This was supposed to be a simple game with a very simple mission: go to Moscow, get three points and come back. But as has been the case since the past few years, Liverpool just can’t do the simple stuff anymore.
Same old failings, same old scrappy goals and same old frustrating play where the Reds dominate everything on and off the ball, yet somehow end up gifting a simple goal to the opposition and inviting unwarranted pressure.
63.9% possession, 16 shots with six on target and an 84.5% pass completion rate, the Reds certainly should have won by a comfortable margin but wasted chances and pathetic defence had the Merseysiders in shambles who now have only two points from two games in a group where they are expected to finish as leaders.
From Emre Can’s woeful display to Loris Karius not being able to keep a simple free-kick out of goal, the Reds were frustrating in all departments.
But this isn’t anything new for the Liverpool fans who have become used to their team being stifled by teams looking to sit deep; maybe it is time for manager Jürgen Klopp to stop defending his players and asking questions over the one thing Liverpool have been really consistent in doing: being inconsistent.
Despite being one of the most exciting sides in Europe at the moment, the Reds are very easy to frustrate and lesser teams know it all very well that they only need to sit deep and block everything Liverpool throw at them and that would be enough because the Reds are bound to gift them a goal anyways.
What this does is invite pressure on the front-line who simply can’t get a moment to relax and given the gruelling nature of the season ahead, it really isn’t fair on them to constantly wrack their brains and feet to keep churning goals, knowing in their head that in one instant all their effort would go to waste as someone would just switch off in their defensive duties and gift away a simple goal.
Klopp keeps on going about how Liverpool have to defend as a team and as theoretically correct it sounds, it just isn’t showing on the pitch as you just can’t expect everyone to do everything. The forwards need to be doing their job of scoring goals while the defenders need to do theirs of keeping them out.
As simple as it sounds, it has become one hell of a task for the Reds who are leaking goals like anything this season.
All is certainly not doom and gloom for the Reds till now as they sit five points off the top in the Premier League and have two draws in the Champions League.
However, what it surely shows is that Liverpool won’t be able to get far in the continental competition given the way they are playing because if this is how they gift goals to teams who really don’t ask questions of their defence, I wonder what will happen when teams such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and other continental giants do take the game to the Reds.
The problem thus is not in the players at the moment; it is with the manager who in his attempt to enforce his philosophy is driving players nuts in trying to give their 110% and then see it go to waste.
These players are humans and they all are starting to realise that they won’t be able to get a favourable result despite doing everything they can for their team; and once this psyche settles in — which by the way is already getting evident in some players — it would be really difficult to break.
Something needs to be done and it needs to be done fast.
While it is still early in the season to be making any predictions, but all the signs are out there that unless something miraculous happens, Liverpool won’t be able to go far in the Champions League and in the end will be lucky to get away with a top-four finish given the way the opposition — Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham — are playing.
Just as has been the case in the past few seasons, Liverpool fans would be looking towards the next season and thinking that ‘maybe this will be our year’ as this season certainly seems to be lost.