Gakpo, Goals, Salah’s Form and Top 4? – The Last Word About Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea


There were a lot of disappointments about Liverpool’s unsuccessful attack against Chelsea, but are the Reds’ hopes for the top four over?

It was another match to forget on Saturday afternoon when Jurgen Klopp’s team played a boring 0-0 draw against the Blues at Anfield.

This is a shadow of the Liverpool team that almost won all four tournaments this season, with the same problems every week.

Here, Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) is joined by Adam Beatty (@beatts94) and Rory Greenfield (@RoryGreenfield) to discuss the Reds’ failures in attack and their hopes for the Champions League.

Early thoughts on Gakpo?

RORY: Gakpo experienced a difficult start to his career at Liverpool.

Liverpool fans are used to strikers having an almost instant impact, most notably Diaz, who was terrific on arrival and was a key reason Liverpool competed in four tournaments last season.

The difference with Gakpo is twofold.

Firstly, he is moving to a Liverpool team whose confidence is undermined and whose trajectory is spiraling — the exact opposite of what it was 12 months ago.

Secondly, Gakpo is a striker, different from others in the squad, more comfortable in the role of support than in focus, and this is evident.

With the return of Nunez, this should allow Gakpo to play his natural game, but it is clear to see that he will not be a savior in the fight against the attack.

ADAM: I agree with Rory that it was a tough start for him, but I don’t think he would have been able to play so many minutes if not for injuries.

We know that Klopp likes to look at the players and give them time to lie down before making them a regular team player, and unfortunately for Cody, he was dropped at a really difficult time and asked to quickly become a hero.

However, he looked bad against Chelsea, like most, and I was very surprised to see that he stayed in the center when Nunez was introduced.

I would like to see Gakpo on the left and Nunez as a central striker, but these decisions remain with the coach, and I am still very grateful that this is the case.

HENRY: It’s silly to criticize him too much so early, but we need more from him.

At the moment, Gakpo definitely doesn’t have the x-factor of Diaz — to be honest, I thought he was faster than that!

But he’s in a struggling team and plays out of position from time to time, so I would only fully condemn him after everything clicked again.

The only Liverpool player who has scored in our last four league games is Oxlade—Chamberlain: where are the goals?!

ADAM: Not only do we lack goals, but we also don’t encourage that something is about to change.

The system looked a bit mixed against Chelsea and the teams played as if they didn’t know each other.

The only hope we have is that when these injuries dry up, we can get back to some normal play in front of goal, but at the moment I’m not sure I can say that with any degree of certainty.

We shouldn’t rely on Elliot playing far left or no position at all, and that really shows the lack of reliable options we have at the moment.

Short answer: I have no idea what Liverpool’s goal looks like at the moment, and I do not know where the next one will come from.

Henry: I’m with Adam — playing Elliott on the left didn’t make any sense and, as expected, didn’t work.

He doesn’t have the speed to get out on the flank, and crashing in from the right is much more effective, and this made life easier for the Chelsea defense.

Liverpool have gone from being the most cohesive attacking team in Europe to a bunch of strangers, regardless of the squad.

The lack of service, of course, does not save, but yesterday there were moments when there was terribly little movement, and the level of finishing leaves much to be desired.

They look as toothless as Everton in the last third, and that’s the worst thing I can say!

Five games without goals and assists, what’s wrong with Salah?

RORY: Last season he supported Liverpool’s attack from time to time, but unfortunately, like many others lately, he seems to be rethinking things that were once natural.

Salah works best on instinct – his dribbling has always been erratic, but his speed, strength and determination have made him terrorize the defense again and again.

He looks flat, afraid to commit and a shadow of the player we all know, but he is far from alone.

Klopp will hope that Hota, Firmino and Diaz will return with a bang, because before that it is difficult to understand where the goals will be scored.

Darwin’s return will help create chaos, but right now no one is sure they can benefit.

ADAM: The best example of Mo’s struggle occurred in the middle of the first half.

He picked up the ball right in the penalty area, and a fully confident Salah tries to slip past Cucurella from there before bending the ball into the far corner.

Instead, not even allowing the opportunity to fight with the defender, he struck from an almost impossible angle and did not let Kepa think about anything.

At the moment it is indicative for the whole team, it seems that no one really believes in their abilities, and Salah is probably struggling in this regard as much as everyone else.

Henry: When Mo does not find the network, it means there are problems!

To be honest, I don’t really think he was even remotely close to his best result since last year’s AFCON — he fought his way through the second half of last season, but looked exhausted.

There are fears that at 30 he has just reached his peak as a footballer, but he is a physical machine, and I expect it to be nothing more than a (slightly long-term) decline.

However, he clearly looks less dangerous, and some of his decisions and final goals do not indicate that he is a world-class player.

To be honest, I think there are much more serious problems right now than Salah. He’ll be fine.

Now we are ten points behind Newcastle and Manchester United. Did Liverpool realize the four best chances?

RORY: This side needs to change something – the performance in which it suddenly clicks and the players remember what quality they have.

As the game went on, there was no sign of a winner coming. The more changes Liverpool made, the more disjointed they became.

When the whistle blew, I could only wonder what would happen next. In the past you would have supported Klopp’s team to run until the end of the season, now you are wondering when the next victory will come.

ADAM: The loss of Newcastle’s points was a bonus, but we’re not really helping ourselves with these performances, and the number of teams that are unhappy means we have more work left than we seem capable of.

It’s day and night from the side we saw last season and I’m struggling to find a way home for us that will see us finish above Newcastle and United, which is a depressing thought when there is so much football still to be played.

The result in isolation is not the end of the world, but we did not show anything that would indicate that we overcame our recent difficulties, and perhaps we took more from the show at Molineux than we should have.

Being 10 points behind Newcastle is not what we expected after a season in which we almost won.

Henry: Until now, I was optimistic that we would get into the top four even during our struggle.

The last few games have made me think Liverpool need a miracle right now because it’s just impossible to see them win five or six in a row.

Moreover, Newcastle and United currently look strong and stable. They look pretty nailed down for the third and fourth.

Of course, I thought the same way in the 2020/21 season, and we won eight and drew two of the last 10, with Phillips and Williams at the end, but at the moment this team feels broken.


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