Strap yourselves in, because there’s lot of football left to play this season and if our past two Premier League performances are anything to go by, we’re in big trouble.
“Massively frustrated, congratulations to Brighton on a super game against a bad opponent. We were not good today, I can’t remember a good phase or period,” a broken Klopp said after the game, via ESPN.
“Doing better than today should be easy, because this is a really low point. I can’t remember a worse game.”
At least he didn’t look for the positives, because there were zero.
The problem is, Liverpool fans saw this coming.
An away game against a young, hungry side who are full of energy and confidence? That’s a recipe for disaster right now. And Brighton were better in every single aspect. They had more of the ball, they had all the shots; in fact, it could have been far more embarrassing than 3-0 if they’d taken their multitude of chances.
And to be honest, the tone was set in Klopp’s agitated press-conference, where he went over the top in his angry response at a journalist asking him about why the squad hasn’t been rejuvenated.
His answer was a thinly-veiled dig at the owners, suggesting he would buy players if only FSG gave him sufficient funds.
“I’ve had 6,000 press conferences at Liverpool. Come on, do I have to tell you the money story again? What could be the reason [for no more signings]? Is it that we have money like crazy but we don’t buy the players even when they are available?” he told the Echo pre-game.
“That’s what you think of me, after all the years? Why do you ask the question when the answer lies on the table. You know the answer!”
He’s right, of course. The owners have let him down and they’ll pay for it. They’ve squeezed everything they could out of Klopp without providing him new players to fulfil his football ideas, which are based around intensity and physicality.
But Klopp has made mistakes himself. Why do Liverpool keep playing like a side who are good enough to hold a high line, brazenly letting our opponents hit through-balls and passes over the top to willing attackers, via midfielders who are picking up the ball in the centre of the park under zero pressure? Playing Liverpool is so easy. Just play fast passes in a forward direction and you’re in on goal, or just run with it. Watching our midfield’s inability to track a runner at the weekend was painful.
Brighton won every duel. They linked up well with each other. Liverpool couldn’t string passes together. There was no cohesion. Nobody took risks. Nobody did anything. Sadly and worryingly, it looked like they didn’t want to be there. A clip of Trent Alexander-Arnold not bothering to track a Brighton attacker waltzing into the box for the third goal has gone viral, and so it should – it is appalling. I am past defending his defending if this is the effort we’re going to see.
Inexcusable from Trent, this. Blame teammates all you like for not helping him at times in games, but this is all on him, and is frankly ridiculous. https://t.co/6jBjwhRIZl
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) January 16, 2023
But it’s not that they’re not trying, even though at times it looked like that. It’s that they’re cooked.
Alisson, Trent, Andy Robertson, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Fabinho, Thiago, Jordan Henderson, Mo Salah… That’s nine top, renowned players; and the other two were exciting new signing Cody Gakpo and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It’s not just the injuries, because that should be a proper team of serious footballers.
Yes, there isn’t much off the bench, but they had a week break since their last fixture and the only players in that lineup who played significantly at the World Cup were Konate and Henderson.
But they are tired mentally and their legs have gone. There is no way you can watch Fabinho and say it’s the same, world-class holding midfielder who won the Champions League and Premier League. What has happened to him? What has happened to all of them?
There’s something not right at the club behind the scenes. Michael Edwards, Julian Ward and Ian Graham all leaving. Members of the medical side all departing. An irritable Klopp and a team of non-runners. Liverpool have covered less ground in nearly every match this season than our opponents.
We are in ninth, but according to xG, we are 6.6 goals better off than we should be, so based on performances, we could be even lower, with half the season gone. That’s a big enough sample size to suggest whatever Liverpool were is broken.
We need a factory reset in the summer. Klopp deserves a chance to build another great team. I’d rather lose all the players than him. Hopefully new owners will be in, because modern football has outgrown FSG. They should be thanked for what they achieved, but they need out of the club – and fairly fast – given their refusal to buy new players.
As a fan, the team needs all our support in the ground. That is a given. But it’s the end for this once great side.
That’s a fact.