Saturday, December 15, 2018

Liverpool only have themselves to blame for Everton draw

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 11 Dec 2017

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The Merseyside derby took place on Sunday, with Liverpool and Everton somehow drawing 1-1 at Anfield after the Reds dominated possession and the Blues barely mustered a shot.

However, the one attack and shot they had on goal counted, though, as Everton captain Wayne Rooney scored from the penalty spot. The penalty came after Dejan Lovren upended Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the box.

The decision incensed Liverpool fans and boss Jurgen Klopp. However, it was a debatable one, but Klopp seemed to blame the loss of two points on that decision alone. The Reds were the better team, but they got complacent and only had themselves to blame for the dropped points.

Klopp was over-confident with line-up

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp surprised everybody by dropping Brazilian duo Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho to the bench. In all, the German boss made six changes to the side that hammered Spartak Moscow 7-0 in the Champions League in midweek.

Granted Liverpool do have a busy schedule and Klopp is likely to rotate his squad at some point. However, would it not have been better to rotate his squad for the midweek clash with West Brom?

Klopp also decided to substitute star man Mohamed Salah just after the hour mark, which was a head-scratcher. He obviously thought his team were coasting to a win at that point and wanted to rest the Egyptian for a massive midweek clash with West Brom.

No matter how poor Everton have been at times this season and how good Liverpool have been at times, this was still a derby match. Klopp took some gambles and they failed to pay off.

His reaction in the interview after the game came from the massive frustration of his team not getting the job done. Klopp must take some blame for the performance, as he gave the visitors hope with his team selection.

Individual poor decisions

Although Liverpool dominated possession, the Reds did not produce the same sparkling football without Philippe Coutinho or Roberto Firmino.

However, they looked like they had done enough to win the game, prior to the Everton goal of course. A big contributory factor to the draw was not referee Craig Pawson, but individual poor decisions by Reds players.

One of the biggest ones came from Senegalese winger Sadio Mane. The former Southampton star was through on goal in the first half, with three players in support. However, instead of passing the ball he rolled an effort wide of the far post.

If he had rolled the ball to the any of the three unmarked players, they would have had a tap-in. A second goal would have effectively meant game over and the home side coasting to victory. He did not and suddenly Craig Pawson is to blame for the result, according to Klopp.

The other player that made a mistake was Lovren. The Croatian international is an experienced player and the way he dealt with Calvert-Lewin in the penalty incident was very silly indeed.

As soon as he made the challenge, I said ‘what a silly thing to do’. Whether you believe it was a penalty or not, the defender gave the referee a decision to make.

Liverpool need to bounce back quickly

The draw means that Liverpool remains in the top-four of the Premier League. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side are just one point clear of fifth-place Arsenal.

In terms of the result, Klopp will have been frustrated. However, the Reds now need to dust themselves down and concentrate on their next fixture, a home game against West Brom on Wednesday night, which they are odds of 2/9 to win.

I get the feeling that the likes of Firmino and Coutinho may well be restored to the Reds starting line-up for the clash with the struggling Baggies. Wednesday’s game another that Liverpool should win.

The current Liverpool side is far from perfect. However, to make the Champions League spots they have to concentrate on their strengths for now, which is their fab four in attack.

If Klopp wants to keep giving other teams a chance by resting two at a time, then the Reds are going to keep finding it difficult to overcome stubborn defensive displays. Next time they may not have a referee’s decision to blame for dropping points due to mistakes or complacency.

Should Jurgen Klopp have started his strongest team against Everton?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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