Following Liverpool’s bitterly disappointing loss at home to Man United on Sunday, we round-up how the media reacted from the game.
Supporting the Reds really is becoming an unbearable experience.
Once again Jurgen Klopp‘s side produced a fairly decent performance against a rival, but succumbed to yet another avoidable goal.
Wayne Rooney’s late effort proved to be the only goal of the game, but Liverpool squandered numerous opportunities to go in front prior to the United captain’s strike.
A lack of ruthlessness at both ends of the pitch is now a real issue, and the Reds’ top-four chances are now surely over.
Here is how the morning media reacted to the defeat.
The Liverpool Echo‘s Andy Kelly was critical of Liverpool’s woeful shooting accuracy, with endless attempts missing the target:
Unfortunately so many are rarely worth watching their shots on target numbers are actually dropping.
Captain Henderson was Liverpool’s chief profligate here, with a successive of efforts which can only be filed in the high, wide and not so handsome bracket.
Milner and Clyne were among those to join him here, with Emre Can the only man to really impress with his ball striking.
The Reds had 19 shots, yet just four were on target and none could deliver that precious breakthrough.
It will take a more detailed analysis but perhaps Liverpool are shooting more often from unpromising positions when at times a more patient approach would deliver more dividends.
A (somewhat forgotten) feature of Liverpool’s ultimately unsuccessful 2013/14 title charge was the lung-busting drives from midfield of Jordan Henderson.
He – and of course Liverpool – have not been the same since, but one might have thought that his tireless running might mean he could thrive in Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpress.
He should be allowed some patience given his recent problems with injury but on current showings he may struggle to get his place back in the England team.
He had a handful of chances of which the Henderson of old would surely have taken at least one. Liverpool could do with him finding form, and soon.
The Mirror‘s David Maddock felt Klopp was a little slow in making substitutions, with no changes made until 76 minutes in:
In such a gritty, turgid contest, it was a puzzle why Klopp didn’t try to change things around a little earlier, and revert to the Benteke option…especially with Blind playing at centre half for their opponents.
There was a moment midway through the second half when Liverpool finally overloaded United on the far post, Milner delivered the perfect cross; and Mama Sakho mistimed his jump woefully to head over.
Say what you like about Benteke, but had he been on the pitch then, he’d have been in that position and would have got above the ball. He is a goalscorer, and given in this game the home side so desperately required someone to finish off their superior approach play, it was mystifying why he wasn’t used sooner.
Paul Joyce of the Express highlighted how poor the Reds continue to be from set-pieces, and feels their lack of quality in attack remains a real problem:
Liverpool can consider themselves the victims of a smash and grab raid, promote the notion of a hard luck story, or they can focus more on their own persistent shortcomings.
There is no real need to pepper a team that struggles to score, and cannot keep clean sheets, with shots. Just wait for a set piece, watch Liverpool lose concentration and take advantage. Simple.
Winning is everything on days like this and also when the season edges into the final furlong. If Van Gaal was not weighed down with worry for once, then for Jurgen Klopp the true picture of what he has walked into becomes clearer by the week.
Klopp had colourfully described the rivalry of this fixture as the “salt in the soup” when compared to other games, though the missing ingredient for Liverpool remains in attack.
For the second time in the space of four days, the sight of Steven Caulker being sent on as a makeshift forward at the death, when he was signed as defensive cover, highlighted the paucity of options.
Of course, Klopp has Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings all out through injury, but it speaks volumes about Christian Benteke’s standing that even as things stand he is perceived to be no more than a £32.5m impact substitute.
Toure (8/10) – Another excellent showing from the veteran Ivorian who is filling in admirably in the absence of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren. Dealt with the threat of Rooney well and made several key interceptions. Played on the front foot throughout and even made a surging run to the edge of the United penalty area that resulted in a Liverpool corner kick. Sacrificed for Christian Benteke late on as Liverpool chased an equalizer, but can once again be satisfied with his contribution.
Lucas (8/10) – Went toe-to-toe with Fellaini and competed doggedly despite a huge height and weight disadvantage. Won numerous headers, tackled tigerishly and used the ball efficiently. Dropped into the back four in the closing stages and defended well in one-on-one situations against Martial and Memphis Depay.
Firmino (7/10) – Lots of things to admire from the Brazilian who is definitely beginning to settle now. Produced some lovely touches and quality passes, especially in the first half, but Liverpool need a goalscorer to compliment his talents, as he’s never going to be a 20-goal-a-season man. Failed to convert a great chance late on when he tried to control the ball rather than shoot first time.
The Echo‘s James Pearce simply couldn’t believe Liverpool lost to such a mediocre United side, and believes there are weaknesses everywhere you look:
Somehow the worst Manchester United side for decades secured the spoils – despite having just one shot on target and spending most of the afternoon grimly holding on for a point.
Wayne Rooney’s emphatic finish 12 minutes from time enabled United to complete a league double over Liverpool for the second successive season.
Jurgen Klopp’s first experience of this fixture proved a painful one.
The outcome was cruel. Liverpool didn’t deserve to lose. Yet they only had themselves to blame for a setback which effectively kills off any lingering hopes of launching a push for a top-four finish.
The only realistic route into the Champions League now is winning the Europa League and that will only happen if Klopp can quickly address familiar failings at both ends of the field.
Pearce bemoans Liverpool’s striking options, summing up quite succinctly:
Twenty months ago Liverpool had one of the most deadly marksmen on the planet leading the line in Luis Suarez.
Now they are throwing on a centre-back who is on loan from a Championship club up front.
LIVERPOOL 0-1 MAN UNTIED
MATCH REPORT: Listless Reds punished for lack of cutting edge
FAN REACTIONS: “No top four this season”
TACTICAL OVERVIEW: Attacking deficiency restricts Reds
PRESS CONFERENCE: Klopp dejected
PLAYER RATINGS: Sakho and Toure good, Lallana and Can not
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