Liverpool look on course to continue their recent fine performance on Sunday afternoon after going two goals up inside the first 25 minutes, but the only hindrance to the massive progress they have made under new manager Jurgen Klopp was on display again in the second half of the game.
Having led through a low drive from Philippe Coutinho and a smart finish from Daniel Sturridge, Fraser Foster was the only obstacle stopping them from scoring a third in the first half. They went into the break full of confidence and hoping to see out the remainder of the game but a big call from Koeman to bring in Saido Mane and Victor Wanyama coupled with Klopp replacing Lovren with Skrtel, a move klopp later attributed to the yellow card the former earned in the first half and also the referee’s emotion, turned the game on its head. Liverpool did not only throw away the two-goal lead, they went on to lose the game. So where did it all go wrong for the Merseyside club?
Many believed Skrtel’s dreadful performance was the cause of the collapse while others put the blame on Jurgen Klopp for not bringing in Kolo Toure instead. Both reasons may be justified but this is not the first time Liverpool threw away a two-goal lead.
Back in February, liverpool drew the game against Sunderland at anfield after the black Cats came from two goals down to nick a point. Toure was brought in for Lovren in the 12th minute of that game. Though the collapse that day was attributed to the fan walkout protest but what about the home game against crystal palace in october and the FA cup replay against west ham? The truth is the defence has let the team down on a number of occasions like on Sunday and many are wondering what the summer hold for the defensive unit.
During the post match conference, Jurgen Klopp pointed out that if the team had put away their chances, the team would have been in a better position. Benteke was a villain again yesterday after he failed to bury a very good chance to make the game 3-1. Klopp met him on the field after the game to show his disappointment. He has not been able to put away a lot of chances this season. Benteke is not the only culprit though, most of his teammates have committed the same offence before. In fact, if the team had converted most of their scoring chances this season, they will be in a better position in the league now.
This means that both liverpool’s defence and attack should be held responsible for this collapse, afterall defending start from attack. Former Southampton man, Dejan Lovren has been fantastic since Klopp arrived and his partnership with Sakho seems the best combination the team can have at the moment. Toure has also been impressive in every game he has played this season but Klopp prefer to use him sparingly because of his age. Skrtel’s performance on Sunday could have been excused for his long term absence due to injury but his performance was no much better before he got injured. The game against Watford where he got injured is a typical example. I think Skrtel has been having a bad game since last season. He doesn’t seems to work with his defence partner, tugging an opponent’s shirt when marking and his clearances has put the team in danger a lot of time like we saw in the game on Sunday. If Sakho and Lovren can keep up their impressive performance coupled with summer arrival of Joel Matip, maybe this season might be Skrtel’s last at Liverpool.
What about the attack? At the moment, the team are scoring a lot of goals but they will be looking to add an excellent striker to the rank if the pursuit of Alex Teixeira in the last transfer window is anything to go by. Whether big-money signing Benteke will get to play another season at Liverpool remain to be seen.
From now till the end of the season though, Jurgen Klopp will try to make sure the team avoid a reoccurrence of this kind of meltdown. If the team can put away their chances and patch up the leaky defence, who say they can’t make the remaining 27 points theirs and also challenge for Europa league glory.