Is it safe to come out yet? - by John Brennan
Is it safe to come out? Not in the Elton John way, mind. I needed a break from the madness of the transfer window. I’m just delighted that we can get back to the footy now. None of those close season highs in anticipation of a big signing and lows when we didn’t land our man. No, Klopp’s Reds are the very model of sanity, in no way intent on playing with our emotions and blood pressure. Snarky enough?
Anyway, the transfer window? Or “That’s the transfer window!” as Klopp will probably shout to the Main Stand if AOC – or whatever we’re calling him (and frankly, who cares?) – scores. Forgive me for using the conjunction “if”, rather than “when”, but NINE goals in 129 League games over SIX seasons will tend to make you sceptical. Another injury-prone player? For £35m? To add to competition for places with Hendo, Milner (our “new midfielder”, remember), Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Mané, Salah and Coutinho. Just what we needed!
Apologies for the cynicism. No, really. When Can is moved back to centre-half and when our “new midfielder” goes back to left-back due to the inadequacies of our defence, Chamberlain may well come in handy. I can’t wait to hear Klopp justifying this signing! There are those who’ll say it wasn’t a last-minute thing as he’s been linked with us all summer. But who hasn’t been linked with us since FSG got here? Nobody, that’s who.
It smacks of an “appeasement” signing to keep us in line. You got Salah. You got Chamberlain. We KEPT Coutinho, fending off the might of Barça. Hell, we even got you Robertson from Hull. Now, do please shut up!
I wrote the above on the first weekend of the international break, got side-tracked (think Moreno) and have just found the time now to come back to things. I could talk about us whacking Arsenal, but where’s the fun in that? We were good; they made us look great. Which goes to show that even Arsenal are capable of pulling the wool over Reds’ eyes. Klopp managed to keep his mouth shut for most of the ten days, which in itself is a miracle. Thing is, with him, you know that his next outpouring of verbiage is never far away.
Citeh? I’ve said in previous pieces that this team would sometimes need to score four to win. I thought that was reasonable enough! But never five. As for six… There were mitigating circumstances, of course. It’s hard enough playing City with 11 on the park. Try doing it with six. Oh sorry, you thought I was going to count our back four?! There’s no shame in losing to City; the shame is the way we packed it in. so the players obviously have to take responsibility. As does the “Boss”.
When anyone dares criticize him, of course, Kloppites trot out the same old “arguments”: “Would you prefer to go back to the 6-1 hammerings at Stoke?” (well, at least we scored that day); “I’d prefer this to those drab days under GH and Rafa.” (yeah, winning all those troffies and trophies, pffff, much over-rated). The reason we are in this mess and that we won’t win anything this season is the fault of the Board and Klopp.
In seventy-two League games, his teams have conceded 90 goals. NINETY!!! Seventy-two games is surely enough to realize there’s a problem and more importantly to try to fix it! Up front, this guy has a Plan A, B, C, D and E. There is literally a dozen combinations he has at his disposal and he deserves credit for that.
But at the back his Plan A is, at the very best, Clyne, Matip, Lovren and Milner. One of those is injured, the other is average at best, the other is a liability – literally, he’ll cost us 10 goals this season – and the other is our “new midfielder”. If Lovren or Matip get injured, Klavan can slot in! This is negligence on Klopp’s and the Club’s part. But woe betide you if you dare criticize him.
That’s the thing with the Cheerleader-in-Chief. Nothing sticks. Get beaten 5-0 at City? He has a built-in excuse with Mané’s sending-off. It would be cynical to suggest that was why he made such a big deal out of it, of course. Concede three at Watford? It wasn’t “that bad” and “too much was made of our defending”. Score on the counter-attack? Shout “That’s football!” at the crowd in a self-congratulatory manner. He’s above us all, isn’t he? The defence is just the on-field manifestation of this guy’s arrogance.
We can score at will and we’ll probably score over 100 goals this season. It’s the 14th of September and we’ve already got 16! Thing is, we’ve conceded 13. In seven games, we’ve conceded two or more in four of them (1 W, 2 D and 1 L). Even with our front men, we can’t continue taking on water. How can we expect them to score THREE or FOUR week-in, week-out and still not be guaranteed the win?
Lack of signings and an obvious inability to find answers to our numerous defensive problems are compromising any chance of success this season. We’ve got to get to January with these defenders: 23 more games in all, 17 in the League. By which stage we will have conceded another 30-35 goals. And put paid to another season.
But we have Oxlade-Chamberlain!