Letters To The Editor addresses your burning questions and comments pertaining to Liverpool, including why The Reds won’t loan a midfielder…
HERE are your burning questions and comments in the week after Liverpool dropped points at Fulham…
Dave Lee: Our players complained of the slow, waterlogged pitch, whereas I was dumbfounded by the lack of cohesion between them. We had 66.9 per cent possession (normal), passing completion was 77 per cent (lower than our average?), and won 13 aerials to Fulham’s 23 (bad).
It looked as though they shied away from the challenges, as Fulham probed the types of borderline fouls the referee would give for elbows, knees and stamps: their upper limits set after the first yellow card.
Always tough first game away at the Championship winners, perhaps our recent squad injuries placed a pre-match precedence.
Editor: Sometimes you come up against a team that creates a perfect storm for you to battle against, and that’s what Fulham did on Saturday. They played every marginal gain they could get to a tee with the pitch, the referee and more.
The biggest problem for me (and I’d suggest for the manager too, given his post-match comments), was that Liverpool allowed themselves to be dragged down to their level by being too polite in an attacking sense until Darwin came on and allowing Fulham’s attempts to cause chaos to do just that — why, Virgil?
Greg Ahern: How should Jurgen Klopp manage a potential midfield injury crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since the ‘Great Center-Back Injury Crisis of 2020-21’?
In 2020, top-of-the-table Liverpool went to the Etihad without van Dijk, Fabinho, or Thiago and played 4-2-4: Salah, Mane, Firmino, and Jota with Henderson and Wijnaldum in midfield.
In 116 matches from Leeds (H) in 2020 to Fulham (A) in 2022, Liverpool’s starting 11 featured four attackers only three times. Why did Klopp play 4-2-4 in the most difficult fixture of 2020-21 but only one time since and zero times since he’s had five recognised attackers?
Editor: I think part of the reason he felt confident about playing that 4-2-4 against City was because of the roles both Henderson and Wijnaldum could play, as effectively both sixes and eights. I don’t know if there’s a player in the squad now, bar Henderson, he’d trust to fill both those roles and I think we’d lose too much defensively and in the counter press to try this with Diaz and Darwin.
Ian Reay: We were wondering why, despite many loan deals taking place, Liverpool don’t consider a loan move to deal with the midfield injuries.
Editor: Well this is dependent on both the right player being available for a loan move and the club being confident that it’s a better solution than what they have. I think if you were to hand Klopp a list of the midfielders currently available for loan and ask him whether any are better solutions than what they have, he’d say no on the basis that — even if said player was higher quality — they’d need time to settle and by the time they did we’d probably have our better lads back fit anyway. Plus, it could pose further headaches for him about squad harmony.
Peter Roche: Fulham on Saturday became a very uncertain midfield, as they surprised us. It became difficult to say who was not doing his job. Was Bobby or Thiago number 10? Hendo or Fab, who was six? We don’t always miss Gini to plug gaps but he did just that so often, by running everywhere. Naby has been making a good fist of doing it, and Millie was sent on to do it.
Pep and Jurgen can play with midfield shapes till the cows come home, but if I was still coaching I’d stick to old numbers in training to make the midfielder know where and when they should be.
Editor: This is a dead interesting conversation, in that it feels like we’re trying to make sense of the uncertainty Klopp is trying to bring on the opposition. His entire team is full of axes or triangles, in that sometimes both Henderson and Fabinho might need to play as double sixes, Thiago and Firmino as double 10s, and sometimes you just want lads who are willing to graft and help push the opposition back like Milner and Naby.
Klopp has spoken loads about staying unpredictable, and giving everybody multiple roles to switch between is still the best way to do that.
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“It doesn’t sit right with me that Liverpool maybe putting all their eggs in one basket for a 19 year old Jude Bellingham to sort out all of our underline niggles in our midfield…”— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) August 9, 2022
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While last nights result was not what we wanted I am not happy with the view Liverpool did not play well . They played very well with good quick attacking moves but failed to finish .For much of the second half we were down to 10 men and still most of the game was in the Palace half . In the last few seasons we have been lucky at times currently that is going the other way but this side is still great and exciting to watch and we should cherish this . You could always be a UTD fan and then think how that feels
Finishing needs improving. We take several chances to convert a goal and last night seemed a similar pattern to so many.
I think Klopp needs a revolution in his formation to adapt and take risks try a few permutations, confuse opposition through tactical changes.
Thought we played quite well last night. And have to say Nat Philips did fine.However, I might be slaughtered for this but I feel Virgil could have done an awful lot better to stop the shot. I remember listening to Pat Nevin talking about him in the past.Nevin said he recommended Virgil to Chelsea but when they looked at him the thought he was lazy and Nevin said that he tends to get bored, but the talent was there.Chelsea dropped their interest and the rest is history.I feel that this is creeping into his game in the last year or so.Even though he generally bosses his opponent, I feel he could be even more involved i.e. carrying the ball further to the opposition like Matip for instance.Genuinly think he needs a rollicking every now and then to keep him on his toes.Again, he slowed down to a trot just before Saha got his shot off.If that was anyone else they would have been criticised.I feel that like when Nunez was sent off, it was pure anger that made us respond, my point is that we need more aggression from our team, but Virgil in particular.
Fully agree Andrew. The manager looks at a game differently to a fan. He wants each individual to do their job as coached during the week. He seemed really happy how the team played and can then see us repeating that and improving.
A little bit of luck and the ball will have crossed the line, onto the next game always looking forwards not back.
Not sure if it’s the team not carrying out Klopp’s instructions or Klopp getting it badly wrong bilut the formation first half was dreadful. Diaz and Salah so wide and Bobby deep left nobody in the middle. Trent and Robbo couldn’t overlap as Diaz and Salah were hugging the line, so they ended up as crap I side forwards. Also when they went inside, they then had further to run back to block United’s wing players meaning that rhey arrived either too late or too out of puff.
Add to that a midfield that Harvey (Elliot) excepted looked knackered before they hit 20 minutes and it was a recipe for disaster. We need a couple of high quality midfielders to play regularly and interchange with Henderson and alcantara (when fit) in order to give Harvey and Carvalho a chance to develop naturally,and to provide that zest which is so patently absent and is killing the game plan in every area of the pitch.