Liverpool haven’t been the club that we expected them to be this season. While they were consistently winning last season, they have been consistently in poor form this season. They have lost games against Leeds, Napoli, Brentford and City and don’t seem like they can turn the season around.
The latest in a list of bad news to hit the Liverpool squad is the injury of Van Dijk. The defender’s injury is feared to be worse than ever with The Telegraph reporting that he might require a specialist. So with a lot to cover, let’s take a look at some of the growing concerns or problems surrounding Liverpool Football Club.
Missing Big chances
The acquisition of Darwin Nunez was most certainly a good choice and in no length is the former Benfica man a bad player. However, he hasn’t captured his old form in the Premier League shortly due to the fact that he might be still coming to terms with the league.
The striker has missed the most number of chances and has failed to end those smart runs with a shot on target. He along with Salah have caused a lot of problems for Liverpool up front, which is surprising because these are two problems who should be causing the opponent problems.
Instead they have failed to get the game running and have not converted runs into goals. Whether or not they will be able to capture their old form is yet to be seen but even if they do, Liverpool aren’t title contenders.
An Open Defence
Jurgen Klopp’s side have always played high intensity football and have used the high press system that have often classified his game to be heavy metal football. But playing high intensity football comes with its own risk and injuries are an outcome of the same.
Liverpool are suffering with a number of injuries which have left their midfield open and thus leaving their defence to handle all the pressure. The team that once tricked the opponent into being offside is no longer able to capture that momentum.
Their defence is open and a number of forwards have managed to cut them open and score goals. There have been games where opponents have come marching to score a goal within seconds of the referee blowing the whistle.
Take for example the game against Arsenal where the Gunners scored their first goal in the first minute of the game. That’s how open Liverpool’s defence has been leaving Klopp to think of changes or even a change of tactics.
The German has a lot of work to do and he along with the club need to manage to reach top four because without Champions League football, they will lose a lot of revenue.
An Ageing Squad
Liverpool don’t have the youngest squad in the league. They have star players who are ageing and some players who aren’t scoring. Unlike City, Liverpool haven’t done a refresh partly due to the fact that they don’t have the kind of funds that City have.
However, this is the Premier League and it won’t tolerate excuses. Klopp needs to refresh his squad with all the funds that he currently has and the owners need to back him up. A failure to do so will lead to a lot of problems.
While they have brought some fresh faces in attack they haven’t got someone who is a replacement for Sadio Mane. While you can never find a replacement for the Senegalese international, you can at least try and find a smart player who tricks opposition defences and has better ball control.
The departure of Mane has really hurt the squad and you can see that with every passing game. Hence, the ageing squad needs to get away.
A Tight Run of Fixtures
Apart from all the problems that they are currently facing, Liverpool have more coming their way and it is something that Klopp has always talked about, i.e. fixture congestion. With Champions League football fast approaching, Liverpool will have another league to look into apart from the Premier League and the FA Cup.
The situation isn’t going to do them any favours and if fixture congestion is the sole reason behind injuries then Liverpool could see more players in the recovery ward. The club will have to look into the January transfer window to make the right changes and bring in the right number of players.
Be it in attack, defence or in midfield where they require the most help, Liverpool have some work to do.
Is a Top Four Finish Realistic?
At this stage, the most important question that everyone seems to be asking is whether Liverpool can finish in the top four. And that is a valid question considering the fact that they are 7 points behind Manchester United, who are in fourth place.
In terms of top four contenders, Liverpool will also have to face the likes of Newcastle because every team in the top six seems to be hungry for Champions League football. The likes of Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Newcastle are Liverpool’s direct contenders, if we are currently leaving Chelsea out of contention.
Seeing Liverpool in the Europa League will certainly be shocking not to mention embarrassing to a certain degree. They have featured in the Champions League for years and have managed to qualify for the same without doubt.
However, they are currently in serious trouble of entering a lower European competition or even heading into next season without ever playing in Europe. If that happens, Liverpool will witness a major drop in their revenue and will once again lose out those funds that can be used to buy players.
So let’s wait and watch how Liverpool end the season. Will it be with a Champions League qualification spot or without it is something that only time can tell.