HomeViews and OpinionsLiverpool out of Europe with barely a whimper

Liverpool out of Europe with barely a whimper

An early penalty conversion by Mo Salah gave Liverpool hope and a victory, but a second half performance of such crushing ineptitude, frankly defied belief. Atalanta, always favourites to progress, were never troubled. Liverpool though, look mentally and physically wasted.

So many players look simply incapable of making intelligent decisions, both on and off the ball. Trent Alexander-Arnold offered something, but too often rushed his pass. Curtis Jones and Dominki Szoboszlai in midfield were awful; unable to collect, retain, or run with the ball. Ibou Konate looked uncomfortable throughout, whilst Alisson took so long with the ball perhaps he thought Liverpool were 3-0 up from the first leg, though he wasn’t helped by a chronic lack of movement from those in front of him.

Had Salah taken the chance to put his side 2-0 up in the first half, the outcome of the tie may have been in doubt. Yet, not only did he miss with the ball coming off his shin, he missed the target by ten yards. Luis Diaz offered the occassional threat, whilst Cody Gakpo continues to run down blind alleys and lacks physicality. In truth, nobody in red looks even half the player they were just a month ago.

Throughout, Jurgen Klopp stood on the touchline, looking perplexed. For three consecutive games he’s watched his team perform as if they are strangers to one another. Astonishingly, the substitutions, so often transformational this season, made Liverpool worse. Even Harvey Elliot, who so often injects a shot in the arm to a tiring side, lacked energy. There was no cohesion, no purpose, no guile, and next to no chance. More worryingly, they look incapable of retrieving a season that just weeks ago offered so much.

Klopp deserves better. Tragically, it looks like things may get worse. This season looks like it’s going to end with barely a whimper, but with Champions League football not yet secure, Klopp’s managerial skills are perhaps under pressure like never before.

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