Jurgen Klopp saw his Liverpool team suffer another embarrassing defeat on Saturday as they lost to Leicester City. It did vindicate one of his more frustrating methods, however.
We’ll remember this game for a few things. First and foremost, that second Leicester City goal.
Leicester didn’t even fire a particularly good long-ball over Liverpool’s defence but Ozan Kabak briefly hesitated. That was enough for Alisson to storm out of his goal to ‘help’.
Instead, he collided with Kabak and gave Jamie Vardy an open goal to score.
The Foxes’ third goal was ‘better’ from a Liverpool perspective but still quite awful. The midfield didn’t press properly and Kabak didn’t cover Harvey Barnes.
Leicester put Barnes through on goal and he finished the game off.
Unfortunately, we’ll also remember this one as a very poor game for Thiago. The Spaniard didn’t start but came on for James Milner in the first half.
But as Jamie Carragher put it he was a ‘defensive liability’. Frequently out of position and pressing at the wrong times, Thiago just didn’t help.
These things, though, do prove Jurgen Klopp right on one of his most frustrating methods.
Klopp threw Kabak into the starting XI against Leicester. He likely didn’t want to, given how long he usually waits before introducing new players.
Andy Robertson, for instance, didn’t become a regular until the December after he arrived. Fabinho had to wait months for a proper debut and didn’t play a big game in a 4-3-3 formation until the following March.
It’s a frustrating method for fans. You have to wait to see a new player and they rarely show the instant impact we dream of.
The exceptions come when Klopp sees a major upgrade with an elite player. Alisson went straight in as he was arguably the world’s best goalkeeper. Virgil van Dijk? In from day one.
Kabak might be an upgrade but he’s not an elite player. The defence won’t suddenly revolve around him.
And we saw why Klopp likes to wait for these players to integrate with the rest of the team before using them properly. Kabak was out of position on the third goal and hesitated on the second – neither happens when he’s used to Liverpool’s ways.
Similarly, Alisson trusts Kabak far more if he can rely on him to deal with the situation. But as new teammates, the Brazilian clearly wasn’t sure and felt he had to do something.
So both the player and the teammates need to adapt, in truth. Injuries, though, meant Klopp couldn’t wait.
And this all applies to Thiago, too – although, to a lesser extent. Injuries kept him out for months and he still hasn’t made 10 starts for the club.
He isn’t full adapted to things, either, but with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho away from midfield, Klopp has to use him.
It’s an awkward situation created by injuries. But it does show why Klopp does things the way he does.
The boss wants to be patient with players but, unfortunately, he simply can’t afford to be.
For more of what we learned from the game, click here.