him, until that changes, he is going to struggle, as are the rest of the team.

Jones - another who had a poor game, though he tried to get on the ball and move it forward, what he did was completely ineffective. He just ended up being overrun.

Diaz - the one outfield player who had at least a half decent game, though once again he was let down by a complete lack of end product. He did work hard, winning the ball back a number of times, but he just needs to work on actually producing something at the end of it.

Nunez - his touch was poor and it cost him the chance to score a number of times. That is something he really needs to improve on, with a better touch more chances will come and he will get more goals. It does look like he was lacking confidence, which can easily be a part of the problem.

Salah - his performances have been poor for a long time now, after a good start to the season. It is becoming a real worry now, but he was dreadful once more and missed a number of chances. He really should not be in the team right now, he does not deserve his place.

Elliott - came on in the 63rd minute to replace Szoboszlai. Worked hard, at least tried to make something happen, but his attempts to put the ball into dangerous areas was poor.

Endo - brought on for Jones in the 63rd minute. At least brought a bit of bite to the midfield. He did get caught out on the ball initially but quickly got adjusted to the pace of the game.

Quansah - bizarrely came on for Konate also in the 63rd minute. No idea why he was brought on, I am not sure what it did or what it was meant to do.

Gomez - replaced Alexander-Arnold in the 84th minute. A pointless late double substitution which showed Klopp had given up on chasing the result and was just looking to save legs.

Tsimikas - took Robertson's place in the 84th minute. See Gomez above.

Written by Tris Burke April 27 2024 02:15:58


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