The summer for Liverpool FC
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Awk let’s face it lads, Liverpool have gone backwards this season to the years before Klopp, hit and miss in ‘smaller’ games but tend to have a real go in the ‘bigger’ games. Why is this? For me, 2 main reasons: injury record and player mentality.
One of the posters recently showed our injury record compared to other teams, no one is even close to ours – it is ridiculous
Yes we have had problems recruiting and/ or keeping medical staff but this can hardly be the reason. We have had players get freak longterm injuries like VVD, which happens in football let’s face it, and does lead to invariable performance issues upon the players return as they almost ‘fear’ committing to a hard tackle in case of injury, can be a mental thing to overcome. It happens.
Surely our issue in this respect is simple – we persist in keeping players other teams would have moved on
Ox for example. Leaving on a free and truthfully has been very unlucky with the 2 big injuries he’s had. Never recovered, but allowed to run his contract down? Has not been the same player for a long time now – surely we should have sold him last season or the season before?
Keita is another example. Plays a few games, has a couple of good games and you think finally, this is the player we’ve been waiting on, then gets injured, misses a good few games and the cycle restarts. Been like that since we signed him, yet he’s allowed to run his contract down and leave on a free? Indeed, I think we tried to give him a new contract! Really?
I could rattle off a load of names with dodgy injury records. The 2 above are leaving, so is Bobby and we could have got fees for them if we had been more savvy.
I would personally like to see Klopp be a bit ruthless with some names in this summer or next – I’d sell Matip now, again not a great injury record and could fetch a decent enough fee, but I think he seriously needs to ascertain if players are worth keeping if they miss so many games.
The other issue for me is mentality, I do not know what has happened this season in that regard. There seemed to be a tactic change whereby we stopped the press and we are woeful in games then and are outfought by teams, which is hard to believe from a Klopp team.
Is the mentality simply that some players are being ran into the ground and playing too much? The likes of VVD, Salah and Trent seem to play every game, regardless of their form.
Robbo has been decent this season one of few players who can hold their head high. It helps he is dropped / rotated with Tsimikas, who plays well tbh when called upon.
A big thing this summer will be the level of backing Klopp gets from FSG, no doubt, but he needs to fix the above 2 issues as even if he signed a few big money names, they will not do well in an injury prone side that only turns up in certain games and is apathetic in others.
Signings will depend on outgoings. Like I said, I’d sell Matip. If we could bring in Gvardiol, then brilliant. He could play with VVD and be used to rotate with him. Would give us VVD, Gvardiol and Konate as the 3 main starters, rotating as required. I’d then sell Williams and Phillips too. Gomez only signed a new contract so could be kept as 4th choice, possibly even as an option to rest Trent, though Bradley an option there too. The 2 left backs I mentioned, I like and would keep.
The big question in defence is VVD. Been so lackadaisical this season, but like I said above, could be just the effects of the longterm injury he suffered. If we got Gvardiol, I would rotate him more, he’s played too many games, even in spite of poor form. Gvardiol and Konate starting is good too, any combination of those 3 would be a good starting pair of cbs – the big decision will be next season for me, if Virgil does not recover to his previous good form, do we then sell? That will be a massive call, but one that will need made.
I would keep Kelleher if we could as back up to Ali, kids going to be a cracker but play him more.
Midfield, ah the conundrum – Ox and Keita leaving. What about Jones? Keep or sell? Spotty injury record tbh, but a useful squad player if he can put injuries behind him – is this our problem though, persisting in hope players overcome these issues? Milner, love him tbh, great attitude – coaching role I would love to see him in, would be great with the younger players.
Fabinho – been overall awful this season, so unlike previous seasons. Is it the joys a newborn baby brings to your daily cycle? (Fathers and mothers will understand this lol) – do we give him next season to see if he improves? Personally, he’s probably earned that, but if poor form persists should be sold next season. Would you entertain selling if a decent offer was made though? Ah, decisions, decisions.
Ins for me then: Bellingham is the obvious one, plus tbh I’d take Rabiot on a free. This would give us those 2, Fabinho, Hendo, Bacjetic, Thiago and Elliott – 7 then covering 3 spots.
If we sold Thiago or Fabinho then we would need another. I like Mount, others don’t, but an energetic, hardworking midfielder who likes to play it forward quickly and has an eye for goal sounds like exactly the type of player we need though if I’m honest.
Up front, I think we are pretty much covered. Salah, Nunez and Gakpo looking like they are really starting to gel.
Options then up front for me:
Left: Gakpo, Nunez, Jota
Central: same as above tbh, like the interchanging between Gakpo and Nunez we’ve seen recently.
Right: Salah, I’d rotate then with Elliott, who played well in that role for Blackburn, plus I’d like to see young Doak given opportunities. Salah can simply not continue to play every single game though, needs a rest.
We also have young Carvalho covering as well – gives us 7 options across 3 positions. The big question is if the rumours are true and Newcastle offer 60-70m for Jota what happens?
Good money, I like Jota and would be torn on this, but his injury record isn’t great and the money could be used to strengthen weaker parts of the team – would you buy another upfront? We might need to tbh if that happens.
Big summer ahead and tbh, selling a few, a starter like Matip and maybe even Jota would maybe show others their place is no longer guaranteed. Would also help lessen our crippling wage bill, though Bobby, Keita and Ox leaving will help with that.
Go back to the pressing, tactically it works for us and personally I think it makes the players more attentive to what’s going on around them.
And the investment from FSG. Klopp does need backed but fixing the injuries, tactics and mentality will go a long way in righting this seasons wrongs – I’ve mentioned Bellingham, Gvardiol and Rabiot, one a free, the other 2 combined were talking 180-200m-ish – selling the likes of Matip, Williams, Phillips, even Jota would help raise funds for this.
Big, big summer ahead lads, just my thoughts – feel free to discuss.
Written by Bill March 17 2023 09:03:29