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    What's wrong with Liverpool?

    A Year full of promise and excitement, the start of 2016 was the beginning of Klopps invention and style taking shape, the final strings of Rodgers reins were being cut and Klopps vision was being proclaimed to the media. Thrashings of City and Chelsea composed the optimism, which was duly delivered on with Liverpool reaching two finals and finishing but a year on the change in year seems to have stagnated or temporarily derailed Liverpool’s fortunes. Six games into the new year and the reds have only managed a one nil win (at a struggle) against Plymouth in there FA Cup replay down south, so what are the reasons for there recent struggles?
    The African cup of nations:
    The celebrated tournament often causes trouble for teams due to its mid-season placement, and it seems to have done for Liverpool too with one of there players whisked away with Senegal and the other a retired international (by choice) which has for some reason thrown FIFA into confusion and left him in some odd inception (definitely a film worth watching if your not in the loop) type limbo which has further delayed his return from injury. Joel Matip’s return as Liverpool imploded to swansea does give reason for belief in the defence once again, but Sadio Mane remains with senegal, firing them through to the quarter finals at AFCON which was best described by Klopp as bringing “mixed emotions” due to the success he is enjoying, but also telling of his importance to Liverpool Football Club.
    Since his departure it is evidently clear that although the squad is stronger than in recent years there is still a dire need for a pure winger much like mane is. Origi is too tall and although pacey a stop-gap if placed out wide (hence Klopps reluctancy to do so). He is not as strong as Mane when it comes to 1v1 situations and depends more on being fed straight in behind, into feet around the box or running onto through balls rather than chance creation (his crossing is shockingly poor).
    What ever the argument it is clear he is vital to Liverpools fortunes. His pace out wide complements firmino and coutinho’s movement and manipulation of the ball. Both prefer to work through the middle sometimes congesting play, mane is the outball who stretches the back four. His electric pace (particularly against deeper sides) providing the style to and flair to complement Firmino and Coutinho.

    Much of the same:

    The recent absentees which have plagued Liverpool have resulted in Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum in the midfield 3. Operating behind the attacking front 3 of Firmino, Lallana and now that he’s back Coutinho. But this spells problems for the reds. The midfield 3 are now formed of very similar midfielders who struggle to step out of character. However the roles assigned to them have some what stagnated the early fluidity of the Liverpool side. With Lallana moving out of the midfield, Liverpool lose an extra dimension.
    Thriving in the attacking-midfield role, Lallana’s ability on the ball and timely runs into the box have been heavily influential. Making him a very silky goal scoring midfielder, something Can has not been able to replicate. Can has recently preformed a similar role to Wijnaldum, effecting build up play in a more passive and predictable sense. Takes with shuttling up and down, he struggles to bring Lallana’s flair.
    This is proven by the greater resilience deeper defences now have against Liverpool. Sunderland, plymouth and Southampton have successfully controlled the game with little to no possession as they constrict the pitch. Liverpool are now less penetrative in possession and are hopeful on scoring the perfect goal, which rarely comes. Liverpools front 3 have been similarly affected.
    Now that Lallana is occupying one of the attacking roles, his effectiveness has lessened. Liverpool’s attacking 3 favour neat play in the middle which results in congestion and little width. Balance within the side is currently lost, it’s loss means that Klopp’s style of play is suffering. Abject and lethargic performances have not been features of Klopps high octane style of play, but are now seemingly so.

    No number 9’s

    Liverpools inability to cohesively play a natural 9 in the system meant that if one cog of the frontline is missing, the attack suffers. But should it? Sturridge Englands most technically gifted finisher and Origi, One of the best young strikers in Europe aren’t half bad options from the bench. So whats wrong? Klopps tailored system seems to be disrupted and flawed when played with a number 9. Pressing and team cohesion suffer and the team appears incapable of playing with a true striker. Tactical variety can be crucial in a season, it is well documented that title winners have had a goalscoring no.9 to lead them to glory. Whilst Liverpool have shared the goals around, maybe its time to improve the system and have the possibility to play a striker just as effectively as a false number nine.
    Although these problems can be seen as temporary it’s important that Liverpool brush of there New year struggles and return to being the most feared side in the league.
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    Item Reviewed: What's wrong with Liverpool? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Devfootball
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