Jurgen Klopp used his 1,000th game as a professional football manager to slam the never-ending roadworks on the M6. Just like you..
“I was not happy that the motorway was not fully open,” Klopp wrote, referring to a difficult return journey from last Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Wolves. It’s never completely open, Jurgen. But, at the very least, his team was making its way north, albeit slowly, the other night.
After hitting another stumbling block, this time provided by Graham Potter’s mixed bag, Klopp now has a squad on the decline, a squad facing a serious challenge to finish in the top four..
Anfield was flat, their performance was flat, and their Premier League season is flat. Of course, the same can be said for Chelsea, but this is a low point in Liverpool’s performance under Klopp that few predicted.
Klopp was reduced to ranting at an assistant referee who had just made a straightforward, correct call, an act that summed up his team’s performance. Potter and Klopp have become good friends, as evidenced by their pre-match hug and chat, and the Chelsea manager did his pal a favor by taking advantage of this Liverpool team.
Potter would have almost certainly won this game if he had started new signing Mykhaylo Mudryk from the start..
We only saw 40 minutes of the £62 million signing, but he is clearly an exciting prospect.
The 22-year-old Ukrainian was a ray of sunshine in the footballing gloom, providing a glimmer of interest among a slew of strictly average contributions. It’s mildly shocking to see Mohamed Salah so ineffective, and Klopp has far too many players who have allowed their form to deteriorate.
To be honest, this was a game that lived up to its mid-table billing, a contest between two teams desperate for confidence. The only thing that was predictable was the distasteful and offensive chanting, which the stadium announcer tried valiantly to stop..
While Marc Cucurella was being treated, the man on the tannoy insisted that CCTV cameras would identify anyone making homophobic remarks and that the club would ban the offender from the stadium for three games. Good. Clubs must be proactive in removing this immature idiocy from their venues..
Unfortunately, inoffensive chanting was in short supply, owing to the fact that there was little to get excited about. The league table shows that Liverpool and Chelsea have been surprisingly mediocre this season, but seeing it firsthand is shocking.
It’s also strange to see Klopp bench Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Darwin Nunez. This is clearly a manager who is fed up with the underperformance of some of his marquee players..
They all made it onto the field eventually, but it made little difference, with Nunez providing the lone threat, forcing Kepa into a rare save.
Although Benoit Badiashile should have done better with a close-range header and Kai Havertz had an early effort disallowed by a tight VAR offside call, Alisson’s penalty area was also quiet.
Aside from that, it was as uneventful as a game between two of the so-called Big Six could be, and a compelling piece of evidence in the case against neither of these clubs finishing in the Champions League..
Chelsea has only won two of their last eleven Premier League games, while Liverpool has won four of their last nine. Chelsea fans can hope that new signings like Mudryk have a positive impact, but Liverpool fans will have to rely on Klopp to rejuvenate a squad that appears jaded.
And, after a trip to Brighton in the FA Cup, what is their next Premier League assignment? A journey to Wolves. Don’t count on the M6 being open with the way things are going, Jurgen..
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