Liverpool’s pedigreed front-three have come under heavy criticism following their side’s failure to defeat West Brom during a dour 1-1 affair at Anfield on Sunday.
It comes across as a bizarre swipe when you consider Sadio Mane was on the scoresheet, while Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both collectively had three goals in their previous two matches prior to West Brom.
Liverpool icon Steve Nicol has earned a reputation for being a harsh taskmaster in recent years and his reputation preceded him during his analysis of Jurgen Klopp’s forward trident.
The Mirror quote Nicol as telling ESPN: “We have applauded this front, three patted them on the back, said how brilliant they are, how they can produce something from nothing.
“And you know what, these are the sorts of games where you have to earn that sort of praise.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
“It’s one thing to go and play in a big atmosphere against the big teams and you turn it on and it’s razzle dazzle.
“But when it comes to down to [it], Mane, Firmino and Salah for me are the reason Liverpool didn’t win the game.
“Yes Mane scored the goal, but after that, particularly Salah, who dribbled at an opponent about 15 times, stood on it about four or five times and gave it away – wasn’t at it.
“Bobby Firmino – wasn’t at it.
“So if you want to take all the praise, you’ve got to take the criticism, because with the amount of the ball the rest of the team got to the three of them, it’s up to them to produce and they didn’t produce.”
What RTK has to say
Harsh words indeed. However, Nicol’s criticism isn’t without precedence either. What should be emphasised is how collectively poor Liverpoool were as opposed to solely the front-three.
Especially in the second half, the Reds were bafflingly awful. Their gameplan effectively was built on hopeful crosses, loose touches and aimless possession – something we haven’t become accustomed to during Klopp’s Liverpool tenure.
Credit must be given to West Brom, who remained dogged and determined, rarely venturing outside their own penalty area for long periods. Put bluntly, it was effective.
Liverpool’s focus eventually wandered. Driven to distraction, perhaps? A touch of complacency, maybe? Either way, it was a rare occasion where the team lost their way.
Make no mistake, this will not be tolerated by Klopp and Liverpool will duly respond. Newcastle should be fearful.