Many a Liverpool fan was left scratching their head as Jurgen Klopp fielded Cody Gakpo centrally in a forward line that forced Harvey Elliott out of position on the left flank against Chelsea and Brighton.
The plan seemed considerably clearer in the 2-1 FA Cup defeat at the Amex, with the Reds redeeming themselves partially for the disastrous 3-0 defeat last time out, as the Dutchman provided an option from deep, dropping to support the midfield and act as the link-up man for runs into the box from Mo Salah and Harvey Elliott.
It was a decidedly Bobby Firmino-esque performance and suggests that the coaching team is looking to plan for the future over seeking out entirely pragmatic solutions to the current problems on the pitch.
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That’s not to say the German tactician hasn’t already significantly improved matters by putting his faith in Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita in the middle of the park. Though, at a time when Liverpool are lacking a reliable goal threat up top, it seems a risk too far to not be utilising Gakpo’s eye for goal from the left flank.
Should it cost us a spot in the top four, and all the financial rewards and prestige that comes with it, the effects could be hugely damaging in the short and long-term, potentially costing Klopp his dream midfield signing in Jude Bellingham, not to mention any further surgery required.
Make no mistake, an absolute minimum of two new midfielders should be considered a must for the next window.
Though figuring out Firmino’s long-term replacement will certainly help Liverpool get off on the right foot come the 2023/24 campaign, it has to be weighed up against the damaging potential consequences of failing to secure Champions League football next season.
It’s an unenviable position to be in, though Jurgen Klopp’s far from uncomfortable with making the difficult decisions.
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