It was always going to be a long slog to the end of the season but the latest setback -- a frustrating Merseyside derby -- was one that felt easily avoidable. Through the entire game, the Reds felt like they were on the cusp of making things interesting (in a good way, and not the horrifying way we ended up with), but ultimately failed to have an impact going forward.
Former Red and current pundit with the occasional decent opinion, Danny Murphy, believes this is becoming a pattern for Liverpool.
“It might not be deliberate but there seems to be something overly cautious about Liverpool’s play in away games at the moment, and it is starting to become a concern,” Murphy wrote in his most recent BBC Sport analysis. “Maybe it is the pressure of being in a title race but Liverpool dropped points in all of those games, scoring only one goal in total, and on each occasion there were times when Klopp could and should have been bolder.”
The recent away games have made all the difference between Liverpool and City, with City creeping past Liverpool back to first position following this weekend’s 0-0 draw against Everton. Murphy believes that the fault (at least partly) lies with Liverpool’s forwards failing to step up during recent away games.
“Liverpool’s thinking in their recent away games seems to be along the lines of ‘stay solid and hope our front three will nick a goal,” he added. “If Mohamed Salah had taken one of his chances on Sunday then that plan would have worked but, this time, it didn’t and nobody else looked like winning the game for them.”
The formation we saw at Goodison, and Klopp’s mid-game changes, all raised a few eyebrows and failed to make an impact on the game. Bringing on Adam Lallana instead of Shaqiri or Keita, both of whom have been in excellent form in recent games, seemed a particularly strange choice.
The title race is out of our hands at this point, but hopefully the Reds will stop being as cautious on the road and the additional boost of 5 remaining home games (to City’s 4) will make the difference. Probably not worth holding your breath on this one, though.