Michael Mongie discusses three components that contributed to Liverpool’s defeat at Turf Moor.
If anyone thought Liverpool would be title contenders this season or even challenging for top four then these aspirations have been challenged once again by Liverpool’s inability to defeat the ‘smaller’ teams in the league.
Whether or not this frustrating trend is due to a certain disrespect towards the teams in the league who don’t have stadiums as big or bank accounts as bloated is irrelevant. Last season, Liverpool constantly beat the better sides in the league such as Manchester City or Chelsea only to then slump to disappointing losses against teams like Watford and Newcastle.
Jürgen Klopp will be extremely worried about how the game went and the lack of creativity from his team going forward. There were absolutely zero clear cut chances for the Reds which could be attributed to the way Burnley defended with the Clarets basically parking the bus in neutral and going out for a cuppa.
There are a few things Liverpool’s manager will need to address if he is serious about taking Liverpool on an exciting journey this season.
The Reds had a taste of their own medicine
Aside from not being able to break down an extremely compact and cynical Burnley side, the most frustrating thing to watch yesterday was the way that Liverpool always played the ball from the back. Burnley had implemented an extremely high press, not unfamiliar to the visitors, and it therefore made it difficult to play out from the back.
One of the main reasons that Klopp signed Loris Karius was because the German is very comfortable when playing the ball out from the back. What we saw from Mignolet, while not showing the discomfort on the ball that we’re used to, was a developing trend where the Belgian ‘keeper would play the ball into either Henderson or Wijnaldum’s feet even if they were under pressure.
With Burnley adopting a high press it was really difficult for the Reds to play out from the back which means that Klopp needs to learn to go direct and pump the ball forward when under pressure as it is the only real way to defend the press. It’s what Burnley did the whole game when put under pressure. However, when you play the ball direct you need a strong pacy forward to get in behind the defence which leads me to my next point.
Jürgen Klopp got his team selection horribly wrong
After speaking in the week about how it’s good that Liverpool is giving him selection headaches, Klopp chose the wrong team to take on Burnley yesterday. When playing teams that have just been promoted there are two things you can be certain of: they are not going to play beautiful football and they’re likely going to be more physical than your side due to the rigours of the Championship.
With this in mind I don’t see how playing Daniel Sturridge on the right thing was ever going to break down a very compact side that Sean Dyche sent out. A player who could’ve been more effective had he been started was Divock Origi whose pace and direct style of play would have caused headaches for Burnley as opposed to Sturridge who tends to drop off to come and receive the ball.
What’s more is because the Burnley side are more physical than the Liverpool side either Emre Can or Marko Grujic need to be played. Not just because of their physiques but also because they are both more adept at dictating the play in a game compared to Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum.
Burnley prolific; Liverpool wasteful
A quick look at the stats for the game using the new Premier League game and it is baffling how Liverpool didn’t emerge as victors. With 80% possession and 23 more shots on goal it is almost embarrassing that the Reds succumbed to Burnley. Then a closer look reveals Klopp’s team’s downfall. Burnley had 3 shots on goal all game with 2 of them on target and ultimately the only goals of the game. Whereas Liverpool had 26 shots on goal with only 5 needing to be dealt with by Tom Heaton.
From a 7 goal thriller to a 2 goal defeat it’s difficult to pinpoint where it all went wrong for Liverpool. It’s clear that the Reds struggle to penetrate sides that sit back and camp in their own box. Liverpool had 1014 touches on the ball as opposed to Burnley’s meek 366. If there is any chance of the Reds succeeding this season a plan will need to be devised as to how a side like the 2015/16 Championship champions can be broken down and picked apart.
The rest of the teams in the league will be having a chuckle about Liverpool as yet again failure to beat a smaller side has crept in. There will be a lot of plotting and scheming at Anfield to figure out how to beat a team like Hull City when we play them in late September.