12162017

Liverpool’s lack of urgency is a new problem for Jurgen Klopp – Danny Murphy analysis

Match of the Day 2 analysis

Liverpool missed more great chances and made another horrendous defensive error during Sunday’s Premier League draw at Newcastle, but the Reds’ lack of urgency was the most frustrating thing about their display.

With the score at 1-1 in the second half, too many Reds’ players were passing sideways, backwards or too slowly, and I was thinking ‘come on, speed it up’.

The pace was almost like it was a friendly, and Newcastle found it very easy to deal with.

Maybe some of the Liverpool team thought a draw at St James’ Park was a good result, but I don’t agree.

If, like Liverpool, your aspiration is to try to win the title – or at the very least get in the top four – then when you go to play a newly promoted side, you should be thinking of going there and giving them a good hiding.

Tottenham did that to Huddersfield on Saturday but Philippe Coutinho was often the only player in Jurgen Klopp’s side who looked like he was trying to make anything happen.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Klopp frustrated at Liverpool’s missed chances

Liverpool’s passing was just not sharp enough

If you play a team that puts men behind the ball, you can become comfortable passing it around in front of them.

It is hard to create your own tempo, when the opposition just keeps on dropping off like Newcastle were – understandably, because a point was not a bad result for them.

But what you have got to do is move the ball quickly, to give you a chance of shifting them out of position and allowing you some space to play through.

Usually, Liverpool play with enough energy and quality to do that, which is why they have created so many chances this season. On Sunday, they did not do it very well.

Liverpool have created more chances than any other Premier League team this season<!–

Liverpool have created the most chances of any Premier League team in 2016-17, followed by leaders Manchester City (135) and Tottenham (134) but have won only three of their seven league games

Now I know they played in Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday, so Klopp had to make changes here and there, but the team he put out was just not sharp enough.

Coutinho cannot do it on his own

Coutinho was the Liverpool player who stood out because he was coming to get the ball, turning and trying to use it constructively, by risking losing it.

But he needed some help and there was nobody else taking responsibility by getting on the ball and playing progressively like that.

Those are the things you have to do when you are trying to win a game, but Liverpool were just playing safe passes, and it was a strange one to watch.

They still created the better chances and could have won the game, but that performance was not up to their usual standards and it was very frustrating to watch.

Liverpool starting XI v Newcastle<!–

Liverpool made four changes at St James’ Park from Tuesday’s draw with Spartak Moscow – Simon Mignolet, Joe Gomez, Georgino Wijnaldum and Daniel Sturridge all came into the starting XI

Creating chances a positive, even if you don’t take them

Although I was disappointed with Liverpool’s performance at St James’ Park, I still think they have made a decent start to the new season.

They have only lost one of their first 10 matches in the Premier League and Champions League – and that was with 10 men against Manchester City.

Top of the Premier League<!–

Liverpool are seventh – level on points with sixth-placed Burnley, with a goal difference of +1

It could be better, of course. I understand why some fans are unhappy about the issues at both ends of the pitch, and they have a right to complain.

But I understand why Klopp sees it as a positive that his side keep creating chances, even if they are still not taking enough of them.

If I felt like I was unlucky at the end of a game, then it was not a bad place to be.

Training pitch is the place to solve defensive problems

Media playback is not supported on this device

Liverpool ‘obviously have problems’ – Klopp

From my playing experience, when that was happening my manager was always happy because they know things very rarely stay that way – the goals will come.

I believe that about Liverpool, although unfortunately the defensive mistakes keep on happening for them too.

Most goals are preventable, but Newcastle’s equaliser on Sunday was an especially poor one to concede.

I don’t know what Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren were doing but Jonjo Shelvey was able to play his pass through a gaping corridor in the middle of the Liverpool centre-halves for Joselu to run on to and score.

Liverpool have been poor defensively all season and, although I think they have been working on their set-plays recently, they still look fragile.

The easy way to solve that and get back on track would be by having two midfielders sit in front of their back four and maybe get a couple of clean sheets, without worrying about making chances or scoring.

But Klopp won’t do that, because he wants a high-energy team who score goals and are entertaining to watch.

Can he find the balance, mix things up and shut up shop as well? Of course he can, he is a bright coach – but the only way to change it at the moment is through a lot of hard work on the training pitch.

Danny Murphy was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.