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Liverpool 0 Fulham 1 (Mar 7 2021)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

Groundhog Day. It feels like we’ve lost every home game 1-0 for months. I actually said that to someone yesterday and they corrected me that the Derby actually ended 2-0. Not to me it didn’t. I’d blocked that second goal out because the penalty they got was so egregious. So the point remains. Every fucking home game seems to be the same now.

 

We never score in the first half anymore and we barely score any in the second. As soon as we concede you know it’s over. We have plenty of the ball but give up more chances than we create. We usually have a bright ten minutes to start the second half but when that doesn’t produce a goal it all just fizzles out. Every. Fucking. Game.

 

The worst part about this loss was that I absolutely expected it. We’re the Champions, we’re facing a bottom three team and I’m going into it absolutely convinced that we’ll lose. It wasn’t irrational either as there was absolutely nothing to suggest we would win the game other than wishful thinking.

 

We’re playing so badly right now at Anfield that I don’t think we’re capable of beating anybody. I’m made up that Champions League tie has been moved because there’s definitely some kind of mental block with the players at Anfield now. Not that we’re much better away from home, but we aren’t quite as shit.

 

I think the sight of the empty seats might just be depressing them and reminding them what they’re missing. They’re clearly feeling sorry for themselves, it’s blatantly obvious every time they go behind. It’s not that the lads aren’t trying, but they aren’t going out there with that mentality where they just refuse to lose either.

 

Every team we come up against wants it more. Fulham wanted it more. Just like Brighton did. And Everton. And Burnley. And loads of other teams that have beaten us. I can’t even keep track now as we’re losing all the fucking time.

 

It doesn’t matter who plays either, the performance is exactly the same regardless of personnel. You can bring in Shaq or Origi up top, Neco at full back or Keita or Ox in midfield, what does it matter? None of them are doing any better than the first choice players they’re replacing, who themselves aren’t delivering. It’s all fucked now and I don’t know how we get out of this. The hole seems too deep.

 

Klopp doesn’t know how to get us out of it. I said that the other night but it’s just becoming more and more obvious. He just stands there, watching in stunned silence. Occasionally there’s a rueful smile when we miss a rare chance or a decision goes against us, but he was actually angrier when we were good. There are no bollockings, no calling players out publicly, he’s just backing them 100% and taking all the blame himself.

 

Not that I’m holding that against him. Who knows what his mental state is right now after what he’s had to deal with. I’d like to see him take the fucking stick to the players instead of feeding them carrots all the time, but he must have his reasons. 

 

Some of this mess is on him but most of it is on the players. They were top at Christmas but now look at them? There’s just no way that can be pinned on Klopp. He might be unable to fix it but I’m not going to say he’s the one that broke it because he isn’t. The players’ toothless performances and general lack of fight in the face of adversity did that.

 

And you know, I’m getting sick of hearing about how the lack of centre halves is the cause of this. Nah, it just fucking isn’t. We’re letting in one goal a game but somehow that’s enough for us to always lose. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Remember the days pre-Virgil when if we conceded three we’d go and score four? Now it takes three months to score four goals.

 

 

This is just a teaser, click here to view the full report

 

Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here. 

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Good shout about the CBs Dave. I thought whoever we've played there isnt the problem. It's not like we've shipped loads of goals. The issue is at the other end. Jota had a shot and was unlucky the keeper saved it. Neco had a shot when he shouldnt have and I dont remember any one else having a pop. Lemina does and guess what? He scores.

 

Next season cant start soon enough? That's like having a car with a fucked engine and thinking it'll ok the next morning. We need to find what's wrong and fix it else next season will be no better.

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The centre half issue is all about how it has killed our ability to play out - how it has harmed our full backs and of course how it has weakened our midfield.

 

The amount we just tap ball short from player to player now and how deep midfielders have to come to get it off the centre halves is night and day to how it was....then there is VVD's magnificent raking balls out to the running full backs, which never happens anymore.....and the way he used to carry it out up to near half way and then give it to Hendo who was on move and looking to progress us.

 

Its totally undermined our whole base and as result we now move ball from back to front slower, less dangerously, take far too many touches without really going anywhere and then into players who are static and have no space. We no longer control midfield either.

 

Teams press us more now as well as they aren't as worried we will play something behind them...this is big because it pressures us and sadly the poorer footballers we have back there now become even less ambitious due to being under pressure/not having time.

 

There was a great example today (one of loads every game) Neco Williams took up a good advanced position and it was begging for a good early ball into him on move with space ahead.....our centre half passed it short to his partner, who passed it short back to him and then there was about 4 more passes and we were barely over the half way line...all this time Williams was available and we only eventually gave it him about 6 passes too late and when he was static and had a man on him - our proper defence and midfield would not have done that.

 

For me the centre half issue isn't about how good or bad we are defending, it is about how it has really upset our style of play - how it has affected our full backs in terms of starting positions too how much and how dangerously they get forward, the gap between them and midfield when attacking and how raping our midfield to cover the holes back there has also harmed us.

 

We have also probably lost 5 goals from our corners and certainly any sort of threat from them without VVD and Matip.

 

When we see VVD striding forward next season carrying the ball out and passing it forward with purpose to players on the move ahead of him next season and them in turn doing same to players in front of them in dangerous areas then we'll have a base to play from again....the safe, sideways, slow, backwards and tentative play between our defence and our midfield in his and the others absence is for me at the root of our problems - problems which have multiplied across park off back of.

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I thought that things changed when Fabinho came on and played in his natural position, Fulham couldn’t get out of their own half. To win games you have to control the midfield. For fucks sake play the lad in his correct position and keep the pressure on the opponent, chances will come, if we don’t take them then that’s another matter.

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"I’m now at the point where I don’t care what happens for the rest of the season. Why should I when half the team clearly doesn’t? They’ve written this season off. As soon as it became clear they were not going to retain the title they just quit mentally. They’re just wanting this over with so they can start again next season with our injured players back and fans in stadiums."

The West Brom game was 27th December and the 15th game of the season. Liverpool were top after 14 games and on track to get 84 points.
They had just beaten Palace 7-0 and even though they looked nowhere near last season's team they looked worth 1st place.
Liverpool were well on top in the West Brom game but in 60th minute when 1 nil up, Matip went off injured. That meant the 3 first choice centre backs were out. Liverpool conceded a header (that probably wouldn't happen if VVD or Magip are playing) in the 82nd minute.
It's as if the players realised there and then, that they were not going to win the league. They have lost 8 of the subsequent 13 league games scoring 10.
In the same period they have scored 8 in 3 "Cup" games.
I agree, I think they switched off mentally for the league and have been unable to turn it around in league games but something seems different for Cup and CL.

 

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13 minutes ago, ben48 said:

I thought that things changed when Fabinho came on and played in his natural position, Fulham couldn’t get out of their own half. To win games you have to control the midfield. For fucks sake play the lad in his correct position and keep the pressure on the opponent, chances will come, if we don’t take them then that’s another matter.

Fabinho did play well when he came on and we need to just go with him in midfield from now on regardless of who’s available at CB.

 

on Fulham not getting out of their half. They are a bottom 3 side away at anfield went one goal up and decided in the second half to sit back and hold out for the win.
Which they did without having to break too much of a sweat.

It’s actually pathetic how little opposition goalkeepers are having to do to get a clean sheet against us. 

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Honestly I couldn’t bare to watch most of it, I just switched it off. Makes me a terrible fan I’m sure, but it’s just painful.

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1 hour ago, Stouffer said:

Fuck the match reports off until we win Dave; I can't imagine how shit it is having to do them.

I agree, Dave, don't do it to yourself.

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1 hour ago, an tha said:

The centre half issue is all about how it has killed our ability to play out - how it has harmed our full backs and of course how it has weakened our midfield.

 

The amount we just tap ball short from player to player now and how deep midfielders have to come to get it off the centre halves is night and day to how it was....then there is VVD's magnificent raking balls out to the running full backs, which never happens anymore.....and the way he used to carry it out up to near half way and then give it to Hendo who was on move and looking to progress us.

 

Its totally undermined our whole base and as result we now move ball from back to front slower, less dangerously, take far too many touches without really going anywhere and then into players who are static and have no space. We no longer control midfield either.

 

Teams press us more now as well as they aren't as worried we will play something behind them...this is big because it pressures us and sadly the poorer footballers we have back there now become even less ambitious due to being under pressure/not having time.

 

There was a great example today (one of loads every game) Neco Williams took up a good advanced position and it was begging for a good early ball into him on move with space ahead.....our centre half passed it short to his partner, who passed it short back to him and then there was about 4 more passes and we were barely over the half way line...all this time Williams was available and we only eventually gave it him about 6 passes too late and when he was static and had a man on him - our proper defence and midfield would not have done that.

 

For me the centre half issue isn't about how good or bad we are defending, it is about how it has really upset our style of play - how it has affected our full backs in terms of starting positions too how much and how dangerously they get forward, the gap between them and midfield when attacking and how raping our midfield to cover the holes back there has also harmed us.

 

We have also probably lost 5 goals from our corners and certainly any sort of threat from them without VVD and Matip.

 

When we see VVD striding forward next season carrying the ball out and passing it forward with purpose to players on the move ahead of him next season and them in turn doing same to players in front of them in dangerous areas then we'll have a base to play from again....the safe, sideways, slow, backwards and tentative play between our defence and our midfield in his and the others absence is for me at the root of our problems - problems which have multiplied across park off back of.

Best analysis I've read on where we are. Honestly. Kudos.

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3 minutes ago, m0e said:

Best analysis I've read on where we are. Honestly. Kudos.

Appreciate that, cheers.

 

And i didn't mention 'home' record!

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5 minutes ago, an tha said:

Appreciate that, cheers.

 

And i didn't mention 'home' record!

 

Not worth highlighting when, as Dave says, we merely "aren't quite as shit" away.

 

 

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1 hour ago, an tha said:

The centre half issue is all about how it has killed our ability to play out - how it has harmed our full backs and of course how it has weakened our midfield.

 

The amount we just tap ball short from player to player now and how deep midfielders have to come to get it off the centre halves is night and day to how it was....then there is VVD's magnificent raking balls out to the running full backs, which never happens anymore.....and the way he used to carry it out up to near half way and then give it to Hendo who was on move and looking to progress us.

 

Its totally undermined our whole base and as result we now move ball from back to front slower, less dangerously, take far too many touches without really going anywhere and then into players who are static and have no space. We no longer control midfield either.

 

Teams press us more now as well as they aren't as worried we will play something behind them...this is big because it pressures us and sadly the poorer footballers we have back there now become even less ambitious due to being under pressure/not having time.

 

There was a great example today (one of loads every game) Neco Williams took up a good advanced position and it was begging for a good early ball into him on move with space ahead.....our centre half passed it short to his partner, who passed it short back to him and then there was about 4 more passes and we were barely over the half way line...all this time Williams was available and we only eventually gave it him about 6 passes too late and when he was static and had a man on him - our proper defence and midfield would not have done that.

 

For me the centre half issue isn't about how good or bad we are defending, it is about how it has really upset our style of play - how it has affected our full backs in terms of starting positions too how much and how dangerously they get forward, the gap between them and midfield when attacking and how raping our midfield to cover the holes back there has also harmed us.

 

We have also probably lost 5 goals from our corners and certainly any sort of threat from them without VVD and Matip.

 

When we see VVD striding forward next season carrying the ball out and passing it forward with purpose to players on the move ahead of him next season and them in turn doing same to players in front of them in dangerous areas then we'll have a base to play from again....the safe, sideways, slow, backwards and tentative play between our defence and our midfield in his and the others absence is for me at the root of our problems - problems which have multiplied across park off back of.

 

 

Let's hope to God that flicking the VvD switch works next season.

 

The team might need to get completely (re)acquainted with how he plays, you know, like with Thiago.

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Reckoner said:

Honestly I couldn’t bare to watch most of it, I just switched it off. Makes me a terrible fan I’m sure, but it’s just painful.

 

I just didn't fancy it, to be honest.

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I remember, Dave, when you'd leave it 24 hours to write the report - just to let the emotions settle down. No need now, really.

 

It's a sign how low things have got to now: not just how shit we are, and how shit the refs can be, but the whole not being able to celebrate a goal because of VAR. It makes you think more but feel less. It's getting to such a state that that I expect your match reports to start turning into something Winston Smith would have had to turn in. Or, god forbid, Paul Tomkins (just purse your lips and stick your tongue in your cheek to start off with, Dave).

 

If that's the way the game is going, then maybe it's best to start focusing on NFL, so we can watch the pretty routines, and know it's ok unless there's a flag.

 

* I just gave up on this post because I couldn't be arsed with the second half. Now where have we seen that before?

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Not that fully him blame him as his forward options are limited and will not have the cover at the back like he did, but it feels like Andy Robertson passes backwards 90% of the time. We get it to him and then it is stop, look around,see nobody in a good position so play it back.

The passes to each other seem to be a bit slow, and either right to them or slightly behind them which helps kill the momentum. This very rarely happened in the last 2 years.

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10 hours ago, Stouffer said:

Fuck the match reports off until we win Dave; I can't imagine how shit it is having to do them.

To be fair all Dave has to do is change the opposition’s name 

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10 hours ago, an tha said:

The centre half issue is all about how it has killed our ability to play out - how it has harmed our full backs and of course how it has weakened our midfield.

 

The amount we just tap ball short from player to player now and how deep midfielders have to come to get it off the centre halves is night and day to how it was....then there is VVD's magnificent raking balls out to the running full backs, which never happens anymore.....and the way he used to carry it out up to near half way and then give it to Hendo who was on move and looking to progress us.

 

Its totally undermined our whole base and as result we now move ball from back to front slower, less dangerously, take far too many touches without really going anywhere and then into players who are static and have no space. We no longer control midfield either.

 

Teams press us more now as well as they aren't as worried we will play something behind them...this is big because it pressures us and sadly the poorer footballers we have back there now become even less ambitious due to being under pressure/not having time.

 

There was a great example today (one of loads every game) Neco Williams took up a good advanced position and it was begging for a good early ball into him on move with space ahead.....our centre half passed it short to his partner, who passed it short back to him and then there was about 4 more passes and we were barely over the half way line...all this time Williams was available and we only eventually gave it him about 6 passes too late and when he was static and had a man on him - our proper defence and midfield would not have done that.

 

For me the centre half issue isn't about how good or bad we are defending, it is about how it has really upset our style of play - how it has affected our full backs in terms of starting positions too how much and how dangerously they get forward, the gap between them and midfield when attacking and how raping our midfield to cover the holes back there has also harmed us.

 

We have also probably lost 5 goals from our corners and certainly any sort of threat from them without VVD and Matip.

 

When we see VVD striding forward next season carrying the ball out and passing it forward with purpose to players on the move ahead of him next season and them in turn doing same to players in front of them in dangerous areas then we'll have a base to play from again....the safe, sideways, slow, backwards and tentative play between our defence and our midfield in his and the others absence is for me at the root of our problems - problems which have multiplied across park off back of.

 

This is all true but it shouldn't be so debilitating that we can't beat any of the fucking bottom six, and we should have adapted how we play by now. 

 

I don't think anyone would expect us to be as good as we were with VVD and one of Gomez or Matip in the side, but on form we're currently the worst team in the league. 

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10 hours ago, an tha said:

The centre half issue is all about how it has killed our ability to play out - how it has harmed our full backs and of course how it has weakened our midfield.

 

The amount we just tap ball short from player to player now and how deep midfielders have to come to get it off the centre halves is night and day to how it was....then there is VVD's magnificent raking balls out to the running full backs, which never happens anymore.....and the way he used to carry it out up to near half way and then give it to Hendo who was on move and looking to progress us.

 

Its totally undermined our whole base and as result we now move ball from back to front slower, less dangerously, take far too many touches without really going anywhere and then into players who are static and have no space. We no longer control midfield either.

 

Teams press us more now as well as they aren't as worried we will play something behind them...this is big because it pressures us and sadly the poorer footballers we have back there now become even less ambitious due to being under pressure/not having time.

 

There was a great example today (one of loads every game) Neco Williams took up a good advanced position and it was begging for a good early ball into him on move with space ahead.....our centre half passed it short to his partner, who passed it short back to him and then there was about 4 more passes and we were barely over the half way line...all this time Williams was available and we only eventually gave it him about 6 passes too late and when he was static and had a man on him - our proper defence and midfield would not have done that.

 

For me the centre half issue isn't about how good or bad we are defending, it is about how it has really upset our style of play - how it has affected our full backs in terms of starting positions too how much and how dangerously they get forward, the gap between them and midfield when attacking and how raping our midfield to cover the holes back there has also harmed us.

 

We have also probably lost 5 goals from our corners and certainly any sort of threat from them without VVD and Matip.

 

When we see VVD striding forward next season carrying the ball out and passing it forward with purpose to players on the move ahead of him next season and them in turn doing same to players in front of them in dangerous areas then we'll have a base to play from again....the safe, sideways, slow, backwards and tentative play between our defence and our midfield in his and the others absence is for me at the root of our problems - problems which have multiplied across park off back of.

Virg scored 5, Matip at least one. Not just that, their presence causes problems, chances, goals....eg Bobby’s winner at Palace. And Matip’s forays into midfield wrongfoot the opposition and create space.

And how bad most Ox and Origi be in training to not get onto the pitch right now?

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It's frightening how bad we are. I've never known a drop off like it. If the season started at Christmas we'd be in a relegation fight. 

 

On the plus side you must be close to being able to use copy and paste for these home games now Dave. 

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I think its frightening that theres been a lack of action from Jurgen and the staff. I mean do something? Try something? Early doors City were struggling badly, conceding sloppy goals and Pep reset them by stopping leaking goals.

 

I think we need something similar so that the opposition can no longer think we will just gonna come out and play like we always do.

 

All Jurgen has done is simply switched out players. I think he changed shape once and that was at West ham, otherwise its 433 regardless with the same approach to the oppositions goal.

 

I would like to see us go more defensive, drop back further and stop the rot. Id also give some fringe players like Shaq and Keita a run of matches regardless. Too much chopping and changing.

 

And one other thing...I think the worst decision both the Club and Jurgen made was to convince themselves Fabinho is a CB. A stupid decision and one which has been way over used. Id rather have two inexperienced CBs in their natural positions and our midfield in place. Hendo and Fab should never play there ever again.

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It's a bit ludicrous to say a player shouldnt play in a different position, especially one they've said they're comfortable with, during an injury crisis. In the next breath these same people say Nat & Rhys are Championship players 'at best'!

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12 hours ago, an tha said:

The centre half issue is all about how it has killed our ability to play out - how it has harmed our full backs and of course how it has weakened our midfield.

 

I know that, I just think it's been massively overstated as used as a crutch to let the midfielders, full backs and strikers off the hook for being shit since the turn of the year.

 

It's easy to blame losing Virgil for everything, but guess what, we were top at Christmas and he was injured in October. Not having Virgil (and Gomez and Matip) is an excuse for not retaining the title. It would even be a valid excuse for finishing below United (and maybe Chelsea).

 

It doesn't excuse the absolute fucking dogshit they've served up for months.

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