Liverpool crave Man City and Jurgen Klopp must turn Liverpool’s easiest decision into the toughest


There is little debate about Liverpool’s strongest starting XI, with the majority of Jurgen Klopp’s side practically selecting themselves when everyone is available. In terms of goals, Alisson is the undisputed number one of the Reds and arguably the best goalkeeper on the planet while no other central defender of world football comes close to Virgil van Dijk.

Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have established themselves as two of the best offensive side backs and play a vital role in Klopp’s team play, while Joe Gomez is one of the best young centerbacks in the game. moment.

At the other end of the field, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are two of the most feared attackers in the world and form two-thirds of the deadliest front three in Europe.

And although Roberto Firmino may have found some vocal criticism this year due to a disappointing goal return, his importance to Klopp’s Liverpool is undisputed.

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The competition for midfield spots is tougher, but Jordan Henderson is captain and in the form of his career, while Fabinho is virtually unstoppable as the Reds’ number six.

That leaves a post that the majority of the fan base would love to see filled by Naby Keita, although he hasn’t done enough to usurp Gini Wijnaldum yet.

That’s all. Here’s the team. Easy, job done, same thing next week, boys.

But the problem with such an established starting XI is what happens when they’re not at their best, how do you cope with the quality drop in reserve, and how will you strengthen your team without upsetting the apple cart while persuading a newcomer, they will have the opportunity to play.

These are all issues Klopp is all too familiar with and has seemingly faced more than ever in recent months, as his side continued to cement their place among the best in the world.

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With games moving quickly since resuming the Premier League after his forced suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is inevitable that Liverpool’s standards have slipped in the past few weeks since he was finally able to clinch the title of Premier League.

But signs had emerged even before the break as the Reds quickly emerged from the Champions League and FA Cup, and lost their first Premier League game of the season at Watford.

Since mid-February, the Klopp team has tasted defeat six times, having lost only three in the previous 12 months. And one of the latest losses was the youngsters beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa in the League Cup with the senior team from Liverpool in Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup.

These standards are of course superhuman and impossible to maintain. But reaching such heights has only further highlighted the decline and the inability so far to stop it.

From the winner’s complacency to fatigue and burnout, various reasons can be used to explain Liverpool’s decline in form.

And unfortunately for Klopp, his squad’s rotation hasn’t done much to breathe new life into his squad as they continue to meander towards the end of the season since winning the title.

Keita showed glimpses when given the chance, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t been at his best since returning from football and veteran James Milner has suffered an injury.

Elsewhere in midfield, Curtis Jones has looked promising as he takes the first steps in what will hopefully be a successful Premier League career.

In attack, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi failed to fully seize the opportunities when turned on them and prefer to play in the middle, ensuring that the absence of Salah, Mane and Firmino was felt even more firmly. during rotation.

Meanwhile, Xherdan Shaqiri has barely played this season due to injury.

And in defense, Joel Matip is injured again after falling behind Joe Gomez in the pecking order while Dejan Lovren’s Reds’ future is uncertain after his own injury issues and loss of form.

In the back, Neco Williams took the opportunity this season to establish himself as an assistant to Alexander-Arnold, but Liverpool lacked natural coverage in the left back, while in goal, the errors of Adrian before the break eventually cost the Reds as they left the two. the Champions League and the FA Cup.

As a result, Liverpool’s in-depth strength continues to be questioned, with fans not reassured by their quality to underscore a desire for summer signings, highlighted by calls for the Reds to sign Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich. following recent transfer links and no-move frustration for Timo Werner after Chelsea won the race for the signing of striker RB Leipzig.

Still, the Reds aren’t the only team struggling for consistency since the return of English football, even Manchester City supplementing emphatic victories with surprise losses.

But while Pep Guardiola’s team remains 18 points behind Liverpool and has not moved closer to the title race this season, few will argue that they do not boast of a stronger team than the Reds as the Spaniard apparently makes several changes to his starting XI in one game. -per game with minimal impact on performance.

Pep Guardiola chats with Raheem Sterling during Manchester City’s victory over Liverpool

While Klopp’s strongest XI is largely undisputed, the same cannot be said of Guardiola.

Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte and Raheem Sterling are shoo-ins alongside Ederson, but the former line is not immune to the rotation.

But the rest of City’s roster is anyone’s guess, even when players are out.

Sergio Aguero remains City’s main striker, but continued to tour with Gabriel Jesus throughout the campaign before suffering a late season injury, even if that was not enough to guarantee a permanent starting role for the Brazilian .

Riyad Mahrez had an impressive season at Etihad while Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden watch at home away from home and in midfield.

David Silva continues to shine as he slowly relaxes ahead of a summer outing, while Fernandinho remains as reliable as ever, either in midfield or after emerging as a makeshift center-back.

Meanwhile, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan reinforce an already well-stocked midfielder, while Leroy Sane was cleared to leave for Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Eric Garcia has seemingly jumped past Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones to win the battle to partner Laporte since the league restart, while Guardiola almost turns his full-backs on a weekly basis between Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo on the right and Benjamin Mendy and Oleksandr Zinchenko on the left.

Winning all but two of their nine games since the restart, including an energetic 4-0 victory over Liverpool, using 23 different players, scoring 27 goals, conceding just four and winning 5-0 on three occasions.

Klopp will feel envious of what Guardiola has at his disposal despite his own faith in his team, and City’s European ban being overturned despite an FFP violation will have intensified such sentiment.

But despite all of this, it’s far too early for the Reds to panic as all eyes begin to turn to next year’s title race.

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Guardiola is expected to complete his squad this summer as Manchester City seek to reclaim the Premier League title, but it remains to be seen if Liverpool will follow.

The arrival of a left-back wouldn’t be a surprise if the right player became available, while potential starts for Shaqiri, Lovren and people like Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic could call the Reds in action with the window open up. in October .

But whatever happens in the transfer market, Klopp needs more from his squad to challenge what is currently an undisputed starting XI to turn his easiest decision into his most difficult one.

After the rally, they’re Premier League, European and World Champions for a reason.


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