Along with a defensive unit that’s been less than convincing of late, Liverpool have also been plagued with poor finishing in recent games. Shots here, shots there. Shots straight at the keeper’s gloves. The Red’s attacking players have gotten themselves into great scoring positions with cheeky flicks and through balls and counter attacks only to let the opposition off the hook with balls skied into the stands or giving the keeper an easily-saved dud.
Mohamed Salah started his Liverpool career off with a bang and Roberto Firmino has been a steady source of goals in the team but both have succumbed to the forces of missed chances in recent weeks.
When asked at the pre-Newcastle presser if he could work finishing into the week’s training in order to eradicate these ineffective boot swings, Jürgen Klopp was quick to clear up his role in his player’s goal-ward efforts.
“No, I cannot,” said Klopp. “There’s not a word I could say.”
It’s true that a manager cannot control every decision of his players on the pitch. They are set into positions and given tactics and then there’s just a great, big hope that everything comes off and when scoring opportunities arise the players will use their qualities to put one into the other team’s net.
When a team is flying that very thing tends to happen more times than not. But, beware the dreaded slump. Followed by the dip in confidence. Indecision. Luckily, these downward spiraling mentalities are something that a manager can have some sway over.
“Like it always is in life and football, you really have to keep on going,” Klopp said. “That’s how it is.
“The things we have influence on, we speak about. Do you really think I should speak about the two headers which Roberto had and the other one that Mo Salah had in the game against Moscow and say, ‘Look, if you hit it a little bit more like this’? That’s not how it works.
“We all know these boys will score. The difficult thing in a situation like this is to stay confident to do it again and again and again.
“It makes no sense to criticize finishing. Its about creating and using the qualities of the boys in the right moment. But we will talk more about how we can create more.
“Its still my responsibility but I cannot shoot from the bench. But to help them to come into position, yes, that’s my job.”