Oh, this heart ache. Another weird defeat to a team at the opposite end of the Premier League table. Liverpool. West Brom. Anfield. Eyes on the prize. A strong attacking line-up. Virgil Van Dijk was there. Liverpool were going to get the goals and then get some more goals and probably concede one because that’s definitely a possibility. The night was going to be ours though and the FA Cup trophy was going to be within reach. Silverware. The long wait.
But the wait continues. And so does the anxiety around Liverpool Fandom City that the capitulation at Swansea City was not a one-off that has now led to a two-off but instead the beginning a string of -offs that will see Liverpool out of the Champions League spots come the end of the season.
The team played poorly. Emre Can was culpable. The entire defensive line was out of sync. Simon Mignolet. The midfield was loose. And our attacking players didn’t find any sort of rhythm with which to break up West Brom’s packed defense. Liverpool were out-matched by West Brom on the pitch and Jürgen Klopp was out-matched by Alan Pardew in his game plan.
“We changed the system three or four times today,” said Klopp. “We scored late and then how it is in a game like this, we tried, we pushed, but in the end they defend, big hearts and try everything.
“They deserved it, to be honest. I don’t like to say it but it’s the truth. West Brom deserved it so compliments to Alan and his side.”
And West Brom did play very well against Liverpool. They executed their plan for victory. But it’s stings because Liverpool let them do it. The defending was a disaster and Klopp took the opportunity after the match to single out the poor decision making his players made when conceding.
“In the decisive part of the game around the goals it was poor,” Klopp said. “Bad defending.”
“We go 1-0 up which is perfect in a game like this usually. But then it felt like it was a second later we conceded the goal.
“Long ball but we win the first one, then open ball and we lose that challenge when we could have shot the ball somewhere. Into the stand or whatever and then it’s done.
“We lose the second challenge as well and then the disaster starts with the run of Rodriguez and a fantastic finish.”
Then the second goal comes like a gut punch. I’ve never thrown a TV off of a balcony but that’s probably around the time people do it.
Liverpool were getting pulled all over the place. Can wasn’t doing enough in support of the defense and West Brom’s players made quick work of taking their advantage.
“Rodriguez, alone in the box, which makes no sense,” said Klopp.
Agreed. And the manager continues on with letting his players know that they were well off their game today.
“The third one was unbelievable because it’s really easy to defend,” added Klopp. “You only have to push up then Dawson is one hundred percent offside. But he wasn’t.
“When you saw his celebration, it looked like ‘what can I do? If they leave me alone then I have to use the chance.’
Liverpool will get right back to it on Tuesday against Huddersfield Town. A comprehensive win will likely be the only thing that truly comforts the growing frustration among supporters. But another loss to a struggling team could have dire consequences for Liverpool’s league ambitions this season.