Sir Alex Ferguson commented on Liverpool in his technical report for UEFA as the head of the governing body’s technical advisors and I think it suggests a rise in Liverpool’s prominence.
Last season, Liverpool took us all on an emotional rollercoaster ride in the Europa League. Victories over Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund were particularly enjoyable as the Reds qualified for the final in Basel in real style.
The fairytale that was meant to be didn’t pan out in the way that any Liverpool supporter dreamed. Rather, Liverpool turned in a flat second half performance and was punished by Sevilla.
It was truly heartbreaking.
Alex Ferguson gave his opinion in UEFA’s Europa League technical report in his role as the head of the governing body’s technical advisors. He said that he thought Liverpool’s insipid performance was a result of fatigue after playing an intensive pressing game for so much of the season.
Liverpool went 1-0 up in the first half after a world-class finish from Daniel Sturridge. The second half, however, was an entirely different story as the Reds looked drained and depleted. The result was that the players were chasing shadows and conceded three goals as Sevilla won their third successive Europe League trophy.
According to Sky Sports, Alex Ferguson said in his report, “Sevilla didn’t enjoy Liverpool’s tackling and determination in the first half,” he says. “But they started off after half-time with a more positive attitude and getting the goal right away changed the whole game.
“In the second half, Liverpool had no energy, they could not get to the ball. The space in midfield became bigger. I never had a team who could press a ball all season.”
For once, I’m not frothing at the mouth after something Ferguson has said. It’s no secret that there is no love between the Manchester United legend and Liverpool but for once, he was not prejudiced.
He went on to say, “I’ve always thought that playing at Anfield was very difficult,” he said. “Because the crowd create an amazing atmosphere that puts a lot of teams, opponents and the referees under pressure a lot.”
Ferguson knows all about pressurising referees.
“We saw evidence of that when 3-1 down against Dortmund they got that second goal and the crowd lifted them and I think it inspires this team.
“They are that kind of football club, Liverpool, that get inspired by their support.”
Ferguson’s comments point to a return to the big time for Liverpool. Despite failure to win the Europa League last season, Klopp has already transformed Liverpool from an identity-less team that made me hate watching football under Brendan Rodgers.
Having beaten Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea already this season, Klopp needs to focus on beating the smaller sides in the league. Losing to the likes of Burnley and Watford has been Liverpool’s fatal flaw in recent years.
If Klopp can get his side to perform as they do in the big games against Burnley and co. then there is no reason Liverpool won’t be in and around the top four come May.
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