Liverpool’s midfield showed they’ve ‘got not legs’ by allowing veteran Luka Modric to burst through them during Tuesday night’s game.
That’s the view of Paul Merson, who told Jeff Stelling via Football Daily that Modric’s part in Real Madrid’s fifth goal ‘shouldn’t happen.’
“They’ve been an unbelievable football team for last three or four years. Last season they played every match,” began the pundit. “At the moment I think Jurgen Klopp’s trying to get them to play like they were playing two or three years ago, even last year, in their pomp, to go and do it again and they can’t at the moment.
“They don’t have the legs in midfield, their midfield is legless. You watch the other night, how old is Modric, 37? He went through it like a knife through butter. That shouldn’t happen, Jeff, it shouldn’t happen.”
Liverpool let Modric have free reign
It’s simply impossible to disagree with Merson about this point. The way Modric single-handedly took Liverpool’s midfield out of the game was awful to watch.
It wasn’t as though the Croatian did anything particularly impressive, either. Jumping on Fabinho’s heavy touch from a Reds throw-in, Modric simply had to run forward, past Stefan Bajcetic, and Madrid had a three-on-two.
With the way the game went, you could understand Liverpool being a little all over the place. But two goals down and with plenty of the tie still to play, there was no need for such a gung-ho attitude. Had they consolidated and tightened up, they could have found their way back into the game and the tie.
Instead, that fifth Madrid goal has effectively killed any hope of a second-leg remontada. The ease at which it was allowed to be scored should have hurt Jurgen Klopp.
It remains to be seen whether such ease of passage in the middle of the park leads to changes tonight for Liverpool. Jordan Henderson, Bajcetic and Fabinho had proven themselves to be a decent combination in previous games.
But having been dismantled during the second-half on Tuesday, Klopp may be wise to think about a change of tactic against Crystal Palace.
Whatever the Liverpool boss decides, he’s unlikely to get the ‘legs’ needed to win games consistently. Until the summer window opens, the Reds are stuck with what they have.
The off-season gives them the chance to properly address a glaring weakness in the side. In the meantime though, Modric might not be the last opposition player to benefit.
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