Midtjylland 1 - 1 Liverpool | A game of two VARs

The Champions League group stages have come to a close and Klopp's men and in the end kids, made it through unbeaten and topped the table with 13 points. Elsewhere Atalanta were able to keep Ajax at bay with a 0-1 victory in the last round to secure their advancement to the final 16.
 

In tonight's match Klopp chose a relatively inexperienced team and rightfully so considering the amount of whining he has been doing over the last few months about the workload the players have to undertake due to the fixture schedule. He did also start a couple of senior players and fair enough as you do need someone to guide the young lads during the game.

Salah, Fabinho, Jota and TAA all started and are considered players from our strongest starting XI. This allowed the likes of Naby, Taki, Kosta and Origi some valuable playing time for match fitness as well as handing Clarkson his Champions League debut. Such a baby faced looking lad.


However, I feel Klopp did his argument a great disservice when he then elected to sub on four 1st team players in the second half. This was a prime opportunity for him to prove he had no option but to rest his mainstay players no matter what the result. Especially since the result did not have any affect on where teams would place in the group.

Why not play Neco at left-back when Kosta got injured, bring on Cain for Salah or Jota and why take off Origi, other than him playing his usual poor self. Leave him on and rest one of our main players for the weekend.

It's too early to say whether Klopp's tactics failed the lads tonight but this weekend's result against Fulham will determine if he's gone about resting, or rather, not resting players in the best way. But putting that to one side, let's look at some positive aspects from a rather underwhelming game.

For his debut appearance, I felt young Leighton Clarkson put in a shift he could be proud of and one that will stay in the mind of Klopp for future selection. In the first 5 to 10 minutes Clarkson played some great balls over the top for Jota to run on to and with a slightly better first touch from Jota on the second ball, you never know Clarkson might have gotten his first assist.

Then you have Fabinho a former defensive midfielder now equalling some of the best centre-backs in the world with his customary goal line clearance. I still feel Klopp needs to get a new CB, not because Fab's isn't good enough to play there but because he's too good of a DM not to have in that spot.

Fabinho was one of the only players showing leadership on the field and it was surely missed in the second half when Klopp made the call to rest him by subbing on Billy the Kid Koumetio for his Champions League debut. Although it was the right call to rest Fab's it meant there was zero leadership in the heart of defence and Midtjylland did everything in their power to exploit that.


Once again Kelleher put in a brilliant performance between the sticks, he was a bit unfortunate to give away a penalty when he came out to block an approaching attacker who tried to side step around him and in doing so caught his leg. There wasn't much else Kelleher could have done in that situation and the resulting penalty was well taken. Nevertheless that'ss the only goal Kelleher has conceded in the last 3 matches. Adrian I feel your time at Anfield is drawing to a close.

Unfortunately of the players that really needed to step up and show their worth not many if any of them did. Taki was the best of the worst, in the first half he popped up with some nice tackles and through-balls but faded in an out far too often. In the second half it was as if all the lads where instructed to only play at 60% as we struggled to get hold of the ball at all.

Lastly VAR reared it's ugly head again with two more controversial decisions. Is it now time we shelved VAR altogether or should we persevere with it?

All said and done, we've qualified nicely for the final 16 of the Champions League and with no rest for the wicked we quickly return to trying to secure top spot in the English Premier League.

Who was your stand out player and which player(s) need to be shown the door next summer?

Powered by Blogger.