Liverpool were held to another frustrating draw against a lesser ranked side. Just keeps on reminding us of the fact that this again might not be their year. The Reds managed to concede another soft goal and despite making 35 attempts at goal, scored only once. Probably scoring once a game won’t be enough to win a game for Klopp’s men.
It is a combination of forward line not doing much against deep defending sides and defensive line not performing their tasks when called upon. The majority of defensive vulnerability comes from the manager’s system. It is not that the manager has to take full blame for this. But, the way he makes them play, even good defenders might struggle to improve the current defensive woes.
The German’s philosophy is all about playing a high-line with no recognised defensive midfielder. That’s the first nail in defenders’ nightmare. He makes his team press the opposition build-up, create turn overs and counter-attack quickly. While this works in games where the opposition is playing football, fails when teams like Burnley drop deep.
In these types of games, Liverpool always have 70% possession to show with nothing in the goal department. To add to that, they manage to concede in that period too. If we look at Burnley’s first goal yesterday, it is a clear situation of slack defending as usual from the Reds.
As shown in the above image, the run from Arfield wasn’t tracked by Can. Originally, the deepest midfielder has a job of tracking runs from midfield runners. But, due to the fact that Klopp likes his midfield pushed up pressing the central areas, Can had no clue where Arfield was. Once the ball fell for the Burnley man, he only had Mignolet to beat with centre-backs well engaged by Wood.
This is a perfect example of why Liverpool centre-backs are always vulnerable. They in theory, have no protection ahead of them. We will take a look at Sevilla’s second goal in midweek and see how the midfield was dragged up to leave the centre-backs exposed.
As shown in the above image, one quick Sevilla throw-in dragged Henderson and Can out of their positions. This gave Muriel a chance to run at Matip and Lovren. Correa made a good run from out to in and was well found with the pass. Despite getting a bit fortunate, it was a goal which should have been stopped at the build-up itself. A proper defensive midfielder would have stayed in his position and thwarted the danger. Another perfect instance of Klopp’s team being expansive and open at the back.
We have to agree with the fact that centre-backs make mistakes but little more protection would make them better. Lovren was outstanding for Southampton, because he had Wanyama protecting in front of him. This is not to cover for his mistakes as a player, he has made errors which he shouldn’t. But, the Croatian struggles in 1 v 1 defending (not many are good at) and is very uncomfortable covering up for the fullbacks. High fullbacks and less midfield protection will make many defenders uncomfortable.
The attacking game also never clicked vs Burnley despite creating many good moments around the box. The extra vision and composure was missing. This has been the case since Klopp took over at Anfield. Playing well against teams who like to push up and play football but struggle against deep-defending sides. A regular theme which needs major improvement.
Well, it’s a given saying that managers have more than one plan to execute when things aren’t going their way. Doesn’t seem like the case with Klopp at the moment. He sticks to his original plan time and time again to only falter when the need is must. Players will execute what the manager says and it is time for some changes, especially in the playing way.
A proper number 6 role has to be given to someone. The attackers need assurance that their goals won’t be going to waste by some defensive mistakes. Plenty to think about for the German, sure he has enough experience to get through this period and get them back to winning ways.