Liverpool drops another two points in a draw against Newcastle. Who is to blame for the slip-up this time?
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool came out second best at St. James’ Park on Wednesday night, despite no team losing. Newcastle dug deep and became the first team to stop the ruthless Reds from scoring this season.
The display from the champions of England was not their worst but if we talking about the players at the top end of the pitch, they were shamefully below par. If you compare a seven-goal hammering to a no-show in front of goal, it illustrates a major dropoff.
The Reds went from hitting 14 shots at goal, eight of them on target – seven of them being the goals scored on the day, to registering 28 shots at goal over the next couple of fixtures. In those 90 minutes of football, only one goal was scored with as little as six shots hitting the target.
So what was the problem on Wednesday?
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It would have to be Jurgen Klopp’s team selection. On the odd occasion where he gets it wrong, it actually almost goes terribly wrong. His front three should have been rested or one/two of them should have come on from the bench.
With the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and others such as Takumi Minamino showing good form in his last performance, they should be getting the nod. Yes, the Ox has just returned but he could have been replaced early for one of the front three.
Chamberlain is so prone to get injured, he could get injured in training, so why wait and possibly lose him on a training day and not get the most out of him on a matchday? Minamino showed his quality against Crystal Palace but has been overlooked since then.
Even Thiago Alcântara could have started and get taken off after 45 minutes of football. Once he and Georginio Wijnaldum were introduced, Liverpool possessed a proper attacking and creative threat – something missing in the first half.
Klopp has to rest some of his stars
When you best is not doing the job they have to be taken out and given that hunger to want to come on and prove a point to the manager. Sadio Mane has only contributed to three goals in his last 10 outings. He is just one example of a slight change that is needed.
Besides them missing their shooting boots, both Mohamed Salah and Mane misplaced many passes. In on goal and poor delivery in the final third caused them to go goalless. Curtis Jones, having a ball of a time on the pitch, has looked a bit jaded over the last couple of games. He shouldn’t have started and should have been rested.
In the same breath, Klopp has done enough to afford one or two slip-ups but it cannot continue like this with second-placed Manchester United only three points behind them and possessing a game in hand.
The squad has shown enough quality during a very testing season where injuries have hampered their development, disturbed their rhythm, and seen them work hard to try and retain their Premier League title.