Andros Townsend has described what it’s like to play against Jurgen Klopp’s current Liverpool side, having recently faced them with Luton Town.
The 13-cap England international is no stranger to lining up against the Reds, having now done so 17 times – he’s only faced Burnley more often (Transfermarkt) – but he was taken aback by the difference between the 2023/24 iteration and previous LFC teams.
Speaking on The Monday Night Club, the 32-year-old said: “Completely different. Two years ago they had the two number sixes in Henderson and Fabinho who were sort of the workhorses in the side. They didn’t really get forward as much.
“They were prepared to sit back and wait for the counterattack and then cut out any counterattacks that happened and feed the ball back to the attacking players, whereas now when the ball is at the feet of Gomez or Van Dijk or Konate, you have three midfielders who all have the quality to get on the ball and get turned and play forward.
“Mac Allister is the number six now and he has immense quality. It’s so tough. You can’t allow anyone to have the ball. You are constantly scanning. Jota looks to come inside. Salah roams and then Nunez runs in behind. It’s bombardment, you haven’t got a moment’s rest, you always have to be switched on.”
Only five players started in both matches for Klopp’s side, with the midfield changed entirely from the two fixtures, so it’s understandable why the Luton winger would’ve noticed the differences between now and then.
Even with the ex-Everton man describing about how tough it was to face LFC recently, he did so on a day when we were arguably at our worst this season, so imagine how tiring he’d have found it if we’d actually played to our full potential against the Hatters.
Nonetheless, Townsend’s observations illustrate how much more energetic Liverpool are now compared to 12 months ago, particularly in terms of the greater enterprise in the middle of the park.
The 32-year-old’s testimony will be music to the ears of Klopp, who seems to be restoring the brand of ‘heavy metal football’ which defined his first few years at Anfield.