Liverpool lost 1-0 away at Southampton on Wednesday. It was a very poor performance and one we can take plenty from. Things need to change fast.
The Thiago plan
Liverpool aren’t wasting time with Thiago – and we hope they’re being sensible with that. The Spaniard came in for the start here despite just 17 minutes since mid-October.
It suggests the Reds are putting their faith in the Spaniard to help them. They didn’t give him protection, either, with two midfielders in defence and the just-back-from-injury-himself Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield.
It may just be one game but we imagine Thiago will play a prominent role for the rest of the season.
The biggest talking point ahead of the game was undoubtedly that Jurgen Klopp played both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as centre-halves.
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Neither are naturals, of course. But it shows a willingness to experiment to deal with the defensive injury crisis.
And if begs the question – was this a warm-up ahead of Manchester United. It would be incredibly brave to do this against the old rival but we wouldn’t put it past Klopp.
This is the third game in a row where we’ve seen a middling, ineffective Liverpool. But the difference after half-time here was enormous.
Liverpool looked quicker, pressed higher, and everything was sharper. The only other times we’d seen this over the last three games is when they were level against West Brom.
As soon as they got their first in that game, they slowed down created nothing. As soon as the Baggies equalised, Liverpool upped the tempo and quickly created a late chance.
Why the slow-down, then? It could be a genuine problem that Klopp must correct. But the other possibility is that it’s a deliberate way to deal with a depleted squad.
Whatever the reason, it’s leading to flat performances and has to change soon.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is not playing well. He’s been the world’s best right-back over the last few years, making the FIFAPro World XI for 2020, but he’s in very poor form.
Here’s a stat – Alexander-Arnold gave the ball away 38 times against Southampton. That is the most of any Premier League player this season.
Perhaps he needs rest, perhaps he’s struggling without a settled team, perhaps it’s just a poor patch of form.
Whatever it is, Alexander-Arnold is playing the worst football of his young career. Liverpool desperately need to turn that around.
This is bad
We could have easily come up with five individual reasons Liverpool looked terrible in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton – but it felt redundant.
Nothing is working well. Their are issues in defence, few midfielders are playing well, and the attack is struggling badly.
The big hope is that time fixes the problems. Rest for those who haven’t been out and regaining fitness for those who have.
It would be wonderful it it’s that simple. But it’s hard to watch these last three games without thinking something is badly wrong.
Liverpool are throwing away their title at the moment. The game against Manchester United now feels must-win.