There has been an exhaustive search for silver linings after Liverpool’s defeat to Southampton in the first leg of the League Cup semifinal. 1-0 isn’t a scary scoreline to overcome. It’s manageable. It’s a monster with a weakness. Totally not a problem at all. I feel incredibly confident and assured that everything will be fine. This will not be the start of a bad run. Pick it up, dust it off, back to business, back to impressing. I need my impressing.
The performance of Loris Karius in goal is perhaps the most obvious silver lining of the bunch. The German keeper looked good, made some crucial saves for the team. In fact, without some of his doing-things-excellently it’s very likely that Liverpool would have lost that match by a much greater margin. 1-0. Everything is fine.
Another silver lining, not as glorious as Karius but (who is?) still great, was the very inclusion of Philippe Coutinho onto the pitch after such a long wait for his foot thing to heal. He was rusty, obviously. Very rusty. Almost all rust. There was a little bit of Coutinho that you could just make out, peeking through. But that was it. Fantastic to have the wily Brazilian ready for selection again.
There are a handful of your more run-of-the-mill silver linings: player performances, team bonding, etc? There is a little silver lining about having the second leg at Anfield. But that feels more like a relief. Still, anyway you slice it, Liverpool is still in for a shot at the trophy. And Jürgen Klopp, I think, has the right perspective about what his team needs right now.
“The performance doesn’t feel too good,” the manager admitted. “But for the final, everything is open.”
Nothing is f•cked here, Dude. The competition is not lost. Bad performance, yes. Not at all something we’re interested in repeating. But, never fear, have hope. 1-0. Everything is fine.
“We will strike back,” said Klopp. “It will be different, a different side, and everything will be different at Anfield.
“For us, it’s still possible to got to Wembley, and that’s the target.”
And there’s no reason not to believe that this team can turn it on it’s head. It’s possible. They’ve rebounded before. We’ve seen it under Klopp. The man knows how to form a squad with bite.
“This team always shows a reaction,” Klopp said, “and we have to show a reaction in this cup against Southampton.
“But it would be cool if we could show a reaction at the weekend because we will probably need a better performance to get something from Old Trafford.”
A trip to Manchester United at the weekend isn’t exactly the journey we’d like to be taking just after the showing at St. Mary’s, but this loss will be dealt with swiftly and the focus will now turn to Sunday. A different team, different manager (can’t remember his name, google didn’t know) and a different set of problems and solutions.
Dust yourselves off. Give a player a little what for, if you must. Tell you Southampton supporting friend to go do one, if you must. But, keep it civil, keep the faith. And most of all, keep on doing it right. 1-0. Everything is fine.