Brighton 1-1 Liverpool | A comedy of errors

Let me start by saying I'm not someone who follows a regime of apportioning blame for the sake of it. Sometimes you lose or draw a game of football and it's not your fault. You've put out a decent line-up who've played well and the result still hasn't gone your way. Just one of those things.

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This wasn't one of those occasions. This was an occasion where we put out a poor line-up and we played poorly as a result. Our first error though was a philosophical one.

Like many, in fact a majority, Klopp subscribes to the players-need-a-rest-philosophy whereby you field a weakened team in the hope it performs better than the sum of it's parts, leaving your best players sitting on the bench in the hope they'll not be needed.

This is a flawed idea. Your weakened team are by definition likely to perform weakly meaning it's odds on you'll end up having to substitute them for your better players to try and secure a winning result. When you inevitably reach that point you've already given the opposition a chance to build confidence and momentum.

The job is now harder than it would have been by doing the opposite: starting with your best players and performing well enough to take a commanding lead. Then subbing them off for a rest, when the opposition are demoralised enough that your lesser players can see out the result.

So that was error one and please someone tell me if it's not obvious and logical and why Klopp insists on taking the less sensible route. And he does it frequently, our prior midweek game being another example which also backfired.

Now lets take a look at error number two, our line-up itself.

Liverpool: Alisson, N. Williams, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Minamino, Jota, Salah, Firmino.

Subs: Adrian, Mane, Henderson, Jones, Tsimikas, Origi, R. Williams.

Both myself and Sid noted what I expect many were thinking: Neco would likely be a weak link and overall the line-up was not a particularly strong one.

It was moments before kick off and I didn't want to be too much of a Debbie Downer so I didn't say much more but it was very predictable that things would play out as they did - we'd struggle in both defence and midfield and need to bring on Mane and Hendo to try and get the job done.

That was exactly what happened and it links back to error number one. We should have fielded a stronger team in the first place. People can say well Hendo and Mane were borderline fitness wise but I will say: it's far less risk to them to be started, get the game won and then come off. Mathematics, statistics, logic and common sense all tell us that.

Error number three. Starting Neco Williams.

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I like Neco and hope he goes on to have a brilliant career with us but in recent performances he's consistently shown he's way off the pace. With that in mind, starting him yesterday was ridiculous. All Klopp is doing is hammering the lad's confidence.

Side note: Giving Neco stick and nasty abuse on social media is disgusting and shameful and anyone who does so is clearly not a Liverpool fan.

Neco obviously has potential and it's been fairly commented at the Nest that players like Gomez and Alexander-Arnold had shaky starts but were afforded plenty of chance to play through such, continuing on to reward us handsomely for our patience.

That's absolutely correct and I agree we should do the same with not just Neco but all our younger players. However it's about balancing their development while keeping a focus on winning games.

It's possible to have the best of both worlds and for example, we could have started Milner at right-back - he plays a blinder there as he has done in other recent games and then Neco comes on to replace him later in the match when we've taken the lead and the wind from Brighton's sails.

I'm not going to criticise Neco for his performance which was a poor one because it was expected. He's been thrown in at an end which is simply too deep for him. I called him a muppet during the match for giving away a penalty so rashly. That was a heat of the moment comment and not right.

It was a Moreno-esque penalty move BUT now the dust has settled I ultimately blame Klopp for starting Neco. In fact I blame him for the whole performance and not the players themselves for the poor starting eleven they were part of.

Error number four: failure to sign a new centre-back in the summer.

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This one speaks for itself. Previously I've flip flopped but my mind is made up. We should have replaced Lovren and if that point still needed proving: Matip is apparently so fragile that after just two games back from injury he cannot be included in the squad for fear of breaking him. Klopp has to question his judgement in believing we had sufficient strength.

Not only in defence but throughout our squad, a fair question can be asked, do we have too many injury prone players. My answer is yes, we do, and by now it should have been addressed.

Error number five: VAR.

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It's just pathetic isn't it. I don't know who is ultimately in charge of it's implementation but whoever they are, they should have rotten fruit thrown at them while being shot, hung drawn and quartered as well as simultaneously being tarred and feathered, while someone shoves pies in their face.

What else is there to say? It's ruining football and has been doing for sometime now. Easily long enough for them to have fixed it. Still we have goals ruled offside because of a toenail and then a penalty given because one of our players took part in a 50/50 effort to win the ball.

I'm not even going to waste any more thought process on this. VAR is a total joke, an unfunny one and whoever's in charge of it needs a swift kick in the plums.

Error number six: BT and SKY's purposeful failure to grasp extremely simple concepts.


As Jurgen's said repeatedly, it is the broadcasters who select which team they want to show in the 12.30 kick off slot. After we play a midweek match they could choose to show us in a later TV slot on the Saturday or one of the numerous ones available to them on a Sunday.

What they do instead is feign ignorance on the subject while dishonestly claiming that Jurgen doesn't understand the process. On this one I back him to the hilt. BT and SKY, in my opinion, are quite vile organisations in pretty much every way imaginable and this is typical behaviour for them.

It is sad though to see upstanding, righteous, members, of the footballing community such as Gary Lineker also feigning ignorance and stupidity in support of the broadcasters, rather than defending players, managers and the game he was once a valued part of.

Jurgen's right, this is not a normal season. Players are at greater risk of injury due to the effect our response to Covid19 has had on the fixture, playing and training schedules.

Rather than attempt to manufacture controversial headlines BT et al should try and show some care for player's well being.

Error number seven.

To finish, I hope there won't be an error number seven. That will only happen if we don't learn from yesterday. My hope is by better picking and choosing how and when we rest players we'll avoid a repeat performance and instead get back to winning ways.

There were a number of mistakes made in yesterday's approach but it's football and these things happen. It's not a cardinal sin to drop two points and overall the league is still there for the taking. We cannot afford to drop the ball for too long though and with our injuries things hang in the balance.

Time to right the wrongs with a great victory against Ajax on Tuesday.

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