Bleh is the time, is the place, is the motion. Bleh is the way we are feeling. Another stale draw. More dropped points at home. Liverpool are doing their weird December thing which we were hoping to avoid. Ditto on the weird January thing that could potentially follow. It can’t be all that helpful that the Anfield crowd’s reactions are coming off a tad anxious, but That’s Football. The players on the pitch have to perform. And, unfortunately, despite another match chock full of Liverpool chances and possession, West Bromwich Albion’s game plan to frustrate the Reds and their slew of worldwide supporters came off pretty well in the end.
“We knew from the first second it would be a difficult job and it was clear we had a job to do,” Jürgen Klopp said after the match.
“It was clear each set-piece would be a threat. Our line-up was not the tallest. Even their own half they made a proper set-piece off it when a free-kick or whatever was there.
“It was not too dangerous, just one proper situation when they had the header and Loris had to make the save. Everything else we defended well.
“Then we had the ball and that was the story of the game. We had it all the time.”
We also lost it all the time. Liverpool were often out-muscled during the game by the strength of the real Baggies as well as being guilty of over-playing in the final third. Players looked like they were either out of ideas or had too many.
Attack. Pause. Turnover. Repeat.
“The first half it looked a little bit stiff,” said Klopp. “The timing of the movements was not like it should have been. Passing was not that good, a little too late, not quick enough. Very often a static formation.
“Second half was better, we changed system a few times to cause them more problems. Had good crosses, good chances to score the goal which was disallowed.
“It wasn’t a night for three, four or five nil if you don’t score early, that was clear.”
Klopp gave all his preferred attacking players a place on the pitch for this one, so it’s hard to pick at the starting line-up for answers. No goal was conceded, so that leaves out the defense for major scrutiny (minor scrutiny being ongoing). Emre Can’s head was elsewhere. Sadio Mané is having trouble passing, shooting and generally playing football right now. Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all looked to be on various levels of emotional Tetris.
“I made the decision,” said Klopp of his starting eleven, “and if we didn’t win then it didn’t work but that happens quite a lot in the life of a football manager.
“I was 100% convinced about this line-up like I was about the last line-up. But this time at least you cannot blame me for it. Probably will. We will see.”