A six-goal thriller at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium on Tuesday night perfectly encapsulates Jurgen Klopp’s patchy reign at Liverpool.
It is two years and counting since the ‘Normal One’ first took over at Liverpool and charmed the English game with his exciting brand of attacking football and distinctly German whimsy.
A replacement for Brendan Rodgers, Klopp inherited a side sprinkled with attacking wizardry, but one which plainly lacked a robust defensive base.
There were significant concerns about their Spanish left-back and Belgian goalkeeper for example, not to mention a rotating cast of mediocre centre-backs.
Two years and £150 million later, the Liverpool boss is faced with those same flaws.
Liverpool’s defence is still made up of below average players like Alberto Moreno and Simon Mignolet whose mistakes have consistently cost the side points and denied the club of any chance to be challenging for the title.
Both players have bore the brunt of their supporter’s frustrations but it is perhaps time for those frustrations to be redirected elsewhere.
Moreno had a nightmare on Tuesday night and was responsible for the concession of two of the goals that ensured an unlikely comeback for the Spanish side.
Despite the fact that Moreno has frequently been exposed at left-back during his Liverpool career, the only person who seemed surprised at this dismal display was Klopp.
Only this week he had raved about Moreno’s improvement, saying he had never witnessed such a turnaround in a player and that:
“He’s now a much better defender. That’s how it is; he’s a brilliant footballer”
Now, aside from the pronouns, that sentence is patently untrue.
Moreno is still a liability at left-back. He is still a player incapable of fulfilling the demands of a team vying for the Premier League title. The fact that Klopp believes otherwise shows a worrying lack of judgement on the manager’s part.
It is not, however, Moreno’s fault that he is not good enough for this level of football or that he keeps finding himself in the starting line-up.
Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw in Seville perfectly demonstrated Klopp’s considerable achievements but it also highlighted his glaring failures.
There were beautiful moments in attack and farcical moments in defence. There was the stubbornness of failing to make substitutions that could change the game until it was too late. And then there was the underwhelming result.
He has crafted a side that on its day is capable of annihilating anyone with their breakneck counterattacking and ruthless finishers as they showed in the first half against the La Liga side and earlier in the season when they swept aside Arsenal.
But he is also responsible for a defence that is badly organised and woefully ineffective. Burnley, Bournemouth and Swansea City have all conceded less Premier League goals than Liverpool.
And for a side that considers themselves title contenders it is notable that Liverpool have conceded twice the number of goals of either Manchester side this season.
Of the £150 million that Jurgen Klopp has spent at Liverpool only a paltry £17 million has been furnished on defence and goalkeepers. Problem positions that existed two years ago (at left-back, goalkeeper and centre-back) exist today.
Klopp has done only half of his job at Liverpool. The solution is not going to be Virgil van Dijk alone, but rather a complete overhaul of his entire back five.
As it stands today, Klopp is no closer to glory than Brendan Rodgers was. He just plays losing football in a more entertaining way.
Kevin Boyle, Pundit Arena
Check out the latest episode of The Mixer, Pundit Arena’s Irish football podcast as we spoke to Ryan Delaney.