We only live in the moment, examining the past and hoping for the future. The moment right now tells us that Liverpool drew 3-3 with Brighton & Hove Albion. Examining the past doesn’t give us a lot of hope for the future, so what are we left with? Well, a lot more questions than answers when it feels like the league is bolting from the barn.
You could probably forgive the Reds for a slow start. Due to the Queen dying and an international, Liverpool haven’t played a Premier League game in a month. But a slow start with misplaced passes or bad shots is one thing, but being down 2-0 to Brighton after 17 minutes is a thing that is unforgivable. Even then, being down 2-0 can sorta be excused when you claw your way back through legitimately beautiful and relentless football to be winning 3-2. Maybe shit happens or things don’t go right, but winning 3-2 is cool and good and really vibey. But the match ended 3-3 and Liverpool can both feel lucky with that scoreline and feel very hard done by stupid mistakes. What’s this all mean and what do we do with the moment, the past, and the future?
Now join us as we examine some of the narratives, tactics, reactions, and questions Liverpool will be dealing with and the fans will be talking about in the aftermath.
Dissecting the Narrative
The moment, the past, and the future.
It’s a moody scoreline in so many ways. There’s ways to get to this scoreline where we don’t feel as miserable as we do now. Brighton are a very good football team with a brand new manager who is also very good. In isolation, stripped from reality and emotion, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool did play well enough to feel like it’s a game where they’re hard done by things and it’s two points dropped. But you can’t rip this sport away from those things. It’s played on the pitch and on spreadsheets and in our hearts.
On the pitch and in the manager’s head, several things were off. Key players aren’t playing well and the worst offender of them is the captain of the club. I’m not smart enough or in the locker room to tell you whether or not Jordan Henderson isn’t executing the tactics or plan that the manager is giving him. I am, however, a person with two eyeballs (assisted by prescription lenses) and I can see the things he’s trying to do aren’t working. The captain is making costly mistakes (see, Brighton’s first goal) that used to be routine situations for him. Is it age? Hubris? A bad setup? The answer probably lies within all three and beyond, but in the moment of reality we face Henderson isn’t good enough and we can’t discuss anything else before we discuss the captain.
Some words here now about other leaders who aren’t doing much in the way of leading. Every goal Brighton scored today needed Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho to be 10-15% better versions of themselves. It’s only October 1 but how many times have we seen this? How many times do we need to say it for something to change. Smarter people can probably point you in the directions of adjustments, but ultimately the manager and the leaders of this squad need to figure it out. Oh, not to mention that the guy who scored a hattrick for Brighton today has more goals at Anfield this season than Mo Salah.
We last saw Liverpool play a competitive fixture on September 13, and their last league match on September 3. The warning signs were there then and it was thought that this recent past would be a time for Jurgen Klopp and Co. to right the ship. All the right notes were being hit in the media, but if this 3-3 draw with Brighton is any indication of what’s to come then we have every reason to believe the doom and gloom.
That brings me to the future, which we can only look towards with hope and expectation. Where Liverpool have been at and where they are today can be an indication of what’s to come. But the what’s not happened yet hasn’t, well, happened yet. This football team is better than 2-4-1 in the league and 1-0-1 in their Champions League group. All of the fancy numbers can tell us that, but you either start believing your bad luck or you change your luck.
I really don’t know what’s going to happen. If this isn’t the time for alarm bells to ring then I don’t know when is. Given the insanity of a mid-season World Cup in a month’s time, Liverpool could be in a world of hurt if they don’t figure this out in October. There’s eight matches between today and Halloween. Their next two league games are against Arsenal and Manchester City. At the moment I don’t really know who is to blame. A tried and true captain of the ship, Klopp, seems to be delegating too much.
If the luck in the well is truly dried up then Liverpool and Klopp need to find another source of water. The doors are sliding, the ship might be sinking, and hope could soon be lost. Believers we want to be, but provide us something besides doubt. Soon we’ll know much more than we know now, but will we like what we see? I don’t know.
Up the Reds.