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Liverpool's lack of desire is a worry after FA Cup defeat

  • Liverpool remain defensively frail, having conceded seven times in three games
  • A fortnight ago, Manchester City simply couldn't live with Liverpool's intensity
  • Against West Brom, that level of effort existed only in a watered-down version 
  • The signing of Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, has made little difference at the back 

By Ian Ladyman for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:32 EST, 28 January 2018 | Updated: 17:32 EST, 28 January 2018

Liverpool's Achilles' heel remains obvious. Jurgen Klopp's team have conceded seven goals in their last three games and six in their last two at Anfield.

On the back of that enduring defensive frailty, the optimism of the recent win over Manchester City has been left in the dust.

However, it was not only poor defending that cost Liverpool against West Brom. Against City a fortnight ago, Liverpool's intensity of play with and without the ball was staggering. The Premier League leaders could not live with it.

Liverpool have conceded seven times in their last three games and remain defensively frail
Liverpool have conceded seven times in their last three games and remain defensively frail

Liverpool have conceded seven times in their last three games and remain defensively frail

The Anfield side were knocked out of the FA Cup  after conceding three West Brom goals
The Anfield side were knocked out of the FA Cup  after conceding three West Brom goals

The Anfield side were knocked out of the FA Cup after conceding three West Brom goals

On Saturday that level of effort existed only in a watered-down version and without it Liverpool are simply not the same team. 

Klopp's record against the big teams is good but it remains problematic that effort sometimes drops when they face less-heralded opposition.

Whether it is a psychological issue or some form of complacency, or whether it is just physically too tough to run that hard every week, it remains a real problem for Klopp.

The Reds have failed to build on their dominant win over Manchester City a fortnight ago
The Reds have failed to build on their dominant win over Manchester City a fortnight ago

The Reds have failed to build on their dominant win over Manchester City a fortnight ago

Against West Brom, they also failed to replicate the intensity  that City could not live with
Against West Brom, they also failed to replicate the intensity  that City could not live with

Against West Brom, they also failed to replicate the intensity that City could not live with

And the signing of Virgil van Dijk has made little difference to their defence. It will take more than one player. Some of the problem is down to organisation and some of it is down to application. 

Look, for example, at the header that West Brom had ruled out for offside. Simon Mignolet allowed himself to be blocked by Gareth Barry — who is four inches shorter than him — while Roberto Firmino showed nowhere near the same desire to reach the ball as Craig Dawson.

That, in a single moment, encapsulated Liverpool. When they are good, there are few better, but when they are poor they are pretty wretched.

On Saturday that level of effort existed only in a watered-down version as West Brom won 3-2
On Saturday that level of effort existed only in a watered-down version as West Brom won 3-2

On Saturday that level of effort existed only in a watered-down version as West Brom won 3-2

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