On Tuesday night, a well rested Liverpool side lost to a tired Leicester City. On paper, they probably shouldn’t have. In theory at least, they were the better side, creating nearly three goals worth of chances to Leicester’s half a goal.
Better on paper or in theory, though, doesn’t always win out in practice. And on a night when it doesn’t, it can perhaps be natural to look to place the blame on the players who didn’t convert those scoring chances along the way.
“There’s not a little bit of blame,” was manager Jürgen Klopp’s reaction when asked about his forwards—and in particular Mohamed Salah, who failed to convert a penalty and its rebound—missing chances on Tuesday night.
“He scores usually from these situations but didn’t tonight. It was a little bit like the whole game—Mo is part of the team and usually he is better in this situation like the team is usually better in a football game. Tonight we weren’t.”
In addition to Salah’s missed penalty and a later unlikely stop on another of his efforts by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Sadio Mané also missed a clear cut chance for the Reds. Three big chances, no goals to show.
On another night, if even one goes in—with all three chances coming before Leicester scored the lone goal of the night—there’s every likelihood the game goes differently and the negative talking points in its aftermath disappear.
Klopp, though, says even if the better team on paper or in theory had converted and taken the three points, he wouldn’t have been thrilled by the performance. Still, three points from a sub-par performance would feel better than none.
“We needed obviously some effort not to score tonight,” Klopp added. “We had quite a few chances and we were close. It would have made the game better [to score], but if we had won it 2-1 I wouldn’t have liked the game anyway.
“Tonight I didn’t like a lot in our football game, to be honest. That’s not so cool, that’s not why we do it, so we have to do better and now we have a few days to talk it through, think it through, to improve, and then go again.”