Red Letter: Resisting the urge to jump after Burnley wobble

Date published: Wednesday 24th August 2016 3:17

This week, our resident Red was brought back down to earth from 200 metres above Munich, but Dave Tindall expects success at Spurs this weekend.

If synchronised eye-rolling was an Olympic sport, Liverpool fans would be medal contenders.

Score a thrilling 4-3 away win at Arsenal one week, lose dismally to Burnley the next. We thought we were better than that.

My own ‘FFS’ eye-rolling was done in Munich where I was on holiday last week. In truth, Saturday was a day of highs and lows. After being cajoled by the kids to take them to the top of the Olympic Tower, my fear of heights (it’s the urge to jump) kicked in horribly and I had to lie down rather than take in the spectacular panoramic views from the absurd height of 200m up.

But the relief of riding the escalator back down soon evaporated when I checked the footie scores. It was 4.45pm and my phone showed Burnley 2-0 Liverpool.

I pretended the sudden grumpiness was down to my ordeal up the tower but then spirits soared. Germany was an hour ahead. It was only half-time. We could turn this thing around.

Riding the U-Bahn back to the hotel, our carriage was engulfed by rowdy Karlsruhe supporters who, as I later found out, were on their way to an evening kick-off with TSV 1860 Munich. They were having a ball, chanting weird songs and banging on the roof.

Karlsruhe fans

A couple of hours later, they were in the same mood as me. Karlsruhe had been done by an injury-time winner from the hosts while, with phone signal back, I had refreshed and discovered that we’d had an absurd amount of possession but still lost 2-0.

So was this just another tale of woe akin to those morale-sapping losses at Watford and Newcastle last season? Yes and no.

Reason for optimism

Against Watford we were bullied. Against Newcastle we were just useless. At Turf Moor our biggest crime was poor decision making in the final third. Shots from distance look great when they hit the top corner; when it’s all you seem to have in your locker and they keep flying high and wide, they’re beyond frustrating. To repeat a phrase from earlier….. Philippe Coutinho, you’re better than that.

With Alberto Moreno benched, there was no scapegoat on Saturday. This was a collective misfiring and a performance we need to get out of our systems sooner rather than later.

Despite bringing in new managers and having an obvious excuse for some early stuttering, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all kicked off with two wins out of two. We can’t afford to mess about.

After the dust had settled on Saturday’s defeat, I needed a sign that all was good again back in Liverpool. And, as if by magic, I got it when spotting Jurgen Klopp’s beaming face on a train station billboard on my penultimate day in Munich.

Jurgen Klopp Red Letter

This was 24 hours before our League Cup trip to Burton and the rumours were that Klopp was going to go with a strong side.

I arrived back in England on Tuesday evening and he was true to his word. Apart from Coutinho, who was presumably lying on a couch being told by a hypnotist that he doesn’t always have to pull the trigger when 30 yards out, this was close to full strength.

Klopp was rewarded. A 5-0 win, some lovely goals (Daniel Sturridge’s pinged fifth a reminder of what he brings to the table) and some confidence restored.

Speedy Sadio

Man of the match was Sadio Mane who missed the game at Burnley due to a shoulder injury. Then again, I wouldn’t have been surprised if his absence was actually due to being away in Brazil and running the first leg of the 4x100m heats with Senegal.

Boy, is he quick off the mark. I know it was only Burton but, from standing starts, his turn of pace was electric. His sudden burst set up Divock Origi’s opener and he caused havoc throughout, having a hand in three other goals. What probably impressed Klopp most was Mane using his speed to close down attacks too, even with Liverpool 5-0 up and time almost up.

Sadio Mane: Forward celebrates Liverpool's opener

“We missed him at the weekend but we can’t rely on him alone,” said skipper Jordan Henderson afterwards but, right now, Mane is our shining light. In the two games he’s played, we’ve scored nine goals. His presence is a big reason why.

It should be fun unleashing Mane on Tottenham this weekend as this is probably the sort of game he’ll relish.

As a big-name side playing host, Spurs will be expected to push forward and our red-hot No.19 could kill them on the break.

Of course, last year’s trip to White Hart Lane was Klopp’s first Premier League game in charge and we did well, our boys running around manically after attending their first gegenpressing classes and coming away with a 0-0 draw.

Timely trip to Tottenham

This might just be a good time to play Spurs and even though they nicked a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace last weekend, Mauricio Pochettino was moaning in the build-up that his players hadn’t had sufficient rest over the summer for him to implement his high-intensity methods properly.

Tottenham stuttered at the start of last season (an opening defeat followed by three draws) before really hitting their straps so I’d rather we take them on now.

Jurgen Klopp Mauricio Pochettino

Some concerns remain for LFC – left-back and central midfield (especially with Emre Can limping off against Burton) – but anything and everything looks possible going forward.

Let’s have the clinical finishing of the Arsenal and Burton games and cut out the good week, bad week eye-rolling inconsistency.

There’s a long, long way to go but if you’re a fan, to speculate is okay (said in Klopp voice). So I will.

With Mourinho, Guardiola and Conte hitting the ground running, there are very early signs that Arsenal and Spurs could be our main rivals for a top four slot this season.

Beating both on their own patch could be crucial when we look back in May and, with Mane in this mood, I’m going to have a cheeky bet on him scoring in a Liverpool win.

That’s a tasty 9/2 with Sky Bet although, talking of odds, you’d have to offer me nearer 100/1 to go up the Olympic Tower in Munich again. That said, giving my jump urges, I should probably be grateful I didn’t know about the 2-0 loss at Burnley while I was still up there.

Dave Tindall

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