Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has taken a swipe at Thiago Alcantara, Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner after the Premier League champions’ loss to Brighton and Hove Albion earlier this week.
The Cestrian believes the trio are too ‘samey’ and share a fair portion of the blame for the Reds’ defeat at Anfield.
“I think Liverpool are better when they have width. They get clustering. They have a lot of samey players in midfield in Thiago, Wijnaldum and Milner,” Owen told Premier League Productions (via the Metro).
“I would like to seem them stretching play a lot more, upping the tempo, winning the ball high again, committing players forward to win the ball high, they have to do it, they have to stem it themselves because they don’t have the Anfield crowd.”
MORE: Liverpool’s ‘average formation’ v. Brighton offers explanation for poor form
To be fair, Owen may have a point – but it’s not a critique of Thiago, Gini or Milner per se – it’s more of a systematic issue caused by the defensive injury crisis.
Because of the absences of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and more recently Joel Matip, the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have been forced to fill in at the back.
Their lack of presence in the middle of the park restricts the license of freedom given to Wijnaldum and co., meaning they have to play it safe.
Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies’ inclusion could be massive for Liverpool, with the forwards potentially set to benefit from a freer midfield.