Jurgen Klopp spent Five years building the Anfield fortress at Liverpool which stood at the top of both English football and European football at various moments. They were back on their perch; back on top of the world. Jurgen Klopp turned doubters to believers to champions.
Yet, a season and an injury list as big as Pep Guardiola’s shopping list every summer later, and the Anfield fortress has been burnt to a crisp at the hands of Sean Dyche and Graham Potter; gone in the space of three disastrous weeks.
The Reds were seemingly back to their best with wins against both Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United in the capital. And so a return to Merseyside beckoned; a chance to start a new unbeaten one; a season-defining run.
Yet, football is never simple; never predictable, as this season proves. And Graham Potters side turned up to face a seemingly rejuvenated Liverpool side before potentially putting an end to their title defence.
As for Liverpool, gone was the scintillating, ruthless, champion-like football. Instead, back was the groundhog day, predictable, repeatable, easy-to-defend football we’ve seen all too often against the bottom six this season.
Liverpool Must Find Anfield Form Again
Kabak and Davies Should Help Solve Creativity Problem
Watching Liverpool recently, barring two successful trips to London, has been like watching the same, tiresome game on repeat as they pass side to side before an aimless long ball is headed away by the towering central defenders of the opposition.
The over-reliance of the fullbacks to create has gone from Liverpool’s greatest strength to their most predictable weakness. But, without the influence of Fabinho and Henderson in midfield, who are two of the best ball recyclers and distributors of the ball in the league, Liverpool struggle to break down low block sides.
And that’s where Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies come in. With the two centre-backs signed, sealed and delivered, Liverpool can utilise Henderson and Fabinho in midfield in games against the bottom six.
Next to Thiago Alcantara, the two should form a formidable midfield three and put an end to Liverpool’s greatest problem.
Ozan Kabak can step in to fill the boots of Van Dijk’s aerial presence- as proven by the defender’s numbers in Germany. And Ben Davies’ progressive passing can also help fill the absence of the Dutchman as the stats suggest.
Game Against Manchester City a Must Not Lose
The focus for Liverpool following a 1-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion will be securing a top-four place. Jurgen Klopp’s side are in no position to think about the title at this stage when considering the seven-point gap and the forever mounting injuries.
So the focus must be on avoiding another loss. Usually, in a game against Manchester City, the focus is on aiming for victory. On this occasion, the focus must shift. Liverpool must play the smart game; avoid another loss and, move on.
It may not be in Jurgen Klopp’s playbook to settle for a draw, but this time around, it’s a game where avoiding defeat, even though it may mean scraping a point, should be the priority.
Embed from Getty Images