Jürgen Klopp has lost control of Liverpool as two incidents highlight a brand-new issue that needs to be fixed. - Flashfootballnews
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Jürgen Klopp has lost control of Liverpool as two incidents highlight a brand-new issue that needs to be fixed.

One of Liverpool’s key strengths from the previous season appeared to be a glaring weakness as they succumbed to a late goal against Brighton on Saturday

After seeing his team’s comeback against Brighton fall short on Saturday, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said, “I cannot say I was 100% certain we would not allow a goal when we were 3-2 up.”

Jürgen Klopp
Jürgen Klopp

Adam Webster’s own goal gave Liverpool the lead with about 30 minutes remaining in the game, but they were so weak defensively that it was difficult for Klopp or the fans to have any sense of confidence, and Klopp reflected that in his post-match news conference.

Liverpool’s poor game management was concerning, whether it was because they lacked the players to exercise control, lacked insight, or had a porous structure when they were not in possession of the ball.

This was the first time thus far this season that the Reds had protected a one-goal advantage as the game entered its final minutes. Their reputation as a trophy-hunting side was put to the test, and they failed.

However, is this a recurrence of a problem that originally appeared last season? Or does Klopp need to deal with yet another issue?

Darwin Nunez
Darwin Nunez

Let’s review Liverpool’s performance under comparable circumstances in 2021–2022. We may evaluate the effectiveness of their game management by looking at shots and, much better, xG conceded, albeit this is not the only method.

Mohamed Salah’s penalty gave Liverpool the lead against Aston Villa in December of last year in the 67th minute.

The majority of the game had been spent by Villa sitting back and absorbing pressure, and even though it was now their turn to attack, they were unable to even lay a touch on Liverpool. In the 85th minute, they made one attempt that only netted them 0.06 xG.

In February, Liverpool is trying to hold on to a 1-0 victory at Burnley. The hosts had given the Reds significant issues in the first half, but they never appeared likely to tie things up in the closing minutes; their last opportunity came in minute 62. The xG rating was only 0.02.

Naby Keita
Naby Keita

Klopp’s team, on the other hand, lucked out against West Ham the next month. Again, Sadio Mané’s header gave the game’s 1-0 final result to his team. But in the closing 20 minutes, Manuel Lanzini (0.4 xG) and Michail Antonio (0.14 xG) missed chances that could have given the Hammers a point.

After then, order was reestablished. At St. James’ Park, Liverpool fully shut down Newcastle despite being unable to extend the advantage Naby Keta gave them in the 19th minute. Eddie Howe’s team came closest to scoring an equalizer with a promising 0.02 xG attempt in the 86th minute.

In the road encounter against Villa in April, the Reds were forced to come from behind, with Mané completing the comeback midway through the second half. They would thereafter permit three shots, but they were all bold and only netted 0.08 xG.

When Jol Matip made it 2-1 in the 67th minute against Southampton, it was a very same narrative for a much-changed club; the home team would not have a look-in. The likelihood that their lone effort would result in a goal was 2%.

Joel Matip
Joel Matip

That’s only 0.12 xGA, if you want a flawed average, when protecting a one-goal advantage in the last minutes. And the West Ham game greatly affected even that number.

But when you contrast that with Saturday, you can see the extent of Liverpool’s management failures. Danny Welbeck’s 0.38 xG chance in the 73rd minute, which Alisson stopped, and Trossard’s goal eight minutes from time both came from considerably better 0.45 xG opportunities.

Of course, this isn’t the only situation in which game management is necessary; nonetheless, it is the most typical. In addition to not being themselves at the moment, Liverpool doesn’t even appear to be a top-tier football squad. They will continue to be held back by their inability to have any significant influence over a game until it is thoroughly won.

 

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