Liverpool, led by Jurgen Klopp, has lost its identity

The faltering Jurgen Klopp walked across the traveler’s cup into Diego Armando Maradona’s stadium after the final whistle and raised his hands apologizing.

“It’s a long journey from Liverpool to Naples. Despite all the things they invest in, I understand 100 percent it was a very disappointing night, so I have to say sorry for that,” he explained.

Liverpool have given their fans many memories to cherish with their European exploits during Klopp’s tenure. Last season, they became the first club in Champions League History to win all six away matches en route to the final in Paris.

However, the contrast between the team that dug deep to fight for glory on all fronts and the team that humiliated it rampant league Wednesday’s side could hardly be any bigger. Rarely does a team fall so far so quickly.

It was Liverpool’s worst result in Europe since Ajax crushed them 5-1 in December 1966. This competition was in the midst of a thick fog, with coach Bill Shankly complaining about not being able to see the action from the touchline. This time, their glaring shortcomings were painfully obvious.

It wasn’t a thunderbolt out of the blue. This 4-1 defeat was coming. Liverpool have made their worst start to a season domestically since Klopp took charge nearly seven years ago, with just nine points out of a possible 18. The slow start escalated into something more serious.

Why did Liverpool smash in front of the biggest European defeat in more than half a century and how did Klopp stop this worrying decline?

Anger and frustration are rife among the Liverpool fans and that is understandable. The gap between levels of expectation and what is currently being delivered in the field is vast.

This cannot be dismissed as an inevitable transitional season. Sadio Mane exit It did not cause disturbances on this scale.

‘Our identity is strong’ is a quote from Pep Lijnders that decorates the wall outside the Anfield dressing room. Make no mistake: Liverpool have lost their identity. not be recognizable.

They are getting tired by opponents and this is alarming. Napoli were first in everything during the embarrassing opening 45 minutes on one side. They showed greater desire in all departments. They win every 50-50 battles.

Liverpool’s back line of defense was repeatedly attacked by Napoli (Photo: Carlo Hermann/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

There are two possible answers. Either there is a problem with Klopp’s squad behaviour, or fatigue is a major problem after the demands of a 63-game campaign followed by a grueling pre-season program when injuries continued to pile up.

Klopp prides himself on Liverpool being “mental beasts” and showing their ability to resist, but there was no response at Napoli until it was too late. not even AlisonThe penalty kick saved by Victor Osimhen woke them up.

The club’s summer transfer activity will inevitably come under scrutiny and it was crazy that they left it so late in the transfer window to bolster their midfield. The owners should have dig deeper. The need was urgent. for the first time from Arthur loan signature It emerged from the bench against Napoli of late that getting him to go fast would be a challenge after four months of not playing.

But it would be an oversimplification to suggest that underspending on new talent explains why Liverpool are struggling. Just look at the underperforming names.

Mohamed SalahAnd the FabinhoAnd the Virgil van DijkAnd the Trent Alexander Arnold And Andy Robertson is an elite – but none of them are operating anywhere near their usual levels, and it hurts Liverpool. Belief seems to have sucked them out. Heads look confused. The same errors keep happening.

Van Dijk played 150 matches in all competitions without missing a penalty kick. He has now taken two penalties in his last seven matches for being uncharacteristically hasty. Salah was off to a barren start to the season And his touch still fails him. Problems on the right side are compounded by Alexander-Arnold’s erratic performances.

Joe Gomez I endured a hot night before he took his place Joel Matip In the second half. Somehow, James Milnerwho missed the penalty kick that led to Peter Zelensky’s first goal, survived the hour mark before Thiago returned from injury.

Klopp’s selection calls did not come to fruition and he was slow to make the necessary changes. Delivery begins for both Milner and Roberto Firmino I mean, there was a clear lack of speed. Darwin Nunez Needing game time to adjust to his new surroundings and letting go was an odd decision.

The midfield balance was hopeless. The pressure on the ball was not there as Liverpool’s high streak was taken advantage of time and time again. The goals they received were very cheap and could have been worse.

“We were very open miles. It felt like they had an extra man,” Robertson admitted. “You can’t come to a place like this and not be stressed. They were the best team mileage.

“A lot of times they had spaces to run on us and cause us problems. You’re out in the Champions League and you can’t open wide like that. We have to get back to basics and be pressured. We have to get up and fast because we can’t perform like this.”

Klopp laments that Liverpool were “too broad in possession, we weren’t pushing forward with the last streak, the midfield wasn’t tight, the least performance I’ve seen in a very long time”.

Arguably the most disturbing scene of that night was Fabinho and Gomez both standing watching Andre Frank Anguesa play one-two with Zielinski and score Napoli’s second goal. Both Alexander-Arnold and Gomez were both beaten very easily in the run-up to Giovanni Simeone’s third-place finish. Thani Zelensky punished the shoddy defenders after another simple pass in the back.

What happened to Klopp’s motto “Everyone is responsible for everything”? The body language was worrying.

“There are so many things that are lacking. We have to reinvent ourselves.” Liverpool manager promised. “We need to be much better at almost everything. We don’t work as a team.”

Klopp has not hinted at a major shift in style or formation – more than trying to re-establish the kind of characteristics that made his side so difficult to stop him last season.

That would be easier said than done with a quick turnaround for a Saturday visit Wolves But we’re talking about basics like closing spaces and tracking runners. We are talking about organization and communication.

Liverpool, who return to Merseyside on Thursday afternoon, have looked ridiculously weak on the counter-attack since the weekend at Fulham.

Luis Diaz, who cut the difference with a nice strike, provided one of the few positives in Napoli. Another came courtesy of the lively Tiago. Talk about showing what Liverpool have lost.

The Spain The international was only on the field 28 minutes but made six tackles: three more than the main midfield and the two full backs combined. He also won seven of his nine duels (78 percent). Fabinho won only two out of eight (25 percent) and Milner won only three out of 11 (27 percent). “Until Thiago entered the field, I didn’t see any counter-pressure situations,” Klopp said bluntly.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp apologizes to traveling Liverpool fans after the sabbatical whistle at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium (Photo: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Thiago should start against Wolverhampton. Hope is that Fabio Carvalho He will be back available after recovering from his dead leg. Naby Keitawho suffers from a serious hamstring injury, is still absent along with his fellow midfielders Jordan HendersonAnd the Curtis Jones And the Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

with Diogo Jota It looks so rusty, Nunez has to lead the class. The only way to improve his understanding with his new teammates is to give the Uruguayan a proper start.

Klopp is known for his man-management skills and now they really need to come out on top. The chin should be lifted off the ground because morale has been battered.

The damage to Liverpool’s prospects in Group A can be repaired, but the concern is that there are currently too many mistakes, and too little time to try to make things right. They need to rediscover their identity and fast.

(Top image: Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)