Can we go back to it being the close season? Seriously? Give me transfer requests, marketing jaunts and sleeve-sponsorship (SS?) announcements any day. Soul-destroying, yes. A threat to my blood pressure, no. We might end up doing well this season, but I won’t be around to see it. My heart wasn’t built to watch this team.
Heart? Did someone mention heart? You know that thing that was lacking for forty-five minutes today. Mané apart, we never even showed up. But that’s this team for you. The game just isn’t big enough, sometimes. Granted it was the opening day, but it was only Watford. Arsenal last season? Played them off the park in stages. Which makes me edgy for Hoffenheim. I can’t wait for us to be back in the European Cup but we won’t get there if today is anything to go by…
No doubt, there’ll be those who cry “knee-jerk!”. Except it’s not a knee-jerk reaction when you predicted it. We’ll get the usual drivel trotted out: “We’re only a game in. Wait till October to have a better idea of where we are.” Only a game in? That just doesn’t cut it any more. This was Klopp’s 69th game in charge in the League! And we’ve conceded 85 goals. This is a chronic problem that’s ruining any chance we have of challenging for trophies.
But Klopp is pretty untouchable, isn’t he? He’s funny, does a good interview and that. Sorry, but he’s not getting paid to make us laugh. He gets paid to sort this mess out. And manifestly, he’s incapable of it. Apart from players getting injured, what actually happens at Melwood every day? Do they work on defending, blocking crosses, picking up their men at set-pieces? Everyone else knows this is where we’re weak. Klopp knows so much, he even went on Monday Night Football to explain what we were doing wrong. Maybe it’d be an idea to, y’know, tell the players before telling a national TV audience.
This team will score a hatful of goals; some of our attacking play is sparkling. Mané rarely disappoints and Salah looks like he could be a future Barcelona star. There are no thrust issues with the front men, just a trust issue with the defence. We need to score twice and even three times to have a hope of getting three points. That’s huge, unsustainable pressure to put on any attack.
As long as this team defends like it does, we’re going nowhere. How to fix it? New men and hard work. Carra may claim that one man won’t resolve it. He’s right, of course he is. But we need to add quality at the back. Lovren and Matip know that Klopp doesn’t rate them. Why would he have tried to sign van Dijk if he did? Klopp is right not to rate either of them, of course. They inspire nothing but trepidation and jitters in the whole team. When you have the likes of Moreno (who wasn’t that bad today) and a youngster at right-back, you can’t afford to be that weak down the centre.
Today was a bad day. A win would have papered over the cracks. It’s been a tough week for everyone at the Club. We don’t need Philippe Coutinho (pretend you’re Tina Turner and sing it, it might do you good). We’ve got Salah, Mané, Bobby, Sturridge, Solanke, Lallana… We’ll score enough goals. But we need to find a way to stop them going in. It’s plagued us since Klopp got here and we are no nearer a solution.