The attack - what's the answer?

Red over the water

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The next two league games are Huddersfield and Cardiff. Assuming our front three come back fit and healthy, they should play. It represents a golden opportunity to find their shooting boots and for something to click again. It hasn’t been miles off, and someone somewhere is going to get a hammering. Maybe a comfortable win by two or three goals at Huddersfield, as it’s Jurgen’s Mate, but then really run up the goal difference by hammering Cardiff at home? I’d take that!
 

loudmouthmiller1892

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The next two league games are Huddersfield and Cardiff. Assuming our front three come back fit and healthy, they should play. It represents a golden opportunity to find their shooting boots and for something to click again. It hasn’t been miles off, and someone somewhere is going to get a hammering. Maybe a comfortable win by two or three goals at Huddersfield, as it’s Jurgen’s Mate, but then really run up the goal difference by hammering Cardiff at home? I’d take that!
People are torn between using these games to rotate or let the front three rip. For the people who want Shaq to be a number 10: does Cardiff at home suit him, maybe?
 

GermanRed

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They did on occasion against City.
Putting the guys on alternate wings is so they can cut in on their shooting foot. We have wingbacks who get in crossing positions on their strong foot. It's not worth Mo and Sads getting in crossing positions because all they would be able to do is stand it up because they would be on their weaker foot. So, let them cut in, and let the wingbacks overlap and put the crosses.
@Gone Kloppo can‘t remember one situation where Salah appeared on the left wing.

@loudmouthmiller1892

Manés weak foot is much much better than Salahs. Our wingers don’t have to cross as we don’t really have a 'target man' up front.

Sadio was a beast on that right wing in his first season here. Many times he overtook opponents Left Back with the ball at his feet from the outside.
 

Gone Kloppo

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Just focussing on the midfield, one of the main reasons I see is we have lost two very attacking players (Ox and Cou) and another (Can) who was providing elements of attacking play that only one of our existing uninjured players (NK) can provide. Cou's stats speak for themselves, and both Ox and Can statistically were our best dribblers in midfield once Cou left (1.3 and 0.9pg respectively) , and took on shots more readily with the greatest accuracy ([email protected]% and [email protected]% respectively). Making driving runs from midfield naturally puts you in better positions to take shots, but also to play key passes, so its no surprise both Can and Ox were our most effective there. Coutinho's early form is also important even though we hit greater heights once he left. Take a look at the thrashings we handed out between Oct and Dec. He was involved quite heavily in most of them. Football seasons particularly in the Premier League are all about momentum and imo our late season form was very much set up by the confidence and form we picked up in this period. Just to highlight his importance, he set up or scored on 17 occasions in Oct-Dec. From Midfield!

Milner has done a pretty stellar job at picking up some of the slack in Ox's absence, though a player who will drive at defences to open spaces for our forwards to run into he will never be. He has probably been played as the 'Ox filler-inner', often being the most advanced midfielder, and that's probably in part due to having a full preseason but also because he is actually decent at picking out players (CL assist king). Gini last year was actually pretty effective in an attacking sense (1+ dribbles per game and more shots at goal than Milly or Henderson) but it appears he is being asked to play a more subdued role this season to control the tempo from the middle and recycle the ball. Its been bloody effective because I think he's been MOTM in 2 games out of the 10 so far. In an attacking sense outside of long balls, statistically Henderson just doesn't create anything offensively but then he isn't there for that.

So this brings me to Naby Keita and Adam Lallana. We could do with a period where we boost our confidence with some big wins. Now statistically Naby Keita was a behemoth for RBL. That's not to say we should expect similar in a far harder league, but we know his strengths are dribbling, key passes and shots on goal which overlap nicely with what we have lost with Ox. It might take a bit of time for him to get accustomed to the new role at LFC but he more than anyone in midfield can help our forwards in terms of creating more chances. Adam Lallana is another who has similar characteristics (minus the pace) to Ox in that he is very good with the ball at his feet, a very good shot on goal and great at setting up teammates. I really am hoping he can get back to full fitness because I honestly believe he and NK are more than capable of providing the attacking qualities we need, before we even talk about Ox's regular return next season (praying).

As for the forwards themselves, I truly believe that their problems have been poor shooting at goal. Salah is making more key passes per game this year (2.1 vs 1.7), dribbling more (2.3 vs 2.2) and with 4 shots per game the same as last season. For whatever reason they just aren't going in yet. He has also improved dramatically in unforced turnovers - to borrow a phrase from AFL... (1.8pg down from 2.9pg) The fact that he has improved across the board statistically is a good sign, even if they aren't going in yet. OK, the one area he has dipped in is offsides, which in itself I think says a bit about his supply from midfield and the speed they are moving the ball to him. The question then becomes whether the midfielders should be moving it quicker to him or whether Salah should be holding his runs while the midfielders look for the safest passing options.

Firmino is making almost as many key passes a game but his shots per game has dipped (1.8 vs 2.3) whilst Mane is down but not dramatically so.

I think part of the problem is that teams are putting in a concerted effort to shut down the front 3. I certainly don't think they received the sort of attention they are getting now at the start of last season - I think Coutinho would have been a focus for opposing teams - and by the time teams started really devising ways of stopping them late in the season, they had already reached such form where they were juggernaut and couldn't be stopped (at least not all 3). Right now we don't have our shooting boots on which has helped opposing make our forwards less effective. I remember a lot of close range goals last season and apart from our first game (??) I don't think we've had many like that yet. I think teams are doing well keeping our forwards out of high percentage shot taking areas.

I think the forwards will work through this by themselves. Again, every team will try to shut them down, but Fulham and Cardiff in particular, who havent faced us in years so don't really know what to expect, will be given a particularly shocking and bloody experience at our house.

Milner is injured now and the only sensible replacement is an attacking player. I think Lallana is probably a ways off fitness-wise so certainly think Naby is about to get a string of consecutive games and he can really be the catalyst for our turnaround of form up forward. Here's hoping anyway.
 
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Steve_LFC

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As said before. We are missing an attacking midfielder(#10). Its the reason Klopp wanted Fekir.
Shaq helps in that regards but we also really miss Ox. But when he returns he may struggle to regain his form before the injury.
Bottom line we need creativity and some one pulling the strings behind the front 3. So they don't have to drop too deep to try to make something happen.
 

loudmouthmiller1892

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@Gone Kloppo can‘t remember one situation where Salah appeared on the left wing.

@loudmouthmiller1892

Manés weak foot is much much better than Salahs. Our wingers don’t have to cross as we don’t really have a 'target man' up front.

Sadio was a beast on that right wing in his first season here. Many times he overtook opponents Left Back with the ball at his feet from the outside.
By alternate wings I meant right footer on the left and left footer on the right. These goals are fine, and remember the Burnley goal- great. But we were talking about crossing on their weaker foot. When they cut in on their strong foot both of them want to score goals rather than cross it. Don't forget; Bobby is a false 9 and drops deep in order to put those two in down the middle. Think of Salah's second against Roma. They are not normal wingers- they are exceptional goal scorers. To put Salah on the left and Mane on the right and expect them put crosses for Bobby or Studge is a waste of their talents. I think Jurgs saw this when Salah first arrived. And in that scenario wingbacks are not needed or are a liability. If the winger is pushing for the by-line the FB can't push on too much. Besides, if Mane's weaker foot is decent then he can swing one in from the left in situations where he can't cut in, or we have numbers in the box- that's sound. I know Sadio's left peg is a peach but it's not as good as his right. That's the way Jurgen thinks.
 
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loudmouthmiller1892

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As said before. We are missing an attacking midfielder(#10). Its the reason Klopp wanted Fekir.
Shaq helps in that regards but we also really miss Ox. But when he returns he may struggle to regain his form before the injury.
Bottom line we need creativity and some one pulling the strings behind the front 3. So they don't have to drop too deep to try to make something happen.
I'd like it to be Naby, because I don't want to lose the defensive element in midfield. A lot of our success this season has been down to the fact our midfield has been flooded with ball winners. It wasn't as creative as when Phil was here, but its effectiveness stood out on its own. I think if the front 3 had put a few more chances away I'm not sure we would be talking so much about a 10. But, if we feel as though we are lacking a bit of imagination in midfield then I suppose we are going to talk about Fekihr and Phil. Anyway, I'm not sure Jurgen wants to use a 10 now. If he does then it's either Adam, Naby or Shaq. Shaq's abilty to play a full 90 comes into question though.
 

Perth Red

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Why is Shaq unable to play 90 minutes??? He was an almost ever-present for Stoke last season and I'm sure he has been pushed to higher fitness levels under Jurgen.
I would definitely set up with Shaq in that role against the lesser sides and let him roam around. The others can hold and join as needed but give him free reign to cause mayhem!
 

Gone Kloppo

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Why is Shaq unable to play 90 minutes??? He was an almost ever-present for Stoke last season and I'm sure he has been pushed to higher fitness levels under Jurgen.
I would definitely set up with Shaq in that role against the lesser sides and let him roam around. The others can hold and join as needed but give him free reign to cause mayhem!
I haven't seen enough evidence to suggest he can play wide forward for us. We saw a few subs games from him there early on (late vs PSG) where he didn't perform well and we haven't seen him there since. If he's anything for us, he's a CAM, and I don't think Klopp is willing to fuck around with the midfield 3 and making it less defensively resilient, at least against teams that will attack us. But he probably will change it up against some of the lesser lights coming up where we expect them to sit deep at Anfield.
 
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Gone Kloppo

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As said before. We are missing an attacking midfielder(#10). Its the reason Klopp wanted Fekir.
Shaq helps in that regards but we also really miss Ox. But when he returns he may struggle to regain his form before the injury.
Bottom line we need creativity and some one pulling the strings behind the front 3. So they don't have to drop too deep to try to make something happen.
I really hope we don't chase a Coutinho-type attacking midfielder. If anything we need a left/right mid similar to Ox that is both offensively strong but also good going the other way. My wet dream is Keita and Ox sitting in front of Hendo/Milly/Gini, though I'll definitely settle with Keita + Lallana as the pair*. I'd prefer another wide forward personally than any midfield additions.

* if Lallana can get fit again
 
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Semmy

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In August I was saying we were flush on midfielders even with Ox’s absence

We have since lost Milner and Lallana, roads aren’t so rosy anymore

I am still hoping that Shaq gets into an AM role as I think he can be a game- breaker. He is very strong on the ball, quick of feet and can hit a ball from distance which FORCES the opponent back line to step up and close him down at 30yd out. This opens up space, it’s critical and what made Coutinho so successful
 

i_still_miss_fowler

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Salah has a muscle strain playing for Egypt. As muscle strains take 3-6 weeks to heal (not confirmed how bad it is), I am hoping it might be a blessing in disguise. Giving him some rest, and taking some of the pressure off his shoulders.

Should be a good opportunity to try something different.

One thing I liked in preseason was Sturridge and Shaqiri playing together (feeding him balls reminiscent of Sturridge in his prime). I would like to see this given a go, also I think Firmino needs a rest as he too has not had the energy of past years.
 

vjcpatriot

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Well it doesn't help that Salah has been injured playing for Egypt. He will need some rest and time to heal. Hopefully Shaqiri can provide some spark to our attack in the meantime.
 

Caradoc

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Personally I think that all of our current front 3 players have had their day. They’re past their sell-buy date and have served their purpose. What they did last season as individuals and collectively was excellent and they certainly justified their places but that was last season. You have to see things as they are and be ruthless. Between now and the Summer all 3 need to be offloaded and replaced. That’s sad I know but its the only realistic answer to the conundererum ..... problem ........ !




;-)lol
 

indianscouser

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I haven't seen enough evidence to suggest he can play wide forward for us. We saw a few subs games from him there early on (late vs PSG) where he didn't perform well and we haven't seen him there since. If he's anything for us, he's a CAM, and I don't think Klopp is willing to fuck around with the midfield 3 and making it less defensively resilient, at least against teams that will attack us. But he probably will change it up against some of the lesser lights coming up where we expect them to sit deep at Anfield.
I think Shaqs can play either as a CAM or front 3. At the moment, Mane has been way way out of form. So won't be surprised if Shaqs got a chance now.
Also, the run of fixtures we had, klopp probably did not want to experiment , hence stayed with the core team of last year.
Looking forward, I think keita will get more games now, probably even Fabinho in place of Wijnaldum.
The problem for us is Hendo and wijnaldum are similar, Wijnaldum has tremendous workrate but poor game presences and passing ability limited to 5 meters side ways. Henderson has better passing ability bu questionable as a no.6.
So my midfield would be Henderson Keita and Fabinho/Milner with Wijnaldum rotating between Henderson and Fabinho.
 

SithBaare

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Midfield needs to be slightly fixed for this.

I'd start with Milner Fabinho Keita as the first choice starting XI (provided Milly and Keita are fit for the matches to come)

I'm also looking at Shaq to be replacing Mane for a time.

Sturridge to come on for Bobby and Salah around the 60 min mark.

wait for one of the Fab 3 to find their scoring boots and the rest will all fall back in place. Right now teams are content holding back and not allowing space because Salah and Mane are out of form and Bobby needs both of them to be performing well in order to be at his best.
 

vjcpatriot

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Wow, how about that Shaqiri? It looks like he can definitely pull the strings as either a central attacking midfielder or an advanced #8. What a beautiful performance against Red Star Belgrade. He was involved in all facets of the attack and had a few wonderful setup plays for goals.

Now the question going forward, how is Klopp going to use Shaqiri because he's obviously got a guy who can deliver positive plays for the team on the pitch!
 

GermanRed

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Wow, how about that Shaqiri? It looks like he can definitely pull the strings as either a central attacking midfielder or an advanced #8. What a beautiful performance against Red Star Belgrade. He was involved in all facets of the attack and had a few wonderful setup plays for goals.

Now the question going forward, how is Klopp going to use Shaqiri because he's obviously got a guy who can deliver positive plays for the team on the pitch!
But can he do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?
 

Koon

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Ok, props to Klopp after Red Star.

I didn't like the idea of having another attacking midfielder because Salah would have much more defensive and we wouldn't be able to use his full capabilities. Also if we were going to lose a defensive player in midfield, the new attacking 8/10 should be a world class player like Coutinho or Eriksen, at least close to it.

Klopp's answer?

- 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1
- Salah upfront because his defensive duties will become minimal + he is still a big counter-attack threat;
- Firmino playing as 10 because he is a pressing machine, it would alleviate a little bit the lack of a third defensive midfielder;
- Shaqiri and Mané as wingers, closing the door to the opposing team;
- A more reliable and better defensive midfielder like Fabinho + a regular player like Gini.

Almost all the weaknesses were addressed:

- Lack of creativity? Shaqiri
- Lack of defensive duties? Fabinho and Gini + Shaqiri and Mané tracking back in the wings + Firmino's pressing and one-twos as 10
- Salah tracking back too much in the right because we have one less DM? Poacher

The only issue might be Firmino. He is not a creator, his passing is not that good. He is good in close-quarters, one-twos, holding the ball, creating space and stuff like that. But that's why we have Shaqiri as the main creator.

This was very well done by Klopp. I think he will try a lot of new things in the next games vs weaker teams until we find a new fomation. It could be either 4-3-3 with an attacking 8 (Shaqiri) or a more defensive player (Keita); 4-2-3-1 with Shaqiri playing 10 and Salah as winger (I don't like this one, though); with Firmino playing 10 and Shaqiri in the right or even 4-4-2 with Firmino and Salah playing in attack and Mané/Shaqiri in the wings (very close to 4-2-3-1, but Firmino would become more like a second striker, for now he is looking like an advanced midfielder).

I like it!
 

eng.amohd

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Fabinho. He is the answer to our attack getting its spark back. He is quickly becoming one of my favoured players to ever wear the red shirt.

Other than against elite opponents, going with 4-2-3-1 is the model answer. Gini and Fabinho are the perfect "double-six" as Klopp names it (can't help but imagining Fabinho and Kante in this system!). They both complement each other perfectly, Fab offers the solidity, cover and long deep passes, while Gini offers the unpredictable runs, dribbles and passes. The duo help us free a player from the midfield 3 and allow us field another attacker up front, namely Shaqiri and forming a formidable front 4 that easily terrorize any defence. This combined with the extreme positional fludity we offer, we can easily break down any team, given we play close to what we know we can offer.

If Shaqiri resumes at the current rate, he could be the replacement for Coutinho, adding the creative spark and touch (although not as good as Cou) but adds pace and consistency to the side which Cou lacked. More importantly, is the physical dimension he brings to our attack, something that Salah, Mane, Firmino and Coutinho lacked.

Our strongest XI when fully fit and in form, is THE best XI in the world at the moment, and it is frightening to think that it doesn't include Keita, Ox and someone like Milner in his current form:

Alisson
TAA - Gomez - VVD - Robertson
Fabinho - Gini/Keita
Mane - Firmino - Shaqiri
Salah
I am also tempted to see Firmino as our poacher, Shaq in the hole, and Salah and Mane out wide. Ox, Milner, Hendo, Sturridge (all English!) has a lot of work to gain a regular starting berth in this side. Our second choice from my point of view is also very strong:

Mignolet
Gomez - Matip - Lovren - Moreno
Ox - Hendo - Milner
Shaqiri - Sturrdige - Salah/Mane
Happy times ahead, thanks Klopp <3
 

santana

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suppose you got ( 3 vvd ) then it is stronger than ( trent vvd gomez andy ) so you can use 3 defenders and 4 midfielders .
try 343 or 3421
 

Mascot88

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suppose you got ( 3 vvd ) then it is stronger than ( trent vvd gomez andy ) so you can use 3 defenders and 4 midfielders .
try 343 or 3421
Three at the back has never suited us. It also very quickly become a five at the back. When ever we’ve played a three, I’ve spent most of the game shouting the full backs to get up the pitch. And from what I’ve seen so does the manager.
 

RedForever2014

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The current situation is very disappointing and to be honest embarrassing.

We may be up there in the PL, but we'll not sustain it if we continue to play like this.

Many of our issues this season have been because of team selections and substitutions. We're not making best use of players we have, players in poor form haven't been dropped and we're not making the right changes when things are going wrong.

But clearly the underlying issue is that the quality in the squad isn't what people thought it was.

The key issue is midfield, which has regressed through the loss of Coutinho, Oxlade and indeed Can (until Fabinho fully settles).

When we concede, despite a much improved defence, it's because in the end pressure tells (as at Napoli) because the midfield gets over-run, or indeed because the midfield doesn't pick up its men at set pieces, nor in the space in front of the defence.

There is no creative midfield influence against better sides, because Klopp doesn't trust Shaqiri in those matches. This is hindering the forwards.

We are clearly missing a quality 10 and indeed another quality forward, players we knew we needed.

Fabinho, Keita and Shaqiri need game time, so we can see their level against all types of opponent, but using them as a midfield clearly isn't going to happen.

Given that TAA has been woeful, and we need to use Gomez with Lovren and VVD as a rotated central defence (given their injury prone nature), we should use Fabinho at right back for now.

Use Hendo at 6, Shaqiri at 10, Milner or Gini alongside Hendo, with Keita used as a forward in rotation with Bobby, Mane and Mo.

Spread the three new boys amongst the departments.

Matip, Lallana and Sturridge should not be starting matches.

Personally I don't think we'll be good enough to win anything until we sign a top class 10. Whether we'll still be in a position to attract one next summer remains to be seen, which is why you do what you need to do when you have the chance.

But that's LFC for you and of course next summer we'll most likely sell another big name to fund the never ending rinse and repeat squad transition.
 



Quagmire81

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as long as we win almost every game the short answer is patience... pretty much every stats been proved that our attack been more effecient at this point compare to last season, once they really peak they gonna scare the living shit out of any defense so lets just get behind then rather thasn doubt them. The doubt level on this site is through the roof!
 

FilthyBloke

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It’s not just the front three being out of form, but they are not getting the service they were getting last season.
The answer to the attack is the same as the answer to the midfield. We need more mix and creativity in the engine room. At the minute we are stalling because everyone is playing the role of the steady eddy.