This season’s beginning has changed from less than ideal to absurd. Liverpool had excellent treatment from the Premier League fixture generator to start the year. Let’s not make an exception. For a squad with championship aspirations, this was a simple beginning to the year. Fulham, just promoted, is having trouble bringing in players.
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Despite having a quality team, Crystal Palace had a disastrous preseason due to Covid restrictions and injuries. And Manchester United is currently playing worse than it has in nearly 30 years. Three simple games, am I correct? Three triumphs, yes? Right, nine points? Not in the slightest. The Reds have had their worst start under Jurgen Klopp due to terrible performances. With that in mind, I believed I’d take a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Liverpool defeat against that lot.
The GOOD from the Liverpool defeat
NOTHING GOOD WAS THERE! Nothing. Harvey Elliott gave it his all, and when Carvalho entered the game, he was energetic, but nothing about this game of Premier League was favourable for Liverpool. Three games, two draws, and a loss for a loss of seven points.
The BAD from the Liverpool defeat
Jurgen Klopp’s team selection
Yes, Liverpool has a lot of injuries in this Premier League Season, but that is still no justification for starting James Milner and Jordan Henderson together in the middle of the field. It was utter arrogance to think they could start together against a team that had to react after their thrashing against Brentford, especially with Liverpool having problems in other areas. Neither is talented enough to be starting for Liverpool, in any role. It was completely absurd to leave Fabinho out.
Fabinho struggled against Fulham, largely as a result of Henderson stinking up the joint and forcing him to do two roles at once, but he was perfect against Palace. He performed fairly well, but he ought to have done better for the goal. There was no rationale for leaving him out in favour of a player who was significantly less capable. Especially considering the kind of attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes that United possesses. Fernandes was given free rein at Old Trafford without Fabinho to watch over Liverpool’s midfield because, regardless of his current form in the Premier League, he poses a serious threat.
The first 30 minutes of the Game
Sometimes teams have sluggish starts to games, but after 10 minutes, they warm up. This did not take place. For the first 30 minutes, Liverpool essentially remained in the locker room and watched Manchester United run riot in the open field. When Fernandes fed Elanga after he lost his man and got 15 yards of space in three seconds, United should have been up one. When Liverpool gained control on the edge of the Manchester United box and started acting strangely for roughly 45 seconds, they did manage to score.
Trent was terrorised by Elanga, and Sancho had time to take a touch as the ball found him in a gap that had just been made available by a Liverpool player who opted to take a stroll. As Sancho looked up, he noticed Alisson to the right of the goal and Van Dijk in the centre of the field. He had no choice but to shoot to the left, but James Milner was moving in to obstruct that option.
If not, Sancho would have to defeat Alisson on the goal side that Alisson was defending. James Milner decided to fall to the ground. Sancho fumbled, and things started to escalate. Sancho scored into the unguarded left corner of the goal as Trent, who had followed the lead of others and was moving across the box, reacted too late.
Van Dijk has been singled out for criticism, although it is quite clear where his thoughts were at the time. He forced Sancho to fire by standing his ground. There are two conceivable results if Sancho shoots. He either succeeds or fails. Sancho would have had many more choices and Liverpool would have been less favoured if Van Dijk had gotten involved. He may still fire. Or he could dribble past Van Dijk and have an easier, uncontested shot.
He may also outwit Van Dijk, draw a foul, and get a penalty. Or, he might pass the ball to Bruno Fernandes, who was unmarked and waiting to tap in the goal. Van Dijk may also halt him. But only one in five outcomes is that. Virgil has much lower chances of success than if he simply challenges Sancho to fire. Virgil tried to play the odds but failed. For more to know about all the teams Premier League Tickets Click here.
However, the hoof in the air on the edge of United’s penalty area, the inability to halt Sancho 80 yards from the goal, and Milner’s strange decision to throw himself to the ground were far more significant contributors to the goal. The situation didn’t improve until Firmino decided that enough was enough and shifted to the number six position, where he was able to win some control back for Liverpool.
The UGLY part of the Game
Player’s attitudes during the match
The Liverpool players lacked any sense of urgency. Not when the game first started, not after Elanga struck the post, and not even after they fell behind 1-0. Possibly too haughty? They believed they could simply show up and crush their biggest opponents because they had received so much adulation over the years and because United had been so terrible for such a long time. There may be problems behind the scenes. The unknown. However, it fell well short of the kind of professionalism that we have come to expect from these athletes. And specifically, it’s “leaders.”
Screaming at each other while playing
When Milner first started yelling at Van Dijk, Van Dijk mostly maintained his composure and pushed Milner aside. Milner being that way was unexpected, but it wouldn’t be the last time. Later, after a weak Henderson pass and a poor Milner touch gave Manchester United possession, he and Henderson got into a yelling match. It’s not unusual to see Henderson throw a fit at a teammate over an error of his own making, but Milner biting back was. Van Dijk then got involved, which appeared to deflate the situation. It was unusual to see Virgil appropriately criticising his teammates, especially the two he singled out.
Liverpool’s and Manchester United captain
Where to start, even. However, this needs to be written. People have hastily assigned blame, and the mainstream media has done what they normally do and buried their heads in the sand. From every viewpoint, Jordan Henderson’s performance was nothing short of abhorrent. There is a persistent misconception that Liverpool doesn’t perform like THAT when he plays. We can now put that to rest. Despite having no evidence to back up the bizarre idea that he is a superior holding midfielder versus Fabinho, it was widely held. We can now put that to rest.
His performance started with terrible passes, picked up after losing Fernandes, which led to Elanga’s opportunity and kept going after that. The first Manchester United goal was the result of his careless hoof on the edge of the box, the choice to forego the initial tackle with Sancho, and failing to do the right thing by committing a tactical foul. In addition, he was the guy that strayed from the goal’s middle just before Sancho received the ball.
Henderson has always been a significant issue for Liverpool. His sole strong performance as a number 8 last season of the Premier League came on the road against Everton, proving his incapability to play in that position. It needs to cease that Klopp has stuck by him out of a false feeling of devotion. It was clear at the time that the deal he was handed last summer was a mistake, and as the season went on, it became abundantly clear to everyone that it was a serious problem.
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