Keep Calm – It’s Only Pre-Season

Liverpool suffered their first pre-season defeat in the early hours of Thursday at the hands of rivals Chelsea. After coasting through friendlies against the likes of Fleetwood, Wigan and Huddersfield, the general consensus was that this was the Reds’ first challenge of the season.

A 10th minute Gary Cahill header was enough to give Chelsea the spoils at the Rose Bowl, with Liverpool struggling to break Chelsea down from that point on. As expected, the defeat was heavily scrutinized on social media, with the Reds now no longer winning the league but bound to mid-table mediocrity.

Twitter and Facebook was rife with comments like “we still can’t defend set pieces”, “Karius is just as bad as Mignolet” and “Klavan looks slow and clumsy”. Sigh.

klavan chelsea

There are a few reasons why I’ve never really bought into the idea that results matter in pre-season. 1) The number of changes that take place. Can you really judge and criticize how a side will do in a season based on 45 minutes with one side and 45 minutes with another side? Liverpool made eight substitutions in the second half, with Brannagan, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Milner, Markovic, Ings, Wisdom and Adam Lallana coming on in the second half.

Chelsea made half of the changes, keeping their back line on through the entire match. Could we really expect the likes of Brannagan, Alexander-Arnold, Wisdom and Markovic to come on, settle straight away and change things? Of course not. It is never nice to lose (especially to that lot) but Klopp seems to be focusing on getting minutes in the legs rather than making tactical changes and trying to get a result as he will August 13th.

Secondly, specially on Thursday morning, it is difficult to look past the amount of absentees from the LFC side. In Matip, Sakho, Wijnaldum, Can, Sturridge and Origi you are missing a large chunk of the probable squad for our opener against Arsenal. Crucially in terms of the Chelsea game, we are missing serious firepower with Sturridge and Origi too. Hopefully after Sturridge has had a full pre-season under Klopp he can really show everyone how good he is next year.

If we can keep Sturridge fit and Origi can continue developing as he was, we have two quality forward options for next season that weren’t even on the pitch on Thursday. Other noticeable absentees came in the form of our England squad members until later on in the game.

With the above names that’s nine of the squad for the opener that weren’t involved. Expecting us to be able to roll over a Chelsea side with Conte as manager with those absentees is ambitious and, in pre-season, a bit pointless.

Generated by  IJG JPEG LibraryGenerated by  IJG JPEG Library

Last year, a Manchester United team managed by Louis Van Gaal beat Barcelona 3-0 before having one of their worst seasons in recent history. Win or lose, it’s impossible to make anything out of the result of a pre-season game.

Each team is up to a different stage and are training in different ways. By all accounts Liverpool trained the morning of the game. It’s looking clear that Klopp is trying to get the squad in the best shape possible for what promises to be an exciting season ahead.

Another aspect to consider is the correlation between pre-season results and the following campaign. For example, prior to the 2008/09 season when we hammered Manchester United and Real Madrid and achieved a record points tally, we failed to beat Villarreal, Hertha Berlin and Wilsa Krakow in pre-season. Prior to the 2014/15 season in which Chelsea walked the league, they were held by RZ Pellets WAC and battered 3-0 by Weder Bremen.

Last year, a Manchester United team managed by Louis Van Gaal beat Barcelona 3-0 before having one of their worst seasons in recent history. Win or lose, it’s impossible to make anything out of the result of a pre-season game.

Each team is up to a different stage and are training in different ways. By all accounts Liverpool trained the morning of the game. It’s looking clear that Klopp is trying to get the squad in the best shape possible for what promises to be an exciting season ahead.

*Ignore all the above if we beat AC Milan. If we do that, we will win the treble*

Written by Jack Mitchell (@jm97lfc)

Leave a reply on this article, Reds!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s