Written by Daniel
Ok Fellow Liverpudlians ! Let’s Discuss Liverpool ! Let’s Talk Some Reds !
Departure Of Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum’s departure from Liverpool to Paris Saint-Germain is the one big issue that would be pondering in Jurgen Klopp’s mind. As a result the hole left behind in the central midfield area is a major concern. Wijnaldum would not be an automatic starter in Klopp’s midfield plan if the trio of Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho Tavares is picked. However, Wijnaldum was a fixture in the Liverpool playing eleven for any big game. The engine of the midfield would need to be recoiled in the coming games. Will Klopp go for the midfield trio of Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho or would he opt for a transfer window solution by bringing in Saul Niguez or Youri Tielemanns?
Liverpool midfield is compromised with the departure of Wijnaldum. However the evolution of the midfield to a more possession based system has been evident since the later part of 2020-21 season. Three man midfield of Henderson, Fabinho and Thiago is the best midfield trio Liverpool can field in this season. It is an exciting triumvirate which looks very good on paper. However, there is significant weakness in playing them together together as the dynamic and energetic nature of the Liverpool midfield will have to be sacrificed. An alternative is to play a duo pivot of Fabinho and Thiago/Henderson. This gives the option of fielding Diogo Jota along with the Front-Three.
Liverpool have been quiet in the previous transfer windows Post-2018 Summer Transfer spending spree. Only two major signings were brought in the last 3 years in Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara. The signings duly played pivotal roles in the crucial junctures of the late season. In the current season, purchase of Ibrahim Konate and the return of Virgil Van Dijk consolidates a weak and weary defense. However, in the centre midfield, a robust, all action creative midfielder would be an ideal signing for the Reds in this window. The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita have thus far failed to seal a permanent place in the Liverpool midfield. Will Jurgen Klopp opt for a new face in the Liverpool midfield engine or would Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita get a look in?
For the dynamic midfield of Liverpool to operate well it needs certain capabilities. Klopp wants his midfielders in his system to perform the whole range of functions of a midfielder i.e tackling and interception or creating spaces and assisting the attacking trio. Naby Keita is found to lack a defensive nous to his game but he makes up for it in the attack. Similarily, Oxlade Chamberlain’s creative traits is better than his defensive ones. He also has an attack first mentality which often leaves spaces between the lines. As is the case playing Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain inside a midfield three would not be a permanent solution for the Reds. Klopp may want an ideal solution from the transfer market but temporarily picking one of Oxlade-Chamberlain or Naby Keita looks to be the answer.
Jota In The Front Three?
Diogo Jota’s position in the Liverpool attack is another major question mark hanging over in the upcoming season. The fabled front three was off the boil in major part of the 2020-21 season and it was a significant blow to the title aspiring Reds. The injuries to the back four and the midfield were a major reason which contributed to the unsuccessful Title Defense. However, Diogo Jota was a much-needed lift for a Liverpool team craving for goals. So will Klopp sacrifice one of the front three’s productivity for Diogo Jota’s goals or would he opt for a front four with Diogo Jota among the strike force?
Liverpool could not have asked more from the Front-Three with Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota all starting their campaign with goals. In-form Front-Three is crucial if Liverpool wants to be the champions of England again. The Front-Three of Salah-Mane-Firmino offers a different danger to the opposition than the Jota-Salah-Mane combination. Diogo Jota becomes his own in the penalty box offering a goal-poaching threat. However, Roberto Firmino is a deep playing forward who can be seen dropping from the forward areas of the pitch to assist the midfield. This in turn directly create spaces for Mane and Salah to run towards the mouth of the goal. As such his value to the Liverpool team is indispensable. In a nutshell, Jota scores goals while Firmino creates goals. It remain to be seen as who would Klopp opt for in coming games as both have started the season with a goal each. It would not be surprising if Klopp picks Roberto Firmino for the bigger games in the calendar.
Lack Of Full Back Options
The unavailability of cover in the full back positions is one of the major jink in the armor for this Liverpool squad. Modern full-back position is one which has evolved in recent years. A fullback is expected nowadays to provide width in the build up and act as an auxiliary winger. Moreover, the full backs are supposed to do their usual screening in the defense. Successful negotiation of a hectic and breathless campaign needs back up in the full back position. Will Liverpool’s lack of premium cover in the full back area come back to haunt them in the closing stages of their season?
The emergence of Kostas Tsimikas has taken time. He has been frozen out in the doldrums from the moment he has been signed from Olympiakos. There was no chances coming for him to be fair as Andy Robertson is never injured. Moreover, it would be hard for any left back to displace Andy Robertson, let alone Kostas Tsimikas, who is coming from altogether a different league in Greece. However, time has come finally for Tsimikas to shine for Liverpool FC as it seems Robertson is out for at least a month with an ankle ligament problem.
A Three Horse Race
A new Premier League season is up and running. Liverpool’s path towards being England’s premier club was put to the test only by Manchester City in the previous campaigns. However, the arrival of Tuchel at Chelsea has changed the dynamic for the upcoming Premier League season. The European Champions have been sensational in their gameplan proving a lot of doubters wrong. However, Chelsea have not been English Premier League Champions since 16-17. Will the English Premier League title be heading to London or Liverpool or staying course in Manchester?
Chelsea has been reborn under Tuchel’s leadership and is the leading contender for the Premier League Title. The talented squad is prime and deep to challenge. The team is shifting gears with ease in between matches and looking rather unbeatable. And there is the addition of Romelu Lukaku to the Chelsea forward line which is in dire need of goals. The Champions League winners would be hoping they can put up a show in the Premier League. Chelsea’s strength lies in their match-day squad as Thomas Tuchel has wide range of quality options in his disposal. It all points to a first Chelsea title in 6 years.
Manchester City is still the front runner in many pundits eyes. EPL Champions strengthened in the summer with the acquisition of Jack Grealish. The former Aston Villa man’s eye for goal and assist making prowess is unique from the other creative midfielders they possess. Moreover, City’s defense has improved considerably as their defensive partnership of John Stones and Ruben Dias was arguably the best in the Premier League. However, the loss of Sergio Aguero and an inability to sign a replacement in Harry Kane is a weakness. Their pursuit of Harry Kane may go on to determine the ultimate destination of the Premier League.
As such it looks like Liverpool would have to be content with being the third favorites for the PL crown. With 2 wins out of 2, 5 goals scored and none against, Liverpool could not have started the season better. The return of Van Dijk is pivotal and so is the form of Firmino as he is the fulcrum of Liverpool’s attacking maneuvers. Midfield remains a conundrum. It remains to be seen whether a midfield three will make way for a centre midfield axis between Fabinho and Thiago/Henderson. However, Naby Keita have been in excellent form and so is the seamless transition of Harvey Elliot, a key cog in Klopp’s plan for the future.