Calculated Risk Or Tactical Naivety?

I don't want to stand here and accuse Jurgen Klopp of having a lack or experience or judgement because that's just ludicrous but after a frustrating result against Villarreal right in the dying moments on Thursday evening, it's hard not to feel that the manager was perhaps just a little naive on this occasion.

Image via A dejected Dejan
It's a Europa League semi-final first leg, I get it, you have to decide how you are going to approach the game and as soon as I saw Daniel Sturridge missing from the starting line up, I knew what Klopp was doing.

A calculated risk some would argue and one that nine times out of ten will pay off. Forget the striker, play things tightly, you still have the likes of Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana who will surely bag a goal on the break... surely? Well they didn't and this for me is where the naivety, stubborness or whatever you want to call it sets in.

Klopp watched that side hold out solidly at the back against Villarreal for the first 45 minutes but he also witnessed a lack of attack. I totally understand the desire to play things safe but for me after 45-60 minutes of watching nothing in the way of a serious attempt at goal, for me, you have to chuck a striker on. An away goal in a semi-final like this can be massively important and as the game went on I just bloody knew that Villarreal would find a late goal, I could just see it coming.

What was more frustrating is that Christian Benteke (despite only being on the pitch for about three minutes) proved that with somebody to aim for up top, the Reds would have made more of an impact. He was a focus for the likes of Milner and co and immediately got involved in the action and this is Benteke, imagine what would have happened if Sturridge had got 20 minutes? I'll tell you what, we'd have buried them.

It sounds like I'm coming across really harsh, I don't mean to as I realise we're still in the driving seat even after going a goal down, at Anfield in a tie like this I'd always fancy our chances but I just find the result extremely frustrating. You play 90 minutes of tactically astute football and risk not pushing for a goal and for what? To lose in the final moment of the game.

One nil down isn't the end of the world, of course it isn't but don't come crawling to me if Villarreal manage to fire out the blocks at Anfield and find an early goal. I hope it doesn't come to that because I'm not so sure Liverpool have another European miracle in their locker this season.

Start Sturridge is all I'm saying!


Just a quick note to say folks thanks for reading as always! I just want to apologise for the short/random layout of posts and scheduling/missing blogs over the next week. I've handed in my dissertation but I still have one big exam and one full piece of coursework to complete at Uni so am a bit snowed under!

Full normal service will be resumed shortly!!!