Why the Southampton defeat could be a good thing for Liverpool
First and foremost, a defeat to a club like Southampton is never good for Liverpool. Accusations will fly, questions will be asked and rightly so after such an unacceptable result.
Earlier on in the season, or maybe in past, this result have not been as much a surprise, albeit still unacceptable, but with the run of form that saw Liverpool rise above their neighbors at long last, it seemed that the result was inevitable, only for the opposite to happen.
A poor, lazy and lacklustre display by the Reds means thier faint hopes of a top 4 finish are now well and truly extinguished Are Liverpool fans being too harsh on their side? After all, Southampton are a rejuvenated outfit under Pochettino, having already beaten and outplayed the defending champions Manchester City at St. Mary’s under his tenure.
But all things considered, the high morale, the new found efficiency upfront and the promising performances leading up to the game, it was an unacceptable result but one that could have great benefits for players, staff and fans.
We have seen it all before, Liverpool beat the big boys only to be humbled by the league’s basement boys. After the Tottenham game, claims were flying everywhere that Liverpool had finally arrived at the top table, that an easier run in on paper gives us an advantage in the race for the top 4.
But, that old cliche comes back to show its true meaning.
‘Football isn’t played on paper.’
It’s alright having what seems to be an easier run in, but Liverpool still had to rely on other team’s results, hoping for dropped points here, there and everywhere. Those results didn’t come with Everton and Arsenal both winning their respective matches, but those results were only made worse by the fact Liverpool couldn’t do what was expected of them; meaning more ground was lost.
How close were they to the top four in reality?
Not very, the Tottenham game had them blinded by hope and expectation, when the reality is that they are the same side that began the season, albeit a slightly smarter and clinical outfit. Consistency will still be the main focus and it’s difficult to achieve, shown by our struggles the past few seasons.
What benefits will come from this defeat?
Expectations will be lowered, they are still not at the top table and require surgery in a few areas of the squad. The raised expectations after the Tottenham game meant the reaction to this latest setback was a lot worse than what it should have been.
It also raised questions about our squad depth yet again. With Lucas on the bench nursing a ‘niggle’, Joe Allen isn’t the anchorman they need him to be, so ultimately they were caught out in a key area of the field. Martin Skrtel deputised for Jamie Carragher and leadership was definitely lacking especially in the 1st half, where the defence was all over the shop.
Certain areas were once again exposed and Rodgers’ will notice them, and improve them in the summer. Liverpool aren’t far away, but that final step is often the hardest.
Will they make that step next season? Too soon to tell. Should expectations be lower than they actually are. For sure.