In a season when Anfield’s managerial revolving door turned for the first time since Kenny Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson in the middle of the 2010/11 season, Liverpool have little to play for in the league and can only hope for cup glories this year – not too dissimilar to Dalglish’s first full season of his second spell.
Nevertheless, in this transition season of sorts, there has still been particular high, and low, points in terms of league results. With a third of the season to go, here are the Reds’ three best and worst league displays (so far)…
One of the most lacklustre display so far under Jurgen Klopp’s new reign has been the 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United. Coming off the back of two consecutive league victories, including one at Manchester City, should have seen Liverpool take the momentum against a Newcastle side bereft of confidence in early December. However, a team that featured Roberto Firmino behind Christian Benteke up front just did not get going, eventually getting outmuscled by a fired up Newcastle side taking the lead through a deflected Georgio Wijnaldum effort.
The Reds were wrongly disallowed a goal when an on-side Alberto Moreno lifted the ball superbly over Magpies ‘keeper Rob Elliot, but in truth they deserved little and Newcastle sealed the victory when Wijnaldum finished off a quick breakaway move. It would be part of their worst run of the season as the Reds would not win the next two games as well.
And the last of that winless run of three was a worse performance at Vicarage Road, going down 3-0 to a resurgent Watford. Klopp opted to give Adam Bogdan his league debut after Simon Mignolet’s recent clangers, but was not rewarded as the Hungarian dropped a corner to allow Nathan Ake to give Watford an early lead. Odion Ighalo ran in behind Martin Skrtel to add another on 15 minutes, before Skrtel’s misery was complete as he hobbled off injured before half time.
The Reds never gained control of the match and their fate was sealed when Ighalo finished off a fast counter-attack which originated from Emre Can’s loss of possession in midfield.
What could be worse than these performances? An early season 3-0 defeat at home to West Ham United. It was not the fact the Reds were beaten so convincingly at Anfield, but that the Reds, under then-manager Brendan Rodgers, found it so difficult to muster a shot on goal and looked bereft of ideas and fight throughout. Another early goal from Manuel Lanzini got things under way for Slavan Bilic’s men, before slack defending allowed Mark Noble to score a second.
Coutinho’s second half dismissal made things worse for the Anfield faithful, but their bad day was topped off when Diafra Sakho sealed the victory in injury time. Liverpool’s meek resistance on the day proved to be the start of the end for Rodgers’ Anfield career.
On a more positive note, one of the better displays from Liverpool this season so far was definitely the recent 6-0 mauling at Aston Villa. Granted it was the team at the bottom of the league, granted they were bereft of confidence, but the way which the Reds converted their chances needs to be replicated more often if they are to find any success this season and beyond.
It all started with Daniel Sturridge’s 15th minute opener on his league return from recurring injuries, while James Milner scored against his old club again. Another four players found the net as the Reds hope to continue the form for the rest of the season.
Another milestone victory for the Reds under their new manager was the first league victory for Klopp, a come-from-behind 3-1 win at champions Chelsea no less. Klopp’s men conceded another early goal, this time for Ramires, but found the resolve to take the game to Chelsea. With Firmino playing as a false 9 for the first time, the Reds took control of the game in midfield and duly found their equaliser through a fellow Brazilian wizard on the stroke of half-time.
The Reds continued to dominate the champions on their own patch, and was rewarded with a go-ahead goal from Coutinho once again, before substitute Christian Benteke sealed all three points in a victory which many, even Reds themselves, thought could not be topped off this season.
However that proved to be untrue just two games later, when the Reds went up to the then-league leaders’ turf and completely decimated the home team, humiliating Manuel Pellegrini’s City side with a 4-1 thrashing at the Etihad. The manner of the result was all the more impressive, with Klopp’s uber-high-pressing side going 3-0 up within 32 minutes, which was reminiscent of Rodgers’ early blitzes from the title challenge of 2013/14.
Sergio Aguero reduced arrears on half-time with a superb curling effort beyond Mignolet, but the Reds held firm for most of the second half before sealing an excellent away day with Skrtel’s perfect volley.
With that said, one particular match, though, has to be the best worst display/result/performance of Liverpool’s season and of Klopp’s reign so far – the crazy 5-4 victory at Norwich. Having taken the lead against the run of play through Firmino, Liverpool’s set-piece problems resurfaced yet again, conceding two before half-time. Moreno’s stupidity saw Norwich stretch their lead through a penalty in the second half.
Jordan Henderson’s superb half-volley halved the deficit, before the Reds equalised through the excellent Firmino. Norwich’s equally appalling defence let Milner in for an easy finish as the Reds now led 4-3, before all hell broke loose in that five minutes of injury-time.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Berita Bola.