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Liverpool 0 Brighton 1 (Feb 3 2021)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

I’ll keep this brief for all our sakes. There’s not much to be said that wasn’t already discussed at length in previous home games. We've seen this movie before. In fact, it's been on a loop since 2021 started.

 

Maybe coming off the back of those two good away wins this defeat was somewhat unexpected, but really this had “trap game” written all over it and there was very little difference between this and Burnley a couple of weeks ago.

 

None of us really wanted this game did we? City this weekend was the big one and this game was almost an inconvenience. Brighton were just in the way and we needed to find a way to brush them aside and take the points whatever way we could. It’s not that easy though, especially with the team so depleted and disjointed at the moment. 

 

Being at Anfield isn’t any kind of advantage anymore either. They may as well change the sign over the tunnel to say “This is NOT Anfield” because it isn’t the same. We’ve lost twice at home in as many weeks but no-one was there to witness it so they may as well not have happened. Not having fans in stadiums changes everything. 

 

I’m sick to death of it. I want to be back at the match. I want to feel like I can be a part of it, to contribute in some small way (even if it’s only shouting myself hoarse abusing the Main Stand linesman). I’m sick of watching on telly every week. It’s not even so much about me not being there though. I could live with that if others were there. But this empty stadium thing is wearing me down now. I hate it.

 

In recent seasons visiting teams have often been beaten before they even got off the bus, but with no fans, no centre backs and now no unbeaten home record, nobody is scared of coming here anymore. Why would they be? The likes of West Brom, Burnley and now Brighton have all had success here so the fear factor has gone completely.

 

We’ll probably lose more home games before the season is out (quite possibly this weekend), not to mention some away ones too. We’ll win plenty as well, but there will be no long winning streaks this season, I think that’s now obvious. 

 

I didn’t feel much at all watching this. Just a bit sad and extremely demoralised. I wasn’t the least bit surprised though. This was never going to be easy, although we made it more difficult than it should have been by playing like shite. Villa aside, this was probably the worst we’ve looked all season.

 

Brighton know how to play against us. The stat nerds will tell you that. They’ve had the better of us in both games this season in virtually every meaningful statistic. They’re a superbly coached team and we always find it difficult when we play them. 

 

Klopp knows this. He is probably more complimentary about Potter's Brighton than he is anyone other than City. They’re not a great team because they don’t have great players, but their style doesn’t mesh well with ours and it’s a slog when we play them.

 

It doesn’t help when we have so many players throw in a stinker on the same night but Brighton deserve credit for that too. They stopped Salah while Firmino stopped himself. When those two are giving you very little and Sadio isn’t even on the pitch then it’s going to be difficult.

 

I don’t want to single anyone out for special criticism as it was a wretched team performance, but what I will say is when Firmino plays like this we have virtually no chance. Wretched. He was great at Spurs a week ago but then he plays like this? It seems to be who he is now. He hasn't shown any consistency for about two years.

 

We started quite well, didn’t score and then just plodded our way to half time. The second half also started brightly and for ten minutes it looked like we’d upped the tempo and might score. When we didn’t get one in that spell I knew we were in trouble. You could smell it a mile off.

 

Brighton defended well and in numbers but they also got men forward when they could. It’s a bit galling that a fucking nine foot tall left back threatened more than all of our players combined though. We had a couple of half chances and that was it.

 

Not having Alisson isn’t an excuse. Kelleher did nothing wrong and Alisson wouldn’t have stopped that goal as it was a complete fluke. Still, it must be mentally draining for the team to constantly be having these injury setbacks thrown at them. Every week it’s someone else, and eventually it catches up with you.

 

We were never getting back into this after we conceded. You could see the lack of belief in everyone other than Hendo and maybe Thiago, who was always looking to play passes forward even if they were constantly being miscontrolled by those ahead of him. We can’t get Jota back quickly enough.

 

The title is gone. I made peace with that after Burnley, although there was still a lingering hope after the impressive back to back wins. That hope has gone now. Even if we won every game it still might not be enough, and there is not a chance in hell we will win every game.

 

Given all that we’ve had to try and overcome this season I’d say that finishing second would be an achievement. You can’t finish above City with half a team either missing or having to play out of position. There’s no shame in finishing below them and I’ve accepted that fate.

 

Finishing below anyone else would be tough to take though. There’s an argument to be had that as long as we ensure a top four spot then we can take that and forget this season ever happened. I’m not ready to go there yet though because finishing below United isn’t an option as far as I’m concerned. I thought we were past that and if it turns out that we aren’t then that’s going to be difficult to swallow.

 

Them winning 9-0 and us losing the next night? What the fuck? Have we time travelled back to the fucking 90s? Not having this at all. Finishing below them isn't a fucking option.

 

If you offered me a point on Sunday I’d snatch your hand off right now. City’s record at Anfield is awful but this is no longer Anfield and they’ll never have a better chance to end that hoodoo. I’m fucking dreading it now.

 

There’s no star man but I thought Phillips and Hendo were fine, and Kelleher can also hold his head up.

 

 

Team: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum (Oxlade-Chamberlain), Milner, Thiago; Salah, Firmino (Jones), Shaqiri (Origi):

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I share your pain again, Dave. Not much to be said. Some criticised Nat for the goal, wtf? We hope playing city will give the players a boost, guess we'll have to wait and see.

 

We could still be playing now and wouldnt have scored against Brighton as the lack of cutting edge up front was eye opening.

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This season is quickly becoming reminiscent of the 'mares of seasons past. Even the kits all look like they were inspired by our most fallow periods. The home kit is mid-90s fag-end-of-the-Souness-era fare when we had players like Dicks and Clough on the pitch. The teal away kit (colour wise at least) is a nod to the early 90s teams that featured Piechnik, Tanner and Kozma. The black/grey third is from that 2002/03 Houllier era when we went 11 games without a league win, relying on Heskey and Diouf for firepower. And the recent pinstriped Air Max 4th kit/leisure top is Hodgson era, with Cole, Konchesky, Jokanovic and Poulsen doing fuck-all in places like Utrecht.

 

When I've been able to watch us live this season, the worst I've seen from us is the home game against Atalanta. We've had plenty of completely ineffectual games since that still contained chances or half-chances, but in that Atalanta game we did absolutely nothing of note all game.

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Horrible game. Certain players being below what we know is their best is something that can be worked on, but can't do anything about our injuries. It's unbelievable. Last night we had missing;

 

Alisson

Van Dijk 

Gomez

Matip

Fabinho

Mané

Jota

 

5, maybe 6 of them are in our best starting 11. Only teams owned by drug dealers or countries have the back up to cope with that.

 

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Toothless and clueless against a well drilled side, can't take it away from Brighton as they had us sussed again. From the moment mo missed the first chance "probably just offside" you could see how this game was going. 

He should have brought on one of the new lads and stuck hendo in midfield, nothing to lose. 

We'll probably beat City as we seem to turn up for the big games again. Just like the bad old days. 

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I can forgive a lot but not the endless chipped balls into the oppositions penalty area. That's a coaching issue and the coaches need to get our players doing something better in advanced positions. 

 

I don't understand why we don't just take more long shots. Think about it. If the chipped balls into the box are driven by a fear or losing the ball in any other area then long shots are as good or better. With a long shot you'll probably lose the ball with it going behind or the keeper saving it which is even safer than effectively passing it to the centre back but it also might deflect or go behind for a corner or it might even go in!

 

That's what I keep thinking - instead of chipping it to the opposition centre back just cut inside and fucking shoot! Its the better option if you are so worried about losing the ball to try something better. 

 

I can forgive a lot in the circumstances but not THAT play in the final third. Klopp and the coaching staff need to sort it the fuck out. 

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My head and heart cannot take anymore of Origi. 

All those  great moments have  faded now.

Just for the love of fucking God put some effort in.

 

Maybe he should transfer to Ambleside ,he would fit right in.

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I'd take anywhere in the top 4 right now, as galling as it might be to finish underneath the Mancs. Take it, forget about this cluster fuck of a season, get our injured players fit and get ready for next season 

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I'm not watching us now for the rest of season. Injuries, VAR, referees, form, tactics, centre backs, FSG, I can't be bothered with it all. It's like we've been cursed for daring to win the league. Call me fairweather, but there's too much shite going on outside of footy and the last thing I need is this. I reckon Klopp (and the players) could do with a two week holiday somewhere nice - they seem burned out.

 

Regroup and hopefully next season we'll be back to our best. I still think we've got the best first 11 in the country.

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City will be more open. We'll get chances. Win and we get a bit of verve back, and if nothing else it’ll needle Pep.

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I don't think the team were just mentally fatigued, they also looked physically shattered too. Not making any excuses for the shite they served up but this was the 3rd game in 6 days. That will take its toll on any side, not least one as disjointed as ours is at the moment. 

 

But we clearly have major systemic issues against the dregs of this league. There's a piece in the Athletic today that talks about everybody knowing how to beat Liverpool these days: sit deep, defend in numbers, counter at pace. When we play without tempo then we're almost guaranteed not to win when facing a system like that. Last night we were so one paced. Where was the quick interplay around the box. Where was the one-twos and the overlaps? We resorted to crossing from deep again and their 7 foot centre backs had an easy time of it. 

 

The problems clearly lie in the system we're playing combined with two or three of our regular eleven having jumped the shark and the reserve players not being up to it. 

 

Clearly we could have done with some fresh legs in that starting eleven given the fixture schedules but the likes of Ox, Origi, even the full-back cover like Tsimikas and Neco Williams just aren't trusted and haven't taken their chances when called upon. 

 

Origi is stealing a living at the moment. How many times did he touch the ball when he came on with 30 to go? Less than 5 times? I've never seen a player more out of place than Origi in this current Liverpool side. It's painful to watch him. 

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What makes the defeat last night more unbearable is the fact that almost all the teams around us in the top spots won. Looked like we were about to open a nice gap on Everton, West Ham and Leicester. And we were closing in on United.

 

They all win and we throw in a stinker. Just when we thought we were out, they drew us back in. Finishing Top 4 should really be the target now because the way we're playing inconsistently, it's certainly not a given.

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1 hour ago, tlw content said:

Firmino plays like this we have virtually no chance. Wretched. He was great at Spurs a week ago but then he plays like this? It seems to be who he is now. He hasn't shown any consistency for about two years.

Bobby is playing like he did when we first signed him, either 10/10 or 2/10.

Klopp seemed to push the right buttons and two years ago was 10/10 every game.

In the first couple of minutes last night it was misplaced passes or losing it.

The only surprise last night was we didn't lose 0-2.

Can't wait for the season to end.

Just a word on FSG, why wait until deadline day to get players in? Fuckin shysters.

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Well written report, the shorter the better after a humilation like this one.

 

Only thing missing is you describing the hope of a great come back you certainly must've felt when you saw Origi was coming on as a sub.

 

 

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Again you sum it up very well, just dispiriting. I almost gave up watching when they scored, didn't we all know with a fluke like that and the way we were playing that the rest of the game was irrelevant?

That giant LB clattering Phillips and not getting a yellow needs some comment, I mean I don't expect Friend to be any good but that was a late body slam which any fair minded person should have seen as a yellow.

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Usual spot on report Dave. Very disappointing and difficult not to feel hard done by in many ways over the season so far.

 

I don't want to get drawn into another sort of debate, but unless there is some sort of sea change in the way we are dealing with and thinking about 'the virus', I'm not sure we will ever get fans back into stadiums in the 'normal' way - do you?

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Desperate stuff.  You knew it was going to be so after 15 minutes.  Outthought, outfought.  We have no clue how to break these teams down.  Firmino has played 2 decent games lately, and that would appear to be it from him again.  If a yard dog at Burnley put in a performance like that he wouldn't be playing the following week, and they're down to playing people from the library.  We desperately need creativity.

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It utterly amazing to think this is the same team we’ve been watching (yeah, I know it’s not the ‘same team’, but you know what I mean). There was zero passion, no tempo, no ideas. Everything was slow, slow, get the ball forward, slow, slow, lose the ball, repeat. I get there’s players out, but to collectively forget your football DNA is unforgivable, I mean, what the fuck? Robbo trying to dribble past 3 defenders and losing possession? Wha?! The signs have been there since last summer, but it still amazes me that a team can go from hitting 7 at Palace to having zero confidence / ideas in anything they’re doing. And please God will someone just put an end to Origi - yeah, cult hero/legend status for a few moments in key games, I get it. But he’s been fucking useless. And last night, ugh, my god when he just kicked the ball straight out of play...I literally don’t even know what to say. 

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Just bust the ball and go home next time the starting xi doesn't work.  Bringing on shite like Origi and oxocube is entirely pointless. 

 

Not new news at all.  This is a direct result of doing fuck all in most windows for a few years and letting utter shite stay at the club, even gifting them contracts to protect their value. 

 

 

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Aside from the immaculate home record taking a beating this season, we now cannot register a win against every other club in the league like we did last season. We achieved that in our 22nd game of the season against the Mancs, with the away game against them being the only time we'd dropped points up to then. 22 games in this time round, the story is very different.

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1 hour ago, Jordy Brouwer said:

 

I can forgive a lot but not the endless chipped balls into the oppositions penalty area. That's a coaching issue and the coaches need to get our players doing something better in advanced positions. 

 

I don't understand why we don't just take more long shots. Think about it. If the chipped balls into the box are driven by a fear or losing the ball in any other area then long shots are as good or better. With a long shot you'll probably lose the ball with it going behind or the keeper saving it which is even safer than effectively passing it to the centre back but it also might deflect or go behind for a corner or it might even go in!

 

That's what I keep thinking - instead of chipping it to the opposition centre back just cut inside and fucking shoot! Its the better option if you are so worried about losing the ball to try something better. 

 

I can forgive a lot in the circumstances but not THAT play in the final third. Klopp and the coaching staff need to sort it the fuck out. 

Agreed. Henderson's floaters are the absolute worst, closely followed by Salah's. I'll throw in the fact that we insist on taking nearly every set piece out-swinging as well. When you have absolutely no-one that can get a clean, free header, they are just a complete waste of time. As long as you have Shaq and Trent in the side you should just whip those set pieces with as much pace as possible, hoping either one of our players or the defenders get something on it. I guarantee that we will have far more dangerous situations/chances than we have now.

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1 hour ago, JustTosh said:

Only thing missing is you describing the hope of a great come back you certainly must've felt when you saw Origi was coming on as a sub.

 

 

Don't forget Ox. My hopes positively soared when he came on. "He'll save us" I thought.

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