Possession Has Become A Problem For Liverpool
It was clear from there first half here that Slaven Bilic would have prepared his team for this game by watching videos of the Reds’ recent defeats at Newcastle and Watford, where the hosts were happy to keep compact and let their visitors have the majority of the ball – thereby removing Liverpool’s threat on the counter.
Breaking down teams who are sitting in front of them was an issue for the Reds during the latter months of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure, but now there seems to be the strange case of Liverpool actually looking less and less dangerous the more they have the ball.
It sounds ridiculous to say, but it is becoming on uncomfortable truth for Jurgen Klopp as he bids to get across his ideas to what is still another man’s team.
And Tiredness Has Too
Klopp has spent a noticeable amount of time talking about the things that he can’t control since his arrival in early October, with fixture congestion and even the weather both subjects which have tumbled from his lips.
It could be that his punishing methods will ultimately deliver the results he wants once he signs players who can thrive within them, but right now they look to be draining his men.
Too often within a run of three or four games – which as Klopp often points out, could take place over about 10 days – Liverpool have delivered at least one lethargic, meandering display which hints at a general tiredness.
Andy Carroll Can Be Unplayable
A fit and firing Andy Carroll adds something to a team which is almost unique to English football and the Premier League.
Carroll can turn any game into a grim, attritional battle from which you’ll be lucky to escape without bruises and with points.
His ability to pull away onto the full-backs is almost unmatched, as he showed for his goal when he bullied Nathaniel Clyne and later when he almost grabbed a second when beating Brad Smith to the ball, and the key thing for whichever club employs him is how to get the best out of him whilst also not sacrificing your more creative players.
Slaven Bilic seems to have done that.
Philippe Coutinho’s Rashness Can Cost Liverpool
Too often in what was a horribly disjointed Liverpool display we saw Philippe Coutinho try and aim shots at goal from long distances – something which Reds fans have come to know and realise as a sign that all isn’t right with their team and their No. 10.
The Brazilian wasn’t the worst Liverpool player on show here – there are still more questions than answers about Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke – but he was often too petulant, with moves breaking down as he slammed shots either into the body of defenders or way over the bar.
And when he’s having one of those days, the Reds tend to struggle.
The Sky’s The Limit For West Ham
How high can West Ham finish this season, then? Well the sky really should be the limit.
With Dimitri Payet back from injury and more and more players finding their feet under Bilic, a European spot really isn’t too far-fetched.
Upton Park could have a rousing send-off.
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