Dave Davis addresses a few talking points from Liverpool’s goalless draw with Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday.
There’s nothing more Liverpool-esque, is there? After a midweek dismantling of Roma in a Champions League semi-final, a league game against relegation-threatened Stoke had the potential to prove exactly what it was.
A dour no-score draw won’t live long in the memory, but there were more than a few talking points from Anfield.
My Kingdom For A Penalty
It’s becoming hard not to believe in a conspiracy against us right now. Having been denied an obvious penalty against West Brom last week after Danny Ings was fouled, the only surprise was how blatant Erik Pieters’ handball was.
Andre Marriner appeared in no mood to endear himself to the home crowd, yet serious questions need to be asked when such an obvious call isn’t made. Spurs and Harry Kane were given two, but Liverpool haven’t had a penalty at the Kop end this season.
Klopp didn’t even bother to shake the assistant referee’s hand at the end. It’s becoming easier to see why there aren’t any British officials are going to the World Cup.
Joe Gomez back too early?
It’s been a real up and down season for the young England international and right now he’s struggling. The 20-year-old was out for a few weeks recently and his return, coupled with an injury crisis was greeted as a huge positive.
Since then, it’s been pretty disastrous for Gomez as a poor performance against West Brom was further compounded in this game. A lack of match fitness was an understandable justification at the Hawthorns, but simple passes looked beyond him.
Many have turned against Gomez on social media somewhat unfairly, but it’s not even a contest as to whether he or Trent Alexander-Arnold should start right now. You do wonder if he’s been rushed back prematurely.
Atmosphere at Anfield still an ongoing issue
George Sephton’s described trying to get Anfield going as ‘sometimes beyond me’ and it’s understandable why. After a wall of sound greeted Roma and their supporters in midweek, coughs and spluttering were clearly audible at Anfield on Saturday.
Many suspected there would be a hangover, but Klopp had made it clear that the fans would be needed and was hoping the wave of feeling would carry through. The atmosphere matched the result and performance, as it seemed everyone inside the stadium already had their minds in Rome. Let’s hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us.
Summer reinforcements are required
In a season where rotation has been the name of the game so often, the options appear lacking right now. The absences of Sadio Mané, Can, Ox and Lallana could be pointed to by many, but all big clubs expect to have players out with injury at certain times.
Worryingly, those called upon for Saturday didn’t exactly knock down the manager’s door for inclusion into the first team and if anything appears to be narrowing the field. The likes of Ings, Solanke and Moreno may well be fearing for their Anfield future, yet may find themselves in a Champions League final squad to lack of options.
Klopp’s achievement with this squad given the net spend is excellent. It can’t happen this summer, though.