The Revolution will not happen quickly, that much is apparent. After a disappointing dropping of two point to a late Southampton equalizer, I still found myself with more hope than doom and gloom. Let’s take a look at my unofficial completely biased progress report of the first team!
When Klopp was appointed manager, one of the first things I thought about was, “Which players will be reborn under the new boss?”
Mignolet: Still woefully horrendous when distributing the ball with his feet and playing the ball in his own area. However, it appears he is playing with much more confidence. He’s making big game saving stops each match and other than his poor distribution, I’m having a hard time finding a complaint!
Moreno: Oh Alberto, the end product isn’t quite there yet, but how much fun am I having watching him give the opposing wingers fits as he rampages up and down the pitch? A lot. He gets it, he wants it, and I have a feeling Klopp is getting what he expects from the Spaniard; work rate, determination, attack and defense. The tackle he made in his own 18 yard box was just ridiculously good today, even if his crossing into the box was not.
Clyne: I can’t say much has changed. He’s been solid all season long and appears to have answered, “Who’s our right back?” If we are going to spend the money, let’s get it right. Clyne is the one Southampton player we should have signed with the Suarez bankroll.
Sakho: The unorthodox beast with the velvet feet. He’s almost uncomfortable to watch at times, but he is clearly our best center back. Barring injury, he will be in the line up. Supporters should have all been fist pumping when Klopp returned some sense to our starting 11. How Lovren became undroppable under Rodgers I’ll never know. It was like Rodgers liked Lovren more than winning. That horse has receive more than it’s fare share of beating.
Skrtel: Clearly the odd man out of our fledgling defensive revival. Still prone to grappling in places he shouldn’t be. At some point he will be replaced, perhaps in January, but he’s playing his part now. Perhaps now with a little more defensive consistency and commitment to shielding midfielders, he won’t stick out like a sore thumb.
Lucas: He’s just been f*cking boss since Klopp showed up. He’s winning the majority of his tackles, his passing has been superb and he’s fouling much less. There was a time when asking any Liverpool supporter which player would be easiest to replace they’d say, “Lucas.” In his defense, injury and being played alongside a rapidly declining Gerrard didn’t help his cause. Now I would rather have him start ahead of Can, daft right?
Can: A midfielder at last! He’s so much better in his current role alongside Lucas with license to roam forward. His passing in defense and the middle third of the park has been fantastic. Can is clearly a new player under Klopp, however his decision making in the final third has been poor and there has been zero end product from him bar tapping in an Origi knockdown against Kazan. I still can’t make up my mind if he’s deceptively slow, or just slow. Can and Lucas are the reason the back four have been solidified and we haven’t been losing these tight matches.
Milner: At some point this lad is going to need a rest, when is Hendo returning? Milner giveth with the fantastic assist to Benteke’s header. Milner also taketh, giving away the foul that lead to the equalizer. He’s been tasked with keeping the midfield running and he hasn’t disappointed.
Coutinho, Lallana, Origi are not getting it done. Stepping back, any team on their fourth choice striker is in trouble. However, it’s hard to say Origi is ineffective considering the lack of service he has received. He’s a project and the sooner Benteke returns to health the better. Placing a renewed sense of importance on defending has not help us be creative moving forward.
(Some perspective: Man City and Man U both played a similar 4-2-3-1 formation today and completely negated each other’s attack. Neither team had much going forward and it meant a torrid 90 minutes for neutrals. Missing players like Silva and Aguero made a massive difference to the goalless outcome.)
Firmino is one option. He’s returning from injury, looks slick and lively (like Lallana), but I also fear he doesn’t have the grit to defend and press when needed. Ibe is another option, but even with all the pace he has struggled to put his mark on games. He acts too one dimensional for an opposing fullback, always cutting inside in the final third and shrinking space for other attacking players.
Sturridge is our best hope. We’ve only scored more than once in one game this year, against Villa, Studge banging in two fantastic goals. However, the man is terminally injured. I’m talking Robin Van Persie-levels of injured. We are a completely different attacking team when he is present in the line up, but will he ever be healthy?
Up the Reds!