SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Nunez, Anfield & bouncing back – 2 positives & 2 negatives from Liverpool’s draw

Liverpool lacked the clinical edge to make the most of their dominance against Man United, with a point relinquishing their place at the top of the table, for now at least.

Jurgen Klopp had a positive take on the 0-0 draw against United, impressed by the “best” counter-pressing he had seen from this evolution of his side despite having only a point to show for it.

It left a bitter taste for many, though, as the match was there for the taking.

From a Reds’ perspective, there were both positives – if you looked closely – and negatives to be had.

 

POSITIVE – Can quickly put it right

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If you felt deflated after the final whistle you were not alone, two points just slipped through our fingers having done everything but score against a side who are levels below us.

Thankfully, we don’t have to stew over it for long as two home games in the next five days quickly follow.

First up, there’s a place in the League Cup semi-final should we inflict defeat on West Ham, and then there is the big visit of Arsenal on Saturday.

We currently sit one point behind the Gunners at the top of the table, but if we dust ourselves off enough and find some conviction in the final third, we can leapfrog above them.

This week is massive, and we could find ourselves in an enviable position this time next week. Think of what could be, that should be enough to pick your mood back up.

 

NEGATIVE – Lack of forward clarity

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's Luis Díaz during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

You probably know by now that Liverpool hit 34 shots towards the United goal – 13 players contributed to that – but it was another match that felt out of sync.

“You use the overlap or we have to use a player who would have probably been free in the centre,” Klopp assessed after the draw, acknowledging the players were rushing and lacked clarity.

A low block presents a different challenge but Liverpool never felt like they were capable of a breakthrough and, again, the forwards didn’t contribute.

Just once in the last five matches has a Reds attacker scored – that was Mo Salah at Crystal Palace. It has otherwise been defenders or midfielders, not an ideal problem to have.

Having one player down on their luck is enough, but having a handful of them makes life infinitely harder. We need more from them.

 

POSITIVE – More fans inside Anfield

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: A general view of Anfield and the newly opened upper tier of the Anfield Road stand seen during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda) This image is a composite of multiple images.

The atmosphere debate will rage on – that is an argument for another day – but it is worth recognising one of the big positives from Sunday was the partial opening of the upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand.

An extra 7,000 fans took their place and bumped capacity up to 57,158, the largest attendance at Anfield since 1963.

The start of the match showed the power the new stand is capable of and that it can easily drown out the away fans when up and about – a long overdue wait and the initial signs are promising.

 

NEGATIVE – Time to worry about Nunez?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Darwin Nunez has wormed his way into the hearts of many but questions are starting to re-emerge as his run without a goal extends to 10 games in all competitions.

He is a chance creator and that is half the battle, we have seen that he is capable of turning a game on its head and breaking it wide open – we don’t necessarily need to look at the stats to know that.

But, at the same time, he frustrates with the chances he misses as he is more than capable of tucking them away, plus the numbers of offsides he is starting to accumulate.

The potential is there, Liverpool just need to see more from Nunez – and fast.