Under the microscope; Liverpool

Liverpool are struggling. Some football fans will revel in this news, others (Liverpool fans) will be concerned as to why that is. Eight seasons at the helm, where it’s widely been seen as a success, but in certain corners Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is facing calls to be sacked.

A ridiculous statement right? Certain fans of the Anfield club don’t think so. Their argument is, is that Klopp for all the praise he has got has underachieved.

One Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, one Super Cup, Club World Cup and Champions League is how the German’s achievements with Liverpool read, but readers of my blog, you know I hate stat padding.

Over-obsession with stats isn’t healthy. If one was to look into stats alone then people will say CR7 is better than R9. The younger generation (some of them) will say, yeah the Portuguese captain is better as he has more goals.

You see stats, don’t show that Ronaldo Nazario had two serious knee injuries and played in a very good era for central defenders, and he played in Italy, where a lot of them resided at the time too.

Without going too much off-topic, people who look at Klopp’s trophies alone, sorry to say are foolish. Former Dortmund manager got Liverpool back to consistent performers at European level.

In eight seasons, he has been in one Europa League final and two Champions League finals, he’s been runners-up to Manchester City on several occasions, where his side got 90 points in the season.

They were records, and it puts into perspective the quality that Manchester City have. What many forget is that rivals Man City have an open chequebook (or something close to it), but Liverpool doesn’t.

If the 19-time Premier League champions buy some player, know that there will be a mass clear-out to fund those deals. The players that get sold, usually tend to be reserve team players, but in a long Premier League season, it’s the best squad that win the title, not just the starting 11.

Here at the-sport-buff.com, we will be looking deeper into just some of the problems that Liverpool are facing and try to find some remedies for this as we go under the microscope.

Liverpool have the best starting 11 when at full strength. Not even champions Manchester City’s is as good as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Very good right-backs and very good centre-backs too.

Virgil Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate (in my humble opinion) are Liverpool’s best centre-backs, but Joel Matip is also very good. I am sorry to say, one player who doesn’t seem up to it is Joe Gomez.

The former Charlton man who had partnered Van Dijk and had performed admirably in the past just seems a shadow of his former self. Gomez like VVD has had a serious injury, which will take time to recover from.

Recovery isn’t just physical, but it’s mental too. Since both have come back, they don’t quite look themselves, with Joe Gomez his drop-off of form seems longer than Virgil Van Dijk’s, as his only seems to be this season.
It’s not just the centre-backs who have struggled this year, right-back Trent Alexander Arnold has found it difficult this year. Although not terrible, TAA has always been better going forward and not back.

The problem is that the Liverpool academy graduate’s mistakes look to have shot his confidence. Thankfully for The Reds, Andrew Robertson on the other side doesn’t look to be suffering from the same kind of issues.

Further up-field, midfield and attack don’t seem quite cohesive as they could be. It’s so easy to criticise Klopp, but many football fans don’t quite appreciate, that he has to sell before he can buy.

This (since FSG took over), has always been this way. Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni was targeted, but the Frenchmen favoured Real Madrid. Bizarrely Liverpool under the guidance of Michael Edwards were a well-drilled machine in the transfer market but didn’t work on a plan b transfer.

Edward’s successor Julian Ward did have a good start to life in the director of football role, but the lack of planning with a central midfield addition has been so un Liverpool-like.

Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo was signed on loan on deadline day, but I don’t see the Brazilian as an upgrade on what they have. For any team to be a good one, the spine of the team needs to be good, sadly for Liverpool they’re not.

Central defence I am confident can be fixed, Van Dijk needs Matip next to him or Konate, this is a short-term slump even the great players have those. Virgil Van Dijk is no different.

Fabino, usually so reliable looks off the pace. He too has returned from injury, but even still the former Monaco hasn’t seemed himself. It doesn’t help that he hasn’t been starting all games when he’s available.

Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott need to play during this period (Liverpool injuries). Unfortunately, Henderson and Milner just don’t look the same. Age, unfortunately, waits for no one, despite how good them two have been in a red shirt over all of those seasons at Anfield.

In attack, this is what offends me the most about this Liverpool team, the fact that there is no Sadio Mane, but there is Mohammed Salah. This mistake has upset the balance of the Liverpool attack.

Yes, he can play out wide, but what would have surely made sense was to sell Salah (he was being greedy anyway) and keep Mane. Senegalese Man, is truly able to adapt to whichever position you put him in the front-line, Salah? He’s good at going forward, even then he is wasteful and not a team player.

So many times, when the Egyptian is better placed to pass the ball he’s trying to go for the wonder goal and misses badly. This may appear salty, but Liverpool’s attack isn’t in the same cohesive unit it once was.

So, the resolution for Liverpool’s problems? Don’t panic, I would play Carvalho more, he’s really impressed me. These players (the ones who were there last season and before that) have won trophies, the stats won’t say that despite this Real Madrid team not being one of the best, they have the winning know-how in Champions League finals.

Stats won’t show this and in the Premier League too, they have been so close twice in the last five seasons. If John W Henry does the quite frankly ridiculous and sack Klopp, then Steven Gerrard isn’t the man to replace him, like many want him to be.

Stevie G, much to the surprise of many (me included) has struggled in his job as manager of Aston Villa. The former Liverpool captain needs to prove himself at Villa Park before he even thinks about going anywhere else.

For those Liverpool fans who want to ‘thank Jurgen, but think it’s time to go’, then they need to realise they should be careful what they wish for and they are not Chelsea either. They give their managers loyalty and faith.

Former Dortmund manager is one of the best managers in world football, bar two, maybe three managers. Liverpool has been a club that’s come out of the darkness and into the light, Jurgen Klopp is largely to thank for that.

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