On Thursday night, Liverpool’s bad form worsened when they lost to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea 1-0 at Anfield. This was Liverpool’s fifth league defeat from their last six and a fifth straight home loss. Liverpool have now gone nine hours in the league at home without a goal from open play. The 2020/2021 season has not been great for Liverpool in terms of the fact they were considered favorites to challenge at the top with Manchester City.
As of right now Liverpool sit seventh on the league table and four points behind the top four spot and are at risk of missing out on qualifying for next season’s Champions League if their form does not improve. Liverpool’s squad has been affected with injuries to key players such as Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joël Matip and summer signing Diogo Jota.
Liverpool losing three of their center backs has forced them to use Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as their new CB pairing. The one good thing Liverpool has had without Van Dijk is that they’ve had the option to recognize Nathaniel Phillips as someone who can be there to help with their defense if compounded with injuries, but he probably won’t play for Liverpool on a consistent basis.
Their decision to sell Dejan Lovren to Zenit Saint Petersburg has come back to bite them especially with the fact a replacement was not signed. Liverpool’s owners did not sign two new center backs until the January transfer window deadline which goes to show they were not willing to do so at all and believed Klopp had everything under control.
Liverpool played Ozan Kabak and Fabinho together against Chelsea tonight and that was their 20th center back pairing this season. Another issue that has not helped is Thiago Alcântara who was signed from treble winners Bayern Munich for £20m back in the summer. Thiago’s arrival was greeted with excitement considering he was the kind of player that would bring a spark into Liverpool’s midfield and also create for the front three. This has not gone so well for the club or player.
Thiago then again has been individualistic in his part inside the Liverpool team. He plays with a strut and a quality of certainty that can’t be coordinated in Liverpool’s group. This can be something to be thankful for as far as his longing and criticalness to get things going for Liverpool. Be that as it may, it can likewise be something terrible as far as his craving and desperation to get things going for Liverpool.
Above all else, Thiago’s been somewhat of an extravagance player for Liverpool, which you can’t actually have from your number six. Be that as it may, this consistent running around of Thiago has represented a few strategic issues for the Reds. Their protective design and shape is continually in motion with no solidness or coordination, as others are continually relinquishing their parts to compensate for where he ought to be.
He’s likewise become something of an entirely horrible tackler. He doesn’t appear to win any handle when he goes to ground, he gets booked each game, and he’s made fundamentally a larger number of fouls per game than some other Liverpool players. Thiago’s association in the group hasn’t recently upset their protective shape, it’s likewise disturbed their attack.
At the point when he plays on the left, he continually searches for sideways switches of play to one side, and when he plays on the right, he continually searches for sideways switches of play to one side. This represents a couple of issues. The Liverpool midfielder hasn’t scored or assisted a goal so far this season, and rather appears to skim around the pitch attempting to make an impact with fancy tricks and skills.
He’s without a doubt quite possibly one of the most gifted players on the planet, however, Thiago Alcantara has effectively been disrupting a midfield he was signed to improve considering his reputation. It is very sad to see but Liverpool have played their best without Thiago in the team.
It’s almost difficult to discuss Liverpool without referencing their renowned, incredible front-three. Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah have been essential to Liverpool’s prosperity in the course of the last three seasons and remain moderately un-droppable even in spite of rivalry from Diogo Jota this season. Every one of the three offers Liverpool something other than what’s expected.
Mané and Firmino are more defensively minded than Salah, while the Egyptian is more engaged with attacking moves and combination play than the other two. Mané is to a greater degree an incredible dribbler, continually getting fouled by the resistance, Salah is a quick objective scorer and Firmino is numerous things wrapped into one. He’s an objective man, a bogus nine, a striker fit for holding the ball up, and the pioneer in the group’s squeezing framework.
Every one of the three has huge objective scoring and play-production capacity, despite the fact that Salah has verifiably accomplished the best numbers in the two classes, other than the fullbacks who have helped more. As any threesome of players who have been playing together for this long ought to, Liverpool’s front men have impressive chemistry with one another.
They quite often seem, by all accounts, to be on a similar frequency, in any event, when one of the three are having a go at something totally silly. It’s no mystery that Liverpool’s front-three haven’t been up to their typical standards this season. It’s become right around a mental issue now, and just Salah seems to have any objective sense about him right now. Liverpool are over-dependent on Salah. They need to draw in Firmino and Mané continually all through their attacking sequences, as they figured out how to do in past seasons.
Mané has wasted a lot of clear-cut chances and Firmino doesn’t make enough efforts and Salah doesn’t do much in general off-the-ball movement and is an out-and-out scorer. Salah currently is the top scorer in the league with seventeen goals and yet Mané and Firmino haven’t actually done their fair share.
Regularly Mané and Salah would fight to be Liverpool’s top attacker. That simply hasn’t occurred this season and Mané seems to have some mental block when chances are presented to him. Summer signing Diogo Jota scored five goals in nine matches before getting hurt and he appeared on the bench against Chelsea. His return would be a huge boost to an attack where one man has been able to score most of their goals while the other two consistently underperform.
Another issue that will be questioned at the end of the day is why Klopp was willing to let Takumi Minamino join Southampton on deadline day in the January window when his front three have not been their usual selves this season. Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi are simply not good enough and Minamino staying with a Jota return would have helped keep their current attackers on their toes and they are better options to have available.
Liverpool are on the brink of a trophyless season and their only chance of one is the Champions League but they are not even favorites to win when their team has been disrupted with injuries. Liverpool’s focus now will be to challenge for the Champions League and try to finish in the top 4.
Jürgen Klopp’s future has been discussed but there is no way the club would sack him and likely the reports of him leaving to join the German national team after the Euros is premature. This 2020/2021 season has not gone the way he expected but again he has been their best manager in recent years. There is no doubt in my mind that Liverpool will be back to their normal selves soon but the focus now should be to end this season on a high.
By: Kolawole Sekoni
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images