Wednesday’s team selection made it seem as though Klopp already had one eye on Brighton.
On Wednesday night in the Champions League, a heavily changed Liverpool side put in one of the worst performances of the Jürgen Klopp era. There will, of course, have been plenty of reasons for it.
An injury crisis, an overloaded fixture list, and players knowing that they only need win one of their final three group games to advance in Europe seemed to have everyone involved in Red looking ahead of Saturday.
Saturday and an unkindly early kickoff against Brighton, a scheduling choice by the league and broadcasters Klopp has hit out against and that seemed to inform his team selection against Atalanta.
“We go in a few hours to Brighton and play there, so that’s the first thing we have to think about and when that’s over we think about Ajax,” he said. “My concern, what I think about at the moment, is not Ajax.”
If Liverpool’s injury-riddled squad survive Brighton—and hopefully more than survive as there’s less wiggle room in the league where they’re level on points in first with Tottenham—they will move on to Ajax.
Currently, Liverpool have nine points in their group while Ajax and Atalanta have seven. A win against either Ajax or Midtjylland in the final two games would assure the Reds of at least finishing second.
Four points gives them the tiebreaker against Ajax or Midtjylland and ensures a first place finish. Before that, though, comes Brighton and Saturday’s early kickoff as the unrelenting fixture list continues.
Former chairman of Gombe United FC, Shuaibu Gara Gombe, has given a pat on the back to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 for stopping the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival insisting that holding the festival this year would have been a disaster.
Gara Gombe stressed that, he just can not understand why some people were hellbent on holding the festival at a time when the International Olympics Committee (IOC) even postponed the world’s biggest sports fiesta, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Why are some people desperate to go to Benin…have you seen a sports festival that is organized in batches as Sunday Dare and his co travelers wanted to do…have you seen a festival without fans…these are fundamental questions begging for answers.
Continuing Gara Gombe pointed out that the crime rate in Edo and other parts of the country has gone up since after the #Endsars protests.
“The Crime rate in Edo in particular has been high since after #Endsars protests. Government needs to take care of that and then the Covid 19 thing is still here with us and some people for selfish reasons want the sports festival to go ahead. It would have been a disaster if PTF had not moved in to stop it,” Gara Gombe insisted.
He stressed that the Sports ministry should concentrate on how to prepare the nation’s athletes for the Olympics rather than Organising a festival in which none of the athletes to be discovered there would be featuring for Nigeria at the Olympics.
That Bayern-Liverpool connection has worked well for us.
Xabi Alonso has many things in common with Thiago Plantar. They’re both great passers of the ball, even if Xabi never quite had the dribbling gifts Thiago’s blessed with. They also both plied their football for both Liverpool FC and Bayern Munich. Speaking to UEFA.com, Xabi has backed his former teammate to succeed at Liverpool:
I have loved watching Thiago Alcantara, the way he has been able to connect with the attacking players, helping to defend with his special qualities.
He’s a great friend, but above that, he’s become one of the best midfielders, and he’s a fabulous, intelligent, interesting, fun guy to be around in a training session and a dressing room.
He loves football; he shows that with his personality and with the way he plays. He’s able to connect with his team-mates very easily. He’s done it fantastically at Bayern, and I feel that he’s going to do it in the same way at Liverpool, and I love it.
Liverpool FC are hurting in defence and midfield right now, but Baby’s comments are a timely reminder that the club is about to get one of the world’s very best midfielders back onto the pitch soon. It can’t come soon enough.
The fatigue has been evident.
After a poor, unimaginative performance against Atalanta by Liverpool FC that some have dubbed the team’s poorest performance in quite some time (which is weird considering we got thumped 7-2 by Villa), Urgent Klopp has again taken aim at the crowded fixture list:
You, my special friends, ask us to play on Saturday at 12.30 pm, which, to be honest, is almost a crime. It has nothing to do with today’s game, but congratulations on it.
My only interest at the moment is that I get a thumbs up, nobody gets injured and we recover immediately. The guys are really completely disappointed, frustrated, but we don’t have time for that. It’s all about getting fresh legs as quickly as possible and playing again, that’s it.
Of course, fixture congestion isn’t a new problem in football, but the unprecedented circumstances of a COVID-19 season has seen injuries mount up not only for Liverpool, but just about every other squad as well. In such a taxing season, we may well have to expect the occurrence of such sub-par performances to happen more than we’ve gotten used to. Let’s just hope something gets done soon.