Earlier this week I watched the Ajax game and after the game I wanted to write my opinion in the match day thread, but felt like it would be a bit on the negative side considering we had just won 3-0 away from home and qualified for the next round of the CL. With that said, my opinion was negative because I feel like all the bad stuff I saw in that game just happened again yesterday and once again, the only difference between a win/draw and a loss was not the level at which we performed, but the level at which the opposition performed and the opportunism of the team in front of us.
On Wednesday we could've been 1-0 down after, what, 5 minutes? Can someone look at that game and honestly think/say that we had that happened we would've gone on to win the game 2-1 or 3-1? I'm not going to do yet another long post where everything is analyzed. I'll just go over one point I think is at the heart of our misery.
Possession. Yesterday was one of the most crying example of our possession problems. I felt like I was watching a pingpong match so much the ball kept going from our legs to theirs and vice versa. We can't keep possession and control the tempo of games even if our lives depended on it. There is two simple facts I doubt anybody can deny. The first is that when you have the ball, even when you are as sh*t defensively as we have been all season, you can't concede. The second is we, LFC, have the quality of forwards required to score goals and the first step towards servicing those guys well enough for them to score is to have the ball for more than 5 seconds at a time. Yes we need creativity and all that good stuff, but can we start with having the ball? Once again, yesterday, Thiago was the only player in that midfield that made sense offensively and defensively. He can keep hold of the ball for more than 2 seconds. The simple reason for that is that he is our only midfielder, at the moment, who knows how to get past the first line of press presented to him by the opposition. Elliott is technical and tricky, but gets dispossessed more often than not and the other midfielder, Fabinho, has turned into a liability more than anything with and without the ball. I'm not even sure if there is a benefit in playing Fabinho in this current form. Thiago has more tackles than him last night, attempted and won more ground duels than him and the same number of clearances...he plays LCM. By the way, if anybody is interested in comparing the number of times our midfielders lose the ball, don't forget to look at the their respective number of touches they have on the ball during the game, the attempted number of passes, players taken on, etc. What defined Fabinho those past years was that when he had the ball you knew we were not going to lose it no matter what, defensive vision for day (he is everywhere all the same time), excellence in the air and finally, the ability to tackle very effectively without fouling. None of that is there this season, none of it. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that playing Bajcetic instead for a spell of games would be better for both players and the team.
All in all. Yes we can sit here and say Nunez should've finished this or that and that Salah should've had a hat trick, but the truth is the only two departments we have no problems in at the moment is the forwards dept and the goalkeeping dept. Everything else is an absolute mess. Right now, we start games and within 20 minutes we are down 1-0 or 2-0 and the message to our forwards is ''hey, we need you to score a minimum of 2 or 3 for us to win this game, but we also need you to do this without us having the ball and next to no service. Go on and get yourself a hattrick for the team, mate!''