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“Inexcusable” run exposing injury excuse & “deeper issues” – Media on Liverpool 0-1 Fulham

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The media were appalled at how Liverpool surrendered to a 1-0 loss against Fulham and think this awful slump has exposed “deeper issues” than just injuries.

The Reds’ scarcely believable dire run continued with a sixth successive Anfield loss which surely ends any faint hopes of a top-four finish.

Mario Lemina’s crisp strike on the stroke of half-time proved enough for Fulham to take all three points, as a lifeless Liverpool once again had nothing to produce a comeback.

The media can hardly believe what’s going on right now with Jurgen Klopp’s side, and here’s all the key analysis on the latest humiliating defeat.

 

Reporters were appalled by the manner of the loss and how Liverpool “surrendered” without any fighting spirit…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker looks dejected as Fulham score the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror’s David Maddock led the criticism on that front, bemoaning how the Reds showed no spirit to fight back after after Fulham took the lead:

Quite the most shocking aspect of a truly dismal afternoon for Liverpool fans worldwide, was the lame way they surrendered when Fulham scored the goal that had been coming for much of the first half.

[…]

They are a side whose collective heads go down at the slightest reverse, one who lack any spirit or fight, let alone creativity and threat.

The BBC’s Neil Johnston felt Liverpool just went through the motions and looked like a “weary” team who just want the season to finish:

Klopp sent on Mane, Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold in an attempt to rescue the game but, despite an improved second-half showing, this was another woeful performance which extended an inexcusable run of home losses.

[…]

But Liverpool, who are in Champions League action on Wednesday, have the weary look of a team who cannot wait for the season to finish.

The Mail’s Dominic King thought Fulham looked far more like a Klopp team than Liverpool did, noting how there was a lack of togetherness about the Reds:

What will be hurting Klopp most is the fact that he would have seen everything he associates with his teams in Fulham.

The organisation, the hard work and togetherness, a scene at the final whistle spoke volumes; those in white and black huddled as a group, those in red shuffled as individuals.

ESPN’s Danny Lewis said that the worst bit about the result was that it wasn’t even a surprise:

When Fulham scored just before half-time, it wasn’t a surprise at all — a damning indictment of Liverpool’s display.

Considering the away side are battling relegation, Liverpool shouldn’t be allowing them to get that much of a foothold in the game. There was very little of the incisive play that has made Liverpool so feared in recent years.

The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe assessed this defeat as the worst of all as the Reds produced a performance of “madness” in trying the same things and expecting different results:

The manner of this made it the worst yet, Fulham outplaying their hosts in a confident first half while Liverpool continued down the path which is the definition of madness – rinse and repeat as every attack led to a cul-de-sac of congestion, while the opponent continued to threaten on counter-attack.

Neil Jones, writing for Goal.com, gave a damning assessment as he stated that Klopp’s side simply don’t deserve Champions League football next season:

Forget Champions League football next season, it will not be happening. It does not deserve to happen.

 

Journalists feel Liverpool have run out of excuses and the players must now face the music for this “disgraceful” run…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

King feels the time for excuses is over and the Reds deserve every bit of criticism that comes their way for a “disgraceful” run:

Liverpool have been protected by excuses and mitigating circumstances at several points in recent months; they have been afforded the benefit of the doubt at times, as they have struggled to cope with the impact of injuries. That safety blanket must now be removed.

[…]

Liverpool won the title last season in thrilling fashion but they have embarrassed themselves in this title defence. One defeat at home can happen, even two or three, but six is disgraceful. The buck stops with Jurgen Klopp (he knows this) but responsibility is collective.

The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst said that the players need have to take responsibility for this collapse and cannot hide behind the injury excuse any more:

There is no longer any hiding place for these players.

For maybe too long, they have been insulated from genuine, fair-minded criticism because of the obvious issues that have engulfed them.

And Gorst said that there are no exceptions, with every single player having not been good enough this season:

But no-one in this squad will be able to hold their head high after a sixth successive Anfield loss was inflicted by a relegation-threatened Fulham.

 

The media think there is now more to this slump than just injuries and feel the damage could become irreversible…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Independent’s Melissa Reddy believes that there is more than just injuries at play, as Liverpool have enough quality players available to produce better performances than this:

Yes, they have an injury crisis colouring their campaign, but they also still have enough quality to perform well beyond the level that they are.

Ian Doyle, also of the Echo, feels Klopp and his side are suffering from negativity seeping into their collective mindset:

There are deeper issues than absentees and empty stands.

Negativity has seeped into the collective mindset, a debilitating trait that can prove difficult to extract.

The Mirror’s Mark Jones thinks Klopp has not done enough to find a ‘Plan B’ and, in particular, finding a way of making his team harder to beat in order to steady the ship:

Can you be so in love with your Plan A that you never even consider a Plan B?

[…]

Liverpool simply aren’t that team any more though, and Klopp’s failure to alter his gameplan – sticking to tactics like the high defensive line and full-backs leaving centre-backs isolated – is seriously damaging his side.

In the face of the issues at Liverpool, plenty of managers would focus on making their teams harder to beat first and foremost, and protecting their clean sheets, but the German isn’t doing that.

Neil Jones thinks Liverpool’s problems are more deep-rooted than first thought, and now doubts that things will just improve when key absentees and fans return:

The question now is how deep-rooted they are. There has been an expectation that normal service will be resumed once Klopp has his full artillery up and running, but the struggles of key players this season, and the ageing of others, mean that is a dangerous assumption to make.

Especially given the impact a lack of Champions League football – and revenue – could have on summer transfer plans.

Mark Jones was the first reporter to bring Klopp’s job security into question, pondering whether the German is the right man for next season:

Klopp will surely see out this season, but all of a sudden his long-term prospects in the job look perilous.

Imagine saying that just two months ago.

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