14/12/2017, 9:05 pm

Klopp one defeat away from a crisis

Liverpool conceded seven goals in back-to-back matches against Manchester City and Sevilla.

Jurgen Klopp will actually be looking at the midfield for urgent solutions for the leaky defence.

His pointed references to this department following the City game does hint at change.

This veiled communications strategy has been, in any case, made inevitable.

In reorganising the defence, options are frustratingly limited. Klopp boldly insisted during the transfer window he would not be forced to signing players he didn’t need despite the botched attempt to land Virgil Van Dijk. He went on to, at the very least, sanction the sale of Mamadou Sakho to Crystal Palace. His team is down to three known centrebacks plus Joe Gomez.

We knew what you did in the transfer window, Klopp, Liverpool fans have been muttering, “You don’t have a Plan B”.

Klopp went with three centrebacks in the second half against Manchester City. That was at best sloppy. Emre Can was deployed in the middle of a three-man central defensive formation. Liverpool conceded three more goals.

Klopp has obviously been agonising over the lack of defensive cover.

Will Klopp be tempted to go with three centrebacks for the Burnley game on Saturday? This shall represent an enormous risk.

A home defeat to a potential midtable side, following a disastrous transfer-window strategy, plus the capitulation at the Etihad Stadium, may trigger a conversation about a managerial change among segments of the Liverpool-support base.

So soon into the new season, 100-odd days ahead of the January transfer window and despite unleashing the English Premier League’s most potent strikeforce, Klopp finds himself having to appease the fans and plausibly himself too.

And, he needs to shift Emre Can to a defensive midfield’s role to salvage the new season. In the process he may lose the German as Can seems to prefer the more exciting attacking midfielder’s role and has dithered on signing a new contract.

It is a risk worth pursuing in order to survive the next 100 days. Plus, Can is not thinking clearly. A move to Juventus will condemn him to a a rigid defence-minded regime.

Even Klopp must now agree that the moment the transfer possibilities return, he should snap up not one, but two centrebacks.

In the yawning interim, installing Can as the DM should ensure the attacking fluidity on top of shielding a shaky defence. Giorginio Wijnaldum lacks the physical attributes to shore up the defence, and has consistenly earned poor away ratings. He tends to wilt in away matches.

The second midfield slot should go to Jordan Henderson, for now. If the tell tale signs of a diminished Henderson persist, Klopp has a big decision to make. Abandoning your captain in September will be reckless. Henderson has routinely bailed out the defenders with last-ditch tackles but he is no destroyer to justify a DM role.

Maintaining a Can-Henderson combination at the heart of the structure will certainly help with solidity and stability.

It is the choice for the last midfield’s position that is going to most dictate the Liverpool season.

Given the ominous frailties at the back against the offensive prowess, Klopp should work on drastically raising the percentage of ball possession in a sort of “Barca formula” with former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano converted to centreback.

Klopp needs Philippe Coutinho/Adam Lallana/Wijnaldum as the one directing traffic. Klopp must now quickly acknowledge that he doesn’t have the luxury of time to gradually reintegrate Coutinho into the team. He needs Coutinho to rediscover his magic now.

For the Burnley game the front three should be an easy choice. Restoring Coutinho into a left-sided attacking role shall be seen as a lazy decision, at best, short term, pending the return of Sadio Mane from a three-match suspension. Klopp should be addressing big structural flaws and that must surely be about tweaking the midfield.

Klopp may be tempted to go with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain to maintain a highspeed attacking solution in a decision that will infuriate Daniel Sturridge, possibly the fans too.

AOC has been a strange buy, perhaps as a future English captain of a Liverpool under the reign of a German manager. That future planning should not interfere with the thinking for the Burnley game.

A huge rethink is required at Melwood on Friday. Another sloppy thought process will plunge Liverpool into a crisis.

A week is a terribly long time in football. It was just seven days ago Sadio Mane was crowned Player of the Month! By next weekend the British media may be desperate to give Klopp one big hug.

Rashid Yusof
From Apa Khabar

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect ismaweb.net editorial policy.

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