Liverpool 2022/23: We Go Again

ehaz

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What is going to fix Salah’s finishing, or are we content Gakpo, Jota, and Darwin will get it together?

VVD has been somewhere between mortal and bad. Is Konate the answer?

The midfield is a disaster, but outside of Alisson the rest of the side isn’t much better.
I'm not super concerned about Salah or the forwards in general. Too many issues elsewhere I think you just have to hope for improvements in year 2 from Gapko and Darwin + health from Jota and Diaz.

I think they need a big defensive signing. I don't know if VVD will ever be back to VVD and while Konate is very good, he's missed a lot of time with injuries. Matip and Gomez are also always hurt and it's probably time to move on. Maybe that's part of the calculus behind being out on Jude. It's not just 2-3 midfielders, but 2-3 midfielders + a center back.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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I'm not super concerned about Salah or the forwards in general. Too many issues elsewhere I think you just have to hope for improvements in year 2 from Gapko and Darwin + health from Jota and Diaz.

I think they need a big defensive signing. I don't know if VVD will ever be back to VVD and while Konate is very good, he's missed a lot of time with injuries. Matip and Gomez are also always hurt and it's probably time to move on. Maybe that's part of the calculus behind being out on Jude. It's not just 2-3 midfielders, but 2-3 midfielders + a center back.
I definitely think it is. There has been talk of moving Matip on. I’m fine with VVD/Konate as the first choice pairing … but the drop off to Matip and (gulp) Gomez is alarming.

As for Jude - he still has 2+ years on his contract so there’s no urgency to move him from Dortmund’s perspective. Just terrified City or ManU go for him.
 

SocrManiac

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Let’s not forget TAA. He’s not fit for defending at this level. Robertson’s odometer is climbing fast and Tsimikas isn’t proving to be an effective backup.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Let’s not forget TAA. He’s not fit for defending at this level. Robertson’s odometer is climbing fast and Tsimikas isn’t proving to be an effective backup.
Did he get worse than he was when Pool were winning everything with him, or are his weaknesses just exposed a lot more when he's playing alongside whatever Pool has now instead of a midfield?
 

SocrManiac

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Did he get worse than he was when Pool were winning everything with him, or are his weaknesses just exposed a lot more when he's playing alongside whatever Pool has now instead of a midfield?
Yes? He’s certainly more exposed with the midfield in its current state (not to mention VVd). Fabinho isn’t all over the place and playing behind Elliott exacerbates it- Harvey tries hard and runs everywhere but doesn’t have a natural defensive mind. Teams are also targeting him with overloads since he can’t pick the right mark.

TAA might be useful on the right side of a midfield 442 or 352, but Klopp’s 433 is killing him (and the team).
 

allstonite

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I think the biggest issue is Fabinho aging 12 years in the last 12 months. He can’t keep up and provide cover for the CBs or TAA when he steps up. TAA has also regressed a ton defensively but I’d be curious to see what they would look like with a 2020 Fab clone. The biggest crime was not picking up at least 1 midfielder last summer or at least in January (Arthur be damned.) I think they do need another RB and seriously consider moving Trent back to midfield.

It’s going to be an interesting summer no matter what. I’m glad it’s not my job
 

Mighty Joe Young

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To “fix” this next year kind of requires plugging in guys who can go into the starting 11. I just don’t think they have anymore room to experiment the Elliots and Ramsays and Carvalhos of the world. I really like Harvey Elliot but he’s miscast as a box to box mid. Klopp’s 4-3-3 requires essentially three 6s in order for the fullbacks to bomb forward. Currently , due to injuries and regression they have none.

So,
- is it 4-3-3 going forward? Do they have the personnel for this or is a 4-2-3-1 a better option
- they have to see if Fabinho can be resurrected.
- is now the time to try AA as a mid? He’s hardly a 6. It’s been pointed out that the last couple of games he’s operated much further infield.
- if they bring in Mount and Caicedo how does that affect the formation ?
 

67YAZ

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I like Mount, but I don’t see what problem he solves. If you really can get a starting quality home grown at a knock down Bosnian rate, sure. But between wages and agent fee and signing fee…so these deals ever really save the new club much?

I LOVE Caicedo and think you could drop him in for Fab. Any loss in ball progression and long shots is more than made up in defensive prowess. Bug Brighton did so, so we’ll to ink the kid to a new deal. Is ‘Pool ready to go £80m+ here?
 

Mighty Joe Young

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I like Mount, but I don’t see what problem he solves. If you really can get a starting quality home grown at a knock down Bosnian rate, sure. But between wages and agent fee and signing fee…so these deals ever really save the new club much?

I LOVE Caicedo and think you could drop him in for Fab. Any loss in ball progression and long shots is more than made up in defensive prowess. Bug Brighton did so, so we’ll to ink the kid to a new deal. Is ‘Pool ready to go £80m+ here?
Agreed on Mount - £60m tops - and I’m not sure where he plays - as mentioned he doesn’t fit in a 4-3-3 unless it’s really a midfield diamond

Klopp would never do it but a back 5 would fit the personnel.
 

67YAZ

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Also, parsing the tea leaves a bit more, I kind of feel that Liverpool pulling out on Bellingham might be due to the young man’s refusal to commit only to an Anfield transfer. That would have been significant leverage for FSG to drive a deal palatable to their bottom line. Liverpool are not going to win an auction against Madrid, City, United, and PSG. Absent a hard commitment from Jude to make a public declaration of “Liverpool or bust,” FSG may well have predicted a drawn out bidding process that jammed up all other business.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Speaking of Klopp (and his entire back room staff for that matter) - they have publicly stated that they hate making too many changes - which could seriously affect how they go about a rebuild. Because of the injuries this year the attack has often been ineffective - too many guys who have never played together. It was supposed to be just Nunez - but then Diaz and Firmino and Jota all got hurt.

Keeping that in mind ..
Midfield keepers - Bajetic, Henderson , Elliot. I’d even bring Milner back. If Fab shows enough in the run in then he stays.

Sell Thiago - he’s too injury prone to depend on- rumour has it Barcelona are interested.

Aquire
- one world class 6 (Caicedo)
- one very good young CB who can also play RB - kind of a competent Joe Gomez
- one young LB to push Robbo (sell Tsimikas)

Nice to have..
- a box to box mid
- a RB to push Trent - is that Ramsay?

AA is kind of the wild card here - I have no idea what they’ll do with him.
 

SocrManiac

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FSG are getting skewered for this and I can’t wrap my rational brain around why. The landscape is changing rapidly. Even before January, the side’s needs were clearly starting to shift away from simply being a midfielder short. With the current gaps, it would be asinine to drop half of the transfer budget on a single player. Ultimately, Liverpool aren’t often going to be successful in attracting the best of the best while ManCity and their ilk continue to expand.

It won’t be the most expensive item on the list, but if Kelleher leaves they’ll need to bring in a strong backup. That shouldn’t be overlooked.

Klopp’s strength in fostering loyalty may be in a transition period here where it’s going to more harm than good. What happens with TAA and Elliott will be telling for me. Those two guys are clearly miscast and hurting the team immensely. With the season lost, let’s get a look at the internal candidates before we’re forced to trot this right side out again next year.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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So that was a win! The season has been turned around, no doubt.
Even if it has - of which I have my doubts - it’s too late for top 4 - unless one of Newcastle or ManU completely collapses.ManU could be in trouble if Rashford is out for an extended period.

this tactical tweak of moving AA into the middle as a second 6 is fascinating. He seems to be relishing it so far and has really impressed. Of course it puts enormous pressure on Konate.

guessing Klopp experiments with this for the remaining schedule.A new RB has to be cheaper than a new box to box mid.
 

67YAZ

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Even if it has - of which I have my doubts - it’s too late for top 4 - unless one of Newcastle or ManU completely collapses.ManU could be in trouble if Rashford is out for an extended period.

this tactical tweak of moving AA into the middle as a second 6 is fascinating. He seems to be relishing it so far and has really impressed. Of course it puts enormous pressure on Konate.

guessing Klopp experiments with this for the remaining schedule.A new RB has to be cheaper than a new box to box mid.
Tongue firmly in cheek. If anything, we've learned this season's squad is immune to momentum...hang 7 on United and then lose to Bournemouth...

I think Trent has the technique and awareness to play the middle of the pitch. He came through the academy as a 6 and moved to RB in emergency duty when Clyne was hobbled and Rodgers had already tried Bobby as a fill in!

But I wonder about the physicality. Can Trent get his body ready for a more combative role?

And then there's a kind of Beckham issue - you're moving an incredible crosser into the middle. Will he offer enough in the new role to make up for the loss of high quality service from the wings? In Beckham's case, I'd argue that he never did. He was always more dangerous playing wide.
 

swiftaw

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Even if it has - of which I have my doubts - it’s too late for top 4 - unless one of Newcastle or ManU completely collapses.ManU could be in trouble if Rashford is out for an extended period.
There's a crazy scenario where Newcastle, Spurs, Liverpool, and Brighton all end up level on points going into the last weekend:

Liverpool win their next 7 (Forest, West Ham, Spurs, Fulham, Brentford, Leicester, Villa)

Spurs win all their next 6 games except the one againt Liverpool (Newcastle, United, Palace, Villa, Brentford)

Newcastle win 4 (Everton, Southampton, Leeds, Leicester) and lose 3 (Spurs, Arsenal, Brighton) of their next 7.

Brighton get 6 wins (Forest, Wolves, United, Everton, Southampton, Newcastle), 1 draw (Arsenal), and 1 loss (City) in their next 8.

Meaning, going in to the last day of the season the points would be


Liverpool 68
Spurs 68
Newcastle 68
Brighton 68

With the following last day fixtures:

Liverpool at Southampton
Spurs at Leeds
Newcastle at Chelsea
Brighton at Villa

(Crazy that all 4 teams are away)
 

Jimy Hendrix

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So that was a win! The season has been turned around, no doubt.
Leeds are in a state now, which is the one note of caution to put here. This was utterly dominant, but was also a win by just one more goal than Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace against Leeds last week.
 

SocrManiac

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I think Trent's final midfield form would look more like a regista than a true box to box 6. He'd be more of an Andrea Pirlo (though not as talented) than a Henderson.

It makes for an interesting thought experiment. If they're building around TAA as a deep-lying playmaker, the 4-3-3 is likely history. Would Klopp convert to a true 3-5-2 or 3-4-3? You need three strong CBs. Robertson's replacement need not be an assist machine. There's plenty of attacking talent already. A couple of CBs and lower end midfielders (than Bellingham) might make for a Top 4 contender.
 

SocrManiac

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I just saw "He's here, he's there, he's every fucking where Roy Trent!" on Reddit and now I can't unknow that.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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I think Trent's final midfield form would look more like a regista than a true box to box 6. He'd be more of an Andrea Pirlo (though not as talented) than a Henderson.

It makes for an interesting thought experiment. If they're building around TAA as a deep-lying playmaker, the 4-3-3 is likely history. Would Klopp convert to a true 3-5-2 or 3-4-3? You need three strong CBs. Robertson's replacement need not be an assist machine. There's plenty of attacking talent already. A couple of CBs and lower end midfielders (than Bellingham) might make for a Top 4 contender.
maybe think of AA as the next Xabi Alonso?

Klopp was gushing about the pressing from the forwards yesterday .. I can’t see him going to a 3-5-2. More like a 3-4-3 seems more conducive to a high press

lots of chatter about Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich) - he won’t cost a fortune and is very young.

Michael Owen was tipping Declan Rice - he’s English of course and very good - even if West Ham stay up it may be hard to keep him. But he will be expensive.

And still lots of rumours about Mount - who , to me seems like a waste of money - basically The Ox v2
 

Auger34

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maybe think of AA as the next Xabi Alonso?

Klopp was gushing about the pressing from the forwards yesterday .. I can’t see him going to a 3-5-2. More like a 3-4-3 seems more conducive to a high press

lots of chatter about Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich) - he won’t cost a fortune and is very young.

Michael Owen was tipping Declan Rice - he’s English of course and very good - even if West Ham stay up it may be hard to keep him. But he will be expensive.

And still lots of rumours about Mount - who , to me seems like a waste of money - basically The Ox v2
The two names that I am seeing the most are Gravenberch and Mac Allister
 

67YAZ

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Now that the adrenaline of that insane rollercoaster ride is over…

Klopp has got to cut the shit with the officials. Running up on the 4th like that was so extra and totally counterproductive. Glare ag Tierney, say something snarky after the match…fine. But going so hard you pull a hammy? Just a couple weeks after Robbo’s aggro act?

Keep it together lads. 5 matches to go.
 

SocrManiac

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This would be a nothingburger if not for two factors.

  1. Klopp has a history of really shitty behavior toward referees. It needs to be stopped.
  2. Tierney has a pattern of really, really questionable or objectively incorrect calls in Liverpool games. For whatever reason, he’s also managed 7 of them this year (2 more than anybody else). Klopp isn’t stupid and is attempting to apply pressure on this point. I started listing out a few of the more egregious and thought better of it. It doesn’t matter.
Klopp needs to be disciplined, regardless. Accountability starts with him, he shows no restraint, and it’s something he needs to wipe out of his otherwise brilliant style.

PMGOL and the FA will never show accountability, so I’m not going to bark up that tree.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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This would be a nothingburger if not for two factors.

  1. Klopp has a history of really shitty behavior toward referees. It needs to be stopped.
  2. Tierney has a pattern of really, really questionable or objectively incorrect calls in Liverpool games. For whatever reason, he’s also managed 7 of them this year (2 more than anybody else). Klopp isn’t stupid and is attempting to apply pressure on this point. I started listing out a few of the more egregious and thought better of it. It doesn’t matter.
Klopp needs to be disciplined, regardless. Accountability starts with him, he shows no restraint, and it’s something he needs to wipe out of his otherwise brilliant style.

PMGOL and the FA will never show accountability, so I’m not going to bark up that tree.
For what it’s worth (probably nothing) , Tierney’s the 4th official and then on VAR this weekend.
 

67YAZ

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Thiago to have hip surgery, out for the remainder.

I wonder how many matches they’re going to hand to Klopp. Methinks they’ll try to make an example of him because of his history & public questioning of an official’s impartiality.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Thiago to have hip surgery, out for the remainder.

I wonder how many matches they’re going to hand to Klopp. Methinks they’ll try to make an example of him because of his history & public questioning of an official’s impartiality.
Losing Thiago may be a good thing as it clears the deck for tons of minutes from Jones and Elliot.

I’ll bet Klopp gets three games … it’s a tricky issue from the FA’s point of view too. Klopp is probably right about Tierney and if they slap him with a long suspension he can easily defend himself.
 

SocrManiac

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Re: Thiago - I'd rather have a solid player with high availability than a special one with unpredictable playtime. Move him along.

Re: Tierney - I don't think he's biased against Liverpool. He is simply not a good match official. He's combative, which makes him exactly the type of guy that is going to clash with Klopp. His error rate seems very high, and he's had some very high profile fuckups against Liverpool. He's gone the other way as well- Jota certainly should have been off before he scored the match winner. If VAR was in any way effective, this would be water under the bridge and we could laugh it off. Instead, Tierney made objectively bad calls (one in particular so egregious that Everton got an apology) last year across several games that affected the title race. It doesn't take much to see why Klopp has a blind spot for the guy. I bet Klopp genuinely believes Tierney cost Liverpool glory last year.
 

ehaz

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I would like to keep Thiago but the club should approach every season/every transfer window as if he's leaving. When available, he's still an incredible luxury to have. You can't easily replace his quality. But you can't count on him either.
 

67YAZ

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4 matches to go: Brentford on Saturday, @Leciester on 3/15, Villa on 3/20, & @Soton 3/28.

Liverpool are 4 back of United, but have played 2 more matches.

They're 5 up on Spurs and Villa with 34 matches played, 9 up on Brighton but the Gulls have 3 in hand.

No let up, boys! Finish out with 12 points.
 

Auger34

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4 matches to go: Brentford on Saturday, @Leciester on 3/15, Villa on 3/20, & @Soton 3/28.

Liverpool are 4 back of United, but have played 2 more matches.

They're 5 up on Spurs and Villa with 34 matches played, 9 up on Brighton but the Gulls have 3 in hand.

No let up, boys! Finish out with 12 points.
What do you think the odds are that they finish top 4? I was taking a look at Man U’s remaining schedule and it doesn’t seem to be that difficult
 

67YAZ

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Models I've seen are 9-12%, not really feasible IMO with the path United and Newcastle have
I agree. They’ve won 5 in a row, though not always convincingly and there’s Klopp’s looming suspension.

To overtake ManU, Liverpool need to run the table and finish with 71pts. If United only take 8 of their last 18 points, Liverpool could nip them on GD (Pool is +14 on them now). I just don’t see it.
 

allstonite

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They got back into form a few weeks too late. That Bournemouth loss after the Man U drubbing will haunt them all offseason
 

swiftaw

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United’s next two games are Brighton away and West Ham away. They lose both of those it could get interesting. Get anything from those and it’s probably over.
 

allstonite

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ManU 4 up with a game in hand. But now Brighton 4 back somehow with 2 in hand. So some good some bad to that game
 

SocrManiac

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I’ve been processing TAA’s resurgence. It’s a nice move by Klopp, but it feels a little rickety to me. They’re still experimenting and will shore things up, but I think it bears discussion.

Two players are directly enabling this with a third being a fantastic team player. Fabinho has quietly come back into it. He isn’t a world beater, nor is he playing the same role he once did. He’s carving out a more dedicated defensive niche that is saving his engine and playing to his defensive strengths. He’s still a super critical cog that, when off, will probably destabilize this system.

Second is Konate. In a lot of ways, Liverpool are playing a 4-4-3, and that’s because Konate is performing two roles at the same time. He had his blunder, but otherwise has been immense. You could easily argue he’s also papering over VVD’s cliff fall.

The lost hero in all of this is Robertson. He isn’t able to make it forward as freely as when Trent was an opposite wingback. He seems to have taken this change with aplomb. He also needs to spend more time thinking like a CB and his positioning really has been strong.

This is all super positive stuff and Klopp deserves a lot of credit. I think he’s been somewhat stodgy in sticking with a system his players couldn’t play for spells this season. This rabbit he’s pulled from his hat is clearly working. I think this is a short term bridge to maximize returns from this season, but there are pieces they can apply for the rebuild. The concern is that it seems to rely on the talents of individuals he currently has, and it’ll collapse if somebody needs a spell off the pitch.
 

67YAZ

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Being reported that Milner has agreed to move on to Brighton this summer. What an incredible career so far...

And also because Brighton is so fucking good at this, they have lined up João Pedro from Watford, too.

 

67YAZ

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Next up is @Leicester, who are fighting for survival. I expect a fight. Their defense has been solid enough as of late (8 goals allowed in last 5), but the offense anemic (6 in 5).

Then Villa, who have hit a skid after a hot run. They’re playing for a European spot and I’m sure Emery is letting them know his track record there.

Than Southampton to close the season. Barring a miracle, they’ll relegated by then, though plenty to guys will be looking to impress the scouts.

United’s magic number is still. If Liverpool win out, they only need 2 wins & 3 draws to secure 4th. So the Reds need to keep asking the question, keep the pressure high.
 

MiracleOfO2704

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IIRC, the FSG-era Liverpool doesn’t like to leave things late in the window. They swoop in, get their players or don’t, and have the squad mostly set by mid-June. So if Mac Allister is a priority target, it’s not surprising that they’re taking care of business ASAP.