There are a plethora of things that Ethan Golding wants but chief among them is a win for Liverpool against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup – spoiler alert.
The past week of football for Liverpool FC hasn’t exactly been productive, to put it kindly but the EFL Cup offers an opportunity for Klopp to experiment with his squad in a way that the Premier League and the Champions League does not allow.
Klopp has already hinted at several possible season debuts on Tuesday, mentioning Ward, Grujic, Chamberlain and Flanagan by name.
With Ward, Mignolet and Karius all remaining at the club at least until January it appears that Klopp is opting to not only appoint a Champions League ‘keeper, but also a domestic cup ‘keeper.
This brings me to my first point.
Ward needs to take his chance
Maybe it’s because he has done most of his development as a Liverpool player, but of the side’s three stoppers, Ward in my eyes has that indescribable attribute that puts him above both Mignolet and Karius.
Both Karius and Mignolet have failed to inspire confidence when in possession while Ward seems to ooze self-belief in a manner more fitting of a top team’s number 1. Karius may have given a good account of himself while in the Bundesliga, but he has failed to do so at Liverpool so far.
Mignolet has been at the club since 2013 and we are now fully aware of what can do and what he can’t, and while he may have been crucial in one of Sunderland’s many escapes from relegation, there is not much else that can be added to his C.V.
Although Ward doesn’t exactly possess a dazzling resume either, earning promotion to the Premier League with Huddersfield Town in the manner they did is a greater achievement than not going down with Sunderland.
Ward just seems to stand out from Klopp’s other two goalkeeping options. We have not seen enough of him to judge him fairly but he appears to be a calming influence on the field.
Although his confidence can sometimes appear as though he is not taking his job seriously enough, his impressive reaction saves against Atletico Madrid in a pre-season game where he was not involved for extended periods of time shows that he capable of the concentration required of a top-level goalkeeper.
If Ward can continuously impress in the EFL Cup, he may be able to force one of his competitors into a loan move come January, and leave himself in a strong position to make the number one spot his.
Essentially, I would like tonight to mark the day that Danny Ward begins to assert himself as the front-runner for Liverpool’s next great goalkeeper.
Roughs in a Diamond
In the past, Liverpool have often looked their best when employing a diamond formation. The 13/14 season saw many successful deployments and even recently against West Ham at the tail end of last season.
Using a diamond would allow Liverpool to pose a real threat going forward while also allowing some of the squad’s fringe players an opportunity to shine in their preferred positions.
A front two of Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke presents both players with an opportunity to gain valuable competitive minutes, the former needing them to remind Reds fans that he is still at the club and the latter’s performances thus far alone justifying his involvement.
Both players are mobile, possess great work rate and score most of their goals from inside the box and between the width of the goal. In front of a midfield capable of creating chances and goals shouldn’t be hard to come by.
Coutinho’s transfer saga has resulted in a lack of game time and so 90 minutes at the tip of the diamond seems obvious. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slots right into one of the two advanced roles alongside Marko Grujic who would be able to operate in both the advanced and deep-lying positions.
Grujic has not proven disciplined enough to play as the holding midfielder in a diamond formation and so would likely share the responsibility as Liverpool lack a true defensive midfielder at this moment. And so I would like to see the last midfield spot filled by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Trent has proven himself to be a terrific young talent with all the potential to become one of the world’s best. However, right back is not his natural position. By trade, he is a midfielder and has played as both a box to box and holding midfielder for a number of Liverpool’s youth teams.
His performances at right back for the first team have shown that he capable of carrying out defensive duties. The criticism that has been levelled at him recently has been more about the nuances and specifics of how to defend as a full back, which is becoming more and more a specialist position.
A midfield four of TAA, Grujic, Chamberlain and Coutinho would provide plenty of energy, creativity and an eagerness to impress as none of these players currently command a starting role in Klopp’s side.
Ward has already been given the nod to start so all that leaves is the back four. It seems Klopp does not trust a back four without Joel Matip so it’s hard to see him not involved from the start. Andy Robertson also seems likely to start given the positives of his performances so far this season and the need for rotation between our left backs.
It’s easy to presume that one of Joe Gomez or TAA will start at RB, however, I think tonight represents the best opportunity to see both players in their preferred positions. James Milner or Jon Flanagan are both capable of playing as right backs against midlevel Premier League sides and would allow Joe Gomez to slot in beside Joel Matip. A partnership that, on paper, is quickly looking like Liverpool’s strongest defensive pairing.
Obviously, we always want Liverpool to win.
They play football + we love football = we love watching them play football = we want them to win.
But given the dire performance against Manchester City (red card aside, the team underperformed, pure and simple). The two disappointing draws that followed have left somewhat of a black cloud over the Liverpool fanbase.
As a particular tweet that has been doing the rounds has pointed out, Liverpool have only lost two games since March, one of which was not helped by going down to 10 men.
Liverpool have lost 2 games since March. One of which was a result of a red card.If you want Klopp out then you definitely eat crayons. #lfc
— Red Mysterio (@redmysterio96) September 17, 2017
And yet, the bright eyes and high hopes that everyone seemed to have prior to the international break seem to have left and we could all do with a win.
And if the win could be obtained by a squad that looks something like the one I’ve mentioned, providing some much-needed rest for the majority of the first team players, well that would only make things even better.
Simply put, wins can make everything better, so while there are specific things I want to see in regards to the squad or from individuals, all I really want is to see Liverpool score more goals than Leicester City.