Premier League Rounds 21 and 22: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Ugly


When Jurgen Klopp joined Liverpool there was a reasonable amount of optimism that Klopp could get momentum going in a positive direction at Anfield.

There have been some decent results for the Reds this season. Results like 3-1 and 4-1 away wins against Chelsea and Manchester City.

That’s about it, though, and the inconsistency of the squad has to be worrisome for the Anfield support. Liverpool should be showing tangible signs of improvement at this point in the season, but if anything they are getting worse.

Through Klopp’s first eleven matches as manager the Reds had a 7-3-1 record in all competitions. Since then the Reds have gone 4-4-4.

The latest defeat might be the worst one for Liverpool supporters as their Reds suffered yet another defeat to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United. This latest Northwest Derby defeat is Liverpool’s fourth straight loss to Manchester United. They have also lost three of four at home to Manchester United.

The part that has to be the most frustrating for them is that they dominated the match. They created more chances than the Red Devils. Liverpool held more possession than Manchester United, but they lost the most important statistic and that is goals scored.

Wayne Rooney converted his chance to score. Roberto Firmino didn’t because he assumed he was in an offside position.

David De Gea made the saves when he had to. Simon Mignolet did not. That’s where the differences start for England’s most storied clubs.

The Red Devils have a world class goalkeeper. The Reds have Mignolet. And they just signed the Belgian keeper to an extension as well.

Manchester United has Rooney who is still a good player on his day. Liverpool has a constantly crocked Daniel Sturridge and a Christian Benteke who seems to be in Klopp’s doghouse.

Klopp came out in defense of Firmino as a center forward, but what else is he going to do? He obviously doesn’t believe in Benteke as a striker in his system and Sturridge cannot stay healthy.

Here is the problem. Firmino’s final season with Hoffenheim featured the lowest conversion rate among players who scored five or more goals across Europe’s top five leagues. Firmino is a number ten. Firmino is not a striker.

Liverpool will struggle to make their way up the table until they figure out who their striker of the future is. The problem there is that teams with a good striker are loathe to part ways with said player.

Liverpool have by no means sorted out their defense or midfield either. Jordan Henderson is a good player, but is he going to be this good by the time Liverpool have a competitive team again? James Milner, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva are not long term answers either.

Dejan Lovren has yet to live up to the expectations set after his move from Southampton. Mamadou Sakho is arguably Liverpool’s best central defender, but is not an accomplished passer of the ball — something Klopp covets from his center backs. Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez have potential as full backs. I feel like Liverpool are OK there for the short term.

The short way of saying this is that they have a long way to go before they are in contention for a place in the Premier League top four again. Klopp needs time. I’m sure he knew that would be the case when he took the job, but he might be finding out that the task is bigger than even he anticipated.