Any hope Liverpool had at retaining the Premier League title this season went up in smoke today as they lost 4-1 to Manchester City. The Reds played pretty well up until the point where they didn’t, and City pounced on comical mistakes to punish Liverpool.
An even game until the 73rd minute mark when Alisson Becker made his first uncharacteristic mistake trying to play out of the back. Phil Foden was able to glide through the box and find İlkay Gündoğan right in front of goal to take City into the lead and they never looked back from there.
The score doesn’t really matter. What matters is how Liverpool got here and what do they do to get away from here as quickly as possible. So, with that said, let’s dig a bit deeper into how Liverpool got smoked by Manchester City.
Winners and Losers
You sat through that whole thing. You watched Alisson’s mistakes and you watched Raheem Sterling finally score against Liverpool. I hope you treat yourself to something nice today. Maybe you have a bath bomb you’ve been waiting to use or a meal that you can cook. You learned a lot about yourself today and you should be proud.
It feels really silly to talk about positives in a game like this, but one bright spot from today — and this miserable season — is Curtis Jones emerging before our eyes. Things went pear shaped when he went off. That’s not a coincidence I don’t think.
Everyone at the back
The goalkeeper made the mistakes but no one in the backline played particularly well. That’s bound to happen when you have two central midfielders playing in defense. Trent Alexander-Arnold in particular looks well out of form and could probably use a few games off.
The decision to take off Thiago and Jones ended up being a poor one. I think the manager tried to change the shape to get the attackers more involved, but it didn’t work.
Dissecting the Narrative
People react to adversity in different ways, especially sports fans. There’s absolutely nothing a fan can do to make their favorite team do a thing or not do a thing. The past few weeks have been an interesting time to be a Liverpool fan. The optimist has had to hold on to the ounce of hope left, while the pessimist has their worst fears being realized. Insane unbeaten home records beaten. Injuries to already injured players in positions with an already comical amount of injuries. A high flying attack grounded. You don’t need me to tell you this because you already know, but Liverpool have been bad. It’s okay to admit that.
The problem when things are going poorly is you’ll always have history staring you down. The near history is right there, just last season Liverpool cruised to their first league title in 30 years by amassing 99 points. They won 26 of their first 27 matches. Now? They have 27 points less than they did last season after 23 games played. Then you have to start looking at the distant past and that’s when things get weird. Manchester City hadn’t won at Anfield since 2003. This is the first time Liverpool have lost 3 straight home matches since the 1963/64 season. That’s wild.
So, what’re Liverpool going to do about it? We know the problems this team faces. Jordan Henderson and Fabinho aren’t central defenders, and yet they’re the two best at the position on the roster right now. The front 3 is still literally the front 3 but aside from Mo Salah, no one is really scoring goals. There’s footballing problems that are happening right now because the problems in the world are so vast and so difficult. It’s okay to admit that. Just look at Jurgen Klopp and you can see it. He doesn’t seem like himself and when he’s not himself, this team can’t be themselves.
The problem with problems such as these is they can compound into the future if you remain passive. If this team can’t figure out what to do in this rut, then next season could be much worse than this one. The reset button needs to be hit. I’m not sure how they do it or what it looks like, but that’s why they’re paid a lot of money to do this game and I’m just a dude who writes about it.
Be well today. Take care of yourself.