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Liverpool need a dose of Houllier pragmatism and a Karius replacement after UCL woe

Liverpool’s hugely disappointing 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League final shouldn’t affect the long-term view of the team’s progress under Jurgen Klopp.

It’s the nature of all sport for competitors to keep improving, however, to test their limits and see how far they can go. That will apply to the Reds next season too.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

There would be a lot of fans who’d look upon fourth in the Premier League, 135 goals scored and reaching a cup final as a perfectly good return for Liverpool next time out.

The final was a bleak way of ending the season, not for the defeat so much as the manner of it. Losing Mohamed Salah so early was a massive blow and the errors of Loris Karius combined with an awe-inspiring strike from Gareth Bale meant they were doomed to fail on a night they needed most things to go their way.

They did benefit from a curious, toothless performance from Cristiano Ronaldo, but that was about the only break Liverpool caught all game.

The search for solutions to yet another cup setback began almost before the final whistle. A new goalkeeper was high on everybody’s wish list. While there was sympathy for Karius’ obvious distress, it didn’t stop fans from urging Klopp to make this his main priority in the summer.348

Finding an improvement shouldn’t be tricky, but what will stay the same is an all-round urge to get forward even when a little pragmatism is called for. A keeper told to release the ball quickly at every opportunity was bound to come unstuck. It happened in the quarterfinal second leg at Manchester City too, in the opening minute no less.

Karius put Virgil van Dijk under enormous pressure and an early goal resulted, when any sane team with a 3-0 first-leg lead would be moving at a snail’s pace and trying to silence the home crowd.

That’s the problem, though. This isn’t a sane team and has suffered various stumbles as a consequence. Liverpool conceded two goals or more in 17 of their matches, almost a third of them. They conceded three goals in one half seven times. That’s not acceptable, but their high-octane approach to football also resulted in Liverpool’s second-greatest season for scoring goals. Tampering with the formula may lead to a serious malfunction.

There’s a marked contrast to almost everything this team does with the one that began the century with three cups in one year under Gerard Houllier. They could often be boring but still managed 127 goals themselves, albeit in a lot more games played. There’s no question about which of the sides fans would prefer to watch, but winning trophies is what ultimately matters.

Most probably wouldn’t want a return to the days of the French pragmatist in every single aspect, but this team and manager could learn from them.customized nfl jerseys cheap

For one thing, the goalkeeper and defence were protected far more. Nobody would call Sander Westerveld one of the club’s best keepers, but he didn’t need to be.