The fall of champions make for tragedies to behold in books and cinema, but when that happens to your favourite football club, it is disheartening, to say the least. From being at the top, to dropping down to 7th place in the Premier League Table, Liverpool has had a terrible run this season.
Much like online casinos, Liverpool’s performance has been wildly unpredictable, fluctuating randomly between their old peak self, and underperformance. Think of Liverpool’s certainty like someone is out there to play online casino slots—every time Jurgen Klopp tries a centre-back pairing and sees if it is his lucky day. If chips fall where they should, good for him and the fans, but the story of Liverpool has sadly been the opposite this season.
So, let us get a bit deeper and delve into the factors that have cost Liverpool this season, and what all, if anything, they can do for damage control.
Injured players means and injured team:
Player injuries have ravaged Liverpool this season. The list might seem endless at times, and it is especially concerning when important players need to be let off, to recover and only return much later. The list includes:
Virgil van Dijk – The Dutch centre-back is expected to be ruled out for the entire season after an ACL injury against Everton.
Joe Gomez –This 23-year-old defender, following damage to his knee, has not seen action, and if the words of coach Klopp are to be believed, he will not make it this season either.
Jordan Henderson –Following his injury in the Merseyside Derby last October, he tried to play on, but was replaced by Nat Philips.
Joel Matip –This other centre back has an ankle injury and is only slated to return next summer.
Now, injuries can happen because players are not fit enough to be active through the strain of an entire 90-minute match. They can also happen because players overtrain to the extent that their bodies give way without adequate rest and recovery.
The former issue needs the appointment of better fitness staff, more attention to fitness equipment and training, more scientific fitness routines and adequate rest and recovery between training.
As for overtraining, Jurgen Klopp is infamous for stretching his players’ fitness too thin. It is a well-known fact that Klopp enforces rather harsh training routines. Allowing adequate rest between training is a core tenet of modern science-based athleticism, a truth that Klopp seems to miss. Sometimes your boys perform best when you cut them some slack.
Fresh faces and replacements:
Liverpool is in dire need of new players, not just because new talent serves as a solid boost to team performance and morale, but also to replace injured players. The key positions Liverpool needs to strengthen, and their options are:
CB and Midfield:
With Van Dijk and Joe Gomez both out this season, this position is probably key for Liverpool. Some solid options include:
[CB] –Konate is a RB Leipzig centre back, but he may be cheaper to sign than Upamecano, who is headed to FC Bayern. Konate is a strong young centre back with a recovery pace good enough to cope with the fast transitions in the Premier League. The only concern about the player is his injury record.
[CB] Sven Botman - Botman is another highly rated centre-back who is fancied by a lot of top clubs in Europe, including Liverpool’s arch-rivals Manchester United. Botman’s best attributes are his passing range and physicality. He could come in cheaper than Konate.
[CM] Renato Sanches – Liverpool is possibly looking at the Lille player to replace Georginio Wijnaldum.
Front Three Alternative:
With Roberto Firmino in poor form, and often letting the team down, and Mohammed Salah set to depart next season, Liverpool needs a strong attacker.
Kylian Mbappe – This French star is speculated to move on from PSG, and although Real Madrid are in the hot seat to sign him, Liverpool should not be far behind if they manage to move Mohamed Salah in the summer transfer window.
Raphinha – This former Rennes star, who is now a part of Leeds, now tops the champion’s list of attacking players. Liverpool is definitely interested in signing him.
Pedro Neto – Wolves Legend Steve Bull has named this former Braga player as his player of the season, and with good reason. Liverpool most certainly should watch out for him.
Pedro Goncalves - Liverpool reportedly made an enquiry for the versatile Portugal U21 international in the recent January transfer window.
From injuries to difficult coaching, to the insufficient signing of players, Liverpool has made several mistakes and have suffered from some major bad luck. However, as we have seen, not all hope is lost. English clouds are often dark, and all dark clouds have a silver lining. With efforts in the right direction, we can expect our favourite club to bounce right back and return to their peak form next season.