- May 24, 2007
Erm. Back on topic please?
This is where midfield comes in. Firmino has the work rate and brain to operate and beat those intelligent defences, but our other two needs a bit more help. Salah needs to change his style of play because everyone knows what to do against him when his back facing goal. He would almost always try to push the ball to his right or backheel-nutmeg and spin to his right to turn the defence. Mane will almost always take the ball and run, pause a bit and push the ball forward and run again. He also prefer to stop at the byline, cut back to try and pass with his right. Becomes a habit for the two of them, which I think better and more tactical coaches have caught up. Marking Salah, you don't follow the ball, follow the man when he lay the pass off. Sarri did that, Pochettino did that and now Ancelotti did the same.Never thought i'd pop this thread anytime soon.
While i see no reason to panic, i can’t help thinking what if we've been found out?
We've had a hard time against intelligent defences lately
Yes our attack is miss firing.. Yes they are not hitting the dizzy heights of last season..
My opinion on the above is that yes the attack is stuttering and on an individual basis I believe that is primarily down to Fatigue, with the below reasons which have all accumulated in a very very tired front 3 in body and mind;
a) A draining season last
b) Little to no rest during the off-season
c) Limited to no pre-season time
d) In Salah's case coming back too early from injury
e) No credible (or trusted yet) rotational options so they are already playing heavy minutes this season.
When you are fatigued everything takes slightly longer, you take an extra touch, you over think your shot selection, you start to lose those individual duels, you stop finding space.. It all starts to take its toll and then it starts to affect confidence and it can lead to a ripple effect through your team mates.
Klopp holds a bit of blame here as he decided not to pursue an alternative to Fekir (who would be perfect right now) and go with what he has at the club.. I can accept that decision, he is an unbelievable manager and is going to achieve greatness here so he's earnt my trust. However I do get a nagging feeling though that he now finds himself between a rock and a hard place.. By bad luck (Lallana being injured), or taking time to learn our patterns of play (Shaqiri) or by simply not trusting Sturridge etc. The team is now still over reliant on our magnificent front 3, and now the goals have dried up.. Now it's not a huge problem yet.. Being the great manager he is he's sorted our defense so we no longer have to score 3+ goals to win a game.
I think you also need to move backwards in the team to actually start to see the fundamental problems which are contributing to the lack of goals. the best midfield from Klopp's era have been (in my opinion) - Henderson, Gini, Lallana.. Or Henderson, Gini, Oxlade.. Why is that different to what we have now? Firstly you have that no.10 type player, you have the player who goes in-between the lines, the guy who links attack and midfield. With our current 3 of Henderson, Milner and Gini we have industrious and hard working players, but I'd say they all have similar skillsets and once they start to tire their biggest assets become their larges weaknesses.. Milner was completely ineffective against Napoli, he was 2nd to everything, tackling/passing was all a fraction slow, he was never an option in forward positions. Gini was similar he went back into ghost mode, when once Henderson came on he should of been pushing forward, helping our attack but instead he was occupying similar positions to Henderson.. We don't need two no.6s we need what works.. A no.6 who sits, screens and recycles possession. A no.8 playing box to box, snuffing out space in defence, arriving into the box in attack, and finally that no.10 the one feeding our front 3, someone to bring it from deep, drop the shoulder beat the press and be an outside of the box goal threat.. When we go away from players doing those roles (by choice or design) we look poor. We look like a team of individuals v's the heavy metal pressing beast team Klopp created.
Now how do you fix this problem? We chose not to sign a player to fix it and Keita hasn't hit the ground running yet.. My personal opinion is we need to play Shaqiri as a no.10 (like against Southampton). Another alternative is we also can revert to a 442 diamond with Sturridge/Firmino up top with Mane at the tip of the diamond. Another option is 3 at the back allowing our fullbacks to really bomb forward.
Make no mistake this isn't a crisis, this isn't a moan at Klopp, I just think we are coming to a cross roads and one of the biggest frustrations of the past has been a reluctance to change. I really hope we don't go back down the road of hitting our head against a brick wall by using the same miss firing formation/personnel and tactics. Klopp has been stubborn before and my post probably comes from watching us v's Napoli and not seeing any reaction or change to what we were doing when it was obviously not working. I expect big things from this squad, we've invested well, this should be our season.. Now is the time to be bold and keep us back on our perch.
The only real excuse for Klopp's inaction at Napoli, was because a draw would have been a perfectly good result and for a long time it looked like we were going to get it regardless of how badly we were playing.Injuries play a role, as so often when a team struggles. Missing Ox and Lallana at the same time weakens our midfield, at least as long as Keita is getting himself acquainted with English football.
As @Semmy says, we currently miss a player who links midfield and attack. This could indeed be resolved by going 4231, with an attacking player in the 10 position, for instance Firmino behind Sturridge, or Shaqiri behind Firmino. Keita will be able to play that role too imo.
Against 'lesser' opositition like Southampton, it's probably worth thinking about. In the immediate future though, with that Man City game coming along, I don't know whether this is an option. We saw against S'hampton that Klopp changed the formation back to 433 at half-time, in order to gain more control over the game. He obviously thought we hadn't enough of it and were leaving ourselves open for dangerous counters.
Against City, any loss of control over the game will result in goals being scored against us. That's why my opinion is that he'll ignore all the signs of fatigue shown at Naples, and go with exactly the same team again, hoping that the players will dig deep in their energy reserves for that big occasion. But looking a bit more forward (after the international break, against less formidable opponents), reverting to a 4231 could be the solution to allow our front three to get to their best again.
I think maybe what you say might not be all that popular but I do agree with it.The only real excuse for Klopp's inaction at Napoli, was because a draw would have been a perfectly good result and for a long time it looked like we were going to get it regardless of how badly we were playing.
The pitch was also diabolical, and whilst it affected both sides, clearly the side that plays on it every week still has an advantage.
I said after the CL Final I thought his substitutions were poor, as they were in the Europa League Final for that matter, something which is a pattern and often the difference between success and failure in tight situations. I also said that we just have to live with that as part of what Klopp is, no matter how frustrating it is when the changes are obvious to a layman.
What we really need is to be able to get the work of the 6 and box to box player done by two players, not three. If it takes three, you have to question whether those players are good enough.
Personally I don't believe Lallana should even be considered as a potential solution any more. His level is now way below that we need. We should be looking to get what we can for him in January or next summer. He's a classic example of the 'no longer useful to us, let him get old elsewhere'.
Year on year (i.e. versus this time last year, when an intense run of games had to be negotiated), we're clearly better in defence, but struggling in midfield and attack.
This can be directly traced to a comparison of who we had then versus now.
Then: Hendo, Gini, Milner, Can, Oxlade, Coutinho, Lallana (injured), Grujic (here but unused), Bobby, Salah, Mane, Sturridge, Solanke, Ings.
Now: Hendo, Gini, Milner, Fabinho, Keita, Lallana (injured), Bobby, Salah, Mane, Sturridge, Solanke, Origi, Shaqiri.
Oxlade is a huge miss, as is Coutinho to be honest, as is Can in terms of central midfield rotation. Oxlade wasn't great before Xmas but still contributed, Coutinho was good Oct-Dec, Can a solid midfield rotation option.
During the run in we struggled to balance the CL and PL, because effectively we had similar options to what we have now given that Fab, Shaqiri and Keita aren't trusted for big matches.
The front three are tired year on year, but we knew it was a world cup year and could have signed someone (even on loan) to hedge against that.
Klopp is going to have to take steps to sort this. He can't continue to play the midfield three, they'll get worse and worse. He also has to rotate the front three back to sharpness.
Personally I would rotate between Fab/Hendo and Milner/Gini and use Bobby at 10 with Sturridge ahead in some matches, and with Shaqiri at 10 and Bobby at 9 in others.
I'd actually rotate Keita with Mane to give him some games to adapt, without weakening the midfield.
In fact, I would use Fab and Keita in positions where we are struggling, right back and forward, because they can be no worse than those playing there just now. Then when they've some games under their belt, put them in midfield.
Unfortunately Klopp doesn't think like this. He goes along doing the same thing until eventually, like a broken clock being right twice a day, it works. Whilst people then say he was right all along, the chance of a title has already gone.
A manager has to find a way to get results when things are not going well, if success is to be achieved.
Klopp has to get Fabinho and Keita integrated asap, sort the midfield creativity issue and bring freshness back into his forwards.
WOnt make any difference, they still won’t get a good pass from midfield. Our quick and dangerous attack sequences came from Van Dijk, Lovren or Alisson’s Clearance.Drop all three of Mané, Firmino and Salah.
Start Camacho, Sturridge and Shaqiri.
Show that nobody is guaranteed a starting spot.
I agree. Some of the commentary on the game I have seen is astounding. One piece claimed both sides played so poorly neither will ever have as good a chance of beating a rival as that. What? I think maybe just because of the identity of the sides and the football they are associated with the quality of the defensive play of both sides was down played. What I thought was remarkable was how good Bernardo Silva was in a deeper and central position. It's one thing to have adapted to the more central position in De Bruyne's absence from an attacking perspective. But that was a proper midfield performance yesterday.Nothing, just keep going and it'll click at some point. Shaqiri or Sturridge from the start against the weaker sides may help though.
Today City defended as well as I've seen any team defend at Anfield for as long as I can remember, that was a masterclass.