Ever since Jürgen Klopp took over the reigns at Liverpool, the mood has been changed to that of substantial optimism. This as opposed to the doom and gloom that the club seemed besotted with at the end of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure.
While Klopp has been heralded as the messiah of the club, he has quite a bit of a task ahead of him and Liverpool fans understand that things are not going to change instantly.
The international break that saw his appointment also witnessed Joe Gomez and Danny Ings, both of whom had been very impressive, suffer from long-term ACL injuries. This has left the squad very short. Gomez’s injury means Liverpool currently don’t have an adequate cover for either full-back positions. Daniel Sturridge who has constantly been plagued with injury issues has also suffered a knock and his comeback has remained brief and he is yet to feature with Klopp as boss. Christian Benteke has also suffered from a knee ligament concern that could see him miss the Bournemouth game. This effectively means that Liverpool only have Divock Origi as a first team striker. The Belgian, while talented, has been disappointing and doesn’t look like someone who can lead the line for a club aspiring to be in the top 4. Club captain Jordan Henderson is still missing and his absence has hurt the side considerably in the middle of the park.
Liverpool are still in four competitions and these injury problems are hurting Klopp at the moment. Due to this, we might see the German invest in the winter. However, the lack of quality options in January might prove to be another problem.
2. Weak midfield
The importance of having a commanding midfield, one that can link the defence and the attack and orchestrate things from the centre, is paramount. At the moment, Liverpool’s midfield looks just about ordinary. While Lucas Leiva has put on some assured performances in the defensive midfield role, James Milner has been bang average since he came to the club. The Englishman excelled on the wings at Manchester City. He was promised the central role upon his arrival but he hasn’t been convincing playing centrally. The 29-year-old looks much better in the attack and is unable to make the same impact from the centre of the pitch. Emre Can scored his first goal under Jurgen Klopp and has been doing well recently. But he too, hasn’t been exceptional individually.
Moreover, it isn’t that the midfielders are devoid of quality individually; but that they haven’t been able to do well as a team throughout the short campaign. Liverpool fans are desperately waiting for Jordan Henderson and expect their captain to propel them to better results.
3. Mediocre squad
Despite a lot of money being shelled out by he management on players in the past two years, the sad truth for Liverpool remains that they have an incredibly mediocre squad. The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Sturridge stand out but Liverpool’s squad is devoid of any real star quality at the moment. There are of course some really talented youngsters in the form of Emre Can and Alberto Moreno that could go on to do incredible things but the Reds need a talisman and don’t have that in the ranks at the moment. They also have a lot of sub-par players in the squad. Fenway Sports Group will need to reinvest in the coming transfer windows in order to give Klopp every chance of being a success.
4. No width in attack
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher talked about this problem recently. He said, “They have an abundance of No10s. How they thought they were going to fit them all in. They have Coutinho, Firmino and Lallana.”
This is true, and this is a problem for Liverpool. After the sale of Raheem Sterling, many expected Jordon Ibe to step up. The talented youngster has been below par this season. Liverpool loaned out Lazar Markovic in the summer. This means that the Reds don’t have many natural options on the wings. When you have someone like Christian Benteke playing for you, you’d want lots of crosses to come into the box (as evident by the goal against Southampton), but that’s not happening enough for the Reds right now. Jurgen Klopp might look to bring in a winger this winter.
5. Fixing the defence
Brendan Rodgers’ focus on attack meant the defensive side of things was consistently ignored in his regime. When you don’t have Suarez and Sturridge scoring every few minutes to bail your defence out, this can be a problem. Liverpool conceded shortly after scoring against Saints and did so in a shoddy manner. Throughout the 90 minutes, the Reds were weak in the air and in defending set-pieces (something Klopp was annoyed at during his first training sessions, reportedly).Mane’s goal beautifully illustrated this.
Klopp has to fix the defence as he can’t expect his attack – which at the moment isn’t even threatening enough – to get the defence out of the jail. Furthermore, this shouldn’t be the attitude