Image from: freelargeimages.com
Let us be frank, this season has been poor for Liverpool FC from start to end, and it is only this final run of wins that has made it seem like anything other than a massive fall from grace. There are multiple areas we could have done better in, and unless these are addressed, we may be in for similar results moving forward.
Recruitment was a hot topic, as it always is, particularly the choice to not add a midfielder. Ultimately, this backfired, and it became more and more obvious as the season wore on that we needed improvement in midfield. What’s the old adage about the continuing to add quality even when you’re on top? We instead bought Nunez who (was this part of our plan to try to replicate City’s style of play? ) hasn’t really set the world alight and, had it not been for the Gakpo signing, we’d be in even bigger trouble.
Recruitment hasn’t been the only issue though, current squad members have looked worryingly poor and previous stalwarts, like Van Dijk and Fabinho, have looked miles off their best – so much so that if decent bids were tabled, you would expect them to be sold. Other players have also performed under par and the general feeling, except for a few wild results, has been underwhelming. Recruitment is obviously important and who the club signs will be hugely important – according to this site MacAllister and Mount are very possible. Potentially good signings but time, and the transfer window, will tell.
We seem to have a near constant rotation of players with fitness and/ or injury issues and, whilst all clubs deal with these issues, ours seem to have been noticeably poor. Was the disrupted preseason an issue? Are the medical and fitness staff the best available? Are the players tough enough? All difficult questions but certainly one’s the club should be asking. The club also need to avoid Thiago-esque signings – being a great midfielder will not help the club if you’re never fit to play, and his injury issues were known long before he signed, the club needs to be smarter in the transfer market.
I’m just going to say it bluntly: if we persist with any of the tactical approaches used this season (possession football, no press, or this weird RB-into-DM nonsense) then we are not challenging for a title next year. The RB-into-DM tactic is just begging teams to attack that side, and they will, and we will be exploited. The team needs to rediscover its press because the quality is not there for Man City style possession football. I mean even City (despite the constant adulation from the media) haven’t been perfect utilizing this, and they can be boring to watch to. We have tried adapting to a system that the best team in the league uses, but with worse players, not to mention it being a completely different style to anything we have played previously. Disastrous. I am worried the club is not moving away from this failed experiment, and I worry even more that our recruitment in summer will look to add players to fit this particular system.
Off Field Cohesion
One of the criticisms leveled at the club has been the fractured nature of its operations behind the scenes. A sporting director/ director of football (?) will be the fix for this and will hopefully get everybody pulling in the same direction. How important will this be? The right appointment can set the club up for good, medium term success – the wrong appointment will see the club start to stagnate. I do not know enough about the candidates and choices to offer an opinion, but we can only hope the right appointment is made, as it will play a big role in any potential success or failure.
He is a phenomenal manager, and his impact has been huge, but he is not infallible, and the club needs to start reigning in his faults. His conduct towards officials is not acceptable and, looking at it logically, it will impact both our image and, more importantly, could impact how officials deal with us. He also needs to stop tapping players up – you can only step on club’s toes so many times before they simply refuse to do business with you. It is a bad look for the club and has the potential to he really damaging in the long run. Finally, I think he needs to look at his back room staff and really decide if it’s the best it can be – having people you like is fine, having loyalty is fine, but you need the best people for the job, and Klopp really needs to look at whether that is the case at the moment.
We are not City. We do not have their money, their influence, their ability to flaunt FFP rules, or their now decade+ legacy of endless financial injection into the club. We are competing, but not on a level playing field. Nevertheless, we have been treated to both exhilarating football and fantastic success and, to a degree, have been spoiled. Of course, we want more league titles, of course we want silverware, but we need to contextualize our desires within the reality we operate in. The last few seasons (this one excluded) have been, in my opinion, at the very limit of what was achievable for us – to be at such a high level for multiple seasons, whilst operating within the reality of our financial situation, was fantastic, but was exceptional, not normal. We should probably recalibrate our expectations a little because, even if we get everything right moving forward, we will still be, unfortunately, behind City. It doesn’t mean we can’t win league titles. It just means we will have to achieve supremely high levels for huge periods, and the odds of that are somewhat low. To sound like a hippy, “We’ve just got to enjoy the ride, man. “
Getting everything right is still no guarantee of success, but it helps. There is much for us to improve upon in regard to this season, and if we want this to be a blip, rather than a regular occurrence, the improvements need to be on the money (literally and figuratively).
Written by Seano_ May 21 2023 09:08:23