It was just under 12 months ago that Jurgen Klopp was ruing a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light, to now relegated Sunderland, in a very similar fashion to yesterdays home draw to Everton. A late penalty drew Sunderland level, much the same way a late Wayne Rooney penalty allowed Everton to leave Anfield with a thoroughly undeserved point.
Being frank, Everton put on a terrible performance at Anfield. In the first half it felt like there was no plan other than to withstand pressure and hope for a miracle. Whenever they won the ball back from Liverpool, it was a continuous long ball up the pitch in nobodies direction, allowing Liverpools defenders to comfortably pick the ball up and to continuously pile on the pressure.
When Salah picked up the ball on the edge of the box, and jinked his way passed an already booked Gueye, whipping the ball into the far corner, it looked like Liverpool were about to start going through the gears. No sooner had the game restarted than Mane found himself on the ball in a 4 v 1 situation, where a pass to any of three team mates leaves Liverpool two nil up at half time, and Everton dead in the water, but instead he takes the selfish option and skews his shot wide leaving Everton with some belief.
Changes were made to Everton at half time, which were much needed, and they looked like they were going to be harder to break down. In all honesty, they still didn’t carry a threat going forward, but at 1-0 you’re always in with a chance. All it takes is a decision to go your way and you’re back in the game, and that’s exactly what Everton got.
The ball to Calvert-Lewin from Rooney was precise, perhaps the only time Everton had any control of the ball in the oppositions area, going away from goal Lovren has got too close to his man and gave the referee a decision to make. There will be debates over whether it was a penalty or not, the fact is there that Lovren is nowhere near the ball and made contact with the back of the player. Personally I think the decision was right, Calvert-Lewin has played for the contact, stepping inside Lovren, but an experienced defender has to be smarter and just see his man out wide. Everton weren’t attacking with men, and there wasn’t an obvious pass to the left wing on, so just seeing him out wide would have been enough. But as you seem to get with Lovren on a regular basis, especially in the Premier League, he lapses in concentration and makes costly mistakes.
However, it’s in the post-match interview, and press conference, when we get a glimpse of Jurgens best impression of Mr Hyde, no longer the smiling giant, hugging his players, but resentful of a decision that has gone against his team, and willing to take it out on a reporters and journalists.
Wow! You’ve got to watch Jurgen Klopp’s FURIOUS post match interview from this afternoon! 😬
Safe to say he did NOT think that was a penalty! 😨 pic.twitter.com/v2O55bbnQN
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) December 10, 2017
It’s obvious that no manager wants to face the press after a poor result, but you still need to maintain a level of professionalism, but he seemed bitter by the decision, but it can be argued that the it wasn’t the penalty that cost Klopp 3 points in the Merseyside derby, but his own decision making.
It was circulated that Coutinho and Firmino were dropped to the bench following Wednesdays 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow due to fatigue. Klopp has to take responsibility for this, Liverpool were 3-0 up and cruising at half time on Wednesday, 5-0 by the 50th minute. With a derby coming up 4 days later, why not rest your key men. Moreno came off before half time with an injury, but at 3-0, especially 5-0, you an opportunity to rest two key players for the next game. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, the players stayed on the field, and Klopp allowed his players to humiliate an opposition.
What seemed even more ludicrous was his decision to take Salah off in the 67th minute, with the game still at 1-0. It was almost arrogance, a sign that this match is already over we just need to see it out. Everton were outfought in all areas of the pitch, but when Salah went off it would have buoyed the Everton players. Taking off one of, if not, the most in-form player in the league at 1-0, would give any opposition a lift. I’d be surprised if Everton didn’t even find it, on some level, insulting.
Rather than berating others for decisions that are open to opinion, he needs to evaluate his own decision making, and formulate ways to deal with fatigue in his squad. We once again go into the Christmas period, and it will be a fine balancing act to ensure they gain maximum points throughout this period. Journalists will not come under scrutiny for asking questions, but managers will come under pressure for failure in collecting points.