What it feels like to be a fan - LFC struggles
After the initial teeth grinding of the Watford 3-3 draw, LFC went on a pretty good tear: winning on the road against Hoffenheim, winning against Crystal Palace (a team that has always caused trouble), closing out Hoffenheim to stamp their ticket to the Champions League, and then the demolition of Arsenal.
Fans were dreaming of a serious run at the Premier League title and in the Champions league.
The wheels came off the band wagon with the crack up at Manchester City when Liverpool went down to 10 men and gave up five unanswered goals. This was followed by getting only a point against Sevilla when Liverpool had three points well in hand. And to top off the stretch of matches, Liverpool fired shotgun pellets against Burnley (35 shots) but only came up with only 1 goal. Meanwhile, Burnley got 5 shots of which 1 went in, 1 was headed away by an alert Matip right at the goal-line and 1 blocked away by Mignolet again right at the goal-line. LFC fans ground their teeth down breathing a sigh of relief their club didn't LOSE to Burnley after those two set pieces.
The 35 shot stat is a bit like baseball's "left on base." You win baseball games by scoring runs which is made easier by getting people on base. But of course, you need clutch hitting to cash in those runners in scoring position. Likewise, in soccer, Liverpool was running rampant dominating possession and firing shots at the goal. But in the end, of those 35, I can't recall how many were near misses verses weakly hit shots and shots that went somewhat wide of target.
The draw to Sevilla was similarly frustrating. LFC missed a PK and failed to cash in an extra goal from their many opportunities.
In my observations, losing to Manchester City is not surprising since people are saying Manchester City and Manchester United are likely to be fighting it out for the Premier League title. And given LFC went down to 10 men, the situation was doubly difficult to salvage anything from.
What will Liverpool do?
Certainly, the key is Mane and Salah. If Mane was in against Burnley, I think Liverpool gets a second and even third goal either from Mane directly or the fact that he would so scramble the minds of the defenders that someone else from LFC would have scored.
However, Mane will miss two more Premier League matches so Klopp needs to figure out if Sturridge is the best running mate with Salah. Perhaps, Solanke may take that role? And who does Klopp send out to give Salah (340 minutes in 5 Premier League matches) and Firmino (396 minutes in 5 PL matches) the occasional break.
As for the midfield, when Coutinho's rust gets scraped off, Liverpool's attack will go up another level. Also, key will be for one of the other midfielders to be much more conscientious about defense. Who can play the "6" best?
EFL Cup on Tuesday. Its a 50:50 proposition since LFC will send out some members of the "B-team." Will be curious how many of the "A-team" will start and will come in as substitutes.