The charismatic Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp took the decision to take his team to Barcelona after last weekend’s defeat to AFC Bournemouth.
Warmer weather training sessions and a group-bonding visit to the Nou Camp to watch the Catalonians thrash Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 appeared to have meaning behind it, rather then a quick getaway from the pressures of the Premier League.
Intensive training sessions are an essential part of Klopp’s counter-pressing tactics that he demands from his side week in week out.
Widely known as ‘Gegenpressing’ – a face-paced defensive strategy that heavily relies on players being extremely fit in order to cover ground as efficiently as possible.
It is no surprise that Liverpool have travelled the most distance in their games this season compared to any other Premier League side due to Klopp demanding focus on work rate and stamina.
A trip to Catalonia was a calculated decision by the manager.
Following the unexpected 4-3 loss to Bournemouth, it was sensible idea to get his players away from the limelight and also demand blood, sweat and tears in a warmer training camp miles away from the frosty docks in Merseyside.
Furthermore, observing one of the best teams in the world demolish a solid Bundesliga side was a lesson to be learnt.
After watching his side concede three goals in the last 17 minutes against Bournemouth, homework was given to the team on how to preserve a lead and dictate the tempo of the game.
Barcelona are the masters of maintaining momentum, which was something the Reds have struggled with and what ultimately cost them three points against the Cherries.
Loss of momentum
After the loss to Bournemouth, the Reds head coach admitted his side lost all momentum in the final stages of the game.
He said: “The boys know now we gave it away – only because of us Bournemouth came back. It was our mistake to let them back in the game.”
But it appears the trip to Barcelona failed to ignite the response Klopp was looking for as his mastermind plan still saw Liverpool squander a lead in Sunday evening’s match against West Ham United.
Clangers from Karius dent Liverpool’s title hopes
Questions were asked once again of Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius after the 2-2 draw at home to Premier league strugglers West Ham United.
The Reds first choice goalkeeper had been heavily criticised following the 4-3 loss to AFC Bournemouth last weekend.
The German goalkeeper was backed by his fellow compatriot coach Jurgen Klopp ahead of the game and retained his place regardless of the mistakes from the thrilling encounter at the Vitality Stadium.
When Jurgen Klopp first arrived in Liverpool, he claimed to encourage heavy-metal football and he hasn’t failed to deliver.
There were plenty of head banging, finger waving and fist pumps after yet another exhilarating exhibition of football from the highest scoring team in the league.
Adam Lallana opened the scoring on the 5th minute with a well-taken left footed half volley to give the hosts the perfect start.
But the Liverpool goal-scorer then contributed to the West Ham equaliser on the 27th minute after conceding a free kick 25 yards out.
At fault yet again
The spotlight was once again on Loris Karius who was at fault for the second consecutive week.
Dimitri Payet decision on where to aim the free kick was assisted by Karius who offered one of the most dangerous dead-ball specialists too much space to his right-hand side.
Payet picked his spot as Karius failed to make up enough ground to stop the Frenchman from getting the visitors back on level terms.
Karius’ lack of confidence is clearly a cause for concern for the title contenders.
A deflected long ball over the top which Joel Matip failed to clear left Michail Antonio one on one with the 23-year-old ‘keeper.
The German hesitated rushing out as Antonio toe poked the ball past the stranded Liverpool number one on the 39th minute.
Saved by a howler
Liverpool bounced back after only two minutes into the second half to draw level.
Sadio Mane crossed the ball into the danger zone, which resulted in another goalkeeping howler.
West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph spilled the ball straight into the path of Divock Origi, who tapped in his fourth goal in as many games.
The Hammers shot stopper did make amends for the error with an incredible save from Jordan Henderson’s curling effort that was heading straight into the top corner.
The Republic of Ireland international stretched his arm and palmed the ball away to ultimately rescue a point for the struggling East Londoners.
The point for either side means Liverpool fall six points behind leaders Chelsea at the top of the table but remain third.
West Ham climb out of the bottom three and can now look forward to some mouth-watering relegation battles with Burnley, Hull City and Swansea in their upcoming fixtures.
Written by Conor Lee
Follow Conor on Twitter @cmlivesports
Check out more of his writing via his excellent blog, Live Sports Reports
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