You could not have scripted it any wilder than reality, and even if you did that script of yours would be laughed off as implausible. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp knows all too well the reputation that surrounds his team- phenomenal against the big boys but awful against the bottom feeders. Their record against the top six versus how they fare against the mid and lower table sides has created this familiar archetype, but it’s hard to imagine anyone saw this coming.
Last time out Liverpool handed Manchester City, a team that essentially wrapped up the league title by mid December, a side on pace to shatter season points record, their first loss of the campaign. What happens next, after Liverpool end City’s 22 game winning streak in a very exciting, high scoring fashion?
They get beat by the absolute worst team in the entire league, Swansea City, 1-0 and in the process see their own 18 game undefeated streak end.
How it happened was familiar- the weakling side drops ten guys back, the normally high flying Reds attack can’t break it down, and the underdogs score on their lone offensive. Despite maintaining 72% of possession, the Reds managed a mere four shots on target.
Jurgen Klopp sounded a bit taken aback by it all in his post game news conference, and he wasn’t able to offer much in terms of explanation and analysis.
“I’m more frustrated about the performance than about the result. The result is always a result of the performance,” the German told reporters.
“We were just not good enough tonight, especially in the first half. We didn’t play what we wanted to play. It’s not Swansea’s job to play fantastic football. They needed to fight and we wanted to fight as well. Of course, we had the ball much more often and we need to have a plan for that. We had a plan- how you hopefully saw in the second half when he went back to what we wanted to do in the beginning.”
“The stadium was there and their confidence grew and ours wasn’t really there. With each minute, the pressure increases and that’s the situation. We had chances, even in the first half.”
“I didn’t expect tonight that we play our best football, but of course you have to do the right things in the right moment to deserve to win a game like this tonight. How I felt, we didn’t deserve it.”
Jurgen Klopp added that his side was well aware of their great against the elite, poor against the bottom patterns, and that they tried everything they could to break the habits.
“We spoke about it before. We knew that there are a lot of challenges playing against top of the table and bottom of the table. Everybody is talking very positive, fantastic football football, the training week was outstanding; another little trap,” Klopp continued.
“We know about that. I have to watch the game back and maybe I will know a little bit more about it. But I had not one second this feeling. Swansea knew that to win this game today they needed our help and, unfortunately, we helped them.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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