Paul Merson has tipped Liverpool to rediscover their form after Thiago Alcantara’s return from injury.
The Sky Sports pundit has been paying attention to how the Reds have been playing of late, struggling to break down even the weaker Premier League sides.
Merson believes an offensive midfielder, such as Thiago or Xherdan Shaqiri, can really help Jurgen Klopp out in that regard.
As part of an opinion piece, the former Arsenal forward has heaped praise on the Liverpool midfielders who are able to get the best out of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Bobby Firmino.
“Teams are approaching Liverpool now, not giving them any space, and saying: ‘You’ll have to break us down.’ Liverpool are struggling without that guile in midfield. They’ll need Thiago to play every week. He’s the one who sees that pass,” Merson said.
“I think Jurgen Klopp knows this now, because he’s even bringing Xherdan Shaqiri in, someone who you’d have previously thought might not play another minute for Liverpool. But he can put the ball through the eye of a needle.
“Without that, it takes the Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino X-factor out of the game. Liverpool are still the best in the world without the ball, but when there’s no space there, it gets taken away.”
We have to admit, Merson is absolutely spot on in many aspects here.
While it’s hard to ignore the fact Liverpool haven’t been as clinical even when chances have been created this season, a lack of presence in midfield is killing us.
Since our 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, we’ve given up points to West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton – three teams, with all due respect, we should beat easily.
We do miss Fabinho in midfield and he’s hard to replace, but hopefully Thiago – who brings something entirely different – can make a big difference after retuning to fitness.