Paul Merson has hailed the importance of Liverpool’s midfield three Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum and says the club’s recent struggles can be attributed to the broken up partnership between the three players.
The Reds are currently enduring a barren run of form following a five-match winless run that culminated in a 1-0 defeat to Burnley on Thursday.
Liverpool, at this moment, look totally bereft of ideas and their confidence is shattered. Jurgen Klopp’s team have failed to score in their previous four matches, too – their worst run since May 2000.
And as a result of Liverpool’s recent struggles, Merson believes the main reason for a loss of form has been due to the absence of Klopp’s solidified midfield triumvirate.
“I think it’s the midfield three. For everything they’ve got, the full-backs are great, centre-backs, best in the world, the goalkeeper for me, best in the world, the front-three, when they are on fire, they are as good as anybody in the world,” he said, per Sky Sports.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
“Everybody forgets about that midfield three. Henderson, Fabinho and Wijnaldum.
“When they play, they make the front-three go. It’s no good Firmino going to close the ball down and the three behind aren’t there.
“They are three unsung heroes who have to play in the team, for me. Of all the stars they’ve got, them three are the three that make it happen.”
What RTK has to say
Merson is absolutely spot-on. Indeed, injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have complicated matters for Klopp. Liverpool have desperately missed their first-choice defensive pairing, but redeploying Fabinho from midfield into defence, and at times, Henderson, has had a negative impact on the team.
Without both players in midfield, the team lacks balance and control. Whenever Liverpool are on the ball without the aforementioned duo, there doesn’t appear to be a plan or purpose in the team’s approach.
This is expected when you consider the number of changes, but it tells us that Liverpool cannot cope without Fabinho and Henderson in midfield.
Of course, both players are versatile enough to cover in defence, but their absence in midfield is too hard felt.
With that said, how Klopp chooses to address this could be key. Joel Matip’s return to fitness could enable at least one to slot back into their more naturally suited role, but ideally, the manager would have both players back in midfield.