Ahhhh, the trials and tribulations of sport. There are winners, and yes, there are losers. Despite the upbeat feeling around Anfield this past week, sport always produces those grounding moments and Jürgen Klopp’s men found that out at the hands of their newly crowned bogey team, Crystal Palace. The loss – and reality check – was the first under Klopp and although Liverpool could have quite easily won the match, the way in which they lost it was symptomatic of some of the defeats endured under Brendan Rodgers: a game riddled with costly individual errors.
Klopp’s post match analysis was – as always – insightful. Were the players really tired or was it just a case of feeling tired just because those on the fringes say they were [tired]? Much will be made of the Europa League and the quick turnaround between games - much of the noise in the lead up to this match was focused on this very topic.
Statistics suggest that a Premier League team has less than a 33 per cent chance of winning after a Europa League fixture. Not good odds, but I admire Klopp’s philosophy. That’s the mentality he is trying to inject into the club and judging by today’s display, some of his post-match comments were a slight dig at his players. Perhaps not a dig, per se, but he is certainly throwing down the gauntlet to one or two of them. A harsh analogy? Perhaps, however I believe this is the game where Klopp will have learnt the most from his players, thus far. Perhaps the club, too.
"When Palace scored I saw many people leave. I felt very alone in this moment," said the Liverpool manager.
I’m glad he’s called out this section of supporters. It needed saying and those who have read the previous posts on here will remember my cinema analogy with regards to the exact same subject. Along with the result and Sakho’s injury, seeing people leave before the final whistle was the worst aspect of today. How do you stop people leaving early? Call them out for what they really are, I say. This mob can only be defined as fairweather supporters and it's a crying shame that this mentality has crept into the club. Sadly, it’s becoming inherently clear that this is the age we live in. The age of the narcissist. Supporters who support a club when the going is good but run a mile when it’s not. For me, this mentality says a lot about an individual, and if you haven’t already noticed, these people are not my cup of tea at all.
Klopp's reaction after Coutinho's equaliser encapsulated everything about the man. Turning round to give supporters stood in the Paddock a high five. Had we've equalised, he would've turnover round to a slew of empty seats. Not really the principles this club was built on, is it?
Ratings as follows:
Simon Mignolet - 5: Poor distribution in a display that had shades of his early lack of form last season. Some may question whether he could have parried wide with his initial save in Palace’s match winner. Perhaps harsh, but it wasn’t a good day for the Belgian.
Nathaniel Clyne - 7: Had a good game and provided plenty of energy up and down the right hand flank. Linked up well with Jordan Ibe.
Martin Skrtel - 7: Endured a busy day with Yannick Bolaise and Bakary Sako causing him endless amounts of torment. Given his history against the archetypical physical striker throughout the league, he coped quite well.
Mamadou Sakho - 6: Perhaps a bigger blow than the loss itself was seeing the ever-present Frenchman limp off with a suspected knee ligament injury. It didn’t look good and many Liverpool supporters will be crossing their fingers and toes in the coming days.
Alberto Moreno- 6: Produced a sloppy pass which led to Palace’s opener. Had plenty of the ball in the final third, but rarely did he make the possession count.
Lucas – 6 (C): Did he best and covered a lot of ground for the heavy legged Emre Can. Like many, looked tired towards the backend of the game. The International break has come at a good time for the Brazilian.
Emre Can - 5: The German was largely accountable for Palace’s opener, with yet another timid attempt to clear away from goal. Looked out on his feet before being substituted in the second half. Should Jordan Henderson be fit for the trip to Manchester City in a fortnight’s time, it may very well be at Can’s expense.
Jordan Ibe - 7: Liverpool’s brightest player, carrying on from his fine display midweek in Russia. Linked well with Clyne and got to the by-line on numerous occasions. His end product needs work, but that should come in time.
Philippe Coutinho - 7: Along with Ibe, was Liverpool’s most creative player and capped off a performance with another goal. A welcoming sign from a player who looks to be slowly getting his groove back.
Adam Lallana - 6: Looked tidy and provided a solid work rate, however lacked conviction in the final third, which could be an ongoing reproach against the Englishman. Needs to add more goals to his game if he wishes hold down a spot in the starting side.
Christian Benteke - 6: Had a couple of really good chances to put the Reds in front – not least a header midway through the second half, which he should have scored from. Will experience better days in front of goal.
Dejan Lovren- 6: Came on for Sakho in the first half and was satisfactory. Depending on the extent of Sakho’s injury, the Croatian may get an extended run in the team.
Roberto Firmino - 5: The Brazilian was introduced in the second half and didn’t influence the game at all. Switched off after Mignolet’s save for Palace’s match winner. A step backwards after several good games. You feel he needs a goal to really get going.
Divock Origi – N/R: Came on after Palace’s match winning goal in hope of snatching a late equaliser.
By Simon K.