Liverpool aren’t getting enough assists from their forwards. It’s bad enough that the Reds will have to do something about it.
Liverpool really underperformed against West Ham United. Defensively, they had all sorts of issues but they weren’t much better going forward.
It took a free-kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold to get them going, while Divock Origi came off the bench to score a second. Despite dominating the ball, though, Liverpool just didn’t create enough.
Part of that was Liverpool’s game plan. The team sought to create almost exclusively from the right-hand side, something that worked really well against Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool work triangles with Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah. All three of them dominate the ball and create space for one another.
Then they generally create something for one of the forwards. West Ham, though, shut that down and Liverpool’s other areas failed to create much.
Liverpool’s reliance on their right-hand side is quite clear with their assists. Three players have assisted more than once this season in the Premier League – Salah (7), Alexander-Arnold (4) and Henderson (2).
In other words, the players on the right.
And the fact that Salah has the most is quite ridiculous. He’s also Liverpool’s top scorer, of course, and averages more shots than anyone.
Yet Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino have an assist each. Sadio Mane hasn’t got any.
Now, Mane is playing a different role this season. He’s far more of a goal poacher, taking advantage of Liverpool’s right-sided creativity – and it’s going well in that regard.
The problem is that he didn’t offer an alternative outlet on Sunday. When West Ham stopped the Reds, no one else took over the mantle. Liverpool were unable to rely on any other area of the pitch to create, relying once against on Alexander-Arnold.
Until Liverpool fix this, they’ll be incredibly one-dimensional and easy for sides to stop. The likes of Jota, Mane and Firmino can’t be sitting on two assists between them for much longer.