It was just bound to happen wasn't it? A managerless Leicester turn up at the King Power having failed to find the back of the net in 2017 yet manage to put three past Liverpool with absolute ease.
|Image via teamtalk.com|
It would have been a bad time for any side to face Leicester to be honest but as mentioned in the match preview, this fixture had all the makings of a banana skin for the Reds. After two weeks off and a trip to La Manga, a win was the only acceptable result on Monday night but after some dodgy team selections and tactics in general Jurgen Klopp has a lot to answer for.
The obvious first question being, why the hell was Lucas Leiva in defence? I love Lucas, always have, he'll give you his all no matter what but he's not a defender. Leicester from the whistle knew to pile the pressure on the Brazilian and he was caught off guard on several occasions. Lucas doesn't have the pace or the height to deal with the counter attacks and set pieces that the Foxes threw at us for the majority of 90 minutes.
Then, for some unknown reason, at 2-0 down Klopp thinks sod it, let's try three at the back. I can see the theory but in principle it was never going to come off in Liverpool's favour.
An injured Jordan Henderson undoubtedly played a bigger part than any of us could have predicted but that still doesn't excuse the fact that five of our key attacking players went missing. Wijnaldum has been known to spray a ball or two and unlock a key pass but there was none of that on Monday night. Adam Lallana aside from a very close effort in the second half went missing for most of the game. Mane was a shadow of his Spurs self. Firmino... well what did he even do? Coutinho scored, thank god, but on the whole he was also relatively subdued.
I just don't understand how those five names can be on a pitch yet massively struggle to break through a defence. These are all talented players who can apparently do the business against the likes of Spurs and City, so what's the issue?
Every time I look at it I can only find one potential answer, the set up. Liverpool for a while now under Klopp have been afraid to leave their favoured formation (usually with Firmino as a false striker) and try something more traditional. In games like this, particularly when the opposition is playing 4-4-2 and opting for a strong defence, is playing a high line with Lucas at the back and hoping your starlets will somehow walk the ball into the net the solution? I don't think so.
I think we need to play these sides at their own game. Chuck on Origi from the off and even Sturridge when he's available. Focus on the crosses and the long ball, find your target men. If a gap opens and Coutinho or Firmino can weave into it for a shot, bonus. If they can't? At least they actually have somebody to aim for in the penalty area.
It's not rocket science. It's not necessarily Liverpool's style of play either but every successful manager has to sacrifice his preferred style of play in order to adapt to the ever changing opposition.
It is no coincidence what so ever that teams without managers who are more likely to play cautiously, defensively and are more likely to deploy a 4-4-2 have beaten us this season and quite frankly I'm sick of it.
Next up for Liverpool is Arsenal, in the apparent parallel universe of top six games, watch us absolutely batter them.