Alex Rogers discusses Liverpool’s exponential drop in form in the last few weeks.
Wednesday’s semi-final against Southampton was a frustrating one, to say the least. The high octane, chance creating, fast paced, gegenpressing Liverpool we have become accustomed to seeing didn’t show up which leaves us with the disadvantage heading into the second leg.
So where did that Liverpool go? What changed? What happened to the Liverpool that was scoring three or four goals a game? Well, in most of those games, there has been many similarities in each game where we’ve dominated. One of these factors has been Henderson.
It’s hard not to see that since Henderson got injured, the quality in our team has dropped substantially. This season, Henderson has been given the new role of a defensive midfielder where he has flourished into one of the best midfielders in the league. Henderson tops the charts in most completed tackles and interceptions. Losing him was always going to be painful.
Another factor is that Firmino seems to play considerably better centrally than out wide. Despite having our most promising chance on goal against Southampton while playing out wide, it’s obvious that he plays his best football while playing in a central role.
Out wide, he does have a tendency to disappear for massive chunks of the game at a time, but while playing through the middle he seems to be a constant threat, helping out in midfield more often whilst playing a lot smarter.
Now, Lallana has really turned things around under Klopp and reinvented himself as a fantastic central midfielder. In the past, Adam has played out wide or as an attacking midfielder to varying degrees of success.
But for nearly all of this season, Lallana has been playing in a deeper role in a midfield of three to great success. Making incredible and intelligent runs from deep to drag players out of position or playing a lovely through ball, it’s safe to say he’s good as a central midfielder. Lallana played out wide against Southampton and we all know what happened there.
Also it didn’t help we didn’t have our magnificent Mané on the wing as he’s playing in the African Cup of Nations, but it’s a fair point to bring up that he’s been crucial for us this season, having a hand in pretty much every single game we’ve dominated in. Blistering pace down the right with silky feet has what we’ve come to expect from Sadio, but having him gone for a month does hurt a bit. Still, wish him the best in his AFCON dream. See you soon Sadio.
Every aspect I’ve mentioned of why we’ve been in complete control was missing on Wednesday. Coincidence? Maybe. But I think most fans would agree they would prefer ten times over they would prefer to play with what I’ve mentioned.
But on a positive note, Karius saved us from losing to a much more daunting deficit. Seeing him play so well brought a tear to my eye and a lump in my throat. My boy is growing up and coming out of his shell.
Let’s not forget, a second leg is still yet to be played. And if I remember correctly, didn’t we lose to Villareal one nil in the semi-final of the Europa league in the first leg? Yeah, we did. We are still in this competition by a long shot.