The midfield - What's the answer?

AussieLad

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I guess Karius was also pivotal? I really don’t like this “proof” from last year, that is being used to defend the trio to such a degree, that it’s almost like a personal insult to criticize them. I personally think Mo, Bobby, Mane, Virgil, Robertson and Ox were the pivotal ones, with the rest not as pivotal. I think the form of the front three glossed over the deficiencies of Gini, Hendo and Milner as a midfield trio. The responses on the midfield trio have been quite well thought out for the most part, with not many people calling them mugs, instead just commenting that they don’t perform that well together, more often than not.

Dribble or an opinion not stated as fact?
Where criticism is justified, and within reason then that is fine. But go back through some of the posts in the Citeh Post Match thread and you will understand what I am getting at. There is a lot of very OTT and personal insults being directed at the 3 of them which is what I take issue with.
 

Limiescouse

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Which meant the solid midfield 3 whose main source of creativity is to force mistakes didn't result in anything and thus the first half we created nothing bar the sublime front 3 combination which lead to some of the strangest chaos I've seen! How we didn't score!!! The fine margin indeed.
That Mane chance was the result of a maybe 40 pass move in which Hendo and Gini were both heavily involved and played critical roles at times the move could have broken down. For Salah to have even got the chance to spin his marker on the half way line the midfield had to have done a hell of a job to have worked the ball into that position.
 

Limiescouse

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It's fine to have an opinion on the combos you'd prefer to see, but the degree to which a large contingent here have determined that our midfield is not good enough and the individual components sub par is so absurd, that even after a game in which our performance was at such a high level that it took a self described "best performance of the Mansour era" to sneak past us in a one off game by the tiniest of margins, people are using that as evidence to support that position. That despite the fact that we were on top (i.e. our midfield was in the ascendancy) for several extended periods of the game. That despite the fact that one of their midfielders was one most effective players in premier league history and barely got a kick of the ball for the hour he was on the pitch.
 
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Flobs

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That Mane chance was the result of a maybe 40 pass move in which Hendo and Gini were both heavily involved and played critical roles at times the move could have broken down. For Salah to have even got the chance to spin his marker on the half way line the midfield had to have done a hell of a job to have worked the ball into that position.
We had some lovely moments in the game where our midfield ran rings round a very good well organised City team. Of course we all remember the result but we mustn't forget on another day that result could have been very different and with the same players on the pitch.
Ok at other times our passing was poor and we struggled getting the ball out of defense, which is not always the case, however it's not like City didn't try to make life difficult for us and often succeeded.
 

Limiescouse

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We had some lovely moments in the game where our midfield ran rings round a very good well organised City team. Of course we all remember the result but we mustn't forget on another day that result could have been very different and with the same players on the pitch.
Ok at other times our passing was poor and we struggled getting the ball out of defense, which is not always the case, however it's not like City didn't try to make life difficult for us and often succeeded.
The game was played at such a pace and level of tactical brilliance that the idea that some "misplaced passes" is an illustration of playing poorly is absurd. People really need to get a reality check about what it means to play a side as good as city at their place with the level of motivation and commitment they had on that day. As you said, despite those challenges, there were long periods of superiority and even moments of brilliance. Those elements are far more indicative of the quality of the group and the level of performance they put in than pointing out a couple of times that someone lost the ball under pressure.
 
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Red Ted

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When did he say that?
Obviously he's not going to say it, his actions tell you all you need to know the he's being fazed out, 100 million spent in the summer & I think more will be spent on it this summer & along with Chamberlain back, he'll be just a squad player next year just as a player as limited as him he should be in a top team, but for Keita & Fabinho not hitting the ground running we would've seen less of him this season.
 

Flobs

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Obviously he's not going to say it, his actions tell you all you need to know the he's being fazed out, 100 million spent in the summer & I think more will be spent on it this summer & along with Chamberlain back, he'll be just a squad player next year just as a player as limited as him he should be in a top team, but for Keita & Fabinho not hitting the ground running we would've seen less of him this season.
If he hadn't come back late (due to WC) and some niggles we would have seen more of him. He is no no way being fazed out!
 

Red Ted

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If he hadn't come back late (due to WC) and some niggles we would have seen more of him. He is no no way being fazed out!
Just like Can if he wasn't around you wouldn't hear a peep from anyone that we miss or need him apart from the small strange group of devotees, we'll see then in the coming 12 months if Henderson is a regular first team player.
 

ILLOK

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I think we may revert back to the 433 in coming games. We've lost a bit of solidity at the back and that'll certainly help, our next 4 opponents are attacking minded too.

Shaqiri is still a big problem as it looks as if there is no natural starting place for him in our 11, Keita was much brighter tonight and generally has been when played centrally. Shaqiri's place in this squad should be as an impact sub, and I think we'd all be happier seeing him off the bench than Lallana or Sturridge.

Until Gomez and Trent are back I we need to offer more protection than we have in the previous 2 games.
 

Zoran

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I think we'll keep the double six for now (until Klopp is finally ready to use Fabinho as a single pivot) because if we go 4-3-3 then we're moving Salah wider. I think we'll next see it against Bayern. I could see Fabinho (probably just didn't have enough training sessions for tonight) at RB against West Ham (think we'll beat them), Lovren back in for Matip, Gini & Hendo in midfield. Keita probably bought himself a start ahead of Shaqiri and Lallana tonight, be it as CM or even on the left. Mane probably on the right for that added protection. Maybe Milner will be with a shout, but wouldn't surprise me if he's left on the bench. He "can't" (or shouldn't) play in a midfield two, didn't have a good time against Zaha, Felipe Anderson could pose not too dissimilar problems and as winger we need someone more dangerous. But IF he reverts back to 4-3-3 then he would probably pick Millie's experience over Keita's so-so form.
 

The Infamous

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HI TIA been a silent reader for a few years thought I would join.

Thought Fabinho coming on really gave us added impetus with his ability in the air and duels. Shame he couldn’t start today. Thought Gini was good as always. Shaqiri wasn’t really involved enough for me and he should sit it out. Would have preferred Gini or Shaqiri to have come off before Keita who was finding pockets of space and taking on players with the ball at his feet. Thought he didn’t do anything wrong and was finding his rythm in the second half after a average first half. Lallana was unlucky with that cut back hopefully he gets the rust off. We missed that Lallana a true danger in the penalty area and by line. Hendo was good made some good passes down the line and over laps. Thought he ignored Keita too much he needs to pass it to Keita even when he is marked. He’s dangerous on the turn facing space. We need to start the midfield of Fabinho Gini Keita with Hendo as a rotation player. The sooner this happens and Ox and Lallana get match fit the better. Would love to see Fabinho Keita Ox sometime in the future what a midfield that would be against low block teams.
 

Claymenza

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I'm a bit surprised klopp used the pitch condition as a reason why we're not passing around on the deck. That 40 pass move was a product of well drilled passing until we got creative at the end

Playing salah as a forward gives him less time on the ball for dribbles, i prefer firmino there to be fair.
 
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Nikola

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When it comes to midfield, judging by the last six or seven weeks, Liverpool's chances of winning Premier League this season rest on Fabinho and Wijnaldum being fully fit, on form and selected together as often as possible. Fabinho can be pretty inconsistent with his passing but he is the only Liverpool player who can be engaged in a proper aerial scrap and who can calm down the ball (even if he's not the type of player who can dictate tempo of the game), while Wijnaldum knows how to get stuck in, make himself available for passes and offer at least some dynamism to this midfield. Maybe it's a coincidence but this duo didn't start against Man City, nor against Leicester and Liverpool won only one point, while playing ever so poorly.
 

SBYM

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HI TIA been a silent reader for a few years thought I would join.

Thought Fabinho coming on really gave us added impetus with his ability in the air and duels. Shame he couldn’t start today. Thought Gini was good as always. Shaqiri wasn’t really involved enough for me and he should sit it out. Would have preferred Gini or Shaqiri to have come off before Keita who was finding pockets of space and taking on players with the ball at his feet. Thought he didn’t do anything wrong and was finding his rythm in the second half after a average first half. Lallana was unlucky with that cut back hopefully he gets the rust off. We missed that Lallana a true danger in the penalty area and by line. Hendo was good made some good passes down the line and over laps. Thought he ignored Keita too much he needs to pass it to Keita even when he is marked. He’s dangerous on the turn facing space. We need to start the midfield of Fabinho Gini Keita with Hendo as a rotation player. The sooner this happens and Ox and Lallana get match fit the better. Would love to see Fabinho Keita Ox sometime in the future what a midfield that would be against low block teams.
Please post more.

:well done:
 

Zoran

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4-3-3 wasn't good tonight. We were zero compact, spread all over the pitch and allowed West Ham to make a street fight of the game (refereeing also bloody poor). It was the first time that Fabinho was used in the single pivot role. And we went with two out of form players alongside him. At times it looked like we maybe attempted a diamond, but Bobby was also not good enough. A bit weird in my opinion. Though I'd be interested how much training session we had without Hendo and Gini (which wasn't said on Friday). When we put Shaqiri & Origi on and flipped back to the double six, we had a little spell. We need to go back to basics here, get a few wins in a row again, rebuild that foundation defensively and offensively and not start sinking mentally.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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It strange but we seem to revert 433 whenever we arent sure of things. Against the top sides or when things aren't going well or lots of injuries and so on. Seems to be what Klopp feels is "safe". However we play better, are more defensively solid and efficient in attack when we play Firmino behind Salah in a 4231 or 4411 formation however you want to define it. I actually thought that's what we were going to do when I saw the team sheet and thought Lallana was a strange choice for a wide role. Think we need to get back to what's been working for us with Firmino behind Salah, Mane on one wing and Shaqiri on the other for now. Shaqiri would also help out whoever is the stand in RB a little more than Salah. That means only 2 in CM and currently for me the pecking order is Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita and Milner. But Keita is showing flashes that, once settled in our CM, he's got it in him to advance up that pecking order.
 

Zoran

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4-3-3 was good on Saturday. Of course, different opponent to what we've faced in past weeks + them missing a few key players. Our counter-pressing was on point again, so maybe more to do with doing our basic right than flipping the structure. We tried to force a lot of double-passes through the middle, but we were there as soon as we lost it to keep the attack going. Some lovely long passes and chips towards our full backs, Mo especially with a few lovely ones towards Robbo and Fabinho towards Millie. Bobby fantastic again with his unselfishness and wonderful link up play. Created a number of well worked attacking actions, it's been a while with some not good enough or so-so performances so far in 2019. With 10 days to go (hopefully Lovren is also back and isn't rusty as he will go LCB after a while of not playing there, coupled with Matip who is trying to catch form... Lewandowski will fancy his chances, but we need to cut out the easy service towards him), opportunity for a number of warm weather training sessions and before tough games like Bayern and United... it was good for us to win a quality game playing 4-3-3 and maybe more importantly, both Fabinho and Keita playing well. Perhaps for the first time this season that it happened. Hopefully a sign of a new period of strong form to come.
 

GermanRed

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No disrespect to Lallana and no disrespect to Milner, his career, his experience, his versatility, his mentality and character but when we have to decide between bringing in a goalscoring/creative midfielder in the summer and keeping Lallana and/or Milner i think we should part ways with both.

It's clear we have too many midfielders at the moment. We had Milner playing RB at the weekend and 3 other midfielders on the pitch. Keita and Lallana didn't get a minute. We still have Ox and Grujic (he can stay on loan for another year but we don't know what Klopp has in mind).

I think both Lallana and Milner have to go so that we can bring in quality.

And i'm not writing off Keita, Ox or Wijnaldum. I'm sure they will all improve us next season.

BUT

we went
from Karius to Alisson
from Moreno to Robertson

from Klavan to van Dijk
and we brought in Fabinho, Mané, Salah

Why not try to have such an Level up in our (attacking) midfield?
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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No disrespect to Lallana and no disrespect to Milner, his career, his experience, his versatility, his mentality and character but when we have to decide between bringing in a goalscoring/creative midfielder in the summer and keeping Lallana and/or Milner i think we should part ways with both.

It's clear we have too many midfielders at the moment. We had Milner playing RB at the weekend and 3 other midfielders on the pitch. Keita and Lallana didn't get a minute. We still have Ox and Grujic (he can stay on loan for another year but we don't know what Klopp has in mind).

I think both Lallana and Milner have to go so that we can bring in quality.

And i'm not writing off Keita, Ox or Wijnaldum. I'm sure they will all improve us next season.

BUT

we went
from Karius to Alisson
from Moreno to Robertson

from Klavan to van Dijk
and we brought in Fabinho, Mané, Salah

Why not try to have such an Level up in our (attacking) midfield?
I'd actually make a controversial statement that we have next to no attacking midfield right now.

We have a near world class quality CM with great depth and a world class attack with next to no depth that have been covering for the lack.

Ox has been injured all season, Lallana hardly used and Curtis Jones not trusted yet.

This area of the pitch has been mostly covered by centre mids like Keita or Wijnaldum (who can create and attack a bit) and forwards like Firmino or Shaqiri. Could maybe argue that Shaqiri could be permanently changed to attacking midfield but so far Klopp seems to want to keep him on right wing.

As you say we have a lot of CMs and even if Grujic stays on loan another year it's hard to see a need for Milner in the middle. If he stays it's more likely to offer cover to the full back positions.

I think there is room for a more attacking/creative CM as long as they have a fully rounded game.

In CM having Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita and Henderson competing for 2 starting places and offering some emergency options elsewhere is fantastic strength in depth.

Having either a new AM competing with Ox or Shaqiri and Ox (with someone else filling Shaqiris right wing role) would be great for me and I believe it'd help us step up a level.
 

Jamie91

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WIJNALDUM /keita/OX
FABINHO/henderson
NEW SIGNING /Shaqiri

Hopefully we could get a top attacking midfielder in like Dybala.
 

GTA_G20

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After watching the last few games a few things are apparent to me. Please correct me if I’m wrong

Our midfield is our third row of defence. They have little to no assistance with the attack.

Our midfielders consisting of Henderson ( 0), Milner (3) quite sure 2 were pens, Gini (2), Fabinho (2), Keita (0) , Lallana (0). So less than 5 goals in open play all season. Heaven forbid Mo Sadio and Bobby don’t score, then we’ve got no chance in hell. That’s a lot of pressure on the front line

I’ve watched for the past few games our midfiel passing sideways and backwards. They really offer little going forwards. So much so that Joel Matip our center back is carrying the ball and dribbling which isn’t his job or best attribute. I also see us hoofing long balls from Matip and VVD because our midfielders instead of creating dribbling or forward passing are content with passing backwards to the defence and letting them figure out to get the balk to the front three.

Lastly. We bough Alisson the keeper we’ve needed for a huge sum and he’s been great. We bought VVD who also has been great. Robertson best left back in the league is great. Missing Gomez at the moment. It Matip is doing well and so is Trent. So with such a great backline and keeper do we always select defensive workhorse midfield 3? Fabinho ok #6. But hendo and Milly offer little going forward and have great energy chasing down the opposition. Gini does the same. The combination with 3 of the 4 feels like we have 7 players thinking defensively plus the keeper and the front 3 left on an island we pray they score. Especially as shown above the midfield ain’t scoring any goals.

It wouldn’t hurt to have two midfielders attack and leave Fabinho and our 4 defenders behind the ball to defend!

Formation change and personnel hangs in the midfield is needed to make it to the finish line
 

Nikola

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I love Klopp to bits but this Tottenham game had all of his flaws on display, both of them (the other being his late substitutions). I remembered that Another Wasted Corner fanzine whose name reflected Liverpool's set-piece profligacy in self-deprecating humour and I'm thinking of starting one called "Henderson-Wijnaldum-Milner". I would like to know why he keeps persisting with it, especially in big games and when at least Fabinho is fit and on form (and I can't believe that I'm actually giving this a thought but there's even a case to be made for Lallana's inclusion, given his recent form).

I genuinely think that Fabinho is Liverpool's best midfielder at this moment (or at least "the least bad" if that's one's thing) and that his presence affects Wijnaldum's dynamic in midfield duo/trio in a positive way, not to mention helping fullbacks push high as often as possible. There's a genuine problem with lack of creativity and goals in Liverpool's midfield, when opponents pin Robertson and TAA back, it's like they cut the wings from the team - there's no one to provide a proper cross or a cutback, while through passes are usually impossible in crowded midfields.

Henderson and Milner are perfect squad players, two guys I wouldn't have any problem with if they decided to finish their respective careers at Liverpool, but starting them alongside Wijnaldum against a very strong team and a manager who is one of the best at tipping the scales of a match by changing systems and making the right subs just calls for trouble. There's no doubt Klopp is waiting on AOC and Keita to return to fitness and form (easier said than done for these two, they have all the talent in the world but no luck), they are the two players who would improve this midfield's output in terms of goals and assists (or key passes at least) but it won't be happening for them this season.
 



GermanRed

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I think that if we bring in another quality attacker in the summer we might see a double pivot with Fabinho and Henderson more often (8-12 games) next season.
 

Incognito

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Also when we are need of a goal, I would have Firmino of all people as close to the goal as possible, and not dropping back to provide the creativity or connect the midfield to attack. The very fact Klopp had to revert to that shows we lack someone who can work that space between attack and mid. Shaqs and Keita were supposed to be that link, but there's something weird going on with respect to them which only Klopp is aware of.
 

The Elusive 19th

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Also when we are need of a goal, I would have Firmino of all people as close to the goal as possible, and not dropping back to provide the creativity or connect the midfield to attack. The very fact Klopp had to revert to that shows we lack someone who can work that space between attack and mid. Shaqs and Keita were supposed to be that link, but there's something weird going on with respect to them which only Klopp is aware of.
As Ox is also coming back from injury, we are really lacking in a player who can connect midfield with attack. Add a peak Gerrard or a KDB, etc there and the attack and midfield will go up a level atleast. I think, in Summer Klopp will try to see whether Ox, Keita, Shaq and Wilson can claim that place for themselves.

We need to remember that Bobby was actually a number 10 when he joined us. So there is a possibility that Klopp decides to a get a genuine striker which means Bobby stays in the number 10 role forever.

Only thing clear now is that there is a (attacking) role in the first 11 up for grabs.
 

Mascot88

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I love Klopp to bits but this Tottenham game had all of his flaws on display, both of them (the other being his late substitutions). I remembered that Another Wasted Corner fanzine whose name reflected Liverpool's set-piece profligacy in self-deprecating humour and I'm thinking of starting one called "Henderson-Wijnaldum-Milner". I would like to know why he keeps persisting with it, especially in big games and when at least Fabinho is fit and on form (and I can't believe that I'm actually giving this a thought but there's even a case to be made for Lallana's inclusion, given his recent form).

I genuinely think that Fabinho is Liverpool's best midfielder at this moment (or at least "the least bad" if that's one's thing) and that his presence affects Wijnaldum's dynamic in midfield duo/trio in a positive way, not to mention helping fullbacks push high as often as possible. There's a genuine problem with lack of creativity and goals in Liverpool's midfield, when opponents pin Robertson and TAA back, it's like they cut the wings from the team - there's no one to provide a proper cross or a cutback, while through passes are usually impossible in crowded midfields.

Henderson and Milner are perfect squad players, two guys I wouldn't have any problem with if they decided to finish their respective careers at Liverpool, but starting them alongside Wijnaldum against a very strong team and a manager who is one of the best at tipping the scales of a match by changing systems and making the right subs just calls for trouble. There's no doubt Klopp is waiting on AOC and Keita to return to fitness and form (easier said than done for these two, they have all the talent in the world but no luck), they are the two players who would improve this midfield's output in terms of goals and assists (or key passes at least) but it won't be happening for them this season.
We assume everything is equal between players - like we’re picking between players who have all got 100% fitness on footy manager.

Could it be that Klopp is looking as his resources post international break and going with his three fittest lads? Hendo barely got a sniff, Milner is retired, and Gini seems to naturally able to play three games a week easily.

Klopp might consider Fabinho a starter, but in this case thought it better to limit him to 30minutes.
 

Zinedine Biscan

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We assume everything is equal between players - like we’re picking between players who have all got 100% fitness on footy manager.

Could it be that Klopp is looking as his resources post international break and going with his three fittest lads? Hendo barely got a sniff, Milner is retired, and Gini seems to naturally able to play three games a week easily.

Klopp might consider Fabinho a starter, but in this case thought it better to limit him to 30minutes.
It's possible, although that midfield combo has been Klopp's go-to for the big games this season, so it seems reasonable to suggest it was a continuation of what we've seen previously.