A performance from Liverpool, almost totally devoid of intelligence, led to a truly heroic moment in injury time, with Luiz Diaz rescuing a point for his side. Frankly, it wasn’t deserved after what looked like a winning goal from Luton in the 80th minute, which was embarrassing in its inevitability, looked like it would be the decisive moment.
Luton played with spirit, determination, and a plan. Liverpool however, were woeful in the first half and abysmal in the second. Jurgen Klopp’s men lacked width, quality and, in Darwin Nunez, have a forward so raw that he again missed a chance you’d expect a schoolboy to take. Whilst the Uruguayan stung the fingers of Luton’s goalkeeper with long range shots in the first half, his miss at 0-0, from no more than a yard, will live as long in the memory as his thunderous strike against Bournemouth in mid-week.
From the outset, Liverpool played into the game plan of a Luton side intent on defending the width of their penalty box. Thus, you’d expect a side as experienced as Liverpool to get the ball wide. Alas, no. Mo Salah, again poor, failed to hold his width, whilst the midfield simply played too slowly. Time and again, Liverpool ran into an orange wall, failed with the final pass and at times resorted to speculative long range efforts that betrayed an obvious frustration.
Changes were needed at half-time, but Klopp waited too long to make them. An hour passed before he’d seen enough, and introduced Cody Gakpo, and the energetic Harvey Elliot, who finally introduced some intent into Liverpool. It was his cross, finished by Diaz, that brought Liverpool salvation. Luton, who’d taken the lead through Chong, following a counter attack, looked bereft, but the Colombian, himself a late substitute, displaying a shirt with the words ‘freedom for papa’ after his 94th minute goal, was the toast of his team mates.
Last season, Liverpool too often failed to beat sides below them, losing to teams who went on to be relegated. Luton, surely relegation bound, showed just why. Though just how many times Liverpool need to be confronted by a determined, energetic, and well-organised low block, before learning that width and quick passing is the answer, who knows. Likewise, Nunez has much about his game to be commended, but you simply cannot miss the chances he fails to convert without inviting derision that may well stunt his progress.