THE season isn’t yet finished but I’ll be honest, I’m already eyeing up the summer and beyond.
It’s pretty difficult to downgrade myself to a challenge for a Champions League place because, ultimately, it just isn’t that exciting and the overall goal doesn’t make you go out for a week and hug everyone you know. But it’s something we need as a club and something that we clearly aren’t yet equipped for in terms of squad depth.
The first goal should be to get into it, and the second goal should be that we are able to actually compete in it. Liverpool as a club should not see qualifying for a competition as a success – they should be trying to go as far as possible and try their utmost to win it. The same as every single competition Liverpool find themselves in.
If the last couple of months have shown us anything it’s that while we have lots of good players, there are a number of players who aren’t totally suited to the system of this Liverpool side. I like Emre Can, he showed during last year’s Europa League run that he’s got obviously talent and there’s a player in there, and the same can be said of Divock Origi, but having watched the pair of them in the last couple of months, you wonder just where they fit into this Liverpool team in the long term.
I refuse to believe it’s a coincidence that Liverpool had their swagger back when they were able to have the front six of Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana, Phil Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané starting a game for the first time since October. The biggest question that should have arisen from Saturday is why Jürgen Klopp decided to go with Can ahead of Wijnaldum at Hull last week – you can clearly see the difference between their suitability for this system.
Liverpool’s system is based on moving the ball vertically as quickly as possible. Incisive passing that helps us put teams on the back foot, that puts them under pressure, that makes them panic. Go and watch the two goals from Saturday and you’ll see exactly what this team is about.
Can looks laboured when he’s on the ball, like he wants that extra second to think about it, and his mobility is not on the same level of Wijnaldum.
Remember the reaction when Wijnaldum signed? I remember getting the nod that the 10.30 ultras were going out with it shortly before it dropped and having a word with someone about the impending meltdown on Twitter. And at 10.31pm on a Sunday evening in July, Twitter went wild. I don’t think anyone would have signed Wijnaldum and there’s a lesson to be learned there.
I think the worst game in existence is when people say ‘We should sign him’. We’re all idiots, mate. I was made up when we signed Fabio Borini on one hand, and then on the other I wanted us to sign Cesar Azpilicueta when he was at Osasuna. We’ll get some right, we’ll get some wrong, so maybe the idea is to just jib that concept as a whole and live in blissful ignorance and let the manager crack on?
I’m sure it’ll probably happen again this summer. We’ll get linked with someone and the world will go into meltdown. But before you go into meltdown, have a think what you thought when we signed Wijnaldum, relax and then remember that everyone employed by Liverpool in a football capacity knows more about football than you.
The summer shouldn’t be about signing the best players available in terms of ability, the summer should be about signing the best players available in terms of how they fit into this system. We can sign the best striker in existence, but if he isn’t mobile enough to create space for Mane and Coutinho then he won’t fit. Diesel is really good at powering cars, but if you put it in a petrol engine it won’t work in the long term.
The issue we seem to have is that our system is very dependent on six players. You take one of them out and then it doesn’t look as good. We have lots of good footballers at the club at the minute, but how many fit?
I know that in a one-off game this Liverpool side can take anyone down, but our problem is that we haven’t got the depth to do it twice a week or do it when we have injuries. The current squad is capable of getting this club into the top four and then we need to take advantage and build a squad that’s capable of competing on four fronts.
We need to find a midfielder who reads the game like Henderson, another who can get around the pitch and move the ball quickly like Wijnaldum, someone who links play like Lallana, two pacey wide men who can stretch teams like Mane, and then a centre forward who can move around the pitch, create space and bag goals.
We cannot play the current front six for 90 minutes upwards of 55 times next season, but it’s pretty clear that we have very little in reserve that is able to deputise without there being a noticeable drop off in quality.
The aim for the summer should be to get the best part of 20 players that you are happy to see start an away game at Old Trafford. That means we need to do some serious summer business. Wouldn’t it be nice if the money we’ve saved up over the course of the last few transfer windows, combined with the presence of Champions League football enabled Klopp to go out and buy half a dozen players that he really wants that kick us on a level?
We can talk all we want about how defenders and a new goalkeeper could help, but until we get a way of consistently playing good attacking football with more than six different players I feel it’s a waste of time. After all, we just dismantled a very good Tottenham side with Lucas at centre-back and Simon Mignolet in goal. Obviously you need a secure defence, but a consistent attacking system with lots of good players will do a lot more in the long run.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Agree . . . up to a point. Going forward few can match us but we look weak at the back and that is holding us back. Nobody can tell me Lovren, Milner or Moreno are good enough for a team with Champion’s League ambitions and for any team with such lofty ambitions to resort to playing five-foot-seven inch Lucas as a CB, well, it defies belief. Would he be in the squads of United, City, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea? Too ludicrous for words yet he is still in the squad – and seemingly a regular starter these days – despite proving to us ten years ago that he wasn’t fit to lace Alonso’s boots as a DM. He was a poor DM and is a very poor CB. Similarly, Mignolet is too error-prone yet seems almost fire-proof. I also don’t think Henderson is a proper DM and the defence seems short of protection.
We ask too much of Lallana, Coutinho, Mane, Clyne and Firmino and they will become disillusioned with life at LFC if we don’t address some of the weaknesses that have been well-documented for years. Mignolet must go, Lovren must go, Lucas must go, Sakho must go, Moreno must go, we’ve got to release Henderson from his defensive role and we need strikers better than Sturridge and Origi.
Lovren was injured. Klavan ill and only fit for the bench.
Lucas is 4th choice for fucks sake, possibly 5th once Gomez gets back up to speed. Look at around the league – who has a worldie 4-5-6th choice CB? Or any position for that matter.
United have fucking midfielder Daley Blind as cover. Spurs have midfielder Eric Dier as first choice cover. Arsenal fucking Per Mertesacker or some 22yo from Bolton. Chelsea have 36yo John Terry.
Get over it. If you end up needing your 4th choice then that’s what it is.
Don’t like Lucas then? Shame because he is a good player and before his serious injury a very good player. He is a great utility man these days – you wouldn’t remember Ian Ross, and gives everything when he plays. He won’t be here next season as I’m sure he’d like to play more. I doubt he’ll ask you for a reference but there will not be a shortage of good clubs after him. Klopp knows a thing or two about footie and was loathe to lose him, still slag him off why don’t you.
yes Ian Ross was a useful bits and pieces merchant.
great saying, I hope n pray that the club owners, maneger n officials build the club by reading n understanding that reliable substitutes players make up a strong team.
Mignolet needs replacing.
he was. Not worked out so well so far.
Lucas is not 5 ft 7!!!
I think you need to face reality a bit, Phil. When we’ve only made the CL once in the last several years, it’s a big deal.
I also think you’re looking at Origi and Can wrong. They don’t look ready in the short term, but in the long term Origi looks great and Can is still possibly good. The question is what to do with them during the next 3-4 seasons while they develop.
It does need some upgrades, I think you’re right to a point. We’ve got a good first IV maybe a decent 15, but we are let down by the squad. On the reality side, we haven’t been in the champions league or pushing for serious silverware for a while, now with klopp it looks like we are. He’s done ever so well getting a average group to play well.
As you said, we’ve saved money in the last few windows so hopefully that money is there to spend, it’s a good idea in my opinion, if klopp thought he could get champions league without spending big then I’m up for backing him. However, hopefully we’ll get top 4 next year and invest in the playing squad. If it was me I’d hold off on a keeper, Ward, Karius, Mignolet if one of those three can’t figure it out then make a play for Butland or Hart in January or next summer.
LB, Flanagan anyone? LB is always difficult it seems, hopefully klopp has a plan! Hopefully it isn’t Milner long term, I mean I get it, needs to play his vice captain, we needed a LB. It worked. But I think Milner would be a better option as a back up for Hendo. Lord knows what the plan is for Moreno.
Gomez for CB. With Matip. Lovern squad, think we could do with another CB, I can’t see VVD, to much money, I think klopp likes Gomez and would prefer playing him. Does want a decent CB, maybe Klavan is 4th choice. But I’d perfer an upgrade.
RB, it’s all good over there Clyne, AAT.
Would like another box to box midfielder, Can isn’t it for me, DM backup maybe for Hendo, he can play CB, useful squad player. I want a lallana/winnie cross ideally. Someone to play in both positions.
Upfront, I want Sanchez! He’s clearly had enough of the lack lustre approach at arsenal, yes it’ll take 60 million but hell it’s worth it!
Speed, Speed, Speed.
Speed of foot, speed of thought, speed of pass.
That’s what those six give us in combination. Without it the performances fell off a cliff. Is it actually as simple as the ability to play vertically being the key to our success??
I don’t know if the obvious inhibitions without them were provoked by a collective lack of confidence in their replacements ability or if it’s something more fundamental. I really thought JK had this sorted after the kick-in-the-gonads Europa final with the footy we were playing up to January but the LFC rollercoaster decided otherwise. I can’t say if it’s simply a lack of squad depth or not. I think the remainder of the season will tell us a lot. Robin C put it well a while back- Klopp is like an old fashioned watchmaker- he ( and Buvac )have very specific ideas for what they want each position to have as a skill set. It would go a long way to explaining why there was no January window business. ( I still wouldn’t give up on Pulisic – shades of our last contract for Suarez there ).
Another Mane type is a certainty either as a replacement or to play in tandem. CB ( maybe two notwithstanding Joe Gomez )and LB upgrades too.
Goalie? Fucked if I know what Jurgen is thinking. Perhaps Danny Ward to come back and maybe cash in on Big Si the Mig? But we need a solid platform to enable the others. Real ould arse stuff here!
I like Neil’s assertion that we need someone like Chris Wood to play in those tough midwinter matches when 1-0 will do. I worry now for Studge but think youth is on Big Divvy’s side. Dunno where Ings will be next season but expect a striker to come in. Midfield- I wonder if Milly could deputise for Hendo? No doubting his engine or intelligence. But does that mean TWO LBs? No sign of Albie at all this season. Will Grujic be good enough whenever the fuck he gets back?
Can – the enigmatic panzer. I can’t figure it out at all. He can be imperious and perilous in equal measure. But Klopp keeps picking him the way he kept picking Lall last year. He seems a bit of a pet project so I think he’ll be shoehorned in until he clicks. I seem to remember him saying something about being asked to be more box to box earlier in the season. Expecting Ejaria and Ojo to get some game time as well but we will need more options. Dahoud? Someone as yet unknown?
More questions than answer, I know.
So we’re looking at six or seven in at least. And probably a repeat of last summer’s grim reaper pruning project.
I had a quick look at JK’s removal of deadwood at Dortmund. 17 out & 13 in first season then 8 out & 14 in second season. Season Three – the title – it was 12 in : Including Lewandowski, Kagawa, Goetze and Pisczek. I think season Three’s movement more likely this summer.
Oh, forgot to add – 12 out as well season Three. !!
I think we need to start addressing our problem from the back. the first concern should be to get a good central back, who can compete in air. I wonder why we find it hard to wrap up deals that will be beneficial to us, imagine a player like van dijk as a cb what an impact it will make. Another area should be to get a quality keeper if there is one available, but if we can’t get an upgrade to karius and mignolet then we stick and work on karius. Having addressed this area then we can now shift to our attack, looking at the current campaign we are the highest goal scoring side which proves that this area is not doing bad, but needs to improve for consistency. I think this is where we need to splash the cash, with champions league football and klopp I believe we can attract some top proven goal scorers. Origi looks good for future but currently he is not that good, sturridge should be sold I think he is done at Liverpool use his money and get a skillful and pacey wide main. I will like to see some young players lile Kent, ovie ejaria, wilson, woodburn and arnold, get some playing time. Dream signing-van dijk (Southampton), keita (Leipzig), quincy promes (spartak Moscow), aubumoyang (borrusia dortmund) Rodriguez (Wolfsburg).
GOODDAY! I AM A LIVERPOOL FOLLOWER, MY PROBLEM, IS OUR VERY OWN MR KLOPP, HE KNEW IT WONT WORK, WITH MILNER, AT LEFT BACK, FROM THE START, IT LOOKED ROSIE, IN THE BEGINNING, HEAR WE HAVE IT, THROUGHING THE LEAUE AWAY, HE COULD HAVE SAVE IT, HE SHOULD HAVE INVEST IN 3/4 SIGNINGS TO STRENGTHEN THE LAST PART OF THE SEASON, BEAR IN MIND, WE GOING TO PLAY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2017/2018, BUT NO. BACK TO WHERE I START, DEFENCE IS POOR. NEW SIGNINGS IN CENTRE, VAN DIJK, KEANE. LET RAGNAN GO, DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER, NEW SIGNING PASTORE/KEITA HENDERSON- INJURED PRO,STRIP HIM OFF CAPTAINCY, AND ALSO THAT WE LOST SO MANY GAMES IN THE NEW YEAR, WITHOUT HAVING A PROPER, CAPTAIN IN THE SQUAD, TO LIFT YOUR FELLOW COLLEAGUES, LIKE STEVIE USE TO DO,LUCAS HAVE TO GO, SORRY MILNER BECOMES OPTIONAL IN MID FIELD, WE NEED A SPEEDSTER, LIKE MANE ON THE LEFT, WHEN MANE LEFT FOR AFCON, WE WERE LOST,NO PUNCH,JUST BECAUSE OF THE LACK OFF DEPTH IN THE TEAM. KLOPP MUST GO FOR A REPUTED GOALSCORER, HUGAIN/LACAZETTE. THE FRINGE PLAYERS .
Jib THE CAPITAL LETTERS please.