Liverpool 2020-2021: Jurgen's Heroes

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,676
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
So .. that was a good week .. tight, well played match with a win over their closest competitor in the standings and an easy-peasy thrashing of Palace. Best of all no one got hurt and we’re actually getting guys back (Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain)

There’s also been a Thiago sighting in training. So maybe the “crisis” is easing. So .. what does Pool do in the January window? CB depth would be the obvious move, (which I think they should do given Matip’s glass physique. ):.

But I’ll be very surprised if they do. Both Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips are adequate stop gaps. Williams in particular looked solid against Spurs, despite being constantly picked on. I’ve been impressed by Phillips as well - great in the air but lacking pace (sounds like a perfect replacement for the likes of Burnley)

And we still haven’t seen much of Koumetio who may be the best of the bunch.

Bringing in a new CB at a reasonable price is going to be difficult if not impossible. Plus that’s going to block the academy guys. I think they dance with the girls they brung.

But the guy I’m most worried about losing is Robertson .. that Tsimikas injury is really throwing them a curve. When’s Milner supposed to be back?
 

swiftaw

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2009
2,458
Agreed on Robbo. He seems even better this season that last (if that is possible), whereas Trent seems to have regressed slightly. Jones has also been spectacular this season which is part of the reason I think they let Gini walk.
 

Dick Pole Upside

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2003
4,486
39.932N, -85.848W
They still have JoeGo, Tsimikas, Milner, Shaqiri, Thiago, and Jota on ice (excluding Van Dijk). I didn’t see Neco Williams mentioned; he’s been adequate as a spot sub for both TAA and Robbo. Adding R. Williams and Phillips to that group, and that brings you another 9 outfield players that can provide varying degrees of quality. My hunch is they stand pat. If they can get two of the Tsimikas/Gomez/Milner troika back soon, I’ll think they'll be okay.
 

SocrManiac

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
4,116
Somers, CT
There are very few players at this point that can simply be plugged in and contribute. If a Van Dijk or Alisson becomes available, they're the exception. I think we're seeing the strength and weakness of Klopp's system at play. It can absorb absolute body blows in terms of player loss without a direct corresponding drop in performance. However, it takes time (a looong time, it seems) for even talented players to become useful pieces. Net result, a younger guy that's been training with the first team may be more immediately useful than a more established (and potentially talented) veteran brought in as a stopgap.

I very much felt that Van Dijk and Alisson are the two absolutely irreplaceable guys. If either went down, I thought the team would be done at a competitive level. Both have missed time now and the results haven't dropped off the cliff I expected. The injury list has grown to the point we've seen Henderson at center back. Ask yourself this question: before the season, if you heard that Van Dijk, Matip, and Gomez were missing significant time with Fabinho forced to CB (and even at times the Captain), what would the expectation be? I'd hope they could hang on for CL play next year. They're not only doing that, they're more than a match clear at the top. That's fucking insane.
 

Dick Pole Upside

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2003
4,486
39.932N, -85.848W
There are very few players at this point that can simply be plugged in and contribute. If a Van Dijk or Alisson becomes available, they're the exception. I think we're seeing the strength and weakness of Klopp's system at play. It can absorb absolute body blows in terms of player loss without a direct corresponding drop in performance. However, it takes time (a looong time, it seems) for even talented players to become useful pieces. Net result, a younger guy that's been training with the first team may be more immediately useful than a more established (and potentially talented) veteran brought in as a stopgap.

I very much felt that Van Dijk and Alisson are the two absolutely irreplaceable guys. If either went down, I thought the team would be done at a competitive level. Both have missed time now and the results haven't dropped off the cliff I expected. The injury list has grown to the point we've seen Henderson at center back. Ask yourself this question: before the season, if you heard that Van Dijk, Matip, and Gomez were missing significant time with Fabinho forced to CB (and even at times the Captain), what would the expectation be? I'd hope they could hang on for CL play next year. They're not only doing that, they're more than a match clear at the top. That's fucking insane.
Agreed. Not to mention Mane and Mo missing time with Covid!
 

Phil Plantier

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Mar 7, 2002
2,883
The longest article I've attempted to read this pandemic is about the 30 years between Liverpool titles from the great Oliver Kay:

https://theathletic.com/1866742/

I can't even pull a quote from it. It's all amazing and seems like it should've been a book.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
3,059
Michael Oliver admits he should have shown Pickford red. Small comfort now, but odd that he claims none of the Liverpool players were calling for the card in the moment.
 

SoxFanInCali

has the rich, deep voice of a god and the penis of
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jun 3, 2005
12,879
California. Duh.
The frequency that Liverpool are drawn with Premier League teams in the early rounds of cup competitions amazes me.
 

SocrManiac

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
4,116
Somers, CT
Last updates on Hendo and Matip are "we'll see." No Keita.

Van Dijk still looks doubtful :confused:

No word on whether not Trent's head is fully deflated yet.
 

teddykgb

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
8,023
Chelmsford, MA
You really missed an opportunity to give him health updates on Tierney and Atwell which are the only two people he needs to worry about
 

Tuff Ghost

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
397
You really missed an opportunity to give him health updates on Tierney and Atwell which are the only two people he needs to worry about
When I hear health update on "Tierney" my Arsenal-saturated mind definitely does not go to ref Paul Tierney, rather it belts out a resounding internal chorus of:
"He came from Glasgow, he shops at Tesco, Arsenal’s No 3."

Long way of saying, I see what you did there with the United/ref joke, but I had to put on my glasses, squint, and scratch my head to see it. (Without the mention of Stuart Atwell, I may have never come around and just posted my own Kieran Tierney update, probably "he's real and he's spectacular.")
 

SocrManiac

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
4,116
Somers, CT
I said it earlier somewhere, but for some reason I have this irrational feeling that this team needs to play in front of a crowd. The dropoff since the Covid break has been massive.

That or other teams have developed some Klopp counters. Either way...
 

Pesky Pole

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2001
1,110
Phoenixville, PA
I’m still of the mind that playing two or your best midfielders at CB is killing them. The crowd would probably help them gut out a few of the close games against mid table teams but getting Fabinho and Henderson back up the field is what they need. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they are adding a CB right now. So I fear we’re in for a top 4 nail biter instead of a title defense charge.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
20,375
The 718
I said it earlier somewhere, but for some reason I have this irrational feeling that this team needs to play in front of a crowd. The dropoff since the Covid break has been massive.

That or other teams have developed some Klopp counters. Either way...
crowds at stadiums with passionate fans definitely make a huge difference. Wasn’t Anfield able to admit 2000 fans for a few games?
 

SoxFanInCali

has the rich, deep voice of a god and the penis of
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jun 3, 2005
12,879
California. Duh.
crowds at stadiums with passionate fans definitely make a huge difference. Wasn’t Anfield able to admit 2000 fans for a few games?
Yeah, they were able to for a few games until the area was raised to a higher Covid alert status.
 

Dummy Hoy

Angry Pissbum
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2006
6,886
Falmouth
You guys listen to Jamie Carragher’s podcast? It’s excellent...I didn’t want to love it but he’s charming and bright. It’s quite worth the listen.
 

SocrManiac

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
4,116
Somers, CT
Glass is more durable than Matip.

I don’t know who they can bring in without a ridiculous capital outlay. The entire team has been diminished by taking its strongest midfield assets and plugging them into the back line. The kids clearly aren’t ready for the prime time- Klopp hasn’t hesitated to bring youth and academy players in during his tenure. I can’t close the gap between the huge need and the seeming impossibility of it right now. It’s really frustrating.
 

Snoop Soxy Dogg

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
May 30, 2014
382
Matip reminds me of Arsenal's Abou Diaby. Would spend more time at the infirmary than playing - and would play just enough to tease you before getting injured again. Infuriating - though for the player too, I'm sure.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,676
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
Matip reminds me of Arsenal's Abou Diaby. Would spend more time at the infirmary than playing - and would play just enough to tease you before getting injured again. Infuriating - though for the player too, I'm sure.
also kind of reminds me of Daniel Agger .. although Agger was better .. but constantly in and out of the lineup.

When healthy Matip is probably Pool’s #2 CB on talent. But you can’t make any realistic plans for him - and it’s always something different. Tonight’s it’s ankle ligaments.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,676
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
So .. given reinforcements are highly unlikely - even if FSG coughs up an emergency transfer kitty - guessing the plan is Fabinho/Henderson vs good attacking sides and mix and match Williams and Phillips vs the bus parkers.
both of the latter are painfully slow .. meaning the high line is just not feasible against any side with attacking ambition. We saw how it went against ManU in the cup game. With Jota’s return imminent maybe they switch to a 4/2/3/1 to take the pressure off of Gini and Thiago .. let them rotate in and out dependent on the opponent?
 

PedroSpecialK

Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2004
26,121
Cambridge, MA
Matip's injury is ankle ligaments apparently.

That leaves Fabinho (out today with an injury), Henderson, Williams, and Phillips as the CB options, while running Thiago / Wijnaldum / Milner into the ground in midfield. Not getting a CB on loan at very least puts top 4 in serious doubt.
 

JayMags71

Member
SoSH Member
Finally signed a CB.
Liverpool have agreed a £2 million fee with Preston North End to sign centre back Ben Davies, report James Pearce and Adam Crafton. Davies has made 135 league appearances for Preston and has been a first-team regular for the Championship side since the 2017-18 season. Davies has just six months left on his contract at Deepdale and rejected the opportunity to extend his stay with the club.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,676
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
Seems to check all the boxes .. cheap, presumably competent, professional CB.

Klopp, in his post game presser said basically they were OK with what they had performance wise - the main worry was (the seemingly inevitable this year) future injuries.

plus, he counts as English (although Welsh) I think .. meaning they don’t have to get rid of a non-UK player?

edit: If I were Divock Origi I’d be escorting him from the airport and wrapping him in bubble wrap.
 
Last edited:

PedroSpecialK

Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2004
26,121
Cambridge, MA
Sounds like a loan with option to buy for Schalke's Ozan Kabak is happening, with Schalke signing Mustafi to replace him. CB Ben Davies is also reportedly done for £2m.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
3,059
Davies is in. It’s nice to be able to play an actual center back on the odd occasion.

Lots of reports that Liverpool are far along on Kabak from Schalke - a loan with an option to buy so long as Mustafi joins Schalke from Arsenal to fill the gap. Kabak has been linked since at least the summer. As a 20yo he already has booked over 4000 top flight minutes across Galatasaray, Stuttgart, & Schalke, so he fits the LFC profile of young and experienced with room to grow. How quickly can he adjust to Klopp & the EPL?



The option to buy would provide great flexibility since Upamecano’s buy out clause opens up this summer. He’ll clearly be the best young CB on the market this summer, so Liverpool could angle for him while holding Kabak’s option open.
 

Attachments

SocrManiac

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
4,116
Somers, CT
The biggest thing I expected from the rotating door of midfielders at the back was a higher penalty concession rate. My thought was that a defensive midfielder's default tackling style should be a liability in the box. It hasn't really worked out that way, thankfully.

The two biggest weaknesses VVD's injury (and the subsequent glass shattering of Matip and Gomez) exposed were aerial defending and the midfield drain. Strong center backs allow so much more to happen on corners and free kicks at both ends. Liverpool have lacked threat offensively and feel shaky in their own box. Nat Phillips really shines a spotlight on this by just how good he is in the air. He had a beautiful clearance off a West Ham free kick yesterday- it's something you don't realize is missing until you see it done well.

Regaining Fabinho at CDM is going to be a game changer. A replacement level CB that allows him to move back into his traditional role is going to be massive. I'd love to see this in place for Man City given how he's matched up with them, but I'm not sure it's realistic.
 

Dummy Hoy

Angry Pissbum
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2006
6,886
Falmouth
Davies is a solid if not unspectacular CB...he doesn't really stand out for anything in particular, just a fairly athletic 25 year old CB. He's comfortable with the ball at his feet, though not an elite passer- he does have a couple of home run passes a game in him though. He's not really great in the air, other than just being a 6'+ athlete. I think it's likely he's a solid fill in and future depth guy, but Jurgen and his staff can make players better, so maybe there's something in particular they see.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
3,059
James Pearce confirms. It's a very well structured deal for a good price, from LFC's vantage. Hope he can catch on quickly and break into the first team.

 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
3,059
Cracking up at the high energy production value of the video versus Davies' giddy but overwhelmed look.

 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,676
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada

SocrManiac

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
4,116
Somers, CT
I don’t think Origi has shown much of late, either, but I think the difference is that he’s seemingly been doing what’s asked of him. I don’t get that sense watching Minamino- he’s never in the right place. He’s also not getting a chance- his teammates won’t give him the ball when he does make it onto the pitch. I love the idea of seeing if he’s coachable in another EPL system. Worst case is he can’t make a mark there and Klopp learns what he needs to know without further expenditure of resources and match time,
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,676
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
So against Brighton I think you’ll see Henderson/Phillips .. City we‘ll probably see Henderson/ Fabinho

Then Klopp can start to integrate the newbies. Sadly, I’m not really seeing much of an opportunity to get both Henderson and Fabinho back into the midfield together.
 

PedroSpecialK

Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2004
26,121
Cambridge, MA
Can't complain about the January window at this point... seems that one of Henderson / Fabinho will still be lining up at CB more often than not, but the depth chart looks considerably rosier than it did 24 hours ago. Klopp hinted at Gomez potentially returning before the end of the season but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Fabinho/Henderson
Kabak
Phillips
Davies
R. Williams

Probably the biggest concern for now is making sure the midfield 3 of Wijnaldum, Thiago, Milner aren't run into the ground - especially given Milner's tight hamstring the last couple of matches
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,676
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
Can't complain about the January window at this point... seems that one of Henderson / Fabinho will still be lining up at CB more often than not, but the depth chart looks considerably rosier than it did 24 hours ago. Klopp hinted at Gomez potentially returning before the end of the season but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Fabinho/Henderson
Kabak
Phillips
Davies
R. Williams

Probably the biggest concern for now is making sure the midfield 3 of Wijnaldum, Thiago, Milner aren't run into the ground - especially given Milner's tight hamstring the last couple of matches
Mind you the midfield depth chart is also looking rosier ..

Wijnaldum
Thiago
Milner
Jones
Keita - back by this weekend?


and forwards
Mane, Firmino, Salah

Shakiri
Jota - back in a couple of weeks?
The Ox
Origi

I thought Curtis Jones turned the game around against West Ham. I’d like to see more of him.
 

SocrManiac

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2006
4,116
Somers, CT
Carragher must have at least tried calling Klopp, right? Think Lovren or Skrtel tried their old badges at the training ground?