Changes Jurgen Klopp needs to make ⚽️
Changes Jurgen Klopp must consider after the international break
The last time Liverpool saw Premier League action, they only managed a draw that could easily have been a painful loss to city rivals Everton.
Liverpool’s Premier League campaign this season has been below the standards we have come to expect, and their Champions League campaign hasn’t been any better. The Champions League campaign started with an embarrassingly one-sided defeat at Napoli, as a series of defensive errors that have become common in the side led to a 4-1 loss.
Their form in the Premier League hasn’t been much better, they sit in 8th place, 9 points behind league-leaders Arsenal.
They gave a response of sorts in the Champions League with a 2-1 win when Ajax visited Anfield. Since then, there has been a 17-day wait between games for Jurgen Klopp to get his well-assembled side back to their best.
While some of the blame for the poor performances can be attributed to injuries, there are adjustments Jurgen Klopp has to make before City run away with the title again.
Keep Alexander- Arnold in the side
A lot of blame has been placed on the shoulders of the England defender this season. While most of that is justified – he has switched off too many times on defence – it is an effect of Liverpool’s decreased midfield dominance and pressing intensity.
However, the solution to this problem is not dropping Alexander-Arnold, rather it is making sure the midfield keeps possession often enough for him to affect the game on the offensive side. This season, he has bypassed the most opponents with his passing in the Premier League.
This goes with the 0.26 assists he has averaged in his Liverpool career.
Perhaps he could be the player with the most to benefit from the break in games and his exclusion from the England squad for the Nations League will be enough motivation for him to fight for a place in the England squad that travels to the World Cup in November by improving his performances for Liverpool.
Play Jota ahead of Darwin Nunez
Sadio Mane’s move to Bayern Munich has left a hole in Liverpool’s three-man attack that they have struggled to fill.
The arrival of Darwin Nunez from Benfica was meant to instantly banish memories of the Senegalese forward, but Nunez has struggled to make the expected impact.
Roberto Firmino had a brilliant cameo against Bournemouth but that has proven to be a one-off. However, a solution could be staring Jurgen Klopp in the face – Diogo Jota.
Diogo Jota has had to play second fiddle to Mane, and lately Darwin Nunez or Roberto Firmino in recent seasons. However, the Portuguese forward looks best suited to complete the attacking trio that includes Luis Diaz and Mo’ Salah.
While lacking the height of Nunez, he gets his fair share of headed goals and gives the attack better fluidity with his ability to play across the front three, allowing the three forwards to interchange positions at will and cause opposing defences more problems.
Play Ibrahima Konate
Joe Gomez’s return from injury was supposed to shore up the Liverpool defence, but the England defender’s performances have been markedly below-par.
While Joel Matip has been solid in that role, the return of Ibrahima Konate will be the better defensive pairing with Virgil Van Dijk.
Last season, the young French centre back impressed with his reading of the game, and more impressively, his recovery pace, even when matched up with a player as fast as Vinicius Junior.
The former Red Bull Leipzig defender has not played for Liverpool this season after picking up an injury in a preseason game against Strasbourg. He has since returned to light training and will be itching to continue where he left off last season.
The Brighton match might be too soon for Konate’s return, but with the tight schedule in the months leading up to the World Cup, Jurgen Klopp will be best served pairing him with Van Djik to keep his defensive pairings fresh.
End the Harvey Elliott Experiment
Harvey Elliot is a talented footballer no doubt, this is obvious from how many top-flight matches he has played for Liverpool at his rather young age.
Unfortunately, he is not cut out at this time for the role he is playing in the Liverpool midfield.
Jurgen Klopp has been forced to play the teenager in midfield due to injuries to Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson. Fortunately, he has Henderson back in the fold and could field the trio of Thiago, Henderson and Fabinho in the middle of the park again.
Pairing Thiago and Henderson with Fabinho covering creates a much more composed midfield for the Reds and frees up the channels for the wing players to attack. This is a necessary change if Liverpool want to go back to winning ways.
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