Liverpool’s nature to be unpredictable has been a theme in the last few years. It has taken another new level under their current manager Jurgen Klopp. Sometimes, they can be as good as the best, but in other occasions, they can be very bad. We analyse their results and performances in a trendy way from up and down. Doing so, we will answer a lingering question as to whether this moody nature is a happy knack or just an inability of the whole team not been consistent.
Liverpool’s Topsy-turvy results’ Analysis: –
Well, Liverpool’s unpredictability dilemma has been a feature from a long ago, more so under Klopp. Some of the results against the “big” teams have been well worth-noting. Though, on the other hand, some results against teams they should beat is appalling to say the least. For instance, very early into the German’s reign (2015-16), the Reds beat Chelsea 3-1 away from home. It was followed by a home loss to Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
That was then followed by a thumping 4-1 away victory over Manchester City away from home. The follow-up-week results were silly losses at Newcastle, draw vs West Brom and a loss at Watford. This trend clearly shows the inconsistency this team displayed on more than one occasion. It could have been very frustrating for the manager and even for fans enduring such “sine-wave” natured performances.
Coming into the 2016-17 season, Klopp’s first full season in charge having his own pre-season. The opening two weeks comprised of highly contrasting results. The fun of a fabulous 4-3 win away from home against Arsenal was evident. It was eventually gatecrashed next week itself during a horrible 0-2 loss at Burnley. The unpredictable graph continues.
The other prominent example of last season was Liverpool crushing Spurs 2-0 at home. This result was preceded and followed by away losses at Hull (0-2) and Leicester (1-3). Beating Man City 1-0 and drawing at last place Sunderland 48 hours later has to be right up there too. We can only think of this and feel very quashed. This team by beating the “big” boys shows it can be the best in the business, but something has got to give them for losing in mediocre games.
Let us take a look at some of the possible reasons as to why Liverpool have such a high-low performance pattern: –
Reason 1: – Mindset very inconsistent: –
Well, we all say football is a confidence game and played more on the mind rather than by feet. It does not mean mind does everything responsible on the field but it is an integral part. At the end of the day, a player’s mindset will truly reflect on his types of performances on the field. Many a times we have witnessed a Liverpool performance in stark contrast in a game itself. For instance, very good in the first half and very dour in second half.
This is all down to an inconsistent mindset of the highest level. It clearly means the top-level mindset is not always instilled in some of the players. November 2016, they led Bournemouth 3-1 with 15 minutes to play, somehow they managed to concede 3 goals in 17 minutes. This can be put all down to lack of game management and poor mindset of players thinking “its all over.” The worst thing you could do as a player in a game of football is switch off at any moment.
Reason 2: – Lack of Game-Management (Losing leads): –
This has been a recent as well as a past problem as well. Under Klopp, Liverpool play a very high-tempo, pressing game which cannot be lasted for 90 minutes. This implies that there has to be a plan B in-game. This plan should be to consolidate on good works done by the original system. On more than few occasions, this hasn’t been the case for Liverpool.
They have given away leads for umpteen times it seems. Some of the examples being 3-0 up away at Sevilla this season, only to draw 3-3 in the end. Well Sevilla was a shocker, then how about this, losing a lead at home to Bournemouth (2-2) in the later stages. One other example related to this is conceding 3 goals in 5 minutes at Arsenal after leading 2-0. Some of these doesn’t even make sense but Liverpool do it on a regular basis if you look at it in broader perspective.
Well, they almost threw a 3-goal lead away against Manchester City too. Leading 4-1 in the game and went sleepy in the defence for the last 10 minutes of the game. City almost got the point in the end, the margin of victory was 4-3. Without an anxious moment or two, this team cannot do anything.
Tactically speaking, the pressing works does tire the forwards down, so the second ball retention becomes very bad. This in turn means in some games, Liverpool just have to defend for a period of 10-15 minutes to keep their leads. Well, the only thing they can’t do on a consistent basis is defend for long periods of times. For this reason, Klopp has paid big money on Virgil Van Dijk and probably kept Loris Karius as a number 1 keeper for now. Maybe in the summer he’d add defenders that’d help him see out games in a better way.
These two seem to be the near-enough reasons of the inconsistency Liverpool possess. Now, we must concentrate on whether it is a happy knack for a team or just an inability. Appears to be the latter with all the analysis done so far.
Talking about inconsistency being a happy knack, it is good when Liverpool play in “big” games. We as football lovers would always prefer to watch them in massive games because of their fast counter-attacking abilities. Meanwhile, against teams which sit deep and try to counter on them, they become susceptible. Maybe we can put it in this way in a sentence that Liverpool’s unpredictability is their inability in certain games but a good knack of getting results in big games, which means if they iron out the little details of the game, for example, mindset, they can be a force to reckon with in England and in Europe.
Article by Mizgan,
Twitter – @mizgans