Liverpool lost 3-1 away at Leicester City on Saturday. Here are five things we learned from another worrying defeat.
Liverpool did show promise in the first-half. They were comfortably the better side, controlling the game despite their current crisis.
In fact, that remained the case all the way up until Leicester equalised.
Liverpool controlled the game against away at one of the league’s best. That does count for something and it suggests they’re not too far away from clicking together again.
Anyway, there’s the attempt at positivity out of the way.
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It all falls apart
And then there’s this.
Liverpool undid all of their good work the second James Maddison’s free-kick squeezed in. They just fell to pieces mentally, failing to truly threaten for the rest of the game.
Even worse, of course, is the fact they just gave up two more goals with ridiculous errors. It was remarkably similar to what happened against Manchester City.
The ‘mentality monsters’ aren’t around anymore.
Wants vs Needs
This was Ozan Kabak’s debut and we’ll remember it. Not for great reasons, though.
He played his part in the second Leicester goal and didn’t cover Harvey Barnes properly for the third. But this isn’t a surprise.
Kabak is a 20-year-old who has just joined an elite, finely-tuned team. It takes a lot of time to get used to that. In fact, it takes a long time even if you’re already an elite player.
Jurgen Klopp didn’t use Fabinho in a 4-3-3 in a big game until the March after he arrived. He didn’t even give the Brazilian his full debut for about three months.
So we can safely assume that Kabak isn’t quite up to speed and that Klopp would rather wait with him. Only, he can’t. Fabinho’s injury left Liverpool short at the back and forced the Turkey international into the lineup.
Klopp may not want to use Kabak yet but he has to. It’s an awkward balance and one that could lead to more errors over the next few weeks.
That third goal was awful to concede. A different kind of awful to the second, of course, but still terrible. You could see how angry it made Klopp, too.
The midfield just didn’t shut down the space. They left an enormous gap between themselves and the forwards, allowing Leicester to mount a simple counter-attack against an unset defence.
This is why Klopp prefers well-drilled, high-energy midfielders over flair. They stop these situations from arising and make Liverpool solid.
The midfield trio failed today, though, and it gave Leicester a 3-1 lead, killing Liverpool off.
We’re just going to need patience with all this. It’s clearly going to take time before Klopp figures out how to fix things.
His job is ridiculously difficult right now as key players drop like flies.
We know he’s not happy with what he’s seeing and he’s certainly trying new things from game to game. But it’ll clearly take more experimenting to get Liverpool back on track.
We don’t envy him.