Beyond the precious points lost by the team of Jürgen Klopp, the Reds, orphans of Sadio Mané, do not succeed in the game and risk sinking into crisis in the coming weeks.
Two draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace then a painful defeat against a Manchester United on the verge of implosion. In three league games, Liverpool have yet to win and find themselves only 16th in the Premier League table with two points. Worse for the team led by Jürgen Klopp, his rivals for the title are already monopolizing the places on the podium.
Almost already in financial crisis, the residents of Anfield are also unable to hide their difficulties in the game and the concern is growing, while the 2022-2023 season promises to be particularly demanding for European clubs with the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year (November 20-December 18).
Mané still not replaced
The main change of the summer on the Liverpool side concerns the attacking trident. And for good reason, Sadio Mané cannot be replaced so easily . The Senegalese’s move to Bayern Munich, where he scored four goals in as many games, unbalanced the Reds’ attack. If the Colombian Luis Diaz is already part of the team’s executives and has signed six good months since his arrival during the winter transfer window, Darwin Nunez has had a more mixed start.
Despite a goal and an assist against the Cottagers at the start of the championship, the Uruguayan then unpinned by headbutting Joachim Andersen during the duel against Palace. In the absence of Diogo Jota, victim of yet another physical glitch, Roberto Firmino plays up front but is only the shadow of the one who distinguished himself alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané between 2017 and 2021.
People said to themselves that Nunez had arrived to compensate and that there was also Salah’s new contract. Many people underestimated the importance of Mané in this team. He was nevertheless indispensable and perhaps more than Mo’ Salah.
Salah not launched yet
Orphan of Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah can not yet guide Liverpool to success. Already intermittent at the end of last season, probably because of his two failures at the CAN and during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers with Egypt, the Pharaoh makes fewer differences on his right lane. Admittedly, the 30-year-old winger has already scored three goals in four games in all competitions, but his collective contribution seems less important.
Scorer from the penalty spot against Manchester City in the Community Shield, he then scored taking advantage of a Nunez miss against Fulham and then staying on the lookout after a save from David De Gea in the Premier League clash against Manchester United. Always effective, Mohamed Salah takes care of his statistics but his achievements are above all reminiscent of that of a number 9 who finishes the actions. In the game on the right wing, it is more complicated and the young Tyrell Malacia even took the upper hand during the match against the Red Devils at Old Trafford.
A system that does not evolve
The changes in the transfer window and the poor form in attack do not, however, fully explain the Reds’ bad run in the Premier League. Jürgen Klopp is not free from blame either. The German coach continues to fidget on the sidelines and there is no doubting his ability to galvanize his players. But the former Borussia Dortmund coach may also show some tactical weaknesses. The 4-3-3 installed at the Reds for several seasons seems to be showing its limits and the technician cannot manage to change his system.
So dependent on their attacking trio, Liverpool struggle when the front three fail to carry the team. And by dint of being rolled over, the other Premier League teams are also starting to adapt and find solutions to prevent the Liverpool arrows from shining. Follower of a transition game, Jürgen Klopp will have to quickly find tactical solutions to straighten his team and find the way to victory.
Not enough squad depth?
In addition to the sometimes too fixed system, Liverpool seems to lack a little depth of manpower. In attack, Roberto Firmino is going through a period where confidence and efficiency are fleeing him. In the absence of Diogo Jota, only the young Fabio Carvalho seems able to bring more when he enters the field. But the good Portuguese pick of the summer transfer window does not manage to forget the somewhat light group at the disposal of Jürgen Klopp. Especially in comparison to its rivals.
During the summer, Manchester City consolidated their squad with Kalvin Phillips and especially Erling Haaland . Arsenal have added Gabriel Jesus or Oleksandr Zinchenko to their hungry and talented Baby Gunners. Even the newly rich Newcastle signed several important players to help Eddie Howe set up his football. Without necessarily shining in the game, Antonio Conte ‘s Tottenham bought several soldiers (Richarlison, Bissouma) ready to strip themselves on the meadow. Even Chelsea, who are certainly not done, have spent a lot of money to build an ambitious group. And during this time in Liverpool, the absences are more than ever felt.
In the middle, the essential Thiago Alcantara leaves a huge void since his hamstring injury. Without the midfield accelerator of the Reds and with the slight lesser blow from Fabinho, Liverpool can only really count on veteran James Milner and young Harvey Elliot. Without offending them, the two Englishmen remain a tone below their teammates and took the broth against Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen at Old Trafford.
In defence, the defeat against Manchester United highlighted major shortcomings. Injured, Ibrahima Konaté and Joël Matip did not play. To replace them, Jürgen Klopp trusted his usual fourth choice: Joe Gomez. For a mediocre result. His association with Virgil Van Dijk has left gaping spaces full axis. An area of the field where Marcus Rashford rushed with pleasure throughout the meeting. On the corridors too, the duo of side Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold sticks out their tongues a bit. Problem, their liners Konstantinos Tsimikas and Calvin Ramsay are still a bit light for the Premier League.
A big calendar to come before the World Cup
The coming weeks are already shaping up to be crucial for Liverpool. In the Premier League, the team led by Jürgen Klopp will have several major matches between now and the end of September, including the reception of Newcastle and two trips to Goodison Park for the derby against Everton then to Stamford Bridge to challenge Chelsea. In addition to no longer having the right to make mistakes in the Premier League, the Reds also have to manage a particularly busy schedule by the World Cup in Qatar.
Like the other teams qualified in the Champions League or for a continental competition, Liverpool will have no respite during the months to come with a large series of meetings almost every three days. We note in particular a particularly heavy week for the teammates of Mohamed Salah between October 9 and 16. After a trip to Arsenal, the Reds will play on the second day of the Champions League group stage and then host Manchester City a few days later at Anfield. By then, Liverpool will have either completely fallen into crisis or recovered from the start of the season.
Source: Jean-Guy Lebreton