Klopp defenceless after another bout of Déjàn vu

Man United start to stall, things are looking up for Newcastle, Bilic on borrowed time

Dejan Lovren endured a torrid afternoon against Harry Kane and Tottenham. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP

Dejan Lovren endured a torrid afternoon against Harry Kane and Tottenham. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP

 

Klopp defenceless after another bout of Déjàn vu

It is now more than two years since Jurgen Klopp took over as manager of Liverpool - a tenure which began with a 0-0 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur. Sunday’s 4-1 rout at the hands of the same opponent was the latest example of how, into his third season, the German has not come close to solving the defensive issues which have dogged his time in charge. Klopp prides himself on being a manager who coaches players to better themselves, and maintains that throwing money at a problem is a betrayal of his principles. However, a failure to shore up Liverpool’s defence over the summer is a decision which has left his side 12 points off pace-setters Manchester City after just nine games, having conceded 15 goals away from home - the highest in the league. When on song, Liverpool remain a deadly prospect going forward - but any attacking prowess is built on flimsy foundations. Dejan Lovren’s 30 minute cameo at Wembley was nothing short of disastrous, and below Premier League standard. But while Lovren will take most of the blame, Liverpool’s problems at the back have persisted regardless of personnel, and it is the manager who must accept responsibility for this malaise.

United revert worryingly to type at Huddersfield

After a brilliant start to the season, which saw them score 21 times in their opening seven league fixtures, Manchester United were brought back to earth with a bang by Huddersfield on Saturday. Jose Mourinho adopted ultra defensive tactics for the draw against Liverpool at Anfield, and his side have since struggled to regain their swagger. United were slow and ponderous on Saturday, and created few clear cut chances despite having 78 per cent possession - a throwback to the Louis Van Gaal era. Mourinho’s refusal to play Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford at the same time, combined with an absence of any natural wingers, means his side are often far too narrow - making it easier for the likes of Huddersfield to sit in and defend. Ashley Young has been dependable at left back but he is naturally right-footed and a stop gap, and it is largely a lack of width on the left which has left United disjointed. Tottenham visit Old Trafford next Saturday, and Mourinho needs to get the balance of his side right if he wants to improve a poor record against the top six since taking over.

Things are looking up for Newcastle United

After another summer of minimal investment, and with rumours persisting about the future of manager Rafael Benitez, Newcastle United looked set for a difficult return to the Premier League. Indeed, optimism was hardly abounding on Tyneside after they began with defeats to Tottenham and fellow newboys Huddersfield Town. However, since their defeat in west Yorkshire Newcastle’s fortunes have been transformed - with Saturday’s late win over struggling Crystal Palace their fourth of the season, leaving them seventh in the table. Things are looking up off the pitch as well, after Mike Ashley announced his intention to sell the club - albeit for an eye-wateringly high price. Newcastle supporters have endured plenty of false dawns - and nobody would be surprised if this proves to be another - but for the moment, at least, things are looking up.

Slaven Bilic on borrowed time

Ronald Koeman is the latest Premier League manager to get the chop - and it’s likely West Ham boss Slaven Bilic won’t be far behind. Before Friday night’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton at the London Stadium, part-owner David Sullivan spoke to Gary Neville on Sky Sports, and was insistent Bilic would be given the chance to see out his three-year contract. It would have been interesting to see if Sullivan offered the same show of faith after the match, in which a disjointed West Ham were comfortably beaten by the newly-promoted Seagulls. The disinterested performance of Marko Arnautovic - a £24 million summer acquisition from Stoke City - summed up a wretched display which was met with deserved derision on the full time whistle. West Ham travel to play rivals Tottenham in the League Cup on Wednesday, before facing Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Two defeats could well prove the death knell for Bilic.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.