Liverpool Klopp Episode 19 - the Fellowship of the Ring
After a poor outing down at West Ham, Liverpool's next match is leg one of the League Cup semi-final against Stoke and other matches in a full January calendar.
Klopp was clearly disappointed in the team's output in the 2-0 loss. The schedule marches on with a mix of League Cup, FA Cup and Premier League matches. The team remains short handed with many key players on the injured list.
Will the existing first team members find it within themselves to rally?
Who will take the lead? Who will show the dogged determination to find a way to keep the club competitive and to bring everyone onto the same page so they have a chance to win? Klopp can draw up a game plan. He can shout instructions and encouragement from the sideline. However, it is the guys on the field who are going to need to reach for that 100% effort.
Might see some of the younger players in the FA Cup match but for League Cup, it is going to be the guys getting paid the big bucks who will be out there. This group has gotten some tight wins (the recent 1-0 wins) as well as big wins (over Man City and Southampton) but they have also been tossed around like rag dolls in the losses. Am sure Stoke is going to try to push them around but whether they are as well suited to that style compared to some other teams is an open question. Nonetheless, it is pretty clear that LFC hasn't responded well to those types of tactics and have a bad habit of giving up an early goal. Will LFC be able to stand up to Stoke? Will they press the advantages they have to cash in possessions and opportunity. Haven't been following EPL that long but the phrase the announcers use is "they need to be more clinical in their finish."
Who should start against Stoke?
Mignolet or Bogdan? Bogdan has played in many League Cup matches but now it is the semis so time to go back to LFC's prime goalkeeper Mignolet. Probably see Bogdan in the FA Cup match.
Back four: Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno.
Defensive Midfield: Clearly, the club is feeling the strain of missing Milner and Henderson who when healthy have the motor and talent to play defense and jump into the flow of offense at the right moment. As it is, I think the pairing of Can and Lucas is going to be stronger than any pairing with Allen.
Offense: got to go with Benteke and Coutinho; but then who takes the last two spots in the starting line-up between Lallana, Firmino, and Ibe? I think you go with the speed of Lallana and Ibe.
The fact that selecting a line-up is relatively straightforward is an indication of how long the injury list is. If Klopp had the option of putting Milner, Henderson, Origi, Sturridge, Ings, Skrtel, and Gomez into the mix, the ritual of "guess the starting XI" would be a lot more varied! Additionally, I would think LFC's results would be much better having the ability to rotate into the line-up a larger routine roster. Injuries is part of sports but the level of injuries that have hit LFC is pretty steep. As it is, the hectic schedule of EPL, League Cup, FA Cup, and Europa does wear teams down and I think part of Liverpool's issues has been the fatigue factor of having such an injury depleted roster to select from.
Lineup announced: Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno, Lucas, Can, Allen, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino. Subs: Bogdan, Milner, Benteke, Brannagan, Ibe, Smith, Randall.
Am assuming Sakho is injured? Hopefully, not a major issue and that this is just a one game break for him. The XI looks like a 4-3-3. Would be great if the Lallana-Coutinho-Firmino line could replicate their dominance of the Man City victory! Good to see that Milner is on the bench as an option and the injury is almost completely behind him. Would imagine he may get plugged into the match to work out the rust at the 75 minute mark. Wonder who drops into the center back spot of Toure if he tires toward the end of the game and needs a sub? Maybe Can or Lucas? If Klopp needs extra offense, who gets the call Ibe or Benteke? After the sleepy performance of Benteke at West Ham, he might be in the dog house so Ibe probably gets the call.
US TV coverage is on BeIN Sports. On internet radio, the match is on Talk Sport.
18' bad news for LFC fans, Coutinho is out due to hamstring. Ibe is subbed in.
34' ugh! Lovren out with hamstring. Milner is now in with Lucas sliding into the center back spot.
37' I-be! Liverpool takes a 1-0 lead!
Liverpool hold onto to win 1-0!
UPDATE: Some are hypothesizing that the increased running/sprinting on the field is the source of the LFC hamstring injuries.
Next up for LFC is the FA Cup match against Exeter on Friday. What what line-up will Klopp have for that one with all the new injuries!