The Mailbox is talking Liverpool and says one way to fix Liverpool’s midfield problems might be a Trent switch.
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Come on Jurgen, fix the Liverpool midfield now
I’m finding its easier to watch Liverpool lately, not because we are playing any better, far from it, but more that I am acclimatising to the new norm – that of Liverpool as a mid-table outfit.
We all wanted to give it time, after nearly completing a quadruple it seemed impossible the team could deteriorate this much in a few months, but the truth us unequivocal. The stats don’t lie. Considering the number of games now played this season, the data is robust and clear.
We have a decent attack, but an absolutely woeful defence. Obviously, it is not fair to just blame the defenders, it is more our defensive shape and system simply does not work.
As anyone who has watched Liverpool with Fabinho in the team will attest to, you now cannot say we are playing a defensive midfielder. It’s like me playing 5-a-side after a night on the lash, meekly watching people run by as I dither about whether I can nip into the toilets to refill my water bottle.
The man used to be a monster, forever stretching a long leg in and toe-poking the ball away so that we could counter attack at pace. He was never quick but his astute positioning combined with the natural Liverpool swarm, meant he was never required to cover huge expanses, just certain areas at certain times. Our defensive structure was well oiled and super effective.
However, as our attacking press has disintegrated with Firmino infrequently playing and Mane’s pestering presence removed, the midfield space has opened up alarmingly. Now, Fab is trying to cover enormous spaces. That he is only getting slower (if that were possible) as he approaches 30, has exacerbated the problem. Over the course of this season he has been frequently and horribly exposed, and subsequently his confidence has dropped and his form has disappeared.
Jenderson was a decent foil for Fab in the old days because they patrolled as No. 6’s in different ways. Hendo carried a much greater physical presence and dynamism with equally good passing, but was never as positionally or defensively effective. Still, he would have slotted in fine had he not suffered his own decline. With his world-leading dynamism dulled, and a yard of place irretrievably lost, Hendo has become what the naysayers (incorrectly and unfairly) always accused him of, being a middling midfielder that required carrying at the highest level.
My email sent at the turn of the year, insisted our malaise could only be remedied with fresh blood, tailored towards our specific shortcomings. That we have refused to invest effectively speaks volumes of our approach.
If, and I would bet my mortgage this isn’t the case, regardless of our final league position we have already secretly organised a Bellingham, Rice and Mount transfer sweep in the summer to entirely rectify our problems, fine. Not dipping into the market when you have a perfect plan for the summer is acceptable and understandable.
However, my Spidey Sense tells me that isn’t the case. Instead, our rigid transfer policy and miserly owners are likely withholding funding until the exhaustive checks and balances have been completed in the summer. What the plan is for then is anyone’s guess. Considering we are understaffed and overwhelmed currently, plus we are likely losing Milly, Ox, Keita when their contracts expire, FSG are going to have to invest, even if its just to make up the numbers.
My fear is Bellingham is a sideshow to placate the fans. I worry we have no indication from the player that he wants to come to us and all the media chatter is simply based on the fact Liverpool have carefully intimated they would be interested in his signature (As would any club in the world) and the press are doing the rest of the leg work.
If that is the case, he is absolutely not coming to Anfield. Offered the option of climbing aboard the old, old wooden ship Liverpool FC which is fully ablaze and setting sail for an Atlantic voyage or the private jet of Man City / super yacht of Madrid, it is more than likely he’ll pass on our kind offer. Then we will clamber for plan B, which will be extending Milly’s contract another year and hoping against hope he Benjamin Button’s it.
I love Jurgen. He is a legend who has earned enough credit not to have to answer to the likes of me, but why he doesn’t ease two of our problems in one fell swoop baffles me. My main criticism of him has always been he sometimes sticks to his guns long after everyone else has realised he is in fact wielding spoons.
Faced with the perennial criticism that TAA is an aberration defensively, he would grind those enormous white teeth and insist against all available evidence that it wasn’t the case. ‘He doesn’t get enough cover, he needs more help, he actually played really bloody well despite us conceding 5 goals exclusively from his side’. The defence of his defence has become ludicrous.
Trent has evolved from a mediocre defender into a bad defender into a shambles of a defender. Even Klopp’s actions are showcasing the truth of the situation in that TAA is frequently substituted whether we are chasing the game of defending a rare lead.
At best, the argument would have been why move him when we are winning with him playing at RB, have a pretty bloody decent defensive record and an already world class midfield. And it was a perfectly reasonable one, just not anymore. Now we are rarely winning, are certainly conceding frequently, particularly through players ghosting past Trent’s high risk ‘swing a leg at the ball’ style defence, and our midfield looks like a bloody good representation of Man Utd’s from last season.
Obviously, some will argue that trying to dam the flow of our opponents attacks with the extremely soluble presence of Trent Alexander Arnold is a special kind of madness, but as a number 8 his defensive requirements are much reduced from playing in an actual defence. Additionally, where he struggles most is in one-on-one’s with pacey, tricky wingers. Playing in the middle of an often congested park should make that occurrence far more infrequent.
Plus, it will inject some youth and dynamism into our treacle tart of a midfield. Trent isn’t lightning quick but he certainly isn’t slow either. He has a good engine and won’t be required to constantly chase up and down the wing. Plus he has roughly four hundred thousand assists. The boy can pass, if nothing else he can really, really pass. Why not play him in the passy positions, Kloppo?
We’ve got 2 days to acquire a RB replacement, one who isn’t 18 and currently injured or James Milner. England produce bloody dozens of decent RB’s, its perfectly practicable that we buy a nippy one who is reasonable defensively and play TAA in the middle. If ever there was a time to do it, now is it. Please Jurgen. PLEASE!!!
Liverpool are a club in transition
Watching yet another defeat it’s easy to blame Klopp or the players and say there’s no desire blah blah.
A lot of fans saying the team is in transition but actually this isn’t just a team in transition. Players are at the end of their time with the club, backroom staff have left the club, executives have left the club even the club itself is in the process of changing hands.
Top to bottom the club is uncertain right now, so of course that bleeds into performances too. Now I’m not excusing players who have been poor but I am saying a wider view should be taken and external causes considered.
Maybe we as fans need to accept that at least until the club sale/investment is finished and the backroom staff replaced that we will struggle to be competitive. I think most would agree that for the last few years it’s been an extremely well oiled machine but it needs maintenance now so we will need to be more patient.
VAR from a daft idea
If consistency is a goal of VAR, then pairing the same officials consistently would be a top drawer idea. At least everyone going into the game would consistently be on the same (predictable?) page.
Constipated in Cambodia,
Hooray for Hollywood
There may be cynics out there about Wrexham and being propped up with Disney and an A list actor.
But there really is some beauty in seeing people who have never followed football now living and breathing the beautiful game and kicking every ball and feeling both the highs and the lows.
It can only be a good thing, right?
Did you enjoy the ‘Magic of the Cup’ this weekend? No, me neither for a variety of reasons, not the least being watching the Blades get schooled by Little Wrexham.
After getting home I decided to watch the BBC coverage (and to see if I was on telly), fast forwarding through the boring bits. What amazed me what the Z level quality of the commentator who kept banging on about the American owners whilst showing Ryan Reynolds looking by turn delighted, then pigged off, then delighted again until he was finally pigged off for good.
I’m sure Ryan enjoys being called an American as much as I’d enjoy being told I am from Leeds. Do the BBC know Canada is a different country? The clueless dipstick was also trying to guess where Woking were in the National League. Surely it’s his job to know – even I know, having paid scant attention to Sir Jeff on Saturday. Danny Gabbidon chipped in with the odd dopey comment too.
I think the Magic of the Cup for the BBC is the ability to wheel out a bunch of old faces to enjoy a freebie whilst talking shite for a couple of hours. I thought Shearer was going to wet himself when Reynolds was talking to him.
Sadly, I imagine the replay will be on telly too so we can look forward to more commentator drivel and some old has-beens having a day out in Sheffield. Unfortunately for them, it’s not as exciting as it sounds…
(Bring back Motty…… dead or alive…)
Not flash Gordon
If Anthony Gordon continues to cheat, dive and feign injury, he doesn’t deserve to be given a break. He’s exactly the kind of footballer who is starting to make football unwatchable at times. Hopefully, Howe is of the same opinion and will try and coach this negative aspect of his game out of him, but I won’t be holding my breath.
G Thomas, Breda
…As a complete neutral:
For someone who LOVES his beloved Everton so much, could he not have , you know, stayed until the summer to try and help them avoid relegation ? And then moved on regardless of the outcome ?
I’m sure that would be more important and fulfilling ( for an Evertionian ) than helping Newcastle finish 3rd, 4th or 5th ?
I mean, it’s only a few months. I’m sure Newcastle – or perhaps someone élse – could have waited until the summer.
What a load of nonsense his statement is.
Adam Halliday, Villa fan (why on earth did they give Lampard the job by the way?), Saigon