Sanjay Nair discusses the talking points from Liverpool’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Everton on Sunday evening.
Another away game, another stalemate. While this may not be the end of it all for Liverpool this season, we are now waiting for something no Pep team in recent memory has done…. Total collapse.
A midfield that is begging for creativity
Looking at the Liverpool squad at the start of the season, the midfield contingent, in particular, it was just amazing to imagine the depth, steel and creativity that was available to us.
Fast forward 29 games later and it is still amazing… to wonder where all that has vanished. Against a severely depleted Manchester United side and an Everton side which really did not have much to offer, Liverpool’s combinations in midfield produced absolutely nothing.
Whether it is the manager’s fault for shutting out Naby Keïta and Xherdan Shaqiri almost completely from these games or they simply do not enough in training, there is just too much emphasis on the expectation from the front 3.
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With Fabinho and Wijnaldum in such fine form, it will be worth the risk starting with either given that they offer much much more going forward than a Henderson or Milner.
Origi in the starting line-up
Yes, he scored that 96th minute winner against Everton at home. Yes, he had a delightful finish against Watford. Yes, he has a tremendous defensive work rate for a forward. But does he warrant a place in the starting line-up over the likes of Shaqiri and Sturridge?
With Klopp having virtually abandoned the whole gegenpressing style as such, perhaps it might be more appropriate to have a better-skilled player to slot in. A player who can change the complexion of the game with one moment of sheer brilliance.
More importantly, Shaqiri / Sturridge have always appeared to have the better understanding with the likes of Mané and Salah. Origi, for me, is still that viable option for the 70th minute or later and not a starter. Perhaps a bit harsh, but a blunder by an opposing goal-keeper shouldn’t tilt the balance in picking a player.
A defensive colossus
Virgil van Dijk is proving with every outing why Liverpool paid what they did for him. Authoritative yet calm in the face of all apparent danger, he is a man-mountain at the heart of the Liverpool defence. He has elevated the calibre of everyone around him with his own displays.
Another reason why we should opt for a 2-man midfield of Fabinho and Wijnaldum for the remaining games. Another reason why next season should see VvD take over the captaincy on a permanent basis.
As disrespectful as it may seem to Henderson, it will simply give us better options all-round. Titles are won around ruthlessness and not on the basis of empathy and emotions. Period.
With 9 matches to go, or as the cliché goes… 9 cup finals to go, it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages to lift the team for that one final push. A small dose of heavy metal football might just be what is in order to get back to our flowing best.