From title contenders in November to out of the top four in February, it’s been a monumental winter collapse on the pitch for Liverpool football club. Perhaps most worryingly, there’s been no sign as yet that they’re at the end of their poor run of form.
According to midfielder Adam Lallana, though, they may have figured out the problem. Though it might seem counterintuitive, the England international thinks he and his teammates may have taken to pushing too hard to run out and score five or six goals against every opponent.
“You don’t have to win by scoring five or six,” Lallana noted. “Maybe that’s an area we need to improve. We maybe need to realise how good we are at times. Milner is the only one in our group who has that type of experience because it only comes from winning silverware like he did at Manchester City.”
In the autumn, Liverpool were defined by their goalscoring prowess. As the goals dried up, the players pushed harder and harder to score. They team became imbalanced and the players grew frustrated any time they weren’t able to make the breakthrough.
But not every game has to be won 5-1, and to set out as though it should be risks frustration—and opening yourself up to the counter—when a game has gone twenty or thirty minutes and remains scoreless. Or at least that seems to be Lallana’s point, and on the surface at least it doesn’t sound unreasonable.
It also sounds as though this might be a line of thinking originating not from Lallana himself, and perhaps not even from manager Jürgen Klopp, but rather from vice-captain James Milner—the man with all that silverware from his days at Manchester City.
“Myself and the other players haven’t won titles or loads of cups so we need to learn from him and listen to him because that type of experience is vital,” added Lallana. “We need to learn and get back to winning ways in the league as soon as possible.”
Winning more by trying to score less. It may sound an odd approach, but after the dire 2017 they’ve had so far, anything might be worth a shot.