Liverpool “hopeless under pressure” but now “unforgettable Anfield send-off awaits”

The same old failings were on show in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw away to Aston Villa, as the Jurgen Klopp era continues to end in rather limp fashion.

The Reds blew a 3-1 lead well into the second half on Monday night, with some of the defensive flaws on show evident far too often this season.

In fairness, Klopp’s men didn’t have a huge amount to play for, with their league position not able to change irrespective of results.

After another chaotic showing, here’s how the media reacted to Liverpool’s draw.

 

It was a crazy game, with Liverpool sloppy once again…

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Monday, May 13, 2024: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Writing for This Is Anfield, David Lynch focused on the Reds’ lack of control:

“Some Liverpool fans may fear that a squad overhaul or big-money signing is required to ensure this team is no longer involved in games quite as open as this one going forward.

“But that is to miss the fact that the Reds’ sometimes ludicrously aggressive approach comes from a choice made by Jurgen Klopp, one which was perfectly underlined by Youri Tielemans’ goal.

“For example, had Alexis Mac Allister been playing for Man City or Arsenal, his job when picking up possession just inside his own half with a 1-0 lead already secured would have been to safely progress the ball in a careful manner so that the opposition might ultimately be penned in their own box.

[…]

“There is a strong case that a slightly less full-throttle style might help the Reds find a little more control, and that is surely something Arne Slot will prize as he looks to squeeze more out of this squad.”

Adam Bate of Sky Sports felt Liverpool were never fully secure despite their lead:

“Such was the nature of the contest, it did not feel over. Villa thought they had pulled one back within minutes only for Watkins’ goal to be ruled out because Bailey was adjudged to have been offside in the build-up. Watkins then squandered another opening.

“Elliott almost found Liverpool’s fourth only to be denied by the flag and just when Villa’s supporters were beginning to doubt, Alexis Mac Allister‘s slack touch presented Duran with the chance to set up a stunning finish. The mood inside Villa Park was transformed.

[…]

“Klopp could only smile at the end, serenaded by the away support despite the disappointment. But it was a fitting final home game of the season for Emery’s Villa. They have confounded expectations all campaign. The Champions League now looms.”

On X, TIA’s Matt Ladson noted that big improvements defensively are needed under Arne Slot:

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph thought there were “hopeless” aspects to Liverpool’s performance:

“A suitably crazy game and mixed feelings for Villa.

“They were happy with the point in the end, but must wait to confirm Champions League qualification. Liverpool only turned up to play in possession – they were hopeless when put under pressure.

“No celebratory fist pumps from Klopp tonight.”

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Monday, May 13, 2024: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected as Aston Villa score a third goal during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Neil Moxley of the Mirror said that the night ultimately belonged more to Villa than Liverpool:

“Jhon Duran’s late double gave Tom Hanks – and Unai Emery – a Hollywood ending.

“And served up a late tragedy for Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp. In front of watching Hollywood royalty Tom Hanks – it was a case of Duran, Duran and the wild boys as he secured a vital point for his Spanish boss.

“The Colombian striker sparked wild scenes at Villa Park with a brace inside three minutes late on which denied Klopp the perfect preparation for his Anfield send-off this weekend.”

 

There’s now just one more game under Klopp…

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Monday, May 13, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp waves to the travelling supporters after the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lynch looked ahead to an “emotional” occasion at home to Wolves on Sunday:

“While many Liverpool fans’ focus will be on the fact that Liverpool threw this one away, a third-placed finish in the Premier League was ultimately already settled on no matter the result tonight.

“As such, the only thing that mattered was the fact that Klopp was overseeing his penultimate game as Reds boss – and that it is now over.

“Now, the German will head back to Merseyside to prepare a Liverpool team for the weekend’s fixture for the final time after an incredible eight-and-a-half years in charge.

“An emotional, unforgettable Anfield send-off awaits, one that supporters should do all they can to soak up.”

Finally, the notoriously Liverpool-hating Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville had time to laud Klopp ahead of his farewell:

“Honestly for Liverpool fans I mean, obviously they’ll miss him [Klopp] in more ways than one, but what they’ll miss is the electricity in Liverpool games.

“You know, I’m not a Liverpool fan. I’ll tell you what. When you watch Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool team play, you’re usually watching a good game of football, and at the end, it’s easy to see teams obviously close games out be a lot more solid.

“I played for a manager was exactly the same as him. They always took risks, they always played with courage, always played on the front foot, and they didn’t stop at any part during the game. And have to say, it’s quite unique in this modern day to have a manager like that.”