THE RED MONDAY AFTERMATH. By admin Fran
I’m actually baffled by the reaction and the fallout from Monday night’s game against United. It just seems that everyone wants to have a go at everything that Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp have done since the start of the season. Starting with Mourinho and his up and down self contradicting nonstop idiotic comments about how Liverpool were the defensive team on the night and how his precious United were the ones who tried to win the game. The stats speak for themselves and although I will admit that United were better with the ball for the first 45 minutes of the game, they did bugger all with it when Liverpool allowed them to have it. That’s not to say that Liverpool were much better when they were in possession but at least their aim was to spend the 90 minutes playing for all 3 points. The stats say that United’s possession against Liverpool was their lowest since 2003-04 but that’s the second time this season that they fell short of the 40% rate . Just to put that 35.02% possession into context, it converts to less than 32 minutes out of 90. Some will say that possession doesn’t matter and I suppose if you do look at the chart below, you will also know that United won quite a few of those games where the opposition ran them off the pitch. The one difference about Monday’s game is that United did absolutely nothing to win the game and when they did get a chance, it was a pathetic effort.
I know the game was far from a classic but there is a lot to take from it, if you know where to look, or how you actually look at it yourself. Where others massacre the performance with negativity and searching among the scraps for excuses, I found the game an intriguing contest where both teams showed how far they have come or how far they have fallen. Liverpool looked the more comfortable but cautious where United looked the more nervous and afraid. My personal feeling towards the result or more so the valuable point, is of satisfaction and relief. Don’t get me wrong because winning was always number one on my wish list but the circumstances, the hype and everything surrounding, what many were calling Red Monday had me on edge and dreading how demoralizing and disheartening a defeat would be to the season if it happened. There was always that danger that a defeat would steal away any momentum that Liverpool have built up since the season started and believe you me, that danger was there and it probably showed in the way Liverpool played and the way Jurgren Klopp went about his business.
Starting Sturridge was the correct decision in my opinion but it was clear after 50 minutes that it wasn’t going to work and United were sticking to their defensive tactics, which in turn persuaded Klopp to change his own tactics and bring on Lallana. It almost worked and Liverpool looked a lot better but everyone knows that in order to beat United, you also have to beat De Gea, and that is where so many teams have fallen short, including Liverpool. How many times has he come to their rescue with outstanding saves? United and Mourinho didn’t just park the bus, they took the keys out and threw them away and there was nothing Liverpool could do about it. Typical Mourinho tactics and those tactics will be repeated again next weekend when he travels to Chelsea.
Going back as far as Friday when the talk of the weekend Premier League program was well under way, there was a massive hype building around the Liverpool v Manchester United fixture. All through Saturday you could feel the tension and the expectations grow amongst the Liverpool fans as results from other Premier League games came through. The media, the fans and Sky Sports were relentless in their build up to the game. It was deemed the biggest match of the season and would be watched by a Worldwide TV audience of 700 million. A win would place Liverpool joint first but it would also expose them as the ones to knock from that perch. I really can’t see any team steam rolling this season’s Premier League, so just being that couple of points off the top is not a bad place to be after 8 games.
Considering what Liverpool have achieved in results so far this season, you can see how 8pts from 12 against Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea away and United at home should have Liverpool fans smiling happily as they enter an easier set of fixtures on paper. Of course we all know how little value that piece of paper holds in reality when you look deeper at the picture in front of you. West Brom, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Watford are the real stubborn mid table teams that can inflict real damage on anyone ambitions in this Premier League. Beating the current Premier League Champions has probably been downgraded in an achievement by now considering the fact they are struggling so badly in this present campaign. Never the less, it counts and it’s probably just a matter of time before Leicester City find the form that they are portraying in the Champions League and then we will see how much damage they can do to those who have yet to face them.
One of the most impressive aspects of Liverpool’s game this season under Klopp compared to Liverpool under Klopp last season is that they are no longer that team that everyone wants to play. In fact since the Dortmund games Liverpool have been showing signs that they can and will be a force if Jurgen Klopp can implement his ideas upon every single player and make sure it become the natural in their game. When Manchester United come to Anfield and play a defensive game and go back home with a point and a sense of achievement and satisfaction, you know Liverpool are on the right path.
The thought that Manchester United was ever going to be an easy task was a misguided judgement on the behalf of many who didn’t take into consideration the quality and even the size of the players and the fact that United were joint best defensive team last season and probably better equipped in defence this season. It would be safe to say even this early in the season that the old guard are returning to the top of the Premier League and Liverpool and Manchester United will be in the mix for top 4 or even more next May. Where they finish and in what order will be very much down to the managers and right now Klopp is the one who is showing the most promise. #fran #lfc