Time for Reds to admit they aren't good enough
Liverpool manager Klopp must concede fatal flaws and demand serious cash
Scousers can be comically pragmatic when it comes to Liverpool.
Just hours after their club's humiliation at Leicester City yesterday morning (Singapore time), they were online and expressing a kind of weird relief at the 3-1 defeat.
Now the facade has been ripped away. The German smokescreen is gone. The Merseysiders aren't the real deal any more than their manager is the Messiah.
Juergen Klopp is all too human and the Reds are rather rubbish.
Liverpool can no longer hide behind their enigmatic manager's mythology or rely on industrious plodders in the wrong positions to find the right stuff.
They are a top-six side at best, masquerading as Champions League qualifiers. Only the inconsistency of their rivals stopped the Reds from being exposed earlier.
But Leicester finally left them with nowhere to hide, proving that there really is no defence for no defence.
Four honest pros thrown together in a reasonably straight line does not constitute a back four.
Klopp deserved credit for converting James Milner, a 31-year-old slowing automaton, into an emergency left back.
But the temporary measure is still there, trudging along the left flank at Leicester as if carrying sandbags.
By the time the poor man reached the final third, he barely had the energy to remain upright let alone fashion a cross.
Klopp's loyalty to his squad has underpinned his successful coaching career, but it's now hurting his players rather than helping them.
Lucas Leiva has wearily suffered the terrace jibes about his largely ineffective Liverpool career, but he still didn't deserve the unfair handicapping at Leicester.
Ordinarily, the 30-year-old Brazilian provides decent, albeit rather pedestrian, cover in defensive midfield. But he's no central defender, certainly not against a Jamie Vardy with a point to prove and pace to burn.
Leiva plodded around the King Power Stadium with all the grace and dignity of a wheezing father being given the run-around by scampering toddlers.
He was substituted to spare him further punishment, but shouldn't really be faulted for floundering in an unsuitable position.
Ageing men in the wrong place at the wrong time of their careers covered half of Liverpool's defence, which crumbled against a side without a Premier League goal all year.
Leicester became the fifth club in the bottom half of the table to defeat the Reds.
Liverpool have now conceded more goals - 33 - than every other team in the Premier League's top eight (and five more than 17th-placed Middlesbrough).
That isn't a coincidence, but a sustained cycle of ineptitude and an entrenched inability to switch to a Plan B.
Burnley, Bournemouth, Swansea, Hull and now Leicester have all discovered that when they fortify their lines and allow Liverpool to keep the ball, the muddled Merseysiders don't really know what to do with it.
Without a totemic presence dominating the forward line, or any leader of note in the attacking third, Liverpool's diminutive dynamos tend to fizz around like a spinning firework on the pavement.
The explosive movement looks colourful initially, but never takes off.
No one seized the initiative in Jordan Henderson's absence. Balls bounced repeatedly in and around Simon Mignolet's box. They were second best in the tackle, challenges were rarely won and Roberto Firmino looked lost up front.
In short, Liverpool are short, in every department.
Klopp's charisma once acted as a distraction and underlined his motivational skills, but he can no longer mask the mediocrity that lies beneath.
Milner, Leiva, Firmino and perhaps even Georginio Wijnaldum, who picked the wrong night to suffer his worst performance for the club, reiterated the Reds' startling lack of resources.
Off nights are tolerated among individuals, but such a collective collapse was a harsh reminder of Liverpool's miserly behaviour in the transfer market.
Klopp didn't spend enough in pre-season and didn't spend anything in January. Whether he was content to hold back or was encouraged to mind the pennies is now a moot point.
The Reds have been woefully exposed for what they really are: A weak, disjointed group of overachievers (before Christmas) that now have little left to give.
Klopp must give up on the Band-Aids in the summer and demand serious cash because Liverpool are bankrupt of ideas.