Liverpool finally utilised the talents of Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. It’s a combination that has a huge scope for potential but was missing one key link; Diogo Jota.
Henderson and Fabinho were combined as a centre-back pairing with Thiago placed just in front. Unusual to say the least.
It didn’t work, either, as Liverpool succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Southampton. It’s the second match the Reds have failed to score altogether.
In truth, Thiago, who was partnered alongside Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, wasn’t exactly left with an abundance of creativity and innovation to work off in attack.
The Spaniard sat deepest in a midfield three, just ahead of Henderson and Fabinho. He was the team’s passing outlet and protective shield.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Unfortunately, his efforts were to no avail as Thiago was devoid of any attacking impetus from that in front of him.
This is one of the many reasons why Jota’s absence, once again, was hard felt. The Portuguese forward was dealt a huge setback just as he was hitting his stride, after all.
Lacking attacking quality
In the six matches Jota has missed, Liverpool have won just two. Perhaps what is equally concerning is the fact the Reds have managed to score just once in their previous three games.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were able to conjure up just one effort on target against Southampton. Klopp’s options off the bench didn’t offer much attacking incentive, either.
His substitutions Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner weren’t exactly what the Reds needed when chasing a goal. Indeed, Jota would have been perfect in this particular situation.
As a result, Liverpool’s particular struggles have made Jota’s influence on the team even more significant, too. Liverpool aren’t as potent or as innovative with him not in the team.
Jota a huge miss
It’s often forgotten how many times Jota has been at hand this season to paper over Liverpool’s recent attacking deficiencies. He has six goals in just five Premier League starts, after all.
Unfortunately, he is unlikely to be fit in time for our next league match against Manchester United on January 17. According to The Athletic, however, he could still return by the end of the month.
With that said, Klopp must find a way for Liverpool’s attack to click in a different sense. The consistency and potency of our pedigreed front-three just isn’t there yet.
At this present moment, Liverpool need more incisiveness and quality up-top. A lack of ruthlessness in front of goal cannot continue to hurt the team.
Luckily for Klopp, he has the opportunity to rest key personnel in Liverpool’s next clash in the FA Cup against Aston Villa on Friday.
By the time United are in town, hopefully, we’ll be a step closer to the much-needed return of Jota [£41 million] in the team.