Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool purring like a fat ginger cat enjoying an afternoon on the couch without the dog and an overabundance of lasagne.
There are some fans though who are disappointed with our form of late; the Reds have drawn four of their past six fixtures – winning the other two.
While I’d like to remind them that we’ve managed to lose only one game all season and even then that was away at the reigning champions’ gaff, there is some cause of concern.
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Sometimes we struggle to score and I mean really struggle.
I know we’ve netted 64 times this season and there’s not a lot with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmin – but when they misfire – who scores?
Following the departure of Steven Gerrard, we had Phil Coutinho to get goals from midfield but he left us a year ago and we’re still yet to see a replacement for his input.
Even in Stevie G’s last season with us he managed to score 13 times in all competitions. In fact, from 2005 to 2015 our skipper averaged 14.5 goals per campaign.
Coutinho managed 14 in our first term without Gerrard and followed that up with an impressive 12 during the first half of the 2017/18 season.
Let’s take a look at Klopp’s current midfield options:
Jordan Henderson: Averaged one goal per season since 2015/16.
Gini Wijnaldum: Averaged 3.3 goals per season since 2015/16.
Fabinho: One goal this season. Averaged 9.3 goals per season at Monaco since 2015/16 where he was the designated penalty-taker.
Naby Keita: No goals this season. Averaged 10.3 goals per season at RB Leipzig/Salzburg since 2015/16.
James Milner: Averaged five goals per season since 2015/16, often the designated penalty-taker.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Injured all season so far. Averaged 4.3 goals per season since 2015/16.
Wijnaldum, Henderson and Fabinho have been Liverpool’s most common midfield trio this season and they’ve scored three goals between them.
Even though I think Keita will go on to be one of the finest players in the Premier League, he isn’t yet playing like the £55million player we saw at Leipzig.
Our midfield – RIGHT NOW – isn’t playing nearly as well in an attacking sense than what we’d expect and it’s because we’re lacking something.
As a comparison, let’s have a look at Pep Guardiola’s midfield options:
Kevin De Bruyne: Injured most of the season. Averaged seven goals per season since 2015/16.
David Silva: Averaged 5.3 goals per season since 2015/16.
Ilkay Gundogan: Averaged 3.3 goals per season since 2015/16.
Fernandinho: Averaged 2.5 goals per season since 2015/16.
Bernardo Silva: Averaged 6.5 goals per season since 2015/16, often plays on the wing.
David Silva, Gundogan and Fernandinho have been City’s most common midfield trio this season and they’ve scored 12 goals between them.
City score four times more often than Liverpool do from midfield and that simply isn’t good enough. We’re missing one thing and that’s an attacking midfielder.
We opted out of signing Nabil Fekir last summer after finding out his knees are made of glass – and didn’t look for a plan B even though other options were seemingly available.
An obvious one – especially following his antics at the Bernabeu this week – is Hakim Ziyech.
If no Fekir the only close alternative is Ziyech. He is a mad presser. Plays with both feet like NF. Can run the wings. Barrel into opp box. Can create. Can score goals. 30-40M€ was the fee last summer. No brainer imo. https://t.co/lQB2MHxI2B
— Moby (@Mobyhaque1) October 11, 2018
Ziyech operates mainly as a winger but can play as an attacking midfielder. The Moroccan has scored 18 goals this season for Ajax with most of them coming from the right wing.
Another player that stands out is Real Madrid outcast Isco; he’s found the net four times in 24 games this season but has averaged 6.7 goals per season since 2015/16 and would be a classy addition to our team.
Ziyech and Isco are obvious targets but I’d like to see Liverpool pull off something we’ve seen Manchester United, Chelsea and City do in recent years and take a star player directly from a rival.
I’d like to see us go for Christian Eriksen. The Dane has scored seven times in 33 Premier League and Champions League fixtures for Spurs this season and has averaged 7.25 goals per season since 2015/16.
Eriksen would slot right into our team, obviously – but the chances of Tottenham parting ways with their glorious attacker are sadly next to zero!