Liverpool 2022/23: We Go Again

67YAZ

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Gakpo in the squad for Wolves. Milner, Bobby, & Keita haven’t been training so they are not expected.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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We have talked about Fabinho before this year … he’s gone from a world class DM to a complete liability on the field. How does that happen? Lack of form is one thing but this is pretty inexplicable. Watching him move around the pitch , it looks like he’s 45 not 28. And this seemed to start way back in the Community Shield. Have there been any rumours as to a injury he’s been dealing with? It looks like he’s dealing with back issues.

It’s looking like LFC need three midfielders … Henderson, Fabinho and Keita all need to be replaced. Right now only Thiago and Elliot are reliable. they’re not making CL unless they do something immediately.
 

SocrManiac

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Agreed on Fabinho. He was so automatic that it was easy to forget the miles he was accumulating. He’s such a specific type of player. I don’t know how you replace all of his contributions with a single guy. It’s more like a complimentary ensemble needs to be assembled.

Imagine calling Thiago reliable a few months ago… He’s been doing fantastic work in a role outside of his comfort zone. In the meantime he’s burning extra energy every match that’s going to catch up sooner or later.

Elliot has talent but he doesn’t look like a solution, either. His defensive workrate Is nonexistent. He definitely needs match time with TAA and Salah because he hasn’t formed a cohesive understanding with either.

Henderson looks lost, relying on running and shouting a lot.

I genuinely have no clue how you can fix this. Would having all of the right personnel on the field, properly rested, solve the awful passing accuracy? Would Salah revert to form? Would the press click back into place? I genuinely don’t know, but I don’t think so.
 

Pesky Pole

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I think they need to consider giving Bajcetic a few starts In place of Fabinho. I have no idea whether he’s up to it but I honestly don’t know what other choice they have. If they don’t do it proactively, they’ll be doing it to cover injury soon enough.
 

67YAZ

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Fab has put in a shade under 33k minutes on the pitch the last 10 years for his club teams plus another 1,400 for Brazil. Monaco pushed him real hard, had him go over 3k minutes each of his last 4 seasons there. His Liverpool experience has been a stroll in comparison.

it’s possible that he’s just outrun his odometer, especially playing such a intense and combative style.


59827
 

SocrManiac

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I think they need to consider giving Bajcetic a few starts In place of Fabinho. I have no idea whether he’s up to it but I honestly don’t know what other choice they have. If they don’t do it proactively, they’ll be doing it to cover injury soon enough.
Agreed, with the obvious “but.” The kid doesn’t look like he’ll be able to cope with the physical demands. Maybe he can compensate in another way.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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This seems a lot like the Great Centre Back crisis. And FSG really mismanaged that so I have little hope they will fix this with transfers either. Despite the very real likelihood of missing out on the CL. Maybe Klopp has told them bringing in a guy who isn’t perfect is a waste of time.

It’s obvious Bellingham is staying put at Dortmund until the summer. Likewise it seems Fernandez is staying because no club is stupid enough to pony up his release clause in one lump sum payment.

So it will have to be one of the cheaper MFs to which they’ve been linked. But even the “cheaper” guys are going to cost a fortune. Moises Caicedo for £60m , Amrabat for £40m etc. Im thinking they could get Tielemans at minimal cost (he ‘s out of contract this summer) … he seems like kind of a Wijnaldum clone anyways.


I agree that I‘d give Bajetic a shot … let him job share with Fabinho. Also agree that Elliot is kind of miscast as attacking mid. As mentioned he offers very little defensively and that’s the teams big problem right now.

If I were a bookie I’d have the odds at:

Do nothing : 60%
Tielemans : 20%
Amrabat: : 10%
Caicedo: 5%
Someone else : 5%
Bellingham: 0%
Fernandez: 0%
 

Auger34

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Who are the players that Liverpool could sign in the January window? They obviously need some reinforcements but pretty much every target is for later windows (particularly Bellingham)

Only rumor I’ve seen for someone in January is possibly Caicedo. Are there any others ojt there?
 

Auger34

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SocrManiac

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Great link, thank you.

Heavily copying a post from that thread but it seems like; knowing the wage structures, how much FSG wants to spend and that they are all in on Bellingham; that the best option right now is Amarabat. Caicedo seems to be too expensive, Nunes seems to be a summer thing.

Hopefuly that’s enough
I don't think they can do enough in the winter window to make a significant impact. I've come around on this not being the problem of one or two midfielders. The forwards aren't doing their part, either, and what used to be a team press has been reduced to a single player chasing the ball.

Darwin is doing good work playing a defensive role, but for all of his running he doesn't seem as productive as Mané or Firmino.

Here's a quick and dirty comparison. Stats are per 90 minutes with (percentile by position). Diaz's and Jota's percentiles are skewed because they're listed as midfielders.
Tackles Interceptions Blocks
Firmino 1.79 (99) .67 (99) 1.21 (95)
Mané .9 (80) .12 (32) 1.08 (91)
Darwin .54 (39) .18 (47) .54 (36)
Diaz 1.01 (32) .24 (15) .85 (49)
Jota 1.67 (81) .43 (33) .65 (20)
Gakpo .76 (16) .80 (85) .8 (43)


Put simply, Mané and Firmino (and to a lesser extent, Diaz and Jota) are a large part of enabling that press to function as it did. Darwin's numbers are likely lower than they should be because he doesn't have the pressing partners he needs to be effective. This, coupled with the lack of healthy bodies in midfield, Fabinho and VVD's regression, all adds up to a listless and mediocre side.

Edit: Apologies for the formatting. It looked nice in the original table and I can't be arsed to fix it right now.
 

67YAZ

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I think it will be hard to pry away any of the known targets during this window - most of these clubs are in the mix for European qualification or, in the case of Nunes, can’t play for another club this season.

Finding a rotation partner (replacement?) for Fab should be the priority. The back line needs an effective shield to play the high line and allow the mids to press hard.

Amrabat might be the most attainable of the rumored players, but Fiorentina doesn’t seem eager to deal. They’re only 8 points out of a European spot and I’m not sure How much LFC interest there is. I feel like it’s been fans and media connecting Amrabat’s WC performance with Liverpool’s needs.

Caicedo is my preferred Fab understudy/replacement, but will Liverpool stump the rumored £60m? Will Brighton have any motivation to sell in the middle of a successful season? I don’t see it.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't think they can do enough in the winter window to make a significant impact. I've come around on this not being the problem of one or two midfielders. The forwards aren't doing their part, either, and what used to be a team press has been reduced to a single player chasing the ball.
This graphic was in a Times article a week or so ago. That does seem like a broader problem that is only addressed by refreshing the side, getting everybody healthy, and going again next year and which isn't going to be really addressed with one player mid-season.


59973
 

Auger34

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I’m not stating anything new here but the issue is that it seems their top target will only come if they make the Champions League?
 

67YAZ

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So Darwin is a major doubt for Brighton with a hammy strain and Bobby suffered a set back in his recovery.

If anyone here has a pair of boots and can make their way to Amex Stadium by tomorrow midday, you can enter a raffle to play 60 minutes as the #9.
 

SocrManiac

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Sack everybody even tangentially contributing to this training and medical staff. Sell groceries to the payroll accountant that approved direct deposit for the guy that mopped the floor in the weight room that one time? Sorry, you’re out.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Well, Diaz was on the left for half of last year so it’s not just that . Missing Jota has been huge as well. But the real culprits are Fabinho and Henderson.

edit: and the constant instability in the front three obviously affects this as well.
 
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67YAZ

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The Athletic reports FSG are more likely to sell a minority stake now instead of the entire club. That said, the market is currently slow, which is no surprise with ManU also on the market. I think that domino has to fall before Liverpool gets settled.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Well, I guess that was a start. Klopp was going out of his way all week stressing a need to get back to basics - keeping a clean sheet being Job 1.

The thing with constantly evolving lineups is that they never get a chance to play together - and it shows. Mind you, with all the injuries there’s not been much choice.

Lots of things to ponder from the current spare parts list …

Harvey Elliot ... Klopp loves him. Not exactly a spare part but very much a square peg into a round hole. But where should he play? His best position is a right sided winger. Adequate as a right attacking mid but poor defensively. Seemed a waste of space today on the left.

Carvalho … reminds me a lot of Coutinho in that he’s really easy to dispossess. Probably needs to put on 10 pounds of muscle. And where should he play ? Is there room for him right now?

Cody Gapko … too early to make judgements. Not getting much service. He’s not particularly fast and seems kind of clumsy with the ball at his feet.

Bajetic … I think he shows real promise. Perfectly adequate DM , especially for his age. Let him jobshare with Fabinho (hopefully lighting a fire under his ass as well)

Curtis Jones … Another guy Klopp loves with no obvious position.

Naby Keita … what could have been

The Ox … happy trails

James Milner … I think he’s back next year. Still a really useful guy to have around. The Echo has been suggesting he has a future with the club once he retires

Bobby Firmino … can still play and it’s looking like he’s back next year.

I have no clue how a healthy squad would lineup … maybe

Allison
Robertson- VVD-Konate-AA
Thiago-Fabinho-Henderson (ugh)
Diaz-Nunez-Salah

Losing Diaz has been an absolute killer.
 

SocrManiac

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Not conceding is a win by itself right now. Get the back stabilized and build from there.

Bajetic is an exciting prospect. CDMs seem harder and harder to come by and having a kid step into the role to be even moderately effective is massive for this side right now.

The problem with today’s jigsaw puzzle is they were random pieces from different pictures. While there seemed to be some definition at the back, the pieces fit together worse the further you get away from goal. Elliot might be a good to great player in a role that doesn’t require defensive buzzing from a midfielder, but I don’t see how he clicks in place in Klopp’s system. They have a bunch of guys like that: Jones, Carvahlo, etc. I’m glad Klopp is showing some flexibility in trying to make this stuff work. Don’t try to make a pizza when you only have stuff for pasta.

Liverpool consistently won games like this in past years because Salah or Mané regularly pulled rabbits out of hats. Mané has physically left the building and Salah is an apparition. Where’d you go, Mo?
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Not conceding is a win by itself right now. Get the back stabilized and build from there.

Bajetic is an exciting prospect. CDMs seem harder and harder to come by and having a kid step into the role to be even moderately effective is massive for this side right now.

The problem with today’s jigsaw puzzle is they were random pieces from different pictures. While there seemed to be some definition at the back, the pieces fit together worse the further you get away from goal. Elliot might be a good to great player in a role that doesn’t require defensive buzzing from a midfielder, but I don’t see how he clicks in place in Klopp’s system. They have a bunch of guys like that: Jones, Carvahlo, etc. I’m glad Klopp is showing some flexibility in trying to make this stuff work. Don’t try to make a pizza when you only have stuff for pasta.

Liverpool consistently won games like this in past years because Salah or Mané regularly pulled rabbits out of hats. Mané has physically left the building and Salah is an apparition. Where’d you go, Mo?
Left behind in the dressing room at last year’s WC qualifier against Senegal.
 

SocrManiac

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Sadio Mané was apparently the best player in the history of the game.

Can anybody think of another team that took such a nosedive without looking like they’d given up on the manager? I don’t see any evidence that Klopp is lost anybody outside of game threads. It’s bizarre.

I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t already been said. This is the weirdest collapse I’ve seen.
 

OCST

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This is the weirdest collapse I’ve seen.
It really is that everyone's exhausted IMO, in the full sense of that word, Klopp too. Klopp's system depended on a tough, physical midfield that was a nightmare to play through, and a back four that was athletic enough to get away with playing a high line and still being able to get back. Make everyone a half-step slower through age and overuse and this is what it looks like.

The contrast with Brighton was something. Ferguson, Mitona, Mac Allister etc. Not just that they're young, they look like they're growing into something and they're excited. Pool look like they're trying to hold on to something.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Can anybody think of another team that took such a nosedive without looking like they’d given up on the manager? I don’t see any evidence that Klopp is lost anybody outside of game threads. It’s bizarre.
I can't really. But I think that is partly because Klopp staying in the job under these circumstances is so unusual. Usually when great teams get old and a cycle ends the manager knows better than anyone and leaves rather than attempting a rebuild. So I think a lot of famous nosedives get attributed to a successful manager leaving when, in truth, the manager leaves in part because he sees the nosedive coming. Examples include Ferguson leaving United in 2013, Capello leaving Milan in 1995, Dalglish leaving Liverpool in 1992.
 

67YAZ

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For all the talk about making tough choices, the LFC brass didn’t make the really tough one with Henderson. He should not have been offered a new deal in summer 2021. They should have worked with the Captain to find him a new home, as he was posturing got a transfer, and replaced him with younger legs.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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I think it’s 30% burnout/exhaustion , 30% unbalance between youth and experience and 40% injuries.

The first two are more or less natural. The third was just horrendous luck.

I think the plan was to get by with a rejuvenated offense led by Diaz and Salah along with a rock solid defense papering over an aging midfield. Well Diaz, Jota and Firmino all got hurt crippling the offense. VVD and Matip got hurt crippling the back line. This completely exposed the midfield and here we are.

They weren’t awful today. Brighton is a very good team in excellent form. This was a vast improvement over the previous disaster.

That being said a midfield of Bajetic/Keita/Thiago is not exactly CL quality. And it was telling that Fabinho was the very last sub today - and only on (presumably) because Bajetic was on a yellow.

edit: an obvious knock on effect of losing Diaz was having to spend their January transfer kitty on Gakpo when what they really needed was a Moises Ceicedo.
 
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SocrManiac

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This is just fucking insane. Klopp is usually good about over-sharing to some extent. It's time we hear something about investigating these injuries.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Well - at least that wasn’t as bad as Brighton away -

I don’t know where to start. Add Joel Matip to the pile of once we’re really good but are now rubbish. And Gomez ? I think his best position might be RB - it sure isn’t CB.

Those two alone were completely complicit in the first two goals. The silver lining is that they are #3 and #4 on the depth chart , and VVD and Konate should be back soon.

the midfield ? Bajetic was good , but Keita was awful and Thiago was poor.

And the forwards? Will Salah ever score again? Please PSG - you know you want him. Get it done. I like Gakpo - he should be an excellent spare part. Nunez ? He’s frustrating as hell but not boring.

The only positive is this is more or less Liverpool’s B team. The A team augmented with midfield reinforcements should be adequate for next years top 4.
 

67YAZ

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Jota started training on Wednesday…but Thiago has been out all week with a hip issues.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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SocrManiac

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Elliot cannot play for Keita. He’s not a two way midfielder and will leave an already thin defense exposed.

Everton are going to have their way tomorrow.
 

OCST

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Elliot cannot play for Keita. He’s not a two way midfielder and will leave an already thin defense exposed.

Everton are going to have their way tomorrow.
The jokes are right there for Everton's inability to have their way with anyone. I wouldn't have favored Everton under Lampard to exploit anyone.

Under Dyche, they assimilated a great deal of instruction in a new game plan in a short game week and executed flawlessly against the best club in the league. The hallmark of that Arsenal win was aggressive pressing in the middle of the park to push the ball out to the flanks and pin it there. In their heyday the Pool midfielders ran roughshod over their opposite numbers, but even in the derby at Goodison in September under loosey-goosey Lampard, a midfield of Iwobi, Onana, and Davies starting was the more effective.

"Have their way" is a bridge too far for me but I think that Everton get something here.
 

67YAZ

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Elliot cannot play for Keita. He’s not a two way midfielder and will leave an already thin defense exposed.

Everton are going to have their way tomorrow.
Hard agree. Elliott is a RW that is being played in the midfield because he can’t displace Salah. I’d love for Elliott to develop more physically and develop more tactically become that pressing demon Klopp relies on in the mid, but he ain’t that yet.

Dyche Is going to set up Everton to absorb pressure and then slice through Liverpool’s defense on the counter. The Reds need to score early - like first 10 minutes - to grab a hold of the match. Even then…
 

SocrManiac

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Everton have momentum and confidence from the managerial shift. Emotion will be high.

Liverpool have been bypassing their own midfield, the forwards can’t work together, and whatever chances they create tend to fall to Darwin who couldn’t hit water while standing in it.

I’m guessing 3-0 Everton and LFC don’t finish with 11.
 

Pesky Pole

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I'd actually play Jones on the left in Thiago's place and keep Keita/Bajectic in the lineup. Henderson can come back on when Keita inevitably gets hurt.
 

Rusty Gate

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Really for the Toffees board, but so glad that Dyche is in charge for this one. Just the guy to keep the team focused on the task at hand without being distracted by the sweet smell of one week's success.
 

SocrManiac

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I’d pull one of the forwards and drop into a 4-4-2, but I’m a Sunday Leaguer on a couch and Klopp has his system and his system only.