West Ham 2-0 Liverpool: Lack of responsibility cost Reds

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If Jurgen Klopp could have asked each member of his Liverpool team to make one New Year's resolution, it would have been to roll their sleeves up when the tough gets going.

If this was the case, the resolution was broken after just one day.

The Reds have displayed a disappointing attitude both on home soil and on the road when their backs are against the wall.


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Things looked to have changed towards the end of the year when Liverpool ground out 1-0 victories against Leicester City and Sunderland. However, previous form has seeped back into place.

Lack of responsibility

Klopp called for his side to start showing character but instead they hid in their shell for protection against West Ham United on Saturday. The German could do nothing but watch on from the sidelines, frustrated from the first until the final whistle.

Liverpool were quite simply not at the races at Upton Park - in fact, it looked like they'd overslept their alarm clock and missed the coach completely.

On a day where senior figures such as Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Martin Skrtel were absent, it was an opportunity for the starting XI to step up to the plate and prove their stock - this was far from the case and instead, average and poor performances were the answer, and nobody took responsibility.

Lucas was handed the captaincy by Klopp. With Milner and Henderson out, it was a chance for the Brazilian to show his manager that he should not be dropped when the two aforementioned return. Instead, Lucas turned out to be one of the worst players on the pitch for Liverpool. He could not get to grips with the pace of the game and his distribution was poor, likewise his closing down of possession.

Gegenpressing gone?

Klopp's major managerial philosophy is his gegenpressing which puts a significant amount of pressure on the ball when out of possession in either final third of the pitch. It's how Borussia Dortmund won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 and established themselves as one of Europe's best sides.

In the 48-year-old's first few matches in charge, his players were more than pleased to adopt the pressing tactics he encouraged.

In east London, it was the opposite. Both West Ham goals were practically identical to each other. Slaven Bilic identified how he could expose Liverpool's back-four by lumping balls towards the back post.

Nathaniel Clyne didn't deal with the threat of Michail Antonio nor Andy Carroll but the England international was left exposed at the far post and had little help from teammates to clear the aerial crosses.

For both goals, the crosses should not have been allowed to be put into the box. Liverpool had a touch of hard luck when Alberto Moreno was fouled by Antonio near the West Ham byline but referee Robert Madley waved play on.

Moreno wandered back, still complaining how he wasn't awarded a free-kick, as Antonio charged forward to help with his side's attack. Enner Valencia had plenty of time to pick out Antonio arriving on the far post as Lucas half-heartedly tried to put a foot in.

Mark Noble almost doubled his side's lead when he struck the post just minutes later with a swerving effort that gave Simon Mignolet no chance. Again, the lack of pressure from a white shirt was alarmingly worrying.

Carroll gets revenge

Carroll endured a torrid time at Anfield during his one-and-a-half year stint. He's been desperate to score against the side - who he joined for £35 million almost four years ago - since moving to the Hammers.

He's had several opportunities previously and finally got his wish in the 55th minute. Again, Noble found himself in acres of space and weighted his cross perfectly for Carroll to attack unmarked with venom, leaving Mignolet helpless. The 26-year-old celebrated even wilder than when his last-minute goal sent Liverpool into the FA Cup final in 2012 against Everton.

Carroll knows the pressures of being a big-money purchase at Liverpool. He struggled, much like Christian Benteke has since his £32.5 million move from Aston Villa during the summer.

Many blamed Carroll's preferred playing style for his failure at Anfield and it appears Benteke is in the same boat.

Benteke poor again

Following a heart-to-heart with Klopp, Benteke responded in the best manner possible by scoring two goals and single-handedly clinching his side six points.

However, the Belgium international's performance against the Irons was distinctly under par and he was arguably the worst player on the pitch. Whether it was on the feet or on the ground, James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna had Benteke in their back pocket. They were first to almost every ball and gave him nothing.

On the back of two goals, Benteke should have been brimming with confidence and relishing the battle ahead. He in fact was quite the opposite and shied away from the challenge.

Before Moreno was fouled just seconds before West Ham scored their first, he looked to find Benteke when galloping forward in a dangerous position. The Spaniard was waiting for the ex-Genk man to make a surging run into space, but this did not happen and Moreno was forced to continue with the ball and was dispossessed.

Benteke had one half-hearted effort fly over the bar in the second period but, apart from that, he contributed little. He's refusing to adapt to his manager's tactics but it again begs the question of why Brendan Rodgers signed him in the first place, especially after the failures of Carroll, Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli.

Response needed

Benteke's poor movement allowed West Ham to put men behind the ball and force Liverpool to come at them. Roberto Firmino was again a spectator and his performance against Manchester City is a distant memory, and he has to improve drastically.

Philippe Coutinho also lacked original ideas and did not have his shooting boots on, either

When the Reds did work the ball well, they opened West Ham up. On the stroke of half-time, Jordon Ibe cleverly worked the ball to Firmino, who teed up Emre Can but the crossbar denied him. Lucas had a header cleared off the line and Joe Allen should have done much better when he had space in the box. The Reds had their chances, but the scoreline was fair as Mignolet was forced to make decent stops from Carroll and Cheikhou Kouyate.

Klopp has said on numerous occasions that he is not bringing any new faces to Anfield during the January transfer window. Although many supporters desperately call for the former Dortmund manager to sign new players, it seems he feels that it may not be necessary.

Klopp is still assessing his new team and may well have written this season off already. He may feel there is no point in spending millions of pounds so soon, although drastic changes need to be made.

Liverpool travel to Stoke City on Tuesday evening for the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final. It's a huge match for them against a Potters side who've been in fine form recently. If they cannot be motivated for the match, serious questions must be asked.

Does Jurgen Klopp need to sign some new players in January? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Christian Benteke
Steven Gerrard
Premier League

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