Written by By Vanessa White, CNN
Liverpool’s crushing 2-2 draw against Brighton in the Premier League Friday has raised questions over whether manager Jurgen Klopp will stay on at the club in the long term.
The Reds have now lost three straight games in the league and are now 10 points behind second-placed Manchester City.
Klopp’s post-match comments were particularly confusing, with the former German international seemingly picking at the scalp of Gordon Strachan at Celtic.
Here are five things we learned about Liverpool’s performance, from their manager.
1. The Reds are clueless in defense
Liverpool was utterly toothless at the back in the first half, with Brighton exploiting some slack defending and making goalscoring chances of their own. As Brighton’s Glenn Murray headed the second goal past Loris Karius, the benches cleared from the field and it looked as though Klopp would be able to buy time before changing things up.
Moments later, however, Sadio Mane made it 2-1 from close range, which left the home fans howling in disbelief and could prove vital to Liverpool’s challenge.
Fans poured scorn on Klopp, not because of the defeats, but because of his performances at the back. “Can I say something? He can speak and teach, but can he not walk through a door? And that’s about it,” said one Liverpool fan.
‘Someone needs to tell Jurgen Klopp to be Liverpool manager rather than Liverpool like manager.’
According to The Liverpool Echo’s Alan Irwin, the manager said it was something he “couldn’t see happening,” adding: “I don’t know if there is a different way of doing it.”
However, just moments later he was back in his dugout conducting training drills, a slurry of confusion reaching his players and the rest of the Reds fans in attendance.
Perhaps being surrounded by crumbs was also not what Klopp had in mind, to watch the game on a nearby TV from a sofa.
2. Liverpool is a far weaker club without Philippe Coutinho
If the first goal against Brighton was soft, it was nothing compared to the heartbreak of Liverpool’s second. Surging forward, Mohamed Salah collected the ball and, as Brighton’s Lewis Dunk was closing in, swung a cross into the box for Firmino to head home.
But the Brazilian was then held by Dunk, preventing the ball from reaching Salah, and was slow to react. Brighton celebrated their first point of the season.
Brighton’s Lewis Dunk
But Liverpool’s inability to hold onto possession proved just as costly, with Brighton securing a point from the spot after Naby Keita was adjudged to have handled the ball.
Brighton’s Lewis Dunk
3. Can Liverpool still cause an upset against the top clubs?
With Premier League leaders Manchester City due at Anfield this coming weekend, and second-placed Liverpool’s next seven league games coming against teams in the top eight, this was another sign that the Reds might struggle against a side within their own position.
Murray’s goal aside, Brighton also produced some superb goal-scoring opportunities that would have bagged a win against the world’s best. It remains to be seen whether the fans inside Anfield will return on Saturday, fearing more to come.
4. Virgil van Dijk has been eclipsed by the talismanic Adam Lallana
It has been a gruelling injury-ravaged season for Liverpool’s attacking midfielder, and despite coming off the bench to set up the winner at Brighton, Lallana has not looked like replacing the creative brilliance of Mohamed Salah.
Lallana has now been restricted to a handful of appearances since his last one against West Ham on October 27 and has yet to score this season. At 33 years old, he would dearly love to get on the scoresheet in order to keep the momentum going.
5. Injuries must be at least partly to blame
Further criticisms were levelled at Liverpool on the off-day of captain Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi, who came off injured with joint calf and thigh injuries.
“I don’t know what happened with those two injuries,” the former Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew told Sky Sports. “If it was the other way round and they were in the thick of the action, they might have seen that as a red card.”