EOTK are pleased to introduce our new author and former Liverpool star Jose Enrique, who will be writing a monthly column on the Reds!
- Takeouts from Liverpool’s 2-0 win over the Blades on Sunday
- What injuries and bad decisions really do to a dressing room
- How mistakes were made in the January transfer window and how to rectify them
- Why Fabinho should initially return as a central defender and not a no.6
- The brilliance of Curtis Jones and his best position going forward
- Why Erling Haaland would be the perfect summer signing for Liverpool
The Sheffield United win and the upcoming Chelsea game…
Liverpool’s three points against Sheffield United were great, but we need a good result against Chelsea on Thursday as well.
Qualifying for the Champions League is our absolute priority this year – as you begin to ask questions about hanging onto our world-class players if we don’t.
We need to start putting our chances away, as Chelsea won’t let us get away with it like Sheffield United did. Mo Salah is still scoring, but he’s not at his best. The same with Sadio Mane – I want to see them taking on the defender one-v-one again.
When I was a player, I hated wingers running at me constantly. It doesn’t matter how good you are, at some stage they get past! Mane and Salah are amazing dribblers and should look to take on the fullback.
Liverpool’s bad luck…
The reality is these players are human and the things they’ve been through this season with injuries and VAR will affect them. Van Dijk gets injured and as a player you go, ‘ok’, and you keep going. But then Gomez, then Matip, then Fabinho and then Hendo… It accumulates.
Then there’s no fans in the stadium to cheer them on. For Manchester City this isn’t a problem – as there wasn’t many fans before! But for us, it matters.
It’s not making excuses, but the reality is this has been a really tough year – and then you look at what happened to Alisson and Klopp with their parents dying. This is obviously more important than football, but these things affect the team – even if you don’t want it to – and you can see that in some of the performances.
Liverpool’s January transfer mistakes…
At the start of January, Liverpool were in a good position to still fight for the title. We got two players, one on loan and one from the Championship on deadline day. But I’ve never seen Davies play… The best moment for him to play is now – with five centre-backs injured – but he hasn’t had a minute! Perhaps Klopp has seen something in training and doesn’t think he’s up to it yet… When Phillips still plays ahead of him, you have to ask, ‘Why did we sign him?’
I want to see Davies, but for me, a side like Liverpool shouldn’t be signing Championship players when you think about the level the team wants to be fighting at. Still, we need to see him, to see if he’s good or not…
When we signed players like this when I was at the club, you understood – as we were always fighting for top four – but this Liverpool should be a team fighting for titles. I don’t know what is going on financially, but I really believe we should have spent money on a world-class centre-back in January. Then maybe we could have still been fighting for the title.
There’s been a lot of talk about what to do with Fabinho when he returns. 100%, I’d play him at centre-back. Because at the end of the day, Phillips and Kabak are good players – but Fabinho is a player who as soon as he puts on the shirt – he performs. Phillips and Kabak are good and could go on to be excellent if they leave the club (look at Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto) but Fabinho is an elite star on the same level as Gomez and Matip at centre-back.
Centre-back is one of the main positions on the field. The beginning of the spine. We need a leader there like Fabinho. Kabak and Phillips are very inexperienced, so with all the pain in my heart, as I’d love him in midfield, I’d pick Fab as a centre-back!
In holding midfield, you can still play Thiago, Gini Wijnaldum or Hendo when he’s back- so we have more options. With Kabak and Phillips in defence, and Fab at no.6, we’ll have top midfielders waiting on the bench.
Curtis Jones could really become world-class…
For me, of all Liverpool’s young players, since I saw him the first time, he’s the one who can make it right to the top. This is a player who can become a starter for years to come. Him and Trent, Scousers in the team.
You have to be blind to not see his talent, but what I like the most is his work-rate. Him and Steven Gerrard are very different players, but that doesn’t matter – he could be world-class.
The talent is there. The work-rate is there and the confidence is definitely there! The only thing that could stop him fulfilling his potential is attitude, but it doesn’t look like that’s a problem either and Klopp wouldn’t be playing him if it was.
In our current formation, I like him on the left of the midfield three. This way he can cut in and shoot with his right-foot. He also helps out Robbo defensively and opens spaces for other players. In the future, he could be a no.10 in a 4-2-3-1 as well.
I’d love to see him with Fabinho holding and Hendo on the right at the end of the season – even though I also love Thiago – who I still think is better at no.6.
Roberto Firmino’s future as a no.9 and who I want in the summer…
If you want to be a team who wins things year in, year out, you need superstars who can fight for minutes from the bench. The only position we have real depth is midfield.
Look at Manchester City. If Sterling is out, Silva can play. No Mahrez, Ferran Torres comes in. No Aguero, Jesus plays. Liverpool do not have this. Xherdan Shaqiri is a player who can only come in for 20/30 minutes, while Diogo Jota has been out all season. I actually think if he’d stayed fit he would have become a starter by now.
By spending big money, you take less of a risk on the player. We’ve done well to get players like Andy Robertson for hardly anything, but the more you spend, the less risk you take. That’s what Manchester City have done.
Let’s take Upamecano. He will cost Bayern Munich £50m, but the percentage chance of him becoming world-class is higher than Ozan Kabak, who will cost £18m. So that’s the type of club we have to be…. Firmino has to have someone behind him to fight for the position. We need a no.9 in the summer.
My choice is Erling Haaland. We can rule out Kylian Mbappe – he’ll be too expensive. But I think Haaland is possible.
He’s so good in the air – he’s a beast. Can you imagine Trent and Robbo crossing balls into the box for Haaland? Wow! They would get another 20 assists each per season. He’d be another dimension for us and is the kind of player we should be going for. Haaland might cost £100m, but we spent £75m on Van Dijk and that’s what it takes. You can guarantee City will spend £100m-odd on the striker who replaced Aguero… If you think about it, the only one of our forwards who’s good in the air is Mane – so a striker like Haaland would be my priority this summer.