With This Approach, Liverpool Won't Win the League
What's clear if that Jürgen Klopp – that crazy German who has won nothing in football – picks these players regularly in the Premier League, Liverpool won't win the Premier League:
Oh, but wait, most of them aren’t even 3rd-choices. Some haven't even played for the U23s/U21s yet. Some are currently 2nd-tier standard players, at best.
There are some excellent young players amongst the dozen-or-so named above, who can have bright futures, but yesterday was a training exercise: a positive experience for these lads. Stefan Bajcetic is a big talent, but just 17 (and he looks big in the U18s, but small in the men’s game). Isaac Mabaya is equally promising, and the same age. Tyler Morton had a great breakthrough season in 2021/22, but it was still just a handful of games.
And two were more teens: Carvalho and Elliott are both good enough now, but still very young. Both did well in their 30 minutes, despite Carvalho barely even training with Liverpool yet. Carvalho was one of three Liverpool players to hit the post with a good shot that beat the keeper.
(Incidentally, I was tweeting about David de Gea, and how much running he had to for a keeper who never likes to run outside his box. A key part to playing a high line, he would be out of his comfort zone; something I also discuss in the new book – out soon – when comparing his outside-the-box work to that of Alisson. Then, DdG duly did his hamstring. While Erik ten Hag may be buying too many short players, the ones I saw them having issues with in his playing style were the goalline-bound de Gea, the slow Harry Maguire and the non-pressing Cristiano Ronaldo. Basically, you need the opposite in all positions to be hard-pressing and to hold a high defensive line, which is also key to hard-pressing, to make the pitch smaller. Two didn’t even play, and the other went off injured.)
Results in preseason never matter. Especially when the training is extra-hard, and there's less spark left for games. Every summer, Klopp picks a mixture of players, and almost never fields a balanced team, certainly until the final games of preseason. It’s a hotchpotch. Because he’s protecting players from injury, as they build up their stamina in other ways.
The aim is to get to the first league game of the season in the best shape possible, and not to lose players to injury along the way. To use 32 players in game shows this was basically a training session, and a great experience for a dozen youngsters. United, with their best available players, took their few chances against the run of play (which itself was promising for Liverpool), to go 3-0 up, but all were gifted to them by raw or substandard defenders looking to keep possession and taking a rusty, loose or sloppy touch. In Rhys Williams’ case he had literally just run onto the pitch as a sub.
Finally, in addition to my recent piece about how many tall players Newcastle have signed in 2022, I see that they're now linked with Alexander Isak, 6'4".
At this rate they will genuinely be the tallest team to play in England (especially with players taller in general than in the past). And this with a "he plays nice football" manager. They're buying good players who are tall, mostly. But height seems to be what they’re going for, the same as Spurs.
Newcastle are an interesting project as a team, but every time I read about their ownership situation a little bit of my love of football dies.
Thanks for reading The Tomkins (Mostly) Daily! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.