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FOR ALL THE ATTACKING VERVE, LIVERPOOL ARE TREADING WATER AND NEED DEFENSIVE HELP
Posted by Alex King on Tue, 03/10/2017 - 19:05
Liverpool have drifted out to 36.0 odds to win the Premier League title and after seven games of the season, the Reds do not have much to recommend them.
Jurgen Klopp has seen his side draw three and lose one of their opening seven league games – and it was a familiar Liverpool story against Newcastle United at the weekend. Philippe Coutinho fired them ahead with a stunning long-range effort, they went to sleep at the back to allow Joselu to equalise and spent the remainder of the game fashioning and then squandering chances.
Klopp was like a crazed professor on the St James’ Park touchline, barking out orders and driving his side on. They did not produce what their manager wanted, and the German cut a frustrated yet defiant figure in his post-match press conference.
“I can talk about our football and the points we get for it, and then we talk about the gap between us and other teams,” Klopp said, per Sporting Life. “We have, obviously, our hard moments; other teams will have hard moments.
“We have had hard moments and we have to work on our thing. I really think that it looks like we are not far away from a real challenger, so if we do what we are good at and we can score more goals, then we will win games and we don’t have to think about other teams.
“We will close the gap, however big it is, and we will see where we end. But it’s all about our own situation, not thinking about where the others are.”
The coin will spin in Liverpool’s favour at some stage, they have too many attacking weapons not to go on a run of success – but that defence is badly in need of reinforcements.
Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey is an excellent passer of a football, but he was given the space to drive a bus through to find Joselu. That is the same Joselu who is not in the Usain Bolt bracket when it comes to sprint speed, so to see him gallop from the halfway line and score, albeit fortuitously after Joel Matip’s last-ditch tackle deflected the ball on to the Newcastle man’s shin and into the net, will gall all Reds fans.
Until the defensive issues are remedied, January would be a decent time to go to war in the transfer market for a centre-back, Liverpool will not be solid enough to mount a title challenge.
The objective for Klopp must be a top-four finish in order to attract star names again next summer. Oddsmakers have Liverpool priced at 2.20 to secure that spot, but with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur also in the mix – as well as pace setters Manchester City and Manchester United – it will not be a simple task to accomplish.
Klopp’s honeymoon period was consigned to the memory banks some time ago and as much as he is in credit with Reds fans, promise has to be transformed into results if he is to get the chance to lift Liverpool back to the top of the tree.
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