KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

Headaches for Klopp & Trent’s influence – Last word on Fulham 1-3 Liverpool

With a heavily rotated team and a sprinkling of Trent Alexander-Arnold magic, Liverpool returned to winning ways, beating Fulham 3-1 in the Premier League.

Thanks to Jurgen Klopp‘s unusual selection and the Reds’ tendency to make things difficult for themselves, there was plenty to discuss from Liverpool’s victory at Craven Cottage.

Each of the manager’s five incomers did their bit in contributing to the win, but were they strong enough as a whole to retain their places for the upcoming Merseyside Derby?

Here, Sam Millne (@sam_millne) and Adam Beattie (@beatts94) discuss Klopp’s decisions, Cody Gakpo‘s performance and Alexander-Arnold’s greatness in Liverpool’s 3-1 win against Fulham.

 

What was your initial reaction to the lineup?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 21, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

SAM: Initially it felt like a big risk but the following feeling was ‘well, it can’t get much worse’!

While we’ve often looked below our best when rotating heavily for cup games, going into Sunday’s match the team felt like it needed a refresh.

Whether that refresh be through rested legs or new ideas going forward, a change wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

After the game, Klopp said he didn’t see the rotation as a gamble, but if we had lost there would have been plenty of questions asked.

ADAM: There were definitely a few surprises, but there was always going to have to be a bit of a shake-up given the amount of football we’ve played and what is still to come over the next week.

Gravenberch’s name was probably the biggest curveball, but the manager’s faith was vindicated not just by the goal but his all-round performance and willingness to drive forward.

He could prove to be another useful option over the next five.

 

How do you think the new-look midfield played?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 21, 2024: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch (L) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: I’m not in a rush to see it again soon, but ultimately we did what we needed to do while handing valuable rest to others who needed it.

Endo has looked a bit flat in recent weeks and has run out of steam somewhat, which is understandable, while Elliott might have come away a touch frustrated that he didn’t make more of his opportunity from the start.

SAM: On an individual basis, they were all OK – though some fans might quietly admit they weren’t too happy with Gravenberch before his goal!

Endo showed again that he is better when the game follows a pattern and there is less chaos in midfield. It allows him to read what’s in front of him rather than spending his time running back towards his own goal.

Elliott was constantly on the go and was solid without excelling. There’s a clear drop-off to Mac Allister, but with intensity such a key factor for Klopp, sometimes you need fresh legs over seniority.

 

Gakpo’s showed promise, did he play well for you?

ADAM: He’s got a bit of a spotlight on him currently, but I thought he continued to show signs that he’s come to the end of the rut he was in.

It has been a tough period for him individually but he has come into his own at a time when many of the others have struggled. I don’t expect him to start the derby but I wouldn’t have any real complaints if he did.

SAM: I don’t think we should go overboard either way. While I like him as a player, he doesn’t tend to actually make a difference when and where he’s needed.

That might sound incredibly harsh off the back off another decent showing, but I would argue he looks like tidy on the ball but actually fails to make an impact a lot of the time with his output.

However, he has improved of late.

 

Had we maybe forgotten how good Trent is!?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 21, 2024: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: I’m his number one fan so I can hand on heart say I hadn’t!

Bradley’s brilliance in his absence has eased the burden, but there are things Trent can do that no one else in Europe can with the possible exception of Kevin De Bruyne.

He is going to be pivotal to our chances of finishing the season without faltering, and his excellence is exactly what it could take to give ourselves a chance.

SAM: Like Adam says, he gives you something that nobody else can.

While Bradley is already proving himself to be an excellent full-back, the difference in style between him and Alexander-Arnold is massive.

The former tends to play as a more traditional right-back, hugging the touchline and going at opposition players. Meanwhile, Trent plays a game of his own, influencing the whole pitch from his position.

In that sense, yes. I had forgotten, perhaps not how good he was, but how pivotal he is to the way Liverpool want to play.

 

Who comes back in to play Everton?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 21, 2024: Mohamed Salah on bench as substitute vs. Fulham

ADAM: Salah, Mac Allister and Konate are the obvious ones, but aside from that I wouldn’t say we need to tinker too much, provided fitness allows.

For me, Jota has to be heavily involved from now until the end and that very much includes the derby.

He showed again just how ruthless he can be, and the clever runs he was making will cause Everton’s back line all sorts of problems.

Where that leaves Nunez for the next couple I’m not sure, but it’s nice to finally have the options!

SAM: Unless he picks up another knock in the short time before the derby, Konate comes back in to deal with Everton‘s physicality up front.

With the Blues having won at home on Sunday, there will be a renewed belief that they can challenge Liverpool this time around.

Maybe that will play into our hands and the likes of Salah, Nunez and Jota will have more space than usual to run into at Goodison.

Elsewhere, Mac Allister starts because, well, he’s just brilliant.