Unerring substitution by Klopp proved key as Liverpool down Norwich in a humdinger


Super-sub Adam Lallana volleyed home a 95th minute winner to hand Liverpool a galvanising 5-4 win over Norwich in a crazy afternoon at Carrow Road.

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Klopp made one change to the lineup that against Manchester United, bringing in Jordan Ibe for Adam Lallana as the later had a niggle to worry about. It was again a 4-3-3 ‘floating false 9’ system with Firmino leading the line as he has been doing for a while now, Ibe and Milner were on the flanks forming a three-man attack with the Brazilian. Henderson, Can and Lucas formed a midfield triangle with Brazilian Lucas there as a cover for the center-backs and Can with Henderson shoring up the flanks.

Now, we will take a look at how the Reds were shaped and analyse the performances of players, we’ll also take a look at how vital a substitution from Klopp proved the difference in a game where nobody was safe until the final whistle(not even the Liverpool manager):-

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Firmino had another decent game starting in that ‘floating false 9’ role with his subtle movements in and around the box, especially in the second half and for his first goal, proving too much for the Norwich’s defence. He was not able to hold up that much to allow runners to run beyond him and his deeper starting position in pressing the back-line were the negative side of his game today. Overall the Brazilian had an alright game and two goals showed it up too.

Ibe had a quiet game but to be honest he didn’t receive much service out in that left flank, Can was tucked in and lack of darting runs from Moreno made the youngster look isolated. But on the other side, the winger should have gambled tucking in a bit and try to be a part in the game, was eventually substituted by Lallana. Milner had a good game on the other flank, he was the one who looked a bit active and tried to press the opposition in the wide areas. He scored a goal which was put in his plate by the Norwich captain and credit to him, he didn’t panic and slotted it past the keeper.

Henderson and Can had a bit of mixed bag game, Can was sloppy and fragile at best as his defensive cover was not very good and his forward runs were limited too, the German should do better to be an integral part of the midfield. Henderson on the other hand, had a mixed bag game, he was good on the ball but his sometimes confused decisions in defensive duties makes his game look a bit rusty. Lucas was alright in that defensive midfield role, he shored up that defence in a nice way but his slow transitions from defensive areas is a cause of bit concern, he let Naismith to run beyond him which allowed the Scottish forward to be unmarked in the box and the goal was conceded, it was an alarming thing, sometimes he doesn’t track midfield runners which makes it difficult for the last line of defence to defend.

Overall, the defence of Liverpool was fragile and horrible to be honest, Moreno was not good enough in his duties, he even made very few attacking runs from that left-back position, conceded a cheap penalty too. Clyne was alright in his duties and was willing to run in overlaps which made Milner to tuck inside a bit and force the issue. Mignolet was insecured again between the goal-posts, the Belgian should have done better for that second goal and should have dealt with that corner situation from which the first goal was conceded. Toure and Sakho also had an average game, both were lacking commanding instincts and indecision in vital areas has cost Liverpool to concede four today.

Now, let’s take a look at how a decisive change which featured Lallana replacing Ibe turned the game and allowed Liverpool to control a bit more:-

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Lallana was deployed in that number 10 role just behind Firmino, his in behind runs and decisive touches in attacking areas allowed Reds to be more of a force in the final third. He was versatile in his movements and his goal to win it for Liverpool just showed how desperate he was for it and that too a very important one.

All in all, it was a clash of two very fragile defenses and in the end, it was decided by which defence having the capacity to concede more. Klopp would be a disappointed man after seeing his team’s defensive performance, but at the same time, he would be delighted by the attacking touch and also how his team came back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 and then turn a 4-4 into a 5-4 in the last minute of stoppage time. For Liverpool, it should be labelled as three points where luck support was of the highest order.

By Mizgan Ahmed on 23rd January, 2016

@mizgans

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