Liverpool Klopp Episode 15: Ticket to Ride

As a Los Angelino, I follow UCLA, Dodgers, Kings, Lakers, and Galaxy. If you ask me about Los Angeles, I could tell you a little bit about the city's neighborhoods and tourist destinations.

As a fan of Liverpool, I can tell you nothing about the city. I only know that the Beatles are from there. So I had to check on Google with the search, "were the Beatles soccer fans?"

According to this item in the Guardian:
"Paul was (and maybe still is) definitely an Evertonian, as was his dad. He attended the 1968 FA Cup final - there is a photo of him outside Wembley. His brother Mike is a massive Red - and part of his band The Scaffold's promo film for Thank You Very Much was filmed in front of a packed Spion Kop at his behest (fellow band member Roger McGough, a Blue, refused to attend and is missing from the clip). George and John were not keen football fans, although George's son Dhani is a big Liverpool fan. But the biggest fan of all the Beatles' extended family is Neil Aspinall, the former Beatles road manager who attended Anfield regularly before the band left Liverpool for London and has attended games when possible ever since."
Here is an item over at the Liverpool Echo about Paul McCartney's feeling about the two soccer clubs:
He said: “My dad was born in Everton, so I’m an Evertonian. Yes, I’ll cheer Liverpool on too. People say you can’t support them both but I got a special dispensation from the Pope. But if it comes down to a derby match I would have to support Everton.” But wherever he plays around the world he says there’s always someone in the crowd wearing a Liverpool shirt or scarf. He said: “At first I thought they were Scousers who’d travelled to see the gig. I’d say ‘hey, where are you from?’ and they’d be from whatever country we were playing in. “The other night we played Moscow and we had it there. It gets me every time.”
So there you go.

Lots of road matches ahead:
@ Watford 12/20
Leicester 12/26
@ Sunderland 12/30
@ West Ham 1/2
@ Stoke 1/5 1st leg of League Cup
@ Exeter 1/8  FA Cup

Watford was one of three promoted clubs and they are doing the best of the three (Bournemouth and Norwich are the other two) thus this is by no means an automatic win for Liverpool. In fact Watford is higher in the table than LFC!

Klopp will need to make some changes in the lineup. Lovren is out with injury but Sakho maybe ready to return. But is he ready for a full 90 minutes? Would guess Toure would backstop Sakho. Though Mignolet took a lot of heat for the match against West Brom, don't imagine Bogdan will get the start at goal so no change there. The midfield trio of MilnerLucas-Henderson-Can looks about right. The open question is the three forwards. Coutinho is probably the only sure pick. But who will fill the other two spots? Klopp can choose from Benteke, Lallana, Firmino, Ibe, and Origi. How about Firmino and Ibe? Time to see if pairing the two Brazilians (Coutinho and Firmino) can yield some on field magic as it did against Man City. Would be good to give Ibe some prime time play to help him develop. We shall see!

UPDATE: Well that was a clunker. A great team plays at an A/A- level consistently and can bounce back from a early mistake with talent and mental toughness. Alas, LFC is not yet a great team. They have the talent to play A-/B+ level and for a stretch they did. But it appears the team is settling back B/B- level of play. Against Watford, they suffered a howler early putting them down 1-0. And soon after were down 2-0 and chasing the game. Credit Watford for capitalizing early. But these recent performances with LFC players that aren't all that different from the good run of form just a while ago was simply disappointing. In their defense, Mignolet was out with an injury and Bogdan, his stand-in got off to a bad start. Sakho was rusty from injury. Skrtel got at hurt and had to be subbed out at the 41 minute mark. Thus, three players in the defensive end were not in recently line-ups. LFC got possession but unfortunately weren't able to do much with it which has been a problem since the downward spiral at the end of the 2014-2015 season.

Coach Klopp is going to have to find some tactical moves and motivational ploys to get the team playing as a team again and with some belief. However, his line-up options are getting depleted with injuries. It is going to be a tall mountain to climb as the Boxing Day match up is against EPL leaders Leicester City!

Leicester is known as a fast paced attacking team. Thus, will Klopp try to match their speed? Unfortunately, LFC's speed players might not match up and the Reds might get run out of their home pitch! Maybe they will need to play a more possession based game and loop the ball into Benteke and/or Origi to get goals? Maybe the midfield might have to sit further back to address Leicester's attackers? On the other hand, LFC opted to run against Man City and beat them. Will be interesting to hear the pundits play arm-chair manager and then see what Klopp and his brain trust come up with for Saturday.

LFC is now 7-5-3 (all competitions) under Klopp.