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Iskaral Pust

Football: winter break over

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Liverpool have a complicated relationship with winter breaks.  Klopp loves them and insists on them, but they definitely break the rhythm of the players and cost us some results.

If we’re being honest, it was the drop in rhythm after the winter break that cost us a title last year.  Those costly draws all took place in the weeks just after the break.  On the other hand, the recuperation for the players in those winter breaks probably helped us reach two CL consecutive finals.  Our team struggled with injuries in the semis and finals both years, but without the breaks we might have had even more injuries that would have seen us knocked out.  Margins are pretty fine when the back-ups are a big step below the starters. 

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I see a lot of complaints in the prior thread about Liverpool's play in the first half hour of games, but these two articles seem to indicate that the changes in intensity and style are an intentional choice from Klopp.

How Klopp’s Rampant Liverpool Can Dominate in All Game States

and

Losing Just 4.9% of Matches: How Liverpool Dominates Football Thanks to Data Science

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7 hours ago, Wilbur said:

I see a lot of complaints in the prior thread about Liverpool's play in the first half hour of games, but these two articles seem to indicate that the changes in intensity and style are an intentional choice from Klopp.

How Klopp’s Rampant Liverpool Can Dominate in All Game States

Interesting article. I think it's pretty clear that over the past couple of seasons Liverpool have significantly improved their game management and made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of energy they're expending in games to allow them to maintain a title challenge. Having said that I'd be wary of just assuming that any period when they aren't doing too well is because they are conserving energy, especially when they aren't in front, sometimes they will just not be playing well.

As an aside I'd totally missed that the Premier League had replaced goal difference with head to head record as the first tie breaker this season. That really was a bit of a boost for Liverpool at the start of the season even if it's turned out not to be too much of a big deal.

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I know Liverpool weren’t particularly fluid in the first half yesterday, but they were also facing another low block, which is unusual for Norwich.  As in a lot of games, they adjusted in the second half once they had seen how the defense was playing.

This team faces a deep eight or nine in two narrow banks almost every game.  It’s hard to expect scintillating football against that. 

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27 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

 

This team faces a deep eight or nine in two narrow banks almost every game.  It’s hard to expect scintillating football against that.  

 

 

Weird. We used to manage it regularly in the Fergie days.

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Man, Villa could have been out of sight in this game but are losing. To be fair, Spurs had *plenty* of chances too.

Entertaining game, this

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Reina’s having a good game for Villa. Apparently he’s only 37, it feels like he should be a lot older than that.

ETA: That’s a brutal way to lose it.

Edited by ljkeane

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

Weird. We used to manage it regularly in the Fergie days.

Arsene wept.

I mean seriously, I get the nostalgia and rose tinted glasses about the not so distant United past, but United had played their fair share of meh football under Ferguson, too. And if we are honest, footballing wise Arsenal was probably more enjoyable to watch than United in quite a few of those seasons (and not just the ones when Arsenal actually managed to win the league). Same way as City are usually more fun to watch than Liverpool this season.

But in ten years all the scousers will only fondly remember how they ran away with the league and clinched it in March (or even February). I bet even Soylent will have forgotten how many times he complained about Liverpool being wank, or him wanting to offload half the team two seasons before. Klopp ended the 30 year drought.

Point is, it doesn't matter how United performed in Stoke on a Monday Night in 2005, or Liverpool in Norwich in 2020. Cups talk.

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger

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13 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

. And if we are honest, footballing wise Arsenal was probably more enjoyable to watch than United in quite a few of those seasons (and not just the ones when Arsenal actually managed to win the league).

 

Sure. Arsenal are one of the most entertaining teams of our lifetimes.


But, like, Fergie could be pragmatic, we could grind out wins, but there weren't many seasons where we went week after week with our own fans complaining about how boring it was to watch us. Point I'm making is that teams playing low blocks and deep defences is an inherent part of being one of the best teams in the world, especially in the Prem, it's not some unique thing that's just started purely to spite Liverpool, and us, and Arsenal, and City, all managed more entertaining league wins (albeit Arsenal admittedly began to struggle to break those teams down as time went on).

So, like, fair play to Liverpool for being as good as they fucking are but my point really is that complaints that wins being shaky and often dull being just coz of the opposition don't really fly. They're happening because Klopp has decided that he needs to sort out the pragmatism before he reintroduces the Dortmund-style entertainment if he does figure it out.
 

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25 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

So, like, fair play to Liverpool for being as good as they fucking are but my point really is that complaints that wins being shaky and often dull being just coz of the opposition don't really fly. They're happening because Klopp has decided that he needs to sort out the pragmatism before he reintroduces the Dortmund-style entertainment if he does figure it out.

Dull, arguably yes. Shaky, not really. Going a bit bac. 1980s Bundesliga, Bayern also just managed to win the majority of their games by a one goal margin - quite often with some shitty penalty call going their way. There was also talk about them just being lucky (the proverbial Bayern Dusel), Gerland who joined them as headcoach for their reserve team once quipped: If you are doing that consistently, then it's no luck, it's skill. I think same can be said about Liverpool. They are pulling those narrow wins off way too often to label them as shaky/lucky. To me it seems more like they figured out how to tax their opponents and invest just enough to see them off, without running out of gas over the season. Yes, that's a shift from Dortmund (and first 2 seasons at Liverpool) Klopp. And I don't think he will go back. It'd be interesting to see how this Liverpool team reacts when teams actually seize their opportunities, personally I think they'd switch gears, when you force them to invest more into a game.

The proverbial smart horse, that just doesn't jump any higher than it has to.

FWIW, I think the decissive game for the season was their home win against City with the not given handpenalty against Arnold, after which Liverpool scored on the counter. If the penalty had been given and City had won that game, the season might have unfolded differently. But that's an academic discussion, and another point that will be forgotten in ten years time.

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger

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Liverpool could be winning by two goals at half and there would still be negative comments here. Don’t really see our fans complaining about our style of play week in week out on other sites 
Personally think Liverpool have not been all that dull this season but couldn’t give two shits about having the most entertaining league winning season tbh.

Edited by Mark Antony

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I find any criticism of Liverpool right now bizarre given their record this season. 
 

Klopp has changed tactics over the seasons and their pressing isn’t as manic as when he first arrived. Which makes sense if you are constantly coming up against teams who sit right next to their own penalty box. No point trying to heavily counter press them. His pragmatism is part of the reason they are doing so well.
 

Its unlikely you’d see so much heavy metal football from them in the future either. 

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17 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

If you are doing that consistently, then it's no luck, it's skill. I think same can be said about Liverpool. They are pulling those narrow wins off way too often to label them as shaky/lucky. To me it seems more like they figured out how to tax their opponents and invest just enough to see them off, without running out of gas over the season.

 

 

Well sure, that's what I said. I'm not the one complaining.

 

eta: Arsenal are dreadful. And St Maximin is far too joyful for this Newcastle side and needs to be rescued before that joy dies.

Edited by polishgenius

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7 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I find any criticism of Liverpool right now bizarre given their record this season. 
 

Klopp has changed tactics over the seasons and their pressing isn’t as manic as when he first arrived. Which makes sense if you are constantly coming up against teams who sit right next to their own penalty box. No point trying to heavily counter press them. His pragmatism is part of the reason they are doing so well.
 

Its unlikely you’d see so much heavy metal football from them in the future either. 

This is Mark Cohen's point about the different means of play in different game states.  In Game State +1, he notes:

"Under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have morphed from an exciting attacking, but erratic, team, into one that can easily shift through the gears, both up or down, depending on the game state. Yes the goals flow, but the first stand out figure is that our performance when we are more than one goal to the good is only half as good as City’s. We have an xG of 1.08 at this state, City 1.81. They’ve scored 14 times, we have only 4.

But this might be the single clearest difference in the two team’s mentality. City have an ability to drill teams into the ground, once the team is beaten already. Liverpool on the other hand, possess a much greater ability to make sure the team is beaten, but to then conserve energy that is not required."

Thus the switching into and back out of "heavy metal football" we have seen this season.

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39 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

But, like, Fergie could be pragmatic, we could grind out wins, but there weren't many seasons where we went week after week with our own fans complaining about how boring it was to watch us. Point I'm making is that teams playing low blocks and deep defences is an inherent part of being one of the best teams in the world, especially in the Prem, it's not some unique thing that's just started purely to spite Liverpool, and us, and Arsenal, and City, all managed more entertaining league wins (albeit Arsenal admittedly began to struggle to break those teams down as time went on).

Firstly I'd say you're rather overselling how much Liverpool fans in general are complaining about watching this season. Secondly, yeah, of course teams sat back against Ferguson and Wenger's teams but they weren't really so averse to having the ball in their own half the way they are against Liverpool and City (not that applicable to Norwich last night to be fair).

The battle for 11th place between Arsenal and Newcastle is quite entertaining despite the lack of goals or much in the way of clear cut chances really,

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11 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

(not that applicable to Norwich last night to be fair).


I'll be honest, this is what triggered me. Norwich couldn't give less of a shit and were frequently playing tiki-taka on the edge of their own box. They're like a Bielsa team in that respect. Blaming their defensive tactics for Liverpool needing a late goal of questionable legality to beat them is extracting the urine.

 

eta: and of course I oversell (though not that much) how much you guys complain. I'm yanking your chain guys!

Edited by polishgenius

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It is actually challenging to miss high from that short distance.  An impressive miss.  

ETA:  Not missing now though!  What a quickly blown open match.  

Edited by Triskele

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2 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

Saka's only got a year left on his contract hasn't he? I wonder if he fancies being Andy Robertson's back up.

Klopp would most likely turn him into Andy 2.0 :D ,so yeah, wouldnt be a bad signing at all. ;)

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