[Fulham 1 – 3 Liverpool]

The headline question will be the one on all our minds following today’s outing.

There were certainly positives. For the first time in what feels like ages, Liverpool actually scored a couple of goals from open play. The best was Liverpool’s third, which showed once again why Diogo Jota needs a new nickname. In these kinds of situations, it often feels like he’s checking the box on the scoring part of a complicated form. Not that Jota’s goals are easy; the one today was anything but. Jota just makes them look that way. Salah used to be like this but isn’t at the mo (yes, pun intended).

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I propose Checkbox Jota.

Gravenberch’s hit to go up again after Fulham’s deflating equalizer at the half was gorgeous, but also frustrating, because he clearly has the capability to be so much better, but often feels lost. Maybe the goal will help build his confidence. Trent’s free-kick goal was one of those that you knew was going in if it hit the target, deadly and pinpoint accurate. It also gave the team a boost of much-needed confidence.

POST MATCH: Liverpool 3 Fulham 1

Which brings me to a couple of negatives, the first of which is, indeed, confidence.

The Reds haven been looking like they are not quite there for a few games now. It shows up in little moments of hesitation, poor decision-making, and wastefulness. It shows up in, for lack of a better word, luck. Champions are lucky, as the saying goes, but it’s really that champions tend to make better split-second decisions consistently throughout games, leading to what looks like luck. Teams who struggle with confidence will have bad luck, and Liverpool has certainly been suffering from bad luck recently.

Thus the first half felt unlucky, culminating in that disaster of a defensive showing leading to Fulham’s equalizer. Liverpool, again, appeared to dominate, only to fall to a series of awkward moments cascading towards a cheap goal given. Any one of those could have gone the other way, which is why it felt unlucky, but the entire sequence wouldn’t have happened in February because someone would have put a foot in or made the right foul before it really got dangerous.

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The second negative is that the team isn’t ruthless like champions need to be. The first half of the second half, right up until Jota’s goal, was some of the best football the Reds have played in a fair while. Fulham looked shellshocked, not something that happens to them often at the Cottage. A confident, ruthless team – think Man City in recent years, or even Liverpool itself a couple of years back – would have put another two or three goals past them before the hosts had a chance to breathe.

Still, that burst was a very positive sign that, maybe, the team is finding its stride again. It leads me to my man-of-the-match, Wataru Endo, who stepped up and took control of the game in midfield. Harvey Elliott provided much-needed pressing energy, and together they changed the game. One step at a time, they say. Well, the next step, in three days, is an always-tricky derby across the park, and we don’t win those without being in our stride. It will tell us a lot about the rest of the run-in.

In the meantime… here’s to Brighton on Thursday.

Ugly Crying and Tissues American Scouser Podcast

We think there was a game this weekend as well but the main topic of course is Klopp's farewell
  1. Ugly Crying and Tissues
  2. Two Week Notice
  3. Having Fun Again
  4. The Turkish Rodeo
  5. Glimpse of Hope
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