Anfield “a place of chaos” as Reds hit ‘rock bottom’ – Media on Liverpool 0-2 Everton

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The media felt Liverpool’s 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat to Everton saw the Reds hit “rock bottom” and left with no obvious way out of this crisis.

A season of nightmares produced the biggest horror yet as the Reds suffered a first derby loss to the Blues at Anfield since 1999.

Richarlison’s strike and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late penalty condemned Jurgen Klopp’s side to a fourth straight Anfield loss as Liverpool’s miserable home run continued.

The torment didn’t end there as the Reds suffered another injury blow losing Jordan Henderson and were on the receiving end of another woeful refereeing decision.

Here’s how the media reflected on a truly miserable derby defeat.

 

Members of the media assessed that Liverpool have now hit “rock bottom” in this nightmare campaign…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks to his team at half-time during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mail’s Oliver Holt thinks that, in a season of painful moments, this derby defeat on home soil will hurt the most:

There appears to be no end to the storm that is engulfing Liverpool this season and amid the wreckage of their attempt to defend their league title, this 2-0 defeat to their neighbours may hurt the most.

“Welcome to rock bottom”, wrote the Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst, who said that this season will be remembered as the campaign in which everything conspired against the Reds:

Welcome to rock bottom.

[…]

In years to come, they might look back at this Liverpool campaign as the one where anything that could go wrong inevitably did.

Rory Smith, of the New York Times, wrote that it feels as if Liverpool are losing pieces of their identity game by game:

It is every week, now, that Liverpool seems to lose another little piece of itself.

Writing for Goal, Neil Jones, summed up the feelings of every Liverpool fan as he said “the summer cannot come soon enough”:

For Liverpool, the nightmare continues. They’ll be glad to see the back of 2020-21, make no mistake about that.

Right now, the summer cannot come soon enough.

 

Reporters are shocked at how far Liverpool have fallen and how Anfield has become ‘a place of struggle’…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker looks dejected as Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin wins a penalty during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First off, Smith made an interesting point on how this nightmare campaign carries many worrying similarities to that of Klopp’s final season at Borussia Dortmund:

Klopp has experienced a run like this — a period when it feels as though nothing goes right — once before, in his last year at Borussia Dortmund. Then, too, his squad was ravaged by injuries. He had, in the previous seasons, dealt with the departure of a raft of key players, too. He refused to compromise his beliefs. Dortmund finished seventh, and he stepped down.

The echoes of that year grow stronger with every passing week at Liverpool, with every new and unwanted record that falls.

The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace described how Anfield now has the feeling of “a place of chaos”:

These are remarkable times at Anfield and after all those months of certainty, every matchday passing with win after win, it now feels like a place of chaos.

The BBC’s Phil McNulty labelled Liverpool’s downturn in form at Anfield as “almost unfathomable”, with four straight defeats following a 68-game unbeaten run:

It is almost unfathomable how Liverpool have declined to such an extent that after Burnley ended a 68-game unbeaten league run at Anfield, three more teams – Brighton, Manchester City and now Everton – have all arrived and gone home with the points.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold looks dejected after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is now being laid bare for all to see just how important the home crowd is to this Liverpool team, in the view of ESPN’s Mark Ogden:

Klopp has built a team that rides the wave of noise from the supporters, but that extra ingredient has been missing this season and we are now seeing just how important it is to this team.

Meanwhile, Gorst bemoaned how Liverpool once again lost to the very same blueprint deployed by various opposition at Anfield:

Once more, a visiting team showed a willingness to work hard and wait for their chances before leaving with maximum points. It’s become the blueprint for success here.

Liverpool’s biggest fear might be that this unwanted pattern becomes normal, but it already has given the shocking couple of months at Anfield.

McNulty thinks Klopp’s “frustrated” body language is rubbing off onto the players and is “symbolic” of how the Reds have lost their way:

Klopp’s frustrated body language on the touchline as Everton went ahead and then defended with calm organisation and resilience, while still posing a threat, was symbolic of a Liverpool team who have lost their way.

 

Journalists thought Kabak had a tough Anfield debut but sympathised with the situation he has walked into…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's Ozan Kabak during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson thinks Kabak has stylistic problems in playing a high line, but understood that coming in without a senior partner is far from ideal for the Turkish defender:

This was not a convincing display […] The doubt is his capacity to play as far up the field as Liverpool demand.

[…]

Kabak, though, after being spared the defeat to Manchester City has been thrust into the maelstrom, partnering neither the player he revered as he broke through at Galatasaray, Virgil van Dijk, nor even a central defender, but Jordan Henderson who, for all his application and promise, is learning the position himself.

Meanwhile, the Mirror’s Andy Dunn thinks Kabak just needs time to get up to the speed of the Premier League:

Kabak looks only middle-of-the-road steady.

[…]

Decent on the ball, strong enough in the tackle, Kabak might pick up the pace of the Premier League before the pubs open but don’t bank on it.

Holt was more ruthless with his criticism, labelling Kabak a “weak-link” and assessing that “he looks a long way off the pace”:

It is a tough task for Kabak, who arrived last month on loan from Schalke 04, to step into the Liverpool defence and adapt quickly to the demands of the Premier League and he looks a long way off the pace.

He looks uncertain. He looks vulnerable. He was brought to shore up the Liverpool back four but the reality is that he looks like its weak link. He needs to improve fast.

Wallace sympathised with Kabak and indeed Nat Phillips, noting that this is just not a situation either player should be subjected to:

Those two [Kabak and Phillips] are not bad champions, to borrow the phrase of the moment – they are just the kind of understudies who never expected to be placed in this position.

[…]

Where once there stood a defence that dictated games, now there is one that has its fate imposed on it, as Kabak found in the third minute of the first half when his weak clearing header went straight back to Abdoulaye Doucoure.

 

The media can’t see the Reds finishing in the top four as there seems no way out of the crisis…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson walks past manager Jürgen Klopp injured during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ogden just can’t see a way out of the “tailspin” for Liverpool, which ruins any real chance of competing in the top four race:

This was a huge win for Everton, but the impact of defeat is arguably bigger for Liverpool because they are now in a tailspin and there is no obvious way out of it.

Dunn can only see the tough times continuing with the centre-back crisis only worsening following Henderson’s injury:

For now, Klopp will have to rely on centre-halves who are conventional but not up to elite standard. The struggles will go on.

Finally, Karl Matchett, writing for the Independent, feels the Reds face a “huge task” just to get back into contention in the top four race, let alone win it:

For Liverpool, there’s a huge task on to even get back into contention for the top four at this point.

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