Liverpool seemed like a team capable of dismantling the very best in the business when they ripped through Barcelona in the pre-season. In their season opener against Arsenal, the Anfield club won the game in a spell of 20 minutes when they unlocked the inexperienced Gunners defence at will scoring three unanswered goals in the process and taking a 4-1 lead. While the attack has been an area which excelled, there continued to be serious question marks over the midfield and indeed the defence. Liverpool do have some good defenders in their ranks and they can cope well in their deep defence with the personnel they have but they lack cover in their defensive midfield.
Against Arsenal, after taking a 3-goal lead, they allowed their opposition to pull back to within a single goal and were also cut open far too easily centrally. In their next match against Burnley, Liverpool looked vulnerable every time the Clarets went on the counter as the lack of cover in the midfield was exposed with too many attacking players on the pitch.
Burnley won the match 2-0 and enjoyed a free run through the central areas of the midfield of Klopp’s side. Liverpool fielded, Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and Daniel Sturridge in the same eleven which sacrificed defensive solidity in the midfield as Jordan Henderson was left too exposed having to cover a lot of area on his own. The lack of midfield cover proved crucial as Liverpool lost the game with the attackers disappointing in the forward areas.
After the 4-3 win in the opening weekend, Klopp expressed his concerns about his team not killing the game off and letting the opposition back into the tie. With the lack of cover in the midfield being too evident, many (including me) predicted that against Burnley, Klopp would bring back Emre Can into the side to impart a bit more stability in the midfield but he decided to stick with Wiijnaldum and integrate 5 attacking players into the side once again which backfired.
In the next match, the Liverpool manager needs to abandon his attacking policy a bit and emphasise more on shoring up his midfield. The team lacks defensive midfield cover and getting a CDM before the deadline day would be a much needed move by the club. The Reds take on Tottenham next at White Hart Lane, which needless to say would be a big challenge for them. Liverpool can’t afford to keep their midfield open against Spurs with the attacking talents they have and thus it is extremely important that Jurgen Klopp tries to opt for the right balance rather than making the team gamble on its attacking prowess leaving the midfield weak and brittle which will come back to haunt the team ultimately.