Monday’s soccer news starts with Liverpool sliding down the Premier League table after a 0-0 home draw with Manchester United. The result leaves Liverpool in 4th-place, three points behind leaders Manchester United with both teams on 18 games played. The bad news is that Manchester City is now in 2nd-place, tied on points with 3rd-place Leicester City but with a game in hand on the top five.
Things may get better for Liverpool this week. Leicester City plays Chelsea on Tuesday, Manchester City hosts Aston Villa on Wednesday, and Thursday has Manchester United at Fulham with Liverpool hosting Burnley. The Thursday games are the biggest mismatches, with Fulham 18th and Burnley 17th. It’s worth noting that the unbalanced schedule will still leave Liverpool with that game in hand.
Liverpool had 66% of the possession against Manchester United, turning that into 17 shots with three on goal. The concern is that Manchester United may have taken just eight shots, but they put half of them on frame. The opportunities should’ve been there for Liverpool, almost doubling United’s passing numbers and winning seven corners to United’s three. To put that into perspective, Leicester City had five of its 16 shots on target to Southampton’s three from eight, finished with 47% of the possession, and had fewer passes with less accuracy while trailing 2 to 5 on corners. Leicester City won 2-0 to pass Liverpool in the table.
“We have a point more than before the game,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp responded when asked about the result. “I think the performance was good enough to win it but to win a game you have to score goals and we didn’t do that. That’s why we have that result and it’s absolutely ok.”
File that away in the maybe column based on future results, something Klopp also mentioned. “I saw my team playing tonight and I saw a really good football team with a clear idea, with super passes, great counter-press and, great desire to score,” he said. “But we didn’t score. We will create chances and we will score, but I know, now we face Burnley on Thursday and they are not famous for conceding an awful lot of goals. Then a few days later we play again against United and they obviously defend with all they have.”
It’s a safe assumption that Liverpool’s style of play will eventually return to wins. It’s a loaded team in a league where that eventually creates separation. Then again, this is the strange season of upsets and a Premier League-specific version of parity. That can quickly start to flatter teams that don’t have enough in their squads to remain competitive late in the season.
Also in the soccer news, in a follow-up to a Jason Davis article Mesut Ozil left Arsenal for Fenerbahce. The move was not a surprise with Ozil making his preference for Fenerbahce clear while mentioning a potential move to an MLS team.
The Telegraph’s James Ducker and Will Magee on Manchester City’s move up the table. The Guardian’s Louise Taylor on the situation with Newcastle United. Bundesliga Fanatic’s Amos Andrew Murphy looks at what happened to Schalke 04. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff links DC United with K Beerschot VA coach Hernan Losada.
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