14 reasons why Liverpool are struggling this season
Just the 14 things to fix and then they're golden.
Liverpool have been struggling this season, and there is no one reason as to why this is the case. In fact, there are 14 reasons.
So in no particular order, here are the 14 holes that the Anfield faithful need to plug in order to get their season back on track.
1. Lack of cohesion in the back
Before we get in to any individuals and their performances, right now, it doesn't matter who they chop and change, the entire defence seems to be off-beat.
There doesn't seem to be the same communication, organisation and flow from the defence that we have been so used to seeing.
Thiago, Henderson, Chamberlain, Robertson, Konate, Keita, Trent, Diaz, Arthur, Kelleher, and Jota have all missed games through injury, or are currently injured.
These gaps force constant changes and can upset the rhythm of the team.
3. Salah on the left wing
Since 2017, Mo Salah has been the most devastating striker in the Premier League and 80% of it came from him cutting in on the right flank, and unleashing chaos with his left. Playing him on the left wing isn't getting the best out of him.
The trusted 4-3-3 formation doesn't seem to be working, plain and simple. Klopp has recently changed it to a 4-2-3-1, and although it garnered a decent win over Rangers using it, they still looked shaky against Arsenal.
The problem with a new formation is that the team need time to get used to it and play games to work out the kinks, but Liverpool just don't have the time.
5. Darwin Nunez suspension
When Nunez got sent off against Crystal Palace, he basically set his whole Liverpool career back 6-8 weeks.
The Uruguayan got off to a flyer, scoring in his first two competitive games for the Reds, and then had to miss out on important matches because of a stupid decision.
Now, when the team are in a position whereby they need a striker, a goal scorer, a man to step up to the occasion, he is still currently in the 'adjustment period' which is heaping the pressure on him and the team.
6. Sadio Mane
Mane was one of the very best to grace the Premier League, and because of the big shadow cast by Salah, he never gets the credit he deserves. Well, the drop off since he left for Bayern Munich should highlight just how badly he is missed.
7. Age gaps in midfield
There is no one in the panel who is currently occupying a midfield position that is in the prime of their career. Henderson and Thiago are the best two options available at the moment and in fairness, the Liverpool captain was a live-wire who was full of energy against Arsenal but himself, Thiago and Milner are all over 30 years old.
Harvey Elliot and Fábio Carvalho are both essentially teenagers, so you can't put too much hope on them just yet, while the likes of Chamberlain and Keita are the right age, but both are embarrassingly injury-prone.
Right now Fabinho, at 28, is the only one in his prime, and he is currently out of form.
During periods last year when a player was out of form, then another would just step up. Salah was destroying everyone in the early part of the season, then when his form dipped, Mane reached new levels, and when the two of them weren't the answer, Jota would step up to the plate.
Matip was the centre back partner of Virgil van Dijk, but so impressive was the signing of Ibrahima Konate, that he soon forced his way into that position, and it then seemed like there weren't enough positions on the field to fit the best players in.
Now, the confidence is at an all time low right across the board. There isn't one shining light ready to save the day, and the team don't seem to know who to look to.
9. Andy Robertson
The Scotland captain is a massive miss at left back through injury, and although Tsimikas has genuinely played very well, he just doesn't have the same powers going forward.
Robbo has the second most assists from a defender in Premier League history and has spent a big chunk of his career not even playing in the league. You can't just replace that sort of quality.
10. The Trent Alexander-Arnold fascination
It's a bit weird to be honest, the absolute obsession the media seem to have with the young right back. His omission from Gareth Southgate's teams every single international break thrust his name into mainstream media, and everyone and their dog is having a debate about him.
This huge pressure and spotlight that seems to be shone on him every single game is affecting the performances and confidence of a young man who has very obvious strengths and weaknesses like any player.
Clearly desperate to prove people wrong, he goes from trying too hard and getting caught out of position, to trying to stay composed and getting caught on the hop.
11. The transfer policy
Klopp has pretty much got it right in the summer market since he got the job, but whether it's a case of staying too loyal to the successful players of a few years ago, or FSG tying his hands together, Liverpool need to be more active in the market.
The midfield clearly has weaknesses and their reluctance to push for big money signings like City, Madrid, Chelsea and even Arsenal have recently, are leaving them behind.
12. Virgil van Dijk's form
When VVD plays well, Liverpool play well. The correlation is as simple as that, but the centre back just can't seem to find his feet this year.
13. Last year's hangover
Liverpool did an incredible thing last season - they played every single game possible in the calendar, including three cup finals.
The mental and physical toll it would have taken to reach that summit can make it so difficult to start all over again with a new season.
14. Erling Haaland
The striker is a problem for every singe team in the league, but City and Liverpool have been so close in terms of quality for the past few seasons, and Haaland has just blown that gap wide open. Plus, the comparisons to him and Nunez aren't doing them any favours.