01 October 2017

Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle

Coutinho 29'
Joselu 36'

After Spartak:
This has become a parody. Liverpool has become a parody of itself.

After Burnley:
But that it's the same pattern which has frustrated us over the last two seasons ... makes it that much harder to stomach.

After Sevilla:
There's only so much you can say when similar things keep happening again and again and again and again.

Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today.

We are trapped in an inescapable feedback loop.

Liverpool create chances, mainly in the first 30-45 minutes. But Liverpool don't convert anywhere near enough. They probably get a goal – they've scored in every game except the League Cup loss at Leicester, after all – but not enough, as Liverpool's defense inevitably has a Liverpool's Defense moment.

Again and again and again and again.

Today, a Coutinho goal from Coutinho's spot, his third goal in the last three games. Hurrah! But less than seven minutes later, one defense-splitting pass from Jonjo Shelvey (because of course Jonjo), Liverpool's center-backs flailing and failing on the offside trap, Joselu in. Matip somehow recovers, but his tackle ricochets off Joselu past Mignolet. Because of course it does. Dumb and unlucky, the Liverpool Defense Story.

And the rest of the match is a scramble. The rest is frustration. The rest is not enough.

Do we blame the defense? Once again beaten too easily. Once again beaten unfortunately. Once again beaten despite an almost complete lack of opposition threat.

Or do we blame Liverpool's attack for failing to take those chances, for failing to put possession to use? Dangerous counters breaking down at the feet of Mané and Salah. Wijnaldum hitting the post – the fifth match in the last six where Liverpool have hit the woodwork. Lovren has two efforts cleared off the line from corners (one probably won't go down as a shot, though). Sturridge and Salah fail to convert clear-cut chances in the space of five seconds. Four clear-cut chances: one saved, one blocked on the line, two off-target. Liverpool have had nine clear-cut chances in the last two matches: five at Spartak, four at Newcastle. Liverpool have scored one of them. Incidentally, neither opponent had any.

This fault seems more in players' heads – everyone's heads. This fault has punished Liverpool more in the last two matches, and against Sevilla, and against Burnley. But this fault seems more likely to change with time and luck.

Either way, one feeds the other. And we're caught in the loop.

There were a couple of differences today, so we might as well highlight them.

• Liverpool actually scored first! But then failed to protect the lead, etc etc.

• Klopp did try some different tactical things to change proceedings. First, Mané and Salah switching flanks at the start of the second half, then a 4-2-3-1 formation both before and after substitutions for most of the half. Neither helped. Relatedly, it remains baffling to see Mané and Salah subbed off when Liverpool need a goal, replaced by Solanke and Oxlade-Chamberlain respectively.

• Liverpool put all of two shots on-target today – despite taking 17, despite creating those four clear-cut chances – an absolutely horrific shooting accuracy and far worse than anything we'd seen in the last month.

• Benitez's Newcastle mostly smothered Liverpool in the second half, aside from a Clark error that Sturridge really should have converted, followed immediately by Salah's rebound miss. That and Oxlade-Chamberlain's header over are literally all I remember from the second half, despite something like 75% possession. Possession did not equal control. Newcastle, without threatening until set plays in added time, seemed more in control. But that's Rafa. A compact, well-organized defense that stifled Liverpool all too often and caught Sturridge offside multiple times.

But, otherwise, same old, same old. Again. Dropped points. Again.

I'm close to the point where it stops being painful and is just tiring.


Тимур Хисматуллин said...

"I'm close to the point where it stops being painful and is just tiring."
I'm already at that point. Wasn't even fuming in the end, not much anger, honestly.

Balfy said...

Tired and um hungry. I would like a little cuddle from my mum.

Julian said...

Liverpool-induced anhedonia. Pretty sure it'll be added to the DSM VI.