Monday, June 27, 2022

Liverpool And Their Defining Premier League Moments: Three Things That Went Wrong For The Reds

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

So near yet so far for Liverpool on Sunday evening when they came close to conquering the coveted Premier League crown before a five-minute Manchester City storm shattered their hopes. The Citizens were losing 2-0 at one stage against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, however, the stunning comeback reminded us of their title triumph from a decade ago when they defeated QPR in a similar manner.

The Reds, on the other hand, scripted yet another turnaround after being a goal down against the Wolves. But the damage was already done by then as the Villans failed to script a miracle at the Etihad. Despite finishing the campaign with 92 points, City maintained the one-point cushion that earned them the silverware.

While it is unfair to pinpoint what went wrong for Liverpool given their sheer success in all competitions, a few factors made the difference in this fierce title fight.

No Win Against The ‘Top Four’

The Reds stayed unbeaten against the ‘Big Six’ but, at the same time, failed to grab a victory versus the fellow ‘top four’ finishers City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. All six games ended in draws when they should have at least defeated Spurs and Chelsea at Anfield in this year’s competition.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) and Tottenham Hotspur’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte (L) shakes hands after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 7, 2022. – The game finished 1-1. – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP via Getty Images) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

The Lilywhites, under Antonio Conte, executed a counter-attacking strategy with perfection and Liverpool, visibly exhausted amid fixture congestion, only managed a 1-1 draw thanks to a late deflected strike from Luis Diaz.

That Rodri ‘Handball’

It might sound like an excuse, but these little things make major differences when you are battling against a team managed by one of the game’s most successful managers with financial hegemony. VAR has caused a lot of controversies in recent years, but its inconsistency in England has often been criticized by the pundits and experts. Chris Kavanagh and Paul Tierney messed it up completely against Everton when Rodri was found controlling the ball with his arm inside the box minutes before the final whistle.

A penalty was not awarded to the Toffees despite extensive checking and the PGMOL managing director Mike Riley later issued a personal apology to Frank Lampard and Everton chairman Bill Kenwright. City, who were leading 1-0, could have dropped a couple of points on that day.

The Bad Games

There won’t be many bad games in a 92-point season. But the level set by City leaves no margin for error. The Reds were up 2-0 against Brighton at Anfield earlier this campaign. Two first-half goals made it look like a stroll in the park for Jurgen Klopp’s juggernaut. However, a strike from Enock Mwepu minutes before the break resulted in a momentum shift and Leandro Trossard, their Belgian wideman, restored parity midway through the second half.

Similarly, Liverpool had 21 attempts at the King Power Stadium when they clashed heads with a depleted Leicester City side. Mohamed Salah missed from the spot early into the game and a second-half goal from Ademola Lookman against the run helped the Foxes clinch a 1-0 win during the Christmas season.

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