Same old Liverpool: they dominate possession, get in to great scoring positions but just can’t find the back of the net. Opposition team creates one half decent chance and they score. Manchester United can count themselves very lucky to come away from Anfield with three valuable points. Liverpool’s performance was brilliant. They carried on their intensity from the Arsenal game but couldn’t find the goals to put Manchester United away. Manchester United had only one, yes one chance on target and they scored.
Liverpool at the minute lack a proper scoring striker. Yes Christian Benteke can score goals but his laziness is a hindrance to the rest of the team. If you look at the other teams around Liverpool they have a striker who they can be called upon to score when it’s needed. And again against Manchester United this lack of a scoring striker comes back to bite them in the arse. This is the one area Jürgen Klopp needs to address sooner rather than later, whether it be Daniel Sturridge who claimed before the Newcastle United game he was fit to go or a new striker who can link up with the likes of Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho.
Wayne Rooney’s goal (his first at Anfield in ten years) against Liverpool is the seventh goal this season Liverpool have conceded either directly from a corner or as a result of a corner and this is more than any other side in the Premier League. For the life of me I can’t understand why Liverpool can’t defend from not only corners but also set pieces. Is it the fact that the defenders have no faith in Simon Mignolet, who for me has regressed this year like he did last season or is it that they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing when a set piece or corner comes in?
Whatever it is, as much as Liverpool need a striker Jürgen Klopp needs to sort it out sooner rather than later. For me I think the blame lies solely with Mignolet. He doesn’t look to be confident and as Jamie Carragher said before the game against Manchester United he’s simply not good enough for Liverpool and I think the majority of fans agree with him. Again if Liverpool fans look at the teams around Liverpool, they have a goalkeeper who can keep clean sheets (I am well aware that Mignolet kept the most clean sheets for the calendar year in last seasons Premier League but stats can me misleading) and who can command his box and give confidence to their defence, Arsenal have Petr Cech, Chelsea have Tiabout Courtois, Manchester United have David De Gea, Spurs have Hugo Lloris, Manchester City have Joe Hart, even Stoke have Jack Butland. They are all goalkeepers who breed confidence, something Mignolet doesn’t.
So what next for Liverpool? Well in the immediate future it’s a game against Exeter City in the FA Cup replay, a game I’m sure that Klopp’s Kids will get a run out in the match and hopefully they’ll be able to put a smile back on the faces of us fans. In the long run I think Jürgen Klopp needs to clear out a lot of players, something similar to what he had to do after his first season at Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool posses a lot of players who simply aren’t good enough or who don’t perform on a regular basis. Klopp also needs to build a spine of players (have a look at Rory Greenwood’s piece on this subject on the Anfield Index website), who can not only dominate other teams but a spine that can be counted on to push Liverpool on to the next level. Will FSG back Jürgen Klopp as blindly as they did Brendan Rodgers, I’m not so sure but only time will tell. I’m hoping they do as if any manager can attract players who can move Liverpool on to the next level it’s Klopp. He has the experience and the personality, something Liverpool have lacked over since Rafa Benitez was sacked.