Liverpool continue to search for a win after yet another defeat suffered at the hands of Roberto De Zerbi’s in-form Brighton at the weekend.
The Merseysiders did, admittedly, show significant signs of improvement despite the result and it was telling that both goals (including one fluke effort from Lewis Dunk) came after set-piece situations.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s nod to the poor body language on show from his players does indicate that the Reds have bigger issues to worry about.
“This is still a team desperately short of belief, with key personnel out of form. Even Klopp admits the body language of his players concerns him,” James Pearce noted for The Athletic. “Certainly, Liverpool’s propensity to shoot themselves in the foot, especially when it comes to defending set pieces, still hasn’t been addressed.”
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Liverpool have always prided themselves on ‘intensity’ during the German’s reign at Anfield but a lack of fire in the belly could prove irreparably destructive for the remainder of the season, not to mention the side’s top four hopes if the manager can’t find a way to motivate his troops.
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Part of the problem will undoubtedly be a lack of fresh legs in the middle of the park, not to mention standard-setters in the squad like Virgil van Dijk.
Whilst the Dutchman perhaps wasn’t his vintage self prior to his enforced stay in the treatment room, we’re a far more organised outfit with the No.4 available for selection.
The introduction of Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita has injected a considerable degree of dynamism and enthusiasm in the middle of the park too, though much of that seems to dissipate whenever usual operators Fabinho and Jordan Henderson return to the fold.
We know a further signing beyond Cody Gakpo is unlikely, so any hope of revitalisation has to come from within – a worrying reality given the amount of pressure that places on the shoulders of our best, and mostly injury-prone, midfield selection.
Regardless, the fact remains that if Klopp can’t find a way to ignite a fire in the belly of his Liverpool squad, when a trek back into the top four spots is going to require every bit of grit and willpower we can muster, our prospects of competing in the Champions League next term look rather slim.
It’s important we emphasise that the signs of late have been positive, of course, and the 55-year-old has proven his worth before when the odds have been stacked against us.
Ultimately, this isn’t a situation we can maintain beyond the end of the campaign, so the financial rewards attached to Champions League football must be considered a top objective if we’re conduct some serious surgery in the summer window.
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