Monday 27 February 2017

There is no point in Liverpool qualifying for Champions League - Five things we learned from Hull defeat

Chris Bascombe

Referee Lee Probert talks to players following a clash during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Liverpool at KC Stadium
Referee Lee Probert talks to players following a clash during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Liverpool at KC Stadium

Hull City vs Liverpool, Premier League: Liverpool do no deserve Champions League spot; travelling Kop leads KC boycott and three more talking points

Would there have been any point in Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League?

It’s been unlikely for most of the season, but even if Brendan Rodgers’ side had caught Manchester United to sneak the last Champions League qualifying spot, what would be the point?

The club would earn a few quid for losing a few matches, but think about the English co-efficient. This side would only cost more valuable ratings points and ensure the Premier League allocation was reduced to three.

There is no value in qualifying for a competition you are not prepared for, and certainly not good enough to participate in. As this year shows, it leads only to ritual humiliation. Maybe that's why it was gift wrapped for Louis Van Gaal with this defeat. As for evidence of a Liverpool title challenge next season… Rodgers must have been visiting the same smokehouses as Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe if he thinks this squad is up to it without a significant influx of new blood.


Liverpool fans send a message on ticket prices

In an ingenious plan to ensure seats were kept empty, Liverpool campaigners bought £10 children tickets in bulk for the Hull City away end – and then swerved the game.

The impact has been broader coverage for an away fans boycott at the KC Stadium.

There is an emerging consensus greater efforts must be made to prevent rises in ticket prices, and while the clubs and Richard Scudamore are in the firing line, perhaps attention will also be drawn to the players’, the PFA and the agents who continue to take a massive cut of each TV deal.

Some clubs are freezing prices next season, but unless wages and agents fees are subject to the same freeze – and transfer fees go down - for how long?


What kind of ‘dream’ move is this for Lambert?

It was described as a ‘dream’ transfer for Rickie Lambert last summer, but of what type? One from a David Lynch movie, perhaps? Maybe Lambert will wake up at a different club at start of next season and consider the past year a hallucination.

When he starts on the bench and Mario Balotelli imitates someone with no concept of football as a team sport, it does beg the question how poor the ex-England striker has been in training? What could Balotelli be doing to keep Lambert in reserve? The Scouser said when he signed he had not moved to Liverpool as a cheerleader. He has a point. Mascots know they’ll be needed every matchday.


Can keeps reinventing positions

Emre Can is certainly the most successful of Liverpool’s summer signings last season, although the competition is not fierce. Nevertheless, it can’t go unnoticed that Can was signed as an all-action midfielder but has yet to feature regularly in the position.

Instead he has played centre-half (who spends most of his time moving into midfield) or as was the case on Tuesday night a right back (who spends most of his time moving into midfield).

With the ball, Can looks the part, but without it he is no right back, as was shown when he was regularly exposed as Hull attacked down the flank. It again brings into focus Liverpool’s transfer strategy. How about signing players to fit a system rather than players who require the system to changed on a weekly basis? Is that too radical a theory?


Hull have the fixture list from Hell

On paper, at least, Hull could hardly consider themselves in the clear from relegation. They’re remaining four games include Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United. They also have a potential defining meeting with Burnley.

Steve Bruce must have considered Liverpool’s visit the most appealing given how limp the visitors were upfront, but there was no margin for error.

Their win over Crystal Palace certainly created a serene atmosphere around the KC Stadium and the lack of angst will certainly encourage Steve Bruce a couple more performances will see them to safety. The longer this game progressed, the more he would have felt it was an opportunity that could not be missed against a side devoid of attacking spark.

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