Thou Shalt Not Criticise Jürgen Klopp

There are no sensible Liverpool fans that want a new manager at the club. I certainly don’t. I am confident that Jürgen Klopp is the right man to lead the Reds going forward and consider him to be one of the best managers in the world, if not the best. The man is a genius and what he’s been able to do with the Reds up against the insane wealth and financial doping of Manchester City is nothing more than a miracle. Of course he could and should have been backed more in the market. There is no doubt that Fenway Sports Group have been too frugal, even if I do actually think that the ownership model is the correct one. Thr squad is an ageing one, so of course playing every minute of every match last season was going to take its toll on the players. That would have been the case even if we’d won all four trophies, but is definitely there to be seen when you add in the emotional toll that missing out on the big ones will have taken on everyone.

It goes without saying that I don’t understand a wealth of things about the club when it comes to medical decisions. I have no idea which players are in the ‘red zone’ or what it is about Thiago Alcantara’s ear infection that kept him out of the squad today. I don’t know why it is Darwin Núñez will be ok to play on Monday but couldn’t even make the bench today. There is no question that the manager has been hamstrung by injuries so far this season, with sheer misfortune meaning that Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota are now out until after the World Cup. All of those things are true. That doesn’t mean, though, that questions can’t be asked. Trent Alexander-Arnold was fit enough to come on against Manchester City. He was able to start against West Ham United. Why wasn’t he able to start today? Exactly the same questions could be asked about Jordan Henderson. The manager got his starting line-up wrong. It’s not outrageous to say as much.

We Should Have Been Good Enough To Beat Nottingham Forest

There is no question that whatever team the manager picked should’ve been good enough to beat Nottingham Forest. They were bottom of the league at the start of the day and have looked abject every time they’ve played. Putting James Milner at right-back shouldn’t have meant that we lost the game. Starting Fabio Carvalho wasn’t enough to stop the Reds from performing at their best. Seeing Fabinho in the centre of the park isn’t something that means that Forest were always likely to win. Yet the reality is that we should have been good enough to beat Fulham. The team is strong enough to have defeated Everton. Manchester United had lost heavily to Brentford in the match before we played them. Every time, though, we’ve dropped points, with the manager’s decision-making questionable for all of them. At some point, we have to stop assuming that the team we put out should be good enough to win and pick a side that definitely is.

There is an old adage in football that you start your best team and then make changes once you’ve got the game won. Having to effectively carry one of Fabinho, Harvey Elliott, Carvalho or Curtis Jones is doable. Asking them all to play together and gel immediately, despite no evidence that they’re able to do so, is asking for trouble. Jordan Henderson will always be the scapegoat for weirdos on the internet, yet he remains the metronome of this side that sets the pace in games. You could see how much better we played when he came on and began moving the ball quicker and with more purpose. If Thiago isn’t playing, you have to start him. That he didn’t start today is a mistake by the manager and it’s ok to say as much. The players, bar Alisson Becker, were all appalling. That much is unquestionably true. It doesn’t mean that the manager is completely absolved of any and all criticism, however. It’s not the same as saying I want him out of the club.

We Keep Starting Slowly

Nottingham Forest weren’t in the game in the first-half. Until we let them in. Sloppy passes and stupid decision making once again presented a club that shouldn’t have even been in the conversation with opportunities and something to believe in. It isn’t the first time this season that the Reds have started slow. That’s either because the manager is telling them to play within themselves, aware of how many games we have to play this season and arrogantly believing that we’ll have enough to win anyway, or it’s because the players are ignoring him. I refuse to believe that it’s the latter, yet the fact that it keeps happening means that it warrants conversation. It is abundantly clear that, this season at least, these players don’t have the capacity to play within themselves and come away with all three points. We need to get back to playing in a more disciplined manner, getting the game won and then making changes to allow us to play within ourselves.

Is it arrogance? Is it complacency? Today, it felt as though Nottingham Forest just wanted it more than we did. Either the manager isn’t asking the players to start strong or else they’re ignoring his instructions. I’m not sure what else it could be. We need reinforcements in January, of that there can be no doubt. FSG are already ripe for criticism, but if they don’t offer the manager financial support when the window opens then they’ll be leaving themselves open to anger and disappointment from supporters that believe we’re wasting the manager’s best years. We can’t compete with Manchester City financially because, unlike the sports washing club, we’re choosing to do things honestly. No one sensible wants us to go head-to-head with them financially, though. We just want a little bit more investment in the areas that matter so that we have better options in the squad. Then we’ll no for certain whether it’s the players or the manager getting things wrong.

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