20 Mar 2016

Klopp to Blame? Ex-Red blasts Klopp for Liverpool 'capitulation'; claims he missed crucial tactical change

Inconsistency strikes again! Liverpool's eight-game unbeaten run is over, and amid the usual player scapegoating, ex-Red Phil Babb insists Jurgen Klopp has to take the bulk of the blame for LFC's shocking capitulation at Southampton.

Analysing the game on LFC TV, Babb slammed Liverpool's 'capitulation', and criticised Klopp for his failure to react to Southampton's growing supremacy in midfield. He explained:

"Players were tiring quickly. The manager needed to see that quicker, and then we could’ve maintained the midfield, where ultimately, we lost it.

At half-time, Southampton introduced steel and muscle into midfield in the form of Victor Wanyama, and his physical presence made a huge difference to the game. Wanyama - who is 6'2 and powerfully built - basically bullied the much smaller Joe Allen out of the game, and as Babb notes, Southampton consequently overran Liverpool's midfield.

Emre Can is similar height and build to Wanyama, and should've (IMO) been tasked with shackling the Kenyan powerhouse, but he made little impact, and left far too many huge spaces in midfield. Additionally, Allen, Can et al offered the back four zero protection, which left the defensive unit vulnerable to wave after wave of Southampton attacks.

A few further points:

* The whole defensive unit had a shocker in the second half, including Sakho, who was the last man on all three goals. Somehow, though, he escapes criticism, yet Skrtel - who hasn't played for three months - is singled out as the sole cause of Liverpool's collapse. What nonsense.

* Skrtel clearly wasn't match-fit, and Klopp erred in throwing him on at half-time. That said, the rank hypocrisy of Liverpool fans truly is a sight to behold. Prime example: Sakho always plays poorly after returning from injury (especially this season) but always seems to get a pass. Skrtel is crucified, despite the fact there are clear mitigating circumstances.

* Skrtel may have lost a couple of duels but so what?! Every defender loses duels during games, and it's then down to other players to react clear the danger. Skrtel was not directly at fault for *any* of today's goals; each time, there were plenty of other LFC players around to mop up (which is their job).

* The grossly overhyped Jon Flanagan also had a 'mare (mainly in the second-half) yet he's Scouse, so criticism of LFC's golden boy is verboten.

On the plus side, there are positives to take from the imperious first-half performance, and if Liverpool can maintain that kind of form over the next 9 games, then a top-four place may yet be a possibility.

Author: Jaimie K


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