In his role as the head of the governing body’s technical advisors, Alex Ferguson said something in UEFA’s Europa League technical report that may be true about Liverpool this season.
Liverpool have been really impressive this season, with Jurgen Klopp’s high-intensity style of play getting the most out his attacking players and has catapulted his side into the top four of the Premier League. Chelsea top the Premier League heading into the busy festive period and Liverpool are just four points behind Antonio Conte’s side.
While Klopp’s players may have overcome a lot of their critics this season, in the last two weeks, the Reds haven’t been nearly as exciting and promising as they were since the beginning of September. In games against Southampton, Sunderland and Bournemouth, the level of intensity has dropped hugely and Liverpool has only claimed three points from an available nine.
Alex Ferguson wrote about Liverpool in UEFA’s Europa League technical report and he raised concerns surrounding Liverpool’s ability to sustain their high-pressing football for an entire season.
According to Sky Sports, 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.”
Liverpool lost the Europa League final last season 3-1 to a Sevilla side that were able to respond well to going behind in the first half. They fought back and won as a result of their energy and tenacity.
You could argue that the same thing happened at Dean Court on Sunday. Bournemouth, with the introduction of young Ryan Fraser, were able to claw their way back into the game and win the game. Liverpool looked lethargic and even players like Henderson and Firmino, who are well-known for their energy, appeared tired and disinterested as the game wore on.
It may be getting to a point where Klopp needs to look at his team’s energy levels and do something to ensure there isn’t a drop in intensity, especially with the fixture list becoming more and more congested. Liverpool’s style of play relies on players being energetic and willing to run and without this, there may be a concerning dip in form for a team which has stood out in the opening months of the 2016/17 season.