After Liverpool’s shock defeat to Southampton, not so “Rosy Reds”, need rehabilitation before a crunch clash against Chelsea on Tuesday night, writes Sam May.
So just what is going wrong?
It is clear to see that the team is jaded and fatigue is starting to set in. Jürgen Klopp’s gegenpress style was perfectly suited in the Bundesliga as his charges enjoyed a winter break, to recharge tired minds and aching limbs – not so in the Premier League. He is now learning the hard way. This league has no such luxury as a winter break and is completely unforgiving as Klopp and his team are finding out.
January has proved a month too far for Liverpool, which has seen them exit the English Football League Cup and in danger of conceding their top four birth. What needs to change? Within his team selection, he is basically playing three who all do the same holding midfield job, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum. You only need one, and that player should be team captain Henderson.
This frees up an attacking option on the left, which would also balance up the midfield. The naturally left footed Alberto Moreno should play wide left wing-back, as he does have a flare for going to the byline to cut dangerous balls back or balls into the box. This would work as long as there is a solid left back behind. This would suit James Milner, as he wouldn’t have to attack.
Adam Lallana could then push forward and act as the central attacking midfielder or on the right in Sadio Mané’s absence. At the back, both Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan must be replaced, by the solid Joel Matip and young and impressive Joe Gomez – who has shown maturity and great composure. It is also looking likely that 18-year-old Trent Alexander Arnold will challenge Nathaniel Clyne, as competition for places hots up.
Lack of squad depth is proving a problem. Klopp has what he has, but perhaps it is time to find out who can and can’t step up to the first-team, as faces arriving in January are highly unlikely.
With the above changes it would give the team new belief and a fighting chance of a much needed win against Chelsea on Tuesday night.