It is quite rare to see Liverpool not scoring & losing. In fact, it is something that never really happens but it did happen last night in the Champions League.
Even though Liverpool in Europe have had the tendency to lose or squeeze through the group stages in the last & current campaign, doesn’t mean it is over.
We have seen worst & this team has bounced back stronger.
If we look at last night’s game against Atletico Madrid, if you look at those stats, Liverpool were on top in everything.
More possession, pressing & counter-pressing, more passes, more control & that too for the whole of the match of 90 minutes.
The goal conceded in the 4th minute, call it luck or call it defense not being able to clear the corner in the first place, it happens, this is football.
The refereeing was a complete disaster-piece, absolutely horrendous.
Putting everything in context & in the right perspective, any team in the Champions League away game against Atletico would be happy with such a result.
Especially having conceded early & yet continued to dominate the game.
But for Liverpool the benchmark has been set so high that this performance looks like a poor one, though it’s not, but it feels so.
The problem for Liverpool..
This was an away game at Wanda Metropolitano (which was loud & pumped) against a side which is extremely difficult to break, there is no team like Atletico Madrid.
They have been doing what they do for years now & they do it exceptionally well.
Diego Simeone’s team for 8 or so years have been playing with the same formation & philosophy, consistent through-out.
The only team in world football to squeeze results & defend for the whole 90 minutes with keeping composure, proper shape & focus.
They have that ability to not only press but also play a good passing game, long ball game, and crossing game, nicking goals.
I don’t think there is much to argue about Klopp’s selection, I even talked about it in my video on myliverbird’s page.
The midfield Klopp always chooses for such fixtures has always been of Fabinho, Gini & Henderson.
This is the most pragmatic midfield which gets the job done for us.
In Europe, especially in away games as well as in the league against rivals.
This midfield doesn’t provide the creativity but defensive stability & ability to our goal creating full-backs to play high.
The problem primarily was Liverpool didn’t hit the stride & tempo that Liverpool always does.
If you look at the game, we looked too passive & slow in the first half.
We only had few moments of quick movements other than that, too passive & slow.
We all know against such deep oppositions slow tempo only allows them to settle.
TAA had an awful game going forward, on the other flank, Robertson didn’t get going either.
Atletico played a 4-4-2 narrow against a 4-3-3 Liverpool, they had an extra-man in the midfield to Liverpool’s 3 and the slow passing gave them an extra edge to cover spaces.
Atletico Madrid, to be honest, halted our sequences & transitions.
Mane in the second-half was rightly taken off because he was on a yellow & was targeted by Atletico.
Salah was taken off because of the tactical change, Klopp didn’t think Salah could make an impact late in the second half.
Even though Liverpool had switched to 4-2-3-1 Narrow, it just didn’t click for us.
Hendo pushed forward as a RAM, did create openings, was doing exceptionally well but suffered a hamstring.
Injury blow but hoping not long term, as Hendo wasn’t so concerned about it being long term.
Overall in the game, we did come close but really no clear cut chances we usually make & we failed to make a single shot on Oblak’s goal.
I believe maybe, if Klopp could have started off with Ox in the midfield over Gini, it might would have given us some extra pace & runner in behind Atletico’s defense and a seriously good shot taker from afar.
It is also because teams sitting deep have made Klopp start Ox and we’ve got the results.
Ox could have come on early in the second half for Gini that could have changed things for us.
But in the end the gaffer knows the best, he probably had something different in his mind for his decisions & the lineup he started with, was understandable in every way.
Credit to Diego Simeone & his team for a solid performance and winning the game, Metropolitano was electric but now, next time is our turn.
It is not over until it is over & it will be at Anfield.
And I hope that day a proper referee turns up.