Jurgen Klopp must change his use of squad players after Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
The Liverpool boss tends to stick with his tried and true, leaving squad players to limited minutes.
Things look complacent at Liverpool right now. Be it taking far too long to get going (as against United) or blowing a 3-0 lead (as against Salzburg) they’re far from ruthless.
One simple way to fix that is rotation and not letting players get too comfortable. The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita can put pressure on others. It’s time we saw more of that on Liverpool’s regular starters.
The biggest problem we saw in the closing stages of United v Liverpool was a lack of sharpness. It’s something we’ve talked about before with Joe Gomez.
Oxlade-Chamberlain perhaps showed it best at Old Trafford – he saw the pass on for Trent Alexander-Arnold late on, but he just couldn’t quite pull it off. You’d imagine a sharp Oxlade-Chamberlain would have little difficulty doing so, though.
He looked rusty throughout his appearance, at about 80% of his flowing best. The same can be said for Keita, Adam Lallana and even Divock Origi. They need more regular game time if they’re to be as threatening as they can be.
Liverpool struggled to hold onto the ball in meaningful areas at Old Trafford. Then Klopp brings on Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lallana, pushing United back.
Unfortunately, it all happened a little too late. Liverpool needed these players earlier and fresher but couldn’t do so – it’s too much of a gamble.
If the squad players are integrated better, however, it’s less of a gamble. Klopp would find it far easier to change the game if he can trust the players more. That will only come with more game time.
And as we saw at Old Trafford with Lallana’s equaliser, they can make all the difference if you can trust them to do so.