Liverpool lost the Community Shield on Saturday after a penalty shoot-out against Arsenal. Here are three Reds who have to up their game.
Jurgen Klopp’s team struggled throughout the first half at Wembley but did fight back. Only after the boss made some changes, however. In all, Liverpool disappointed and some players need to step things up as the season begins.
Now admittedly, this is quite harsh. Williams is still only 19 and was up against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – one of the best forwards in England.
But Williams is now in position as Liverpool’s backup right-back, meaning they need him to be reliable. That will come with time, of course, and it’s no surprise that he couldn’t flawlessly handle Aubameyang on Saturday.
Still, the Welshman needs to make sure he progresses this season and by the end of it, knows what to do with elite players.
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There’s plenty of pressure on Salah. He’s the primary goalscorer in the side and there’s only really Sadio Mane coming close to matching him. Liverpool need him as a threat or they’re considerably weaker.
But Salah never got involved. He only had 31 touches in the Community Shield, which was by far the fewest of any Liverpool starter. For comparison, the next fewest was Neco Williams with 41 – and he went off after 59 minutes.
If Liverpool want a successful season, Salah has to shine. It really is as simple as that. Hopefully he’s just finding his feet, then, because he’ll have pressure on him all season.
Wijnaldum just never got going, defensively or offensively. The midfield just didn’t have an effect throughout the game – certainly not until Klopp changed to 4-2-3-1.
There’s a lot of attention on the player, too, given his contract situation and the temptation of Thiago.
Liverpool reportedly want the Spaniard in their team but can’t justify a move. Why? Because there are too many midfielders already at the club. Wijnaldum, with his contract expiring in a year, is the most obvious player to move on.
The transfer window doesn’t close until October, so Liverpool do have time to think about this one. And if Wijnaldum wants to stick around for the season, he’ll need to up his game over the next month or two. Otherwise, moving him on and bringing in Thiago will become more and more tempting.