Liverpool have been one of the most dominating teams in the past two years and they never looked to switch off in a series of matches.
However, in recent weeks the Reds were in devastating form with 3 losses out of their last four games. The loss to Atletico Madrid was unacceptable as their performance was unlike the champions. Despite managing 8 shots in the game, none of them were on target. Jordan Henderson has been one of the best players for them, controlling the midfield in the last two years. But he was kept silent and that did not help Jurgen Klopp’s side.
They also struggled to Norwich City and West Ham in the Premier League despite a narrow win. Sadio Mane had to come off the bench to rescue them against the Canaries and Lukasz Fabianski’s howler in the Hammers goal gifted them a victory.
This was not the case against Watford, who ran riot against the league leaders last weekend. Their defence had been in the worst shape with Dejan Lovern in fault for two of the Hornets’ 3 goals. And Virgil Van Dijk couldn’t manage to keep Ismaila Sarr quiet. The Senegalese forward found a lot of space to make his bursting runs as Andy Robertson was caught out of position time and again.
Liverpool have found it hard to break open the tightly locked defences in recent weeks and against Watford, they managed just one shot on target, with none from inside the box.
They lacked a leader in midfield with the absence of Henderson and Brazilian Fabinho has not been at his best since his return from injury. If the Englishman is unavailable for the Champions League 2nd leg fixture, James Milner should be brought into the team. The 34-year-old is a versatile player and can pull the string for the Reds in the middle of the park.
Naby Keita, who has returned from injury should be given enough chances ahead of Georginio Wijnaldum as the Guinean is more direct in his game than Wijnaldum. He is capable of moving the ball forward and dribbling past the opponents with ease, creating chances for his team. And Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should also be considered in the midfield.
In the 0-2 loss to Chelsea in midweek, Takumi Minamino played as a striker but totally looked out of form in a different position. He has not been as effective and found it difficult to link up with the other forwards. And Joel Matip should be brought in to the backline as early as possible. He had formed a good partnership with The Netherlands ace before he got injured.
All in all, the task of taking the team to its best would rest on the manager’s shoulders and he should find a way to bring life into their game. The Reds had been lethargic in the last few games and need to show their eagerness to dominate at the highest level.