Liverpool dropped another two points with a 1-1 draw away at West Ham United. The Reds didn’t take what they wanted but they can learn some important lessons.
Back to basics at the back
The backbone of Liverpool’s season has been a tight defence. The Reds had conceded just eight times in 20 games before facing Manchester City in the new year.
Things have fallen apart, however. Liverpool could have ground out results against both Leicester City & West Ham but instead conceded cheap goals in 1-1 draws.
Both equalisers came from set pieces that Liverpool defended poorly. That’s far away from the side that barely conceded in the first half of the season.
Even just a few weeks prior, Liverpool saw off Brighton with a 1-0 win. Keeping focus and doing the basics all season long is a must this year but Liverpool have slipped.
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Yes, the forward performances were poor but Liverpool would have taken all six points if they’d defended as they had been. They must get back to that as quickly as possible.
What to do with Roberto Firmino
Firmino was awful against West Ham and the worst Liverpool player in the 1-1 draw. The Liverpool Echo gave the Brazilian a 4 out of 10, describing his performance as a ‘nightmare’.
It’s been a difficult season for Firmino, though. The change in system to 4-2-3-1 means he plays as more of an attacking midfielder than the ‘false 9’ of last year and it doesn’t suit him as well.
He’s scored nine times this season but five of those have come in his last six games. Over the course of the season, Firmino has looked a little lost and a crowded out of his space.
The draw with West Ham was his worst game of the season, though. Firmino just couldn’t get any rhythm going and didn’t seem to know what he was doing, looking out of snyc with his teammates whenever he got involved.
Jurgen Klopp has to find a way to get Firmino flying again. This was a massive backwards step after some decent form and a consistent Firmino is vital to Liverpool’s title challenge.
Keita showing positive signs
Keita had a very poor first half – West Ham’s goal could be put down to his weak defending. He did turn up for the second, however.
He made himself an option, dribbled past players, and looked something like the player Liverpool thought they had.
There’s still a long way to go but this was positive. Keita can play a part this year but he has to finally kick on and truly influence games.
Still, we got a glimpse in the second half. That’s more than we have been getting and something to hold onto.