If you were to read the latest Liverpool match breakdown, the chances are that the name of Andrew Robertson would not figure very prominently in it. The £8 million summer signing from Hull City has not had the best of starts to his Anfield career to say the least, and supporters are as bewildered now at Robertson’s signing as they were when the signing was first announced in July.
So far, the twenty-three year old has figured in Liverpool’s staring XI just three times – twice in the EPL and once in the EFl Cup. He’s actually seen more action for his home nation of Scotland this season (four caps to bring his total to nineteen) than his domestic club. With a much-improved Alberto Moreno being the regular starting left-back for the reds, and with James Milner available as an experienced back up, Robertson’s path to the ‘number three’ shirt is not one that’s going to be concluded any time soon, or so it seems.
Robertson is not even Scotland’s best left back (that honour goes to Celtic’s ‘Wunderkid’ Kieran Tierney – when Robertson plays for Scotland it’s usually in the centre of defence) and Scotland are hardly the international giants they were in the days of Dalglish and Souness, so it’s still a puzzle as to why Jurgen Klopp thought it a good move to bring the ex-Hull City man to the club.
For Robertson, it seems his non-inclusion in match day squads is not too difficult to understand. It’s a two—pronged reason – firstly, and simply, Alberto Moreno is just playing far too effectively to be dropped. Secondly, Jurgen Klopp does not like ‘wasting’ a place on the substitutes bench with a specialist left back. Klopp’s bench is usually full of players who either have the ability to change a games or, like Milner, can play in a variety of positions. This may not perhaps explain why Robertson is left in the stands when he can play in the centre of defence as well, as he does for his national team.
If anything, Robertson has been unlucky. Nobody expected Alberto Moreno to become the first choice left-back for Liverpool this season – in fact most people, after the Spaniard’s lacklustre 2016-17 season, expected the ex-Seville man to be shown the Anfield door during the summer. After a decent pre-season Moreno was given the nod at left-back for the season’s opener at Watford, and although Robertson was selected in the next EPL game, Moreno’s form has been such that it’s been impossible for Klopp to even rest him, including in the UCL.
At least Robertson has time on his side. He is still only twenty-three, while Moreno is twenty-five and Milner thirty-one. Maybe the Scot will get his chance in the Liverpool side eventually and grab it with both hands. Otherwise, Robertson will be added to the list of ‘forgotten’ Liverpool signings, joining names such as Jean Michel Ferri, Nuri Sahin and current Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino.
Xherdan Shaqiri needs more starts: Five talking points from Liverpool 2-0 Fulham
It wasn’t a great showing from Liverpool in their 2-0 win over Fulham, but it was enough to move back to the top of the table, until Manchester City’s game.
The Reds were a little slow in the attack and we needed a bit of luck in getting the first goal of the game.
Mohamed Salah got the goal before half-time and Xherdan Shaqiri made the points safe with a brilliant volley after the break.
Fulham had their chances but those were few and far in between after the break. The Reds head off into the international break unbeaten in the Premier League, and here are the five talking points from the clash.
1) Xherdan Shaqiri needs more starts
It wasn’t a surprise seeing Shaqiri start, especially after not playing in midweek. The Swiss midfielder got a goal in the second half but was the spark in our attack.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were marshalled well by the Fulham defence and the former Stoke man was the creative influence in the first half.
Klopp might not prefer playing with a creative midfielder often but in a season where our attack isn’t firing, Shaqiri should start more often.
2) Liverpool still grinding out results
This was another game that we could have lost in another season. Fulham started brightly and Ryan Sessegnon had the best chance of the game but shot wide.
The Aleksandar Mitrovic header that was ruled out could have stood on another day, but we kept going. Liverpool weren’t great but we not only deserved the three points after the 90 minutes, we also kept yet another clean sheet too.
3) Players get fit at the wrong time
Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita returned to the team and got a few minutes off the bench in the win. However, it would have been better if we somehow kept them away from the side.
The international break ruined Keita’s time with the Reds last time around, and he only got fit for this game.
The same applies to Henderson, and hopefully, neither player travels with their international teams and remains with Liverpool ahead of a busy fixture list.
4) Quick thinking from Alisson
The Brazilian keeper looked shaky at the start of the game and looked really upset after Mitrovic’s header was ruled out.
However, he was quick with a free-kick and launched Liverpool’s attack that got us the opener. This is one reason why we brought someone like Alisson into the team.
The keeper can start attacks and although he wasn’t great with his hands today. Hopefully, he can keep more clean sheets and be an outlet for our forwards.
5) Our defence comes out on top, again
Apart from a couple of quality chances to the away side, our defence held fort really well. Alisson had an iffy start to the game and Joe Gomez also have a chance away to Sessegnon but the back four did well as a unit.
Trent Alexander-Arnold wasn’t great in the first half but had a hand in our opener. Andy Robertson was excellent down the left and Virgil van Dijk was brilliant.
Liverpool have a defence that is as good as any in the Premier League. Although our attack isn’t firing, our defence is winning us games.
Complacency hits Liverpool: Five talking points from crushing Red Star Belgrade loss
Liverpool came unstuck against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League as they lost 2-0 on Tuesday. The defeat threw a spanner in the works as we face Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli in our final group games.
A couple of goals from Milan Pavkov were enough to defeat the Reds and hand them their third away loss on the spin in the competition.
More surprisingly, we barely threatened the home side after a decent spell of around 10 minutes. A number of players didn’t seem dialled into the game and we were made to pay.
Looking back at the fixture, there weren’t many positives to bring out and here are the five talking points from the clash.
1) Liverpool taking the game lightly
The Reds didn’t travel to Serbia with Xherdan Shaqiri as Jurgen Klopp didn’t want to make a political statement against Red Star.
However, the players didn’t seem to turn up for the first half at all. The home side were chomping at the bits, and it wasn’t a great surprise when they took the lead.
Normally, the Reds would have responded and laid siege to the opposition box, but we did nothing of that sort and were made to pay by conceding another goal.
This should serve as a warning to the Reds for the remainder of the campaign. There are no freebies in the Champions League or in the Premier League, and we have to give our 100% all the time.
2) Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge fail to impress
It was always going to be a bit of a risk playing with Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge. Both haven’t started many games for us this season, and playing at a tough ground was always going to be a big ask for the pair.
The Englishmen struggled to impose themselves on the pitch with Sturridge missing a glorious chance of making it 1-0 to the Reds early on.
The smarter thing would have been to start with our best XI and then sub those players in who need minutes on the pitch.
3) Our attack has no bite
Our attack featured Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but the pair were absolutely woeful throughout the game.
Mane was even pushed wide right in the second half but the Senegalese gave the ball away regularly while Salah was a bit part player in the game.
The Egyptian did strike the post in the second half but both players need to get back to their best if we want to make it to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
4) The missing midfield
If our attack was toothless, our midfield was non-existent. Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner and Lallana weren’t up for the fight against the Serbian side, and the trio had no say in the game at all.
It was a big surprise seeing Wijnaldum and Milner struggle in the heart of the pitch given how good they have been this season, and they need to prepare themselves for a couple of tough games against PSG and Napoli in the coming weeks.
5) Champions League future in our own hands
Although the loss was damaging, Liverpool have their Champions League future in their own hands. A win over Paris Saint-Germain will be enough to see us through to the next round.
Anything less than a win, and we have to defeat Napoli by two clear goals to make it into the knockout phase.
Liverpool can’t seem to do things the easy way as we faced a similar scenario last season. Of course, we were up against lesser opposition last time around, however, we should perform well when we have our backs against the wall.
Alisson flops, Van Dijk gets unlucky: 5 talking points from Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal
Liverpool and Arsenal played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Emirates. James Milner opened the scoring in the second half but the Reds could not hold out for the win as Alexandre Lacazette swivelled to score past Alisson.
The draw kept us at the top of the table until Chelsea and Manchester City played their games on Sunday.
Arsenal were full value for their point and could have gotten more, but we had a number of quality chances that fell to the wrong man.
The Reds will prepare for an important Champions League clash against Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday and before that, here are the five talking points from the Emirates.
1) Alisson’s worst game for the Reds
The Brazilian was caught out a number of times and was lucky not to concede when he missed the ball and a header went wide.
The keeper did not look confident during a few crosses too, and was partly responsible for the goal we conceded.
Our defence was ripped a number of times by the Gunners, and Alisson did just about enough to keep them at bay. We can give him a pass as this wasn’t his best game, but cannot have too many repeat performances like this.
2) James Milner keeps on going
Milner seems to be the man for the moment at Liverpool. The Englishman was at the right place, at the right time, as he calmly slotted the ball past Bernd Leno to give us the lead.
The Englishman is a fighter, something we need in our midfield, and this was his 50th Premier League goal.
He did suffer a nasty injury late on, and after receiving lengthy treatment, he marched on like a soldier. Jordan Henderson might have been missed in this game, but there really was no one better than Milner to lead us wearing that armband.
3) Trent Alexander-Arnold needs to learn
Jurgen Klopp decided to play with Joe Gomez as the right-back in our draw against Manchester City, and although the Englishman wasn’t great in attack, he cut out the threat from City’s right side.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was played on Saturday, and Arsenal did a number on the youngster.
Time and again, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ran past the English youngster, and it was a miracle he didn’t score against us.
The English youngster needs to get better after his stellar season last time around, and unless he gets better, we will see more of Gomez in the right side of the back four.
4) What happened to the midfield domination?
Playing with a trio of Fabinho, Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum should have helped us dominate the Arsenal midfield.
However, the Gunners were the ones calling the shots in midfield and having a real go at our defence. Fabinho didn’t look all that comfortable playing against the likes of Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil.
Milner was his usual self in midfield while Wijnaldum was missing throughout the game.
Klopp made a formation change in the second half which helped us cut out the Arsenal threat, but the Gunners were better in the battle of the midfields.
5) Unlucky Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk must be thinking what he must do to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool. The Dutch defender scored on his debut against Everton in the FA Cup last season and had three quality chances to get the ball into the net.
Bernd Leno brilliantly saved twice and the Dutch defender hit the post once. We can only imagine what could have been had one of our strikers gotten the chances that Van Dijk had.
Hopefully, the Dutch defender can score soon and break his Premier League duck for the Reds.
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