As inquests go, Liverpool’s examination of their collapse against Aston Villa was short and sweet.
Perhaps it was due to shock, or maybe because their recent success means such inquests have been few and far between.
Their seismic defeat at Villa certainly sent tremors through the game.
This was a team which, in the Premier League, had already dismantled Chelsea before doing the same to Arsenal, another potential pretender to their crown.
So there was little to suggest such a spectacular drop off in form was on the cards against Villa.
“The performance level between the last game against Arsenal for the league and today was too big,” admitted Liverpool skipper Virgil van Dijk post match. “All of us, everyone has to take responsibility.”
Liverpool’s defensive display certainly asked previously unposed questions about their back-line.
Their midfield was missing too while their attack, including a misfiring Roberto Firmino, squandered a host of first-half chances.
But chief among the questions posed by the 7-2 mauling was the role played by stand-in keeper Adrian, who set Villa’s ball rolling with the gift of an opening goal and spread uncertainty throughout a nervous back four.
Adrian, remember, made three errors in the Champions League defeat by Atletico Madrid, and a couple in the disappointing FA Cup defeat at Chelsea.
To make matters worse, after Sunday’s humbling Jurgen Klopp revealed first choice keeper Allison could be out for six weeks with a shoulder injury.
Will Liverpool bounce back from their thrashing by Villa to win the Merseyside derby? Have your say here.
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That would see him miss at least eight matches, including games against Everton and Manchester City.
Yet if there was a theme amongst the various players who stood up to be counted after the game, it was that they are all in it together.
James Milner, a veteran of these shocks in football, made the point.
“We need to stand up, take everything on the chin, stick together and bounce back…and we will,” he said on social media.
Andy Robertson described the performance as “embarrassing” but insisted blaming the defeat on the disruption of the first goal – and therefore Adrian – was ignoring the facts.
“It is difficult when you start the game like that,” he admitted. “It has happened before – here at Villa last year probably – when in the first half we were all over the place and in the second we went and got the win.
“But we didn’t give ourselves that opportunity. When you are not at it and a wee bit slow to find your rhythm, you need to stay in the game.
“But unfortunately we made far too many mistakes that ended up in goals – you are never going to win a game like that.”
Liverpool went on a 10 match unbeaten run at the start of last season with Adrian in goal, so the keeper alone can not be blamed.
Maybe though, there is a tactical adjustment required with the Spaniard in net. Alisson plays almost as a sweeper, but his replacement is certainly not that.
So Liverpool’s high line may have to be dropped a little deeper, to protect the keeper.
Whatever the solution, Robertson admits it must come quickly. He added: “In two weeks, we’ve got a Merseyside derby, and look, the lads will be ready for that.
“It’s up to us to be as fit and fresh as possible with all the international games, but we’ll stick together and make sure this performance, hopefully, never happens again.”
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