Another weekend, another draw. Another rerun, of the Reds running riot over the pitch, only to come away with a point and little else to show for it. While frustrating hardly begins to cover it, perspective isn’t really helping either. Draws are draws, and goalless draws are the epitome of the “football is boring” argument. What was there to be done? How does a team like Liverpool face off against a team like Manchester United, control a match in the way that they did, and yet still not put the ball at the back of the net? How do be more offensive?
“If you watch the game and you have an idea of football, you cannot expect that we create 20 chances against Manchester United – it’s just simply not possible,” Klopp said in his post-match press conference on Saturday. “Barcelona on the best day would not do it. You will see, United will not lose a lot of games in this season, so what people think about us when they think we should have done more offensively, it takes too long to explain football to start at that point again.”
What’s frustrating is that we’ve all seen Liverpool play blistering, offensive and striking football. We know the goals are there, that players know how to put the ball where it needs to be. So it’s sudden departure from tactics is mind-boggling. Klopp argues, though, that it’s not about expectations or taking chances.
“We have the biggest expectations. The season is not over and the main thing you have to do during a season is to develop and to perform, and that’s what we do,” the manager continued. “So far, we didn’t get enough for it – I think that’s obvious. You can blame us and say it’s because we don’t use the chances – and who is responsible for this? We are responsible for this, but you can only create chances to score and that’s what we did again.
“I think everybody who has watched our games saw in each game we could have won, even against Manchester City, which sounds crazy but it is like this. So I am happy about the consistency of performing. We have to develop again but from the last game to the game today, we improved a lot in protecting our own offensive situations.”
To our credit, United were unable to capitalize on their own chances, and at least the match ended in a draw and not in an outright loss, the frustration is still there. Defensively, Liverpool were better than they had been in recent weeks, and Klopp credited that to lessons learned against other teams.
“In Newcastle they had not a lot of counter-attacks, but they had more counter-attacks than United today because we did better in these situations,” Klopp said. “We took their key players and counter-attacks out of the game and were still brave enough to create. If we are silly, we create without protection and then maybe we could have one or two chances more, but it’s already 4-0 United before we are awake. That’s life.
“If you want to be happy today you can be happy, but if you think, ‘OK, again not too bad…’ – which is probably my view on it – then you can be in this mood and carry on. Now we go to Maribor, then Tottenham and then [play] Huddersfield.”
The big question remains - how do we move forward from the improvements we’ve made? Where does our complete game come from, and when?