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Football News: Team Review - Liverpool

Team Review - Liverpool
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Team Review - Liverpool

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League Position: 3rd

 

Goalkeepers:

Alisson Becker
Caoimhin Kelleher
Adrian

With arguably the world's best goalkeeper as first choice, in the shape of Alisson, just coming into his prime, the Reds goalkeeper situation should be entirely settled. However there are issues to consider, due to Alisson picking up quite regular injuries, it means the second-choice keeper is needed, but Kelleher is at the age where he really needs more regular football for his development. Adrian is an excellent third-choice, but a not entirely reliable second-choice. A decision has to be made with regards to Kelleher, can enough games be found for him to play if he stays? If not, a backup keeper will be needed.

 


Defenders:

Virgil van Dijk
Joe Gomez
Ozan Kabak (returned to Schalke 04 after loan)
Joel Matip
Nathaniel Phillips
Rhys Williams
Ben Davies
Ibrahima Konate
Andrew Robertson
Konstantinos Tsimikas
Trent Alexander-Arnold
Neco Williams

The arrival of Konate should have settled the defence for a long while, but there are a lot of things to consider here. Matip spends more time injured than playing, is it time to give up on him? I would have to say yes, especially considering his wages are very high, due to him being a free transfer. Then there are worries over whether Gomez and van Dijk will be able to return to their former levels and, if they can, how long will it take? Then there is the invisible man Davies, who signed and then vanished as a succession of niggles kept him from getting in to the first team. Then there is the pairing that ended the season, what do LFC do with them? Both lack a bit in pace, but both proved themselves adequate cover in the final few games. In fact, to be fair to Phillips, he never let the club down in any of his appearances and I would argue that it was Klopp's failure to trust him earlier that cost Liverpool any chance of retaining their league title last season. Turning to midfielders weakened the team so much that it was inevitable that trying to do it game after game would see the team slide down the table. So what does Klopp do with Phillips and Williams? With the amount of injuries the defence has suffered, it would be a huge risk to let Phillips go, but he has shown he is good enough to be first choice for probably half of the Premier League, so it might be difficult to hold onto him. Williams, on the other hand, needs regular game time, with coaches who understand the basics of defending to work on his weaknesses. That kind of loan can be difficult to find. At least the full-backs look to be a good group, so long as Tsimikas and Neco Williams can get enough game-time to keep them happy.

 


Midfielders:

Fabinho
Naby Keita
Georginio Wijnaldum (left on a free transfer for Paris Saint-Germain)
Thiago Alcantara
Curtis Jones
Jordan Henderson
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
James Milner
Ben Woodburn

This is the area of the team that is most in need of rebuilding, while I am not personally all that convinced that the loss of Wijnaldum is all that important on the pitch, off the pitch it is yet another big personality the club has lost since winning the Premier League. The likes of Wijnaldum, Lovren and popular physio Jose Luis Rodriguez were big parts of the club away from the pitch and helped create a team bond that is integral to a club that wins trophies. Hopefully Jones will step up to fill some of the gap, as he develops and gains experience. There is still a need for an engine in that midfield, with Henderson and Milner ageing and Keita failing completely to show anything other than a willingness to chase tail in night clubs. The right midfielder is probably the key to Liverpool's chances of success next season.

 


Forwards:

Sadio Mane
Diogo Jota
Mohamed Salah
Harry Wilson
Xherdan Shaqiri
Sheyi Ojo
Roberto Firmino
Divock Origi
Harvey Elliott

A lot depends on Mane and Firmino refinding their form, if they do so then Liverpool have little to no need to strengthen this area. They do need to offload Wilson and Ojo, possibly Shaqiri as well, depending on if Elliott is to go out on another loan. If Elliott stays, he is fully capable of pushing both Salah and Firmino. The difficulty is, if the front three are fit and on form, with Jota as a rotation option or more, there might not be enough playing time available for Elliott to be kept in the squad. It might be better for his future to get him another year's loan to develop or even just the first half of the season and review it at the halfway point.

 


Manager: Jurgen Klopp

After a couple of seasons of huge success, last season was a difficult season for Klopp, for personal and professional reasons. Hopefully this season will be a better one for him on the personal front and he will have no more losses to deal with, but professionally there is a fair bit to resolve. It is not just the playing staff that Klopp needs to look at, there is the matter of the medical staff, which was completely overhauled in 2020 and it has not seemed to be a successful move so far, judging by the amount of injuries. It seems to me that the most important thing for Liverpool will be fixing the problems that have originated since losing pretty much the entire department. Having a majority of players fit and available will be as important as who Klopp chooses to buy this summer.

 


Conclusion:

This is going to be Klopp's most difficult season since his first. The Reds have lost a large number of the key characters who knitted the dressing room together over the last couple of seasons and the medical department is going to need to be closely examined to find out why so many players missed so much football. If the injury problems are not rectified, this will be another battle for Champions League qualification.

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Written by Tris Burke June 13 2021 12:30:18

 

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