Southampton 1-0 Liverpool | Can we stop the rot?

Oh dear, that wasn't the start to the new year we were hoping for but who is to blame. Klopp, the players or both and more importantly is our current slump fixable. If so how?

The match officiating was awful last night. We should have had a penalty but I suggest we put that to one side because it's part and parcel of the game. Teams need to do enough to win in spite of dodgy decisions. We didn't do enough and are clearly having a bad spell but I think it is fixable.

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In the last two months we've beaten Palace 0-7, Spurs 2-1, Wolves 4-0, Leicester 3-0 and drew 1-1 with City. Mixed in with those good results have been disappointing draws and now this loss versus Southampton but nevertheless we've not been straying too far from good form.

We're also not the only team flitting from the sublime to the ridiculous. So from a league winning point of view we can say with a fair degree of probability our poor results are surmountable. Our rivals are experiencing the same phenomena and as we still sit atop the league it's not the end of the world.

Both Manchester teams can overtake us by winning their games in hand but with over half the season still left to play, I maintain my previously held notion that it will be the team who most quickly finds the highest level of consistency which takes the title.

Some amount of luck will be needed regards injuries and Covid19 player infections and there's little we can do to affect that. What's in our own hands is team selection and team performance. Both these things have been sub-par lately and both need improving, quickly, otherwise the situation may become unrecoverable.

In this game we saw the two aspects at play: our line-up was a shocker and compounding matters our players were shocking.

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I can't for the life of me work out why Klopp took Henderson, our best midfielder and stuck him in defence. We're already missing midfield mainstay Fabinho, why double down on that. Rhys Williams and Nate Phillips have been solid and steady in defence so continue to use them until we're able to sign a new senior centre-back this winter window, which we must surely try and do.

Alexander-Arnold had a poor game and has been poor for a while but perhaps that's due to the pressure of an ever changing defence. Stop changing it and see if it settles and lifts itself up a level.

In midfield we've been fairly robust lately just not creative enough so with Henderson back where he should be put better players alongside him. We have Thiago so that should help massively. The midfield probably only needs a slight tweak and we also have Shaqiri and Oxlade Chamberlain to try.

Moving to attack, this is a big problem area. None of our main trio have been playing their best for a long while. Mo, Mane and Bobby have shown glimpses of good form but not often enough and that's been increasingly telling. Particularly since we lost Jota to injury. Minamino has looked good when used but bizarrely Klopp's stopped fielding him.

So there are three fairly obvious and simple fixes to be made in my view.

Keep defence settled with Fabinho and either (R) Williams or Philips alongside him. Hopefully that will help the whole back line improve, including Alexander Arnold.

Make minor tweaks to midfield by including one of Thiago, Ox or Shaqiri.

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Try and boost our attacking potency by using Minamino in place of one of our normal trio or as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation which we've had some success with in the past.

And that's it. Minor tweaks which don't sound too exciting but our mixed results suggest we only need small changes to return to winning ways. In addition Jota's making good progress and may return this month, plus we might sign a new player in January as well.

Things to cut out.

Round pegs in square holes. We must stick to aces in their places wherever possible and other than Fabinho at CB, I don't see the need, or sense, of any other makeshift positional changes.

Leaving substitutions too late to effect the outcome of games. To his credit Klopp made earlier subs than normal in this fixture but it wasn't enough to patch a plaster over the gaping wound his initial line-up had created. Often he waits far too long to try and alter things and that needs to change.

Here are Klopp's post match thoughts.

In conclusion.

Other than the above and some renewed vigour and focus on the training pitch which might get our lads playing better, there is not much to be done but thankfully not much needs doing. We haven't been shipping a tonne of goals and excluding last night have generally had the better of matches in terms of possession and chances created.

It's a fine honing we require and I think Klopp just went a bit too far in this one but it's good that he's trying to solve the problems and get us back up to speed. We know he's the best manager on the planet and so the odds are extremely high he will quickly work things out for the better.

Now we have a chance to rest players against Villa in the FA Cup before a hopefully helpful break ahead of our meeting with Utd in the EPL. A potential six pointer which will be the real litmus test........

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