Jurgen Klopp’s scrambled team shows depth of rot

Liverpool, Rhys Williams (Photo by Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images)
Liverpool, Rhys Williams (Photo by Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images) /

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp picked a scrambled side to face Fulham but it just showed the depth of the rot.

The German rang the changes for the Cottagers clash, but it failed to make a difference as the Reds fell for a sixth Anfield defeat in a row.

Mario Lemina scored on the cusp of half-time to give Scott Parker’s side three vital points in their quest to avoid relegation, and the Reds simply had no answer for him.

Liverpool are scrambled

Klopp picked an inexperienced back-four that included Neco Williams (19), Rhys Williams (20), Nat Phillips (23). Between them, the trio has just 22 Premier League appearances, and despite Fulham being down the bottom end of the table, that type of selection was always going to offer them a glimmer of hope moving forward.

It wasn’t just at the back that this scrambled team selection continued. James Milner and Naby Keita came into midfield at the expense of Thiago and Curtis Jones, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Diogo Jota were picked in favour of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Despite these changes, the rot has well and truly set in. None of these players was able to make a difference to the outcome of the game, or turn Liverpool into a side that look capable of finding the back of the net.

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Jurgen Klopp’s scrambled team had no effect

This Is Anfield wrote that Shaqiri was ‘simply not good enough’ and that Jota was well off the pace, however, Keita did provide a glimmer of hope from the engine room.

After stubbornly refusing to make changes throughout the campaign, it feels like a symptom of Klopp’s increasing desperation and scrambled thinking that he made so many for the Fulham game – even if he did have one eye on the Champions League game against Leipzig.

But this also shows how deep the malaise has infected this squad, who no longer looks capable of winning through sheer force of will.