The midfield - What's the answer?

Gone Kloppo

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Never ever start with Hendo/Milner/Wijnaldum as your midfield trio.. The game becomes so static with too many square passes.. We really miss Ox..His pace in midfield is electric.. A midfield trio of Keita and Ox with one from Milner/Hendo/Gini/Fab would be awesome..
Yet that midfield trio made us the second best team in the world last season:well done:
 

Gone Kloppo

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Never rated Henderson in the deepest position, he drops back between the Centre Backs and continues to take the ball from them extremely deep. VvD and Joe Gomez are more than capable of finding a pass or bringing the ball out, Henderson dropping deep negates them and invites pressure higher up the field. He was much better in the more advanced, energizer bunny role when Stevie G was the holding player and before that.
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Almost certainly they are being asked to do this. Milner was practically playing as a CB preseason when taking up JH's role, and Gini has been doing similar in his starts.

It may be that when we are playing it at the back to our midfielders, this is the moment when our FB's push up so this period where we try to work the ball to them is the moment where we are a little more exposed and so our DM pushes back into the line to provide more cover and allow the CB's to push wide if we turn the ball over further up field and our FB's haven't recovered yet. I doubt that Klopp would just be happy if Henderson was sitting in the backline when he wasn't supposed to, and I havent seen any evidence of him being unhappy with that.
 

legalalien

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Wijnaldum used to play as an AM at Newcastle and we have seen him venture forward making decent runs when he was given license. His current role isn't optimal as he doesn't excel trying to link up play. For me I would rather see him advanced.

Henderson was an excellent B2B mid, who was converted to a deep lying playmaker roles when Gerrard departed. He is decent and playing those balls into the channels and once upon a time could actually release a player on a break when given the opportunity.

What I am seeing now is a first-do-no-harm approach to their roles, that they don't take enough risk in the final third. We have speedy wingers who are able to get up the pitch quickly on the first movement, but if that stalls out we struggle to get an incisive ball in the second or third phase. Where we used to get Coutinho or Ox playing quite high creating triangles with Firmino at the top of the box, now we have most of the play on the periphery of the opponent's half in a giant D and very few players willing to risk their positioning to advance the ball and link up with Firmino who is quite good with the ball at his feet to creat scoring opportunity.

I like the 4-3-3 and think it brings a lot of value to our overall shape, but until we can get comfortable with having at least one #10-style attacking midfielder AND another aggressive midfielder who will make those advanced runs, we will be seeing a lot of recycled play and passing between the #6 and CB's.

For me, it would be Fabinho/Henderson at the 6. B2B would be Milner/Keita and the #10 with Shaqiri/Oxlade/Lallana

I don't value Wijnaldum on a regular basis, is decent enough against the cannon fodder but when we go to Old toilet I would prefer he not be on the pitch. He quite simply does not have an eye for the pass in any forward direction
Agree entirely, particularly with the bit I put in bold towards the end. We currently lack pace in midfield and, as you said, a connection between midfield and Firmino. At the moment, Henderson doesn't look fit enough to play. He had a tiring end to the season and then gave his all for England. I think he could with a rest and in the meantime Fabinho should be given a few games, starting with Tottenham.

Given that Hendo has just signed a five year contract and Klopp is praising him as his "general", I struggle to see how Klopp is going to utilize his general and the two new midfielders. If Fabinho works out then I would have thought our first choice midfield later in the season would be Fab, Keita and Ox / Lallana, but with Klopp saying this about Hendo it would seem that he intends to play him as often as possible, which IMO would not improve the creativity in our midfield.
https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45402144
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised his "General" Jordan Henderson after the Reds captain signed a new five-year contract with the Premier League club.
"Jordan embodies entirely what it means to be a Liverpool player in this modern era of football," said Klopp.


"The best thing is he will get even better in these coming years."

"I'm so privileged to have been a part of this club for so long, and hopefully even longer now. I want to be here for as long as I can be."

During his time with Liverpool, Henderson has won the League Cup and played in the finals of the Champions League and FA Cup.

"Jordan is so important to us and we are very fortunate as a club to have this person commit to us as he has," said Klopp.

"You can tell through his actions on and off the pitch he treats representing our badge and our shirt as a privilege.

"He carries a lot on his shoulders that people on the outside won't see, but he embraces that responsibility and that leadership. He is our 'General' and I trust him completely."
 

Artrain

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I think the reason why our midfield looked so flaccid in the last match was lack of energy. There are three players in our team currently who I'd put in the category of bringing a lot of energy for almost the full ninety minutes, and they are: Lallana, Ox and Keita. No surprise then that without either of them we looked very passive.

What surprised me more was how our front three (who usually work the hardest) were also really just strolling about casually. Don't know if that is the instruction because the players are not yet match fit, or they are choosing to do it on their own, but in any case we shouldn't be playing so poorly that we cannot string three passes together.
 

Abdel

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5-0 thrashing of Porto? For half the 3-0 win over Man City?
Im according to you the 5-0 to Porto , but for city game we were playing another midfield , just like the important game against Spartak , we rotated a lot in the middle of the park , so our almost succeseful compaigns was hardly done with one formula .
 

Mascot88

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Yet again, a load of discussion about the team based on the idea that we are only allowed to have 11 lads.

We’ve got seven good midfielders for three positions, and which ones will depend on form and fitness, injury and the opposition. Last year we limped through a League and European Cup run in with only three fit players.

It seems as though Klopp has chosen to lean on the lads who got him through the end of last season for the first few games, while others find their legs. That’s fair enough and as we sit on the top of the league with maximum points, it’s certainly worked.

All being well on the injury front, Klopp has given himself a Swiss Army knife midfield, he can tweak and deploy depending on the opposition. Our best midfield depends on who we are playing.

A different midfield is required against City away that is needed against Huddersfield at home.
 

Hope in your heart

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As written in the post-match thread, rotation will set in after the break. We'll have a set of games, all against genuine top teams (apart Southampton) every three/four days. For all players, the competition for places starts anew in a week. I'm quite sure that Klopp will not hold on to the starting eleven we have seen for the first four games.

For the midfield, I agree that the combination of Milner, Hendo and Gini isn't quite up to the pace. Same problem than last season when they were lined up together, at least most of the time. But with the comment that Hendo is still coming back to full fitness after the world cup, he'll gradually improve. Milner has been nothing short of sensational lately, but he won't be able to sustain the rhythm of playing every three days. He'll play a squaddie role a bit later in the season. As for Gini, Klopp rates him obviously a lot, and all depends on him if he maintains a high standard throughout the season or not.

But I'm sure that lads like Lallana, Fabinho and Keita of course, will weigh in quite heavily from next week on. I could even see Shaqiri playing in an advanced central midfield role, if there is a need for one more creative player, depending on the opposition.
 

redbj

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Klopp has given himself a Swiss Army knife midfield, he can tweak and deploy depending on the opposition.
Shite example. Or maybe perfectly succinct.

You really only have use for two or three of the utensils in a SAK.

The rest are just expensive gimmicks
 

charleslee89

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As written in the post-match thread, rotation will set in after the break. We'll have a set of games, all against genuine top teams (apart Southampton) every three/four days. For all players, the competition for places starts anew in a week. I'm quite sure that Klopp will not hold on to the starting eleven we have seen for the first four games.

For the midfield, I agree that the combination of Milner, Hendo and Gini isn't quite up to the pace. Same problem than last season when they were lined up together, at least most of the time. But with the comment that Hendo is still coming back to full fitness after the world cup, he'll gradually improve. Milner has been nothing short of sensational lately, but he won't be able to sustain the rhythm of playing every three days. He'll play a squaddie role a bit later in the season. As for Gini, Klopp rates him obviously a lot, and all depends on him if he maintains a high standard throughout the season or not.

But I'm sure that lads like Lallana, Fabinho and Keita of course, will weigh in quite heavily from next week on. I could even see Shaqiri playing in an advanced central midfield role, if there is a need for one more creative player, depending on the opposition.
maybe not for Lallana....Turns out he has pulled out from England's training session for an unspecified injury....
 

SirBillShankly

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Still think we need more creativity, if not Fekir in January then I reckon we should be looking to sign a player of a similar ilk. I know Jurgen talks about not replacing Coutinho but I think we miss his magic and eye for a pass. Maybe given time Shaqiri and Keita will offer us more but I think we're still light. Happy we have Milner, Hendo and Wijnaldum, they are do a brilliant job are a bit 'same same' aren't they?

I love Ruben Neves, he seems to be able to do things our current lot can't do, ie: smash the ball in from outside the area. We have missed that since Stevie stepped down. Hope Shaqiri and Naby start banging them in but right now it would be nice to see a bit more craft and unpredictability in the team.Hopefully that will happen as our season develops.
 
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Zoran

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Keita is a major step, said after his league debut that there's still much more to come from him. Expect him to be a mainstay in our midfield when he gets more prepared this season, more training/game time, comes out of his shell a bit more as a character, communicates more, etc. Same with Alisson to be fair, think he could trim himself a bit to get extra pace/agility. But of course, we'll see what our next moves in central midfield will be. Too early for big predictions as we haven't seen much of Fabinho yet, how he adapts (if), what's up with Lallana/Ox (how much can they still give, if anything), etc. Our other members who are almost always fit are more physical/energy players so it could be that for the next moves we'll be aiming more technical elements, but without running away from our principles, they still needs to be players who can work within our frame to provide balance.
 

Danny_

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Our midfield is looking quite strong now. Gini and Milner are both playing great and it's very difficult to drop either of them. That leaves Keita, Fabinho and Henderson fighting for one place. Can't believe I am saying this but I would leave Hendo on the bench right now and go with Keita. Poor Fabinho will have to wait and bide his time. It's a good problem to have though. :celebrating:
 

Princeob

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I agree with your statement. The midfield is growing very strong. Hope Fabinho make it to winning 11 on time
 
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Mascot88

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With Fabinho, I think it’s just a matter of I’m learning the system. I’d expect him to start getting minutes this run of games, and have cemented a starting position by the next one.
 

Red over the water

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We can get more of a tune out of the current midfield as players are integrated and find their best form. Fabinho has started that journey into the team, and Keita was disrupted by injury but will be back soon enough. I expect both to play in the midfield more often than not in the second half of the season, and if they get close to their best form it will look much better.

In the meantime, it’s still good, and we shouldn’t overdo the criticism. 8 wins and 3 draws in the Prem, with the draws being away to unbeaten Chelsea, away to a massively improved Arsenal, and home to the steamroller that is Man City.

Not bad, not bad at all.

One suspects that an elite attacking midfielder, like when we were in for Fekir, might be required to help it kick on a bit. Lallana is easy on the eye in his balance and movement, but he’s not the answer. AOC was looking like he might be the man we need but he won’t factor into the equation this season, and there’s a legitimate question mark over how strong he comes back, so best of luck to him. Shaqiri is a busy player and offers energy and some versatility, but is he more of a wide back up or an attacking midfielder that goes through the middle? Firmino has been a bit off form but there have been signs he is coming deeper and we’ve gone 4231 on occasion.

So it seems we are looking at possible solutions with the players we already have, and the right blend might emerge from what we’ve already got. What we have is good, but there’s a suspicion it needs a little more in the midfield, in the attacking midfield department.
 

Perth Red

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Not only do we seem more creative with the 4-2-3-1 formation but more solid at the back.
Not sure why the Boss keeps reverting to the 4-3-3 system for the harder games. For me it looks like the opposition then feel more comfortable pushing higher on the midfield as they believe we don't have the ability to let the front three loose. I would stick with Fab and Gini with Shaq in front of them, leave Bobby as a striker and not a #10.
Compare the difference when Shaq came on against Cardiff, how he made us look in the first leg against Red Star... OK he's no Coutinho but he is creative, quick feet, dynamic. This is the key for me, and why Fekir would have been so useful and why we need someone of that mould.
The more I see of the Milner, Gini and Hendo combination the more I wonder how the hell we got to Kiev!
 

Noo Noo

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Oh for Liverpool University to create a clone of Alonso.

Then tweak a system that gets a creative midfielder in there too. I don't want a Coutinho, I'd like a player that puts other players into dangerous areas.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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The more I think of the midfield chemistry and the roles the members need to perform the more I think, no matter how good he sometimes is personally, that Milner is a spanner in the works.

He's not suited to the 2 in a 4-2-3-1 and not attacking enough for the CAM role behind the 1. I'm starting to think this is our better formation at the moment but that might just be because we are getting the chemistry wrong in the midfield 3.

When we play 4-3-3 it works best when we have a deepest player, marauding around, being a nuisance to disrupt opposition build up play and quickly recycling the ball. Occasionally seeing the long, ambitious balls to release counter attacks too. The next role is a high-energy, fast paced box to box role. Someone who can build energy and momentum and use the ball in a creative but simple way to set the tempo whilst also mucking in with the dirty work defensively. Finally you have the most attacking number 8/number 10 hybrid who needs to do less of the deeper work but needs to put a slog in running round high up the pitch pressing them in the final third then using the ball with a little intricacy to create openings or storm through into the box on or off the ball causing mayhem.

That's the midfield 3 set up i think works best in my opinion and I don't see where Milner fits in anymore.

I think we've got better options in the deepest role or "6", Fabinho, Henderson and (when he turns up) Gini are all better options for that role. He can do the box to box role but I don't think he has the pace really required and drifts too far wide, probably because of years of playing wide. Keita needs to get settled into this role as it's his perfect role whilst I think Gini, Henderson, Fabinho, Ox (assuming he returns in good condition) and even Trent would all offer as good or better alternatives as Milner would. In the more attacking role Ox was perfect till he got injured and will hopefully continue where he left off when he returns. Milner could "do a job" and so can Keita but we really need to stop forcing round pegs in oblong holes here and get the right player in this role. May have to buy in Jan or Shaqiri can continue integrating into the team and seize it for himself. Lallana has lost whatever mojo he first showed in this role and I don't think it's coming back. Milner, Gini and Keita should only be used here in emergencies.

For now I think we need to stick with Shaqiri or use Firmino or, as a last resort, Lallana (but only if we have the right, in form, players in the other two roles). I'd maybe even consider giving Curtis Jones a run out if we were still in the league cup.

Yesterday we had an anonymous Gini in number 6. Milner not at the races physically and drifting too much in the box to box. Lallana unable to physically meet the demands of his role and offering limited service. With one of those issues we can cope. 2 we will struggle. All 3 we may as well play without a midfield, especially against good teams.

If we continue in a midfield 3 Milner should only be an emergency squad player, same with Lallana. Gini needs to stop going missing if he wants to play regularly. Fabinho and Keita need to fully integrate in as our first choices in the 6 and 8 roles that they seem perfect for. Henderson and Gini as their back ups. And we need Ox back so him and Shaqiri can solve the issues we are having linking midfield and attack.
 
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Koon

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Three new players in our midfield this season, zero used yesterday.

It's beyond my mind why Lallana is still a Liverpool player. I didn't think it could be possible but he is getting even worse. Huge mistake having him in a season where we don't have Ox and Shaqiri is the only player able to change the formation and bring some flair.

We need creativity, we have only two creative players in the entire squad: Keita and Shaqiri. We have to use one or two of them every single game if we wanna create, especially vs park the bus teams.

Klopp was horrible yesterday and it reflected directly on the team.
 
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Keita and Shaqiri weren't available plus no Hendo leaves me thinking our choices were always going to be thin and meant using a massively out of form Lallana,Klopp had no real choice other than picking who he picked.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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Keita and Shaqiri weren't available plus no Hendo leaves me thinking our choices were always going to be thin and meant using a massively out of form Lallana,Klopp had no real choice other than picking who he picked.
I think using Fabinho deepest with Gini box to box and either Lallana or Milner as the most attacking CM would have been best then. Using both Lallana and Milner in the more energetic roles just brutally exposed both for how old they are getting.
 



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I think using Fabinho deepest with Gini box to box and either Lallana or Milner as the most attacking CM would have been best then. Using both Lallana and Milner in the more energetic roles just brutally exposed both for how old they are getting.
I was also commenting on the post above with the zero out of three new midfielders being used,only one was available.
 

FilthyBloke

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Surprised that a few on here only see Milner as an emergency midfielder option. He’s probably been one of our more consistent players this season.

That being said I think I would like to see the new signings start. Fabinho and keita with Shaqiri ahead of them.
If for no other reason than the other options are bang out of form.
But also playing Fabinho and Shaqiri we have penalty and set piece takers and not relying on salah scoring direct from corners each time.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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Surprised that a few on here only see Milner as an emergency midfielder option. He’s probably been one of our more consistent players this season.

That being said I think I would like to see the new signings start. Fabinho and keita with Shaqiri ahead of them.
If for no other reason than the other options are bang out of form.
But also playing Fabinho and Shaqiri we have penalty and set piece takers and not relying on salah scoring direct from corners each time.
I think his personal form (except last night) is fine. It's how he meshes (or doesn't) with the roles within midfield to create the right chemistry.
 

lfc.eddie

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I think using Fabinho deepest with Gini box to box and either Lallana or Milner as the most attacking CM would have been best then. Using both Lallana and Milner in the more energetic roles just brutally exposed both for how old they are getting.
Wijnaldum and Fabinho should be used as two central mid in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Wijnaldum playing box to box not going to help unlock any defence. He holds no attacking threat.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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Wijnaldum and Fabinho should be used as two central mid in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Wijnaldum playing box to box not going to help unlock any defence. He holds no attacking threat.
Not sure you've read my previous post on the midfield roles and chemistry as I see it. That's not the job of that role it's the job of the most attacking CM which I suggested using Lallana or Milner for in the post you quoted. You're free to disagree with how I've described the midfield working if you want. But in the roles set out Gini wouldn't be doing that if he was in that role.