Liverpool’s draw against Sunderland shouldn’t bring too much of a reaction considering how soon the game came after their tough clash against Manchester City. The Reds played two games within 48 hours and looked tired as the game wore on. Sunderland too had a similar situation but made more changes than the Reds.
Of course, Jürgen Klopp hasn’t made too many excuses and the team should have done better after taking the lead twice and being pegged back against a relegation fighting team. Chelsea dug deep to pick up a win against Sunderland and Liverpool should have matched them.
One player whom they missed desperately was skipper Jordan Henderson. The midfielder picked up an injury against Manchester City and wasn’t named in the match day squad against his former side. Emre Can deputised for the injured skipper and the result was a not so cohesive performance in the centre of the park.
Can simply isn’t a defensive midfielder and that was deduced in his debut season at Anfield. The German is too exuberant while going forward and is ideally best made use of in a three or a two-man pivot with a more defensive minded partner who can cover him when he makes his forward forays.
Can was slow to release the ball against Sunderland and couldn’t break play in the same manner like Henderson has done so well throughout this season. Apart from Can, Liverpool have Lucas and Kevin Stewart to play in that position but neither can do a similar job like Henderson who so is very well equipped to play as the deepest midfielder.
The transfer window is open and there’s a lot of speculation that Liverpool could go for an attacker to fill Mane’s void and add more depth. But considering what transpired against Sunderland, another midfield destroyer is something Klopp should consider.
Jordan Henderson has become an indispensable part of the team and in his absence, the team struggles. When you compare that with Chelsea or Arsenal, who are Liverpool’s competitors, Liverpool don’t have the same resources.
Klopp’s side are definite top four candidates and potential title challengers but to ensure they put up a fight until the final day of the season, they’ll need to match teams in terms of personnel as well. The first team, when fit, can beat anyone in the league, but the number of competitions they’re in, coupled with the intense style they rely on, no one in the squad is immune to injuries.