Liverpool show their big-game mentality against Manchester United - but can Klopp's side build on it? - NaijaTikTok || 24/7 Naija Entertainments

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Liverpool show their big-game mentality against Manchester United - but can Klopp's side build on it?

For Liverpool, though, facts are facts. The opportunity to close the gap between themselves and their great rivals came and went. They’ve won just one of their last eight games in all competitions and their vaunted attack has continued its dry spell. Those eight games have yielded 162 shots, yet only eight have found the back of the net.
Alberto moreno and Ashley young..

Questions instead of answers, then, at that end of the field. But at least at the other, the Reds were able to offer a glimpse into what they can be when everyone pays attention.
“Everyone was concentrated today,” reflected Dejan Lovren after the game. “When everyone defends well like a team then it’s easier at the back for you to defend.”
Lovren was one of Liverpool’s better performers, dealing admirably with the threat of Romelu Lukaku. “Not a draw,” was how Klopp viewed that battle – while post-match stats showed the United striker had enjoyed fewer touches than Simon Mignolet across the 90 minutes. It’s not the first time it’s happened.
Alongside him, there were strong performances from Matip, who had the game’s best chance, and from Joe Gomez, named man of the match by Sky’s Gary Neville. Simon Mignolet did what little he had to, while Alberto Moreno, at left back, continued his renaissance with another much-improved display.
And in front of them, Jordan Henderson was an exceptional screen – disciplined, smart and fully focused throughout. Nemanja Matic has been lauded this season for doing what Liverpool’s captain did on Saturday.
It made, with Gini Wijnaldum and Emre Can offering what they could, for a pretty strong-looking Reds team; their clean sheet seriously jeopardised only once, when Mignolet saved from Lukaku in the first half.
A positive, for sure, but one which also serves to underline the frustration with this Liverpool squad. They ARE capable of dominant, tight, aggressive defensive displays – they just seem to save them for the bigger games.
Their record against the rest of the ‘big six’ is stellar, and is built on solid foundations too. In five Anfield games against United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham last season, Liverpool conceded just twice. That run has continued into this campaign, with Arsenal and United failing to breach the Reds’ much-criticised backline.
The mentality of Klopp’s players is regularly questioned, but they seem - defensively at least - capable of rising to the occasion when required – though the drubbing at the Etihad in September stands as an anomaly, of course.
Mignolet and Lovren shine when the spotlight is at its brightest, and Henderson appears to thrive when up against genuine top quality in the middle. Matip’s issues seem to come against lesser opponents, and the same can certainly be said for Wijnaldum, who is rarely missing in action when one of the big guns comes to town. Can, too, is a player whose senses seem to stir when the big guns appear.
There’s a reason Klopp has faith in these players, but there’s also a reason why many of his supporters do not. Performance such as this catch the eye, but the general inconsistency infuriates. Will the focus, the hunger, the concentration be there against Maribor, for example, or when Huddersfield Town or Brighton visit, or will the errors and the sloppiness return?
Liverpool deserve credit for the way they performed against top-class opposition this weekend, but how fans long for this type of aggression, awareness and solidity on a weekly basis. If they got it, then it would make a huge difference to the side's ambitions.
Perhaps they need United and Lukaku to visit every week to remind Lovren and co what they can be, what they ought to be, what they need to be...

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