A match against a team who have just lost their manager to huge uproar in the media, sitting deep in the bottom half of the table and struggling to score a goal, never mind win a game, sounds like the perfect opposition for a team pushing for Champions League football. However, this is Liverpool and this is the type of team which guarantees anything but three points.
Having already lost to Burnley, Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea this season, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise to see Liverpool struggle at the King Power Stadium on Monday night yet the 3-1 defeat is still massively disappointing. Yes, there was always going to be some sort of reaction from the Leicester players following the sacking of the manager which led them to Premier League glory last season but Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp should have been expecting it. However, judging by the performance, the players did not know what to expect and after the match, Klopp commented on how it was as if the players and management had not spoken before the match.
“They were ready, they had their set pieces and throw-ins ready and we gave throw-ins away like we hadn’t spoken about them.
“It doesn’t make sense to give Christian Fuchs 20-odd chances to throw the ball in. It’s difficult to accept.”
The defeat is damaging and there is no getting away from the fact that the performance was poor. This is a group of players who have had 16 days to prepare for this match and should have been showing the desire, energy and determination of a team who were itching to get onto the pitch and play football. However, Liverpool were consistently coming off second-best when it came to competing for the second ball and you cannot afford to keep losing out in this way during 90 minutes of football in the Premier League or you will get punished.
That’s exactly what happened and with a fully fit central defender on the substitutes bench, Lucas Leiva laboured playing centre back against Jamie Vardy, a striker who has struggled to have a shot on target this year, never mind score goals. Liverpool are on course to concede 50 goals again this season and the way things are panning out in the top six, this will not be good enough to qualify for the Champions League.
Despite playing poorly, the criticism should not stop at Lucas and several players failed to turn up in a match which was huge for the club in terms of league position but not in terms of the name of the opponent and that’s part of the problem. The players have no problem putting in a performance when it comes to playing Manchester United, Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur but when playing less glamorous opponents, such as Swansea and Hull, they consistently struggle to deliver the goods.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect of this latest defeat, were the quotes above from Klopp after the game. It suggests the players did not take on-board his instructions and carry them out on the pitch. If that is the case, the problems could run deeper than first imagined and that’s a problem which Leicester themselves know all too well.
The match on Saturday against Arsenal was always going to be big, whatever the result in this game and Liverpool need to win to stay in touch with Arsene Wenger’s team. However, the real job for Klopp will be in the summer, with defensive reinforcements the key.
Listen to Jurgen Klopp post-match interview below.