Yet another injury setback for Daniel Sturridge following a frustrating defeat away to struggling Newcastle- more areas for Jurgen Klopp to address in his early Anfield career.
Sunday’s defeat to Steve McClaren’s men was hugely disappointing after Klopp’s men had sparked talks of Liverpool being title contenders just days before with a 1-6 Capital One Cup thrashing of Southampton.
Firmino and Benteke…
Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke stood out as glaring issues during the weekend’s Premier League fixture. The pair put in disjointed performances which left Jordan Ibe as the team’s best attacking threat on the day. The big money signings showed few signs of finding a way to combat a packed Newcastle defence, which must be praised for the way it set up.
The pair failed to strike up any kind of understanding with Firmino looking unsure without Philippe Coutinho beside him. The Brazilian didn’t seem to expect Benteke to win his aerial challenges and therefore never occupied the positions that would allow him to pick up the second ball from his forward compatriot’s flick on. Firmino already finds himself under the first bit of pressure as a Liverpool player after being critcised by club legend John Aldridge for failing to perform without the support of Coutinho.
It can also be said that Benteke failed to apply himself and bust a gut to get himself into goal scoring opportunities in the box when crosses eventually came in. It looked like the pair didn’t know what they wanted to do with the ball when going forward, which set the tone for a game in which Benteke quickly became isolated.
With Sturridge’s injury in mind, Klopp has some big decisions to make. Thursday’s game at Sion in the Europa League comes at a perfect time to experiment with Firmino and Benteke again, with Liverpool already through to the next round. Firmino certainly looks as though he would benefit from a consistent run of games alongside Adam Lallana or Philippe Coutinho if he is to play behind Benteke.
The team responsible for The Anfield Wrap podcast covered it perfectly when speaking of how Klopp wants fans to enjoy 90 minutes out of their week to forget their troubles and enjoy watching Liverpool. What supporters saw on Sunday won’t have eased their worries- there was no creativity or intensity from the two front men. Both looked uninterested at times and rarely looked to interchange with one another. There was no excitement or energy from them.
The new manager has to consider recalling Divock Origi to the starting lineup against West Brom this weekend. The Belgian will be high in confidence after his hattrick against Southampton last week.
While other Premier League sides fail to perform consistently, there is
no need to worry at the moment. Fans just need to see more intent from the new men.
New striker needed in January?
The latest injury to Daniel Sturridge makes you wonder whether he’ll ever return to full fitness in a Liverpool shirt. Worryingly, time is running out for arguably a striker only second best to Sergio Aguero in the Premier League.
With Danny Ings also out injured for the season, Klopp must be thinking about bringing in another forward in January in order to prepare as though Sturridge will remain to be unavailable.
A big name loan signing isn’t beyond the capabilities of Klopp and this could be needed to sure up a season where the club have a great chance of lifting silverware and qualifying for the Champions League again.
Someone has to be brought in to liven up Benteke if the former Aston Villa man is to feature. A striker with pace is essential in order to incorporate a more natural intention to get in behind the opposition defence. The only people capable of doing so are Jordan Ibe and Daniel Sturridge, which isn’t enough in the modern game of football where pace is vital. Benteke might actually have someone to flick the ball on for if there were to be another striker that can run beyond him.
If anything positive could be taken from the game at the weekend, it was the performance of Jordan Ibe. The youngster, who turned just 20 yesterday, was by far the biggest attacking threat in a red shirt. He has blossomed under Klopp after it was beginning to look like he might not fulfill his potential under Brendan Rodgers.
The winger has to play in my opinion. A consistent run of games will help him improve his decision making and quality in the final third, which is the only thing stopping him from becoming a real asset to the club.
He needs to be playing beside fellow quick thinkers such as Coutinho and Emre Can on a regular basis in order to make more of an impact and add more fluidity to his attacking play. At the moment, Klopp has to keep him in the team as sooner or later he will start taking responsibility and become capable of changing the game for his team at times.
Lots for Jurgen Klopp to think about.