Watching Liverpool play their pre-season games over the past month has been like, erm, watching Liverpool play ever since I started following them in 2004. Frustration, frustration and more frustration is what comes with following a team as unpredictable as the Reds. For every blistering performance they put in, there will be two poor performances that ultimately leaves us with one step forward and two steps back.
All the good work that Klopp’s men put in against Tramnere, Fleetwood, Wigan Huddersfield, and Milan gave us fans the kind of encouragement that we so desperately needed following our dismal Europa League final defeat. But who were we kidding, the manner in which we succumbed to defeat against Chelsea and Roma reminded us to not get our hopes to high.
Looking back on our performance against Roma though, I’d say that it was clearly a game of two halves. It would be unfair to say that we played badly because we looked pretty slick in the first half. We looked sharp going forward although the same cannot be said about our play at the back
Liverpool started the game slowly but after a spell of pressure from the Italians, we managed to turn it around by inducing a similar spell of pressure on our opponents. The outcome from all those attacks, however, was absolutely nothing. If we’re to find success this season, we’re surely going to have to find a way to convert attacks into goals.
As Klopp put it in his post match conference, the game, which was an extremely open affair, could have been 6-5 by the time the referee blew for half-time. One man who could have (and should have) had his name on the scoresheet was Daniel Sturridge. The England forward had a couple of gilt edged opportunities that came at the end of some intricate build-up play that even our next opponents would have been proud of. Sturridge, though, failed to convert any of these chances to keep the scores stuck at 0-0.
With Liverpool putting together a good spell of pressure that led to a couple of good chances for us to score, the most predictable and infuriating thing happened. Roma scored against the run of play as Edin Dzeko scored a goal very similar to the one Eder scored in Portugal’s victory over France in the final of Euro 2016. To our credit, Sheyi Ojo pulled us back on level terms after a good set-piece with barely a minute left until half time.
The second half, however, turned out to be one to forget as Liverpool lost their attacking flair due to the 10 substitutions that Klopp made during the break. Unsurprisingly, a relentless spell of pressure from Roma then ultimately paid off as Mohammed Salah managed to hit the back off the net after a horrendous mix-up at the back between Andre Wisdom and Simon Mignolet. Making the best of whatever time was remaining, Danny Ings went closest to an equaliser as his smart header from a delicious Coutinho free-kick drew a good save from Roma ‘keeper Ellison.
But before you know it, that was that, and our trip of the States ended as it had started, in disappointment. How our 2016-2017 season ends, however, is yet to be seen and we can only hope that the boys can finally learn to maintain some consistency. Judging by our performances over the course of this pre-season, we still have quite some way to go before we can truly term ourselves as one of the Premier League’s top dogs, but hopefully, that day is sooner rather than later.