The new head coach of Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp – was disappointed with his team’s performance, saying he was surprised that his side did not manage to provide the pressing game that has long been Klopp’s trademark. The team suffered a 2-0 defeat from Newcastle in its Premier League game on December 6th.
Liverpool lacked their usual intensity on Sunday, but it is exactly Klopp who is considered the one to blame, because he did not pick a team that was able to put his initial game-plan into action. The fact that Newcastle has been demonstrating poor form lately makes things even worse for Liverpool, as the No.7 in the national Premier League was considered as the undisputed leader in the clash. The fantastic counter-attack that the squad normally serves was another reason why Klopp’s club was expected to dominate at the pitch.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, the team was not in its usual form. The game it demonstrated on Sunday was nothing like the one against Manchester City at the time of Liverpool’s 4-1 victory in November. At the match in November, Liverpool was its usual self, with its forwards putting some pressure on Manchester City’s full-backs and centre-halves. In comparison, Premier League No.7 team was nothing like that on Sunday. Liverpool allowed the hosts to expand their reach into the game and eventually, win it convincingly.
Newcastle, who currently occupies the 18th position in their domestic championship’s table, managed to become the first team to run further and make more sprints that its visiting team in the Premier League since Jurgen Klopp took the position of manger in October. In addition, the work-rate that Liverpool demonstrated in its game on Sunday was far from their usual one, which makes it easy to understand why the Magpies managed to come out victorious.
Truly, the basic statistics of Liverpool against Newcastle, including the number of sprints and the total distance covered, remained typical for the club since Klopp took over, but something was undoubtedly missing from their overall performance. It is true that Klopp had a game-plan when leaving Christian Benteke to lead his attack, but the change was a serious one compared to the formation used in the match against Manchester City. Leaving a single player to the front always equals to a drop in the attack’s intensity and pressure, especially considering the fact that Benteke is not that kind of player.
This was not the only difference in midfield on Sunday, due to the fact that Emre Can was missing because of a suspension. Compared to the more dynamic Can, who normally operates box-to-box, midfielders Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen are more of holding players.
Of course, neither Benteke, nor Lucas or Aller are the only ones to blame for the Reds defeat. However, they could be considered as the contributing factors to the overall results. In addition, the poor result undoubtedly showed that head coach Klopp is still working out Liverpool player’s strengths and weaknesses in order to build a consistent game strategy.
Obviously, he intends to provide all players with an opportunity to play, considering the fact that a total of six changes were made in the squad from the 6-1 Capital One Cup victory on Wednesday. The truth as that it is expected to be a period of about eight to twelve months and at least two transfer windows before Klopp truly becomes part of the team.
Klopp commented on the Sunday’s result of the team, saying they had not been good enough today despite the fact that Liverpool worked hard. He added that the game needed to be analysed before he could answer to further questions.