Liverpool defeat NOT a sign they can’t challenge for title

Date published: Sunday 6th December 2015 6:33

Jurgen Klopp: Greets Adam Lallana after Liverpool's defeat at Newcastle United

Jurgen Klopp: Greets Adam Lallana after Liverpool's defeat at Newcastle United

Liverpool were deservedly beaten by Newcastle United on Sunday, but it is still impossible to say whether Jurgen Klopp’s side are Premier League title contenders.

This result will be billed by some as one which should bring Liverpool back down to earth following talk of a Premier League challenge.

The reality, however, is that few associated with Liverpool, certainly not Jurgen Klopp, had been encouraging such talk. Just 11 games into the German’s reign, as impressive as some of their performances have been, it was always too early to start talking about the Reds as title contenders.

However, it’s no less knee-jerk to suggest that Liverpool’s 2-0 defeat at St James’ Park is evidence that they cannot win the title this season, especially on a weekend which saw Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham also fail to win.

There are question marks about all of the teams currently above Liverpool. Have Leicester City been seriously tested yet? Can Arsenal and Manchester City cope in the absence of key players? Will Manchester United score enough goals? Are Tottenham drawing too many games? Such is the nature of this season’s Premier League that it is hard to feel confident about any team’s chances at the top.

Liverpool’s second defeat under Klopp was a reminder that they too have deficiencies, but it would take a clairvoyant in this crazy season to predict the make-up of the top six.

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However, although it is difficult to draw any great conclusions from this weekend, Liverpool’s lack of energy in the North East was noticeable. They made six changes from the team that thrashed Southampton 6-1 in the Capital One Cup in midweek yet never managed to build any serious momentum and were actually outrun by a Newcastle side that had been accused in the build-up to the game of not trying hard enough this season.

Hard work beats talent, as the saying goes, but on a day that Liverpool’s efforts were matched, they lacked the quality to pick up any points. Frankly, in a game alarmingly short on quality, Newcastle were the better of two poor sides, but their win was nevertheless thoroughly deserved.

Furthermore, the fine late finish by Georginio Wijnaldum to confirm the three points was a reminder that there is enough quality within their squad to pull well clear of the relegation zone.

Why they have struggled so much is a question perhaps only answerable from within the dressing room, but this result should give them the confidence to produce the sort of performances they are capable of and have shown signs of at fleeting moments of this season.

Thankfully for Liverpool, Klopp, as philosophical as ever, is not a manager that will overreact to one bad performance. “A few days ago we were brilliant, today we were not good,” he succinctly summed up after the game.

Sometimes, in an era of over-analysis, knee-jerk reactions and constantly-altering predictions, the simplest explanation is also the right one.

Liverpool did not play well, but that does not mean they will not play well in their next game. Newcastle were not fantastic themselves, but they were better than they have been recently. If they show the same level of commitment in every game, they should be fine, but in football there are no guarantees.

Mark Holmes

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Home Forums Liverpool defeat NOT a sign they can’t challenge for title

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    Mark Holmes

    Liverpool were deservedly beaten by Newcastle United, but it is still impossible to say whether Jurgen Klopp’s side are title contenders.

    [See the full post at: Liverpool defeat NOT a sign they can’t challenge for title]



    Fair points Mark, Maybe the Fantasists will be brought to Reality, There are some fans who have been getting a bit ahead of themselves not on here I may add. Klopp got His side wrong to be honest but We also have to remember that Henderson and Sturridge have come back off long spells out through injury and maybe Klopp didn’t want to take any risks with them.



    If Liverpool can’t win a game where they are expected too taking into consideration Newcastle’s plight, then for a team who battered Southampton 6-1 midweek no to mention recent successes against Chelsea and Man City (on their soil), this is quite frankly poor and unacceptable.

    That’s not ‘League Title’ material at all for me.

    Leicester City visited the Magpies two weeks ago and come away with an emphatic 3-0 win.

    Liverpool unfortunately couldn’t do that and our prime focus going forward is to take it game-by-game and do everything possible to win consistently.

    Some tricky fixtures coming up in the run to to Xmas and the new year and only really then, we can see where we are and whether or not, we’re good to at least claim 5th place.


    Mark Holmes

    Sensible, do you not think you’re overreacting a little? Liverpool were poor today, but Manchester City were even worse yesterday. Tottenham have taken two points from six, and Manchester United again failed to score. Even Arsenal were unconvincing against Sunderland.

    It’s fuelled by the media, who build up and talk down teams’ title chances on a weekly basis, but you’d be wrong to make a snap judgement based on only the second defeat of Klopp’s time in charge. I for one won’t be ruling any team in or out of the title race any time soon.


    nine nine nine

    Good article as always Mark. Did you write it before the second goal went in?

    Liverpool badly missed Coutinho today and they probably need a fully fit goal scoring Sturridge too if talk of winning the title is going to be realistic.

    Liverpool fans are desperate not to talk about such things somewhat understandably and their desires are not helped by the bevy of Liverpool pundits from Phil Thompson to Mickey Quinn with everybody else in between who tend to get over excited with their predictions when Liverpool get in close proximity to the top of the table.

    The reality is assuming Leicester fall away as is expected ( hopefully starting next Monday! Lol) then Liverpool are still only 7 points off of Arsenal despite today’s disappointment and consequently still a title contender albeit that a top four place is their more realistic objective.


    nine nine nine

    Mark, Stoke are only a point behind Liverpool too?



    Mark, maybe I am, maybe I’m not (in overreaction).

    I am not convinced at the moment because I’m looking at these up and coming league fixtures:

    West Brom Home – 13/12
    Watford Away – 20th
    Leicester Home – 26th
    Sunderland Away – 30th
    West Ham Away – 2/01

    And then thinking (from experience), everytime we’re coming up against the ‘smaller’ teams, the ‘unexpected’ happens and it’s then put down to a bad day at the office.

    Maybe today that’s what it was and I’m praying that’s what it will be because usually, whenever we’re in a good position to capitalize on teams around us who themselves have dropped points on a weekend from a bad day at the office, we ruin our chances.

    I am generally full of opimism, but these fixtures by no means should be taken lightly, and for us to even be considered for 4th, we have to ensure at least 4 wins.

    Hopefully by then, we will be in a more better position to think we are good for 4th and maybe even, something else beyond.



    We’ll ignore the double negative in the title for now… 🙂

    Nobody in the whole league is showing any signs of consistency (except maybe Vill but for all the wrong reasons) and once suspensions/injuries kick in over the festive period, I would agree with the people who think the quality of squads is going to have a major part in this year’s title race but I’m going to reserve judgement until I see who buys who in the January sales. That, I think is going to be a real indicator as to who is making a play for it.


    Mark Holmes

    Haha good spot 999 re. the mention of 1-0.

    As for Stoke, we may be only a point behind now, but I’m sure the gap will be more by the end of the season. And that’s said with a great confidence that Stoke are in for a really good season.

    Banjo, the double negative has been used correctly! This one defeat does not mean Liverpool can’t challenge for the title. It may turn out that they are not be good enough, but you can’t say that just because they lost today. In my opinion, of course.



    Mathematically, we can challenge and of course, in the grand scheme of things when it comes to aspirations, this is what we should be looking at.

    Notably, this season is unique the way it’s shaped so far and there’s no runaway leader.

    Still think Van Gaal’s team are a tough nut to crack.

    Liverpool have to firstly get into the mix of the top 4, and thereafter need to be leaders of the table regularly to even be considered as a team capable in winning the title.

    There is a distincting in ‘challenging’ and actually winning it.

    We can challenge, but we can’t afford regular ‘blips’ like these, otherwise we won’t go too far and we’d be lucky if we even finish in the top 6.



    nine nine nine

    Mark, Hughes is doing a very good job at Stoke and they are playing some great football. Hopefully its a season to remember.



    I’m wondering Nine, if Sparky does finish well with Stoke this season whether he has another management job in him? I don’t it didn’t work out at Man City, but if Jose was to leave Chelsea, would Roman show an interest in trying to land Hughes?



    I’ve never before considered Hughes as a potential Utd manager but someone mentioned it on 606 last night (someone also mentioned Pardew!) and I actually don’t think it’s such a bad idea. No disrespect intended Mark and other Stoke fans…

    Good article and I completely agree with the point made. Any other season and I’d argue this was a defining game for Liverpool to show they have a title challenge in them but, as the article alludes to, none of the other challengers impressed so it’s made little difference.

    I put some money on Liverpool at 10/1 on Friday. After yesterday’s results they were down to 6/1. They’re now only back up to 12/1 so the bookmakers are definitely asding them to the mix still.



    Number 7, bets are just hard to win in general when it comes to ‘odds on’ teams.

    Makes you think about the person(s) out there lumping on Chelsea or Man City yesterday.


    nine nine nine

    Nil, I don’t want to upset Mark but I suspect Hughes would want another crack at a job with one of the top clubs whether Chelsea will still be considered a top club assuming they are still in the PL come the summer who knows.

    Equally who knows what Roman is thinking right now and what he will be thinking next summer, I suspect Chelsea will have already drawn up a short list of potential Managers as a precaution should they eventually part company with Jose.



    Sobering reality check … what a completely no-performance – we just weren’t at the races AT ALL.


    Jay belfast

    The league is wide open and no one is showing any consistency whatsoever so anyone can win it (apart from Chelsea lol).

    The quality in the league in general seems to have dropped considerably, the games all appear a lot scrappier without any real sustained periods of possession or quality. Maybe that’s just the impression I get because I watch Chelsea more than other team!

    Anybody in the top half of the table has a chance I think. If anyone can put a run of 5/6 wins together they’ll be right up there.

    The bookies must be making a fortune this year with all the upsets.



    Got a feeling Liverpool are going to turn up for the big games but struggle away from home against lesser opposition.



    It has to be a new record with the bookies.



    Mark, you mention that all the other teams had poor weekends, but that’s what makes our result today all the more frustrating. We had a real chance today to make up ground on those teams, and we blew it. I don’t understand how we couldn’t be more motivated, given yesterday’s results

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