Liverpool drew 1-1 with Manchester United on Sunday but the last ten minutes told the true story of the game.
Truth be told, Liverpool were harshly done by. The refereeing performance was dreadful and it felt as though the Reds were battling more than just United at times.
But that’s not to say that Liverpool played well. In fact, they were downright bad for most of it. There was no fluidity, little resilience, and no one looked particularly sharp.
Or at least that was the case for 80 minutes.
Liverpool’s necessary change
The last ten were very different and it looked like Liverpool at their best. That was quite strange, too, seeing as Jurgen Klopp had changed the team around significantly by then.
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He’d taken off Divock Origi, Jordan Henderson, and Gini Wijnaldum for three squad players. But Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Naby Keita helped change things.
Liverpool suddenly kept the ball and moved forward brilliantly. They had complete control and as United dropped back, we saw how the game really should have played out. Liverpool, when at something like their best, are far too much for United.
And so the real story of the game is that Liverpool didn’t click for 80 minutes. This wasn’t one point gained from Lallana’s late winner but instead two dropped as Liverpool struggled to play.
Klopp now has to figure out what happened. Complacency feels like the most likely reason, given performances over the last month and a half.
But that’s not to say there can’t be other reasons. It could be fitness – the fresh players changed things, after all – or it could be that a change of tactic is needed.
No matter what it is, Liverpool needed to change to earn their 1-1 draw with United. And they may need to do so to get back to their best period.