herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Mersey tide rising with revived Reds

Arrival of Allardyce is too soon for Everton to make impact at Anfield

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino hugs his manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino hugs his manager Jurgen Klopp
Everton boss Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce can do no more than roll the dice at Anfield and hope that Liverpool's diabolical defending resurfaces but the way Jurgen Klopp's team is playing at the moment, that's unlikely.

I still hold strongly to the view that Klopp has not fixed his defensive problems and the issue will be a live one again before too long.

He may have caught a break when Alberto Moreno hobbled off the pitch in midweek against Spartak Moscow because James Milner is much better option at left-full.

Moreno has been at the centre of much of Liverpool's poor defending and I don't put all of the blame for that on the player. Klopp's way means he will often be out of position.

But if Milner settles in for a prolonged run, I think it will only help stabilise Klopp's defence and help negotiate the run of games following this derby fixture successfully.

A quick look at Liverpool's festive programme shows just one Top Four rival on the horizon, Arsenal on December 22, and a list of games against the kind of opposition that have consistently derailed Klopp's express train.

Terrible

If he can see off West Brom, Bournemouth, Swansea, Leicester and Burnley before Liverpool meet Everton again in the FA Cup on January 6, his team might be ready to take on Manchester City a week later.

Liverpool were wonderful to watch against a poor Spartak Moscow team but just a few weeks ago, they showed the other side of the coin when they lost three terrible goals to Sevilla and threw away a dominant position.

Klopp appears to believe that he has found a way to beat teams that park the bus but I want to see whether he has found a way for his team to defend their box and stop giving away goals that would make schoolboy defenders blush.

In an immediate sense, I don't think Allardyce has had any time to fix the far greater faults I've seen at Everton all season and it would be a big surprise to me if Liverpool don't continue their run.

If you look at Allardyce's other great relegation escapes with Crystal Palace and Sunderland, it took him time to get going.

He had bad runs at both clubs before his discipline and organisation began to produce results and that is only to be expected at Everton too.

I know Everton won their last two games well and the club has had the kind of lift they would have hoped for by changing their manager in mid-season.

But those wins do not wipe out a long run of bad form which stretches back into last season and Allardyce will need a few months, at least, to do his work.

He produces teams that are hard to beat and eventually, he will do that for Everton, but I feel Liverpool will carry too much form and momentum into this game.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News