Paul Merson predicts a more exciting Liverpool as they attempt to deal with an injury crisis. It’s something that fans can look forward to.
Liverpool are struggling badly with defensive injuries. Virgil van Dijk is out for the season, Joe Gomez is gone long-term, Joel Matip can’t stay fit and Fabinho is only coming back from a problem himself.
It seems like an impossible situation but Paul Merson believes Liverpool can handle it in an exciting way. He believes the Reds can still be ‘the team to beat’ if they continue with a front-four, as they did against Manchester City.
It can give them their ‘fear factor’ back.
“[The front-four] gives Liverpool a fear factor,” he wrote in the Daily Star. “How many teams are going to want to face them when [Diogo] Jota is added to that front three of [Roberto] Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane?
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“With the firepower they’ve got, if they play all four of their forwards, they are going to score two goals a game.
“I think it’s a good option and I think it’s what they will do – because it takes the heat off their defence without Gomez and Van Dijk.”
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Merson goes on to call this a ‘risky strategy’ – and he’s absolutely right. This would not be Liverpool at their best and they can’t really control games this way.
But it would be the most exciting Liverpool we’ve seen for a few years. Arguably, in fact, since Philippe Coutinho left the club.
Coutinho disappeared to Barcelona and the Reds signed Van Dijk. They tightened up as a result and gone was the front-four of Coutinho, Firmino, Salah and Mane.
Liverpool were a better team – but not quite as exciting. It was no longer attack, attack, attack but they controlled games better and won trophies as a result.
Now, though, they have little choice but to go all-out. As Merson says, attacking takes pressure off the defence and that’s badly needed. Liverpool can’t rely on what they’ve got to win the title, in short.
Instead, they’ll have to try and out-score opponents. It might not be a consistent plan or even a reliable one, but it sure is exciting.
We don’t expect the Reds to run away with the title but we certainly expect some incredible games this season.