After Liverpool lost 3-1 to Brentford in their first match of 2023 on Monday, fans are now wondering if the Reds’ problems go beyond the need for new midfielders.
Brentford didn’t have Ivan Toni’s mascot, but he could still intimidate Liverpool’s defenders, who were in a mess all the time.
Ibrahima Konate’s own goal put Thomas Frank’s team ahead before Yoan Wissa doubled his advantage before the break. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain halved the gap at the beginning of the second half, but Brian Mbuemo brought points to the home team at the end.
Here, Jack Sear from This Is Anfield (@JackSear) was joined by Adam Beatty (@Beatts94) and Jack Gill (@jacklfcgill) to discuss Liverpool’s current problems, as well as links to Matheus Nunez from Wolves.
There is a lot of talk about the need for new midfielders, but Liverpool have so many other problems right now, don’t they?
ADAM: As far as I fully understand and agree with the calls for bodies in midfield, I don’t even remotely believe that there is currently a midfielder in the country who could come and magically correct a lot of mistakes, definitely not in January.
We have serious problems all over the park and it seems that there is a small identity crisis going on, I would like to point out one thing that would solve it immediately, but unfortunately it looks like only time can unravel.
JACK G.: I agree. There are many problems that, it seems to me, are not solved quickly. The defense was terrible, and again the lack of options in midfield hurts us.
Darwin Nunez doesn’t seem to be able to buy a goal at the moment, and Mo Salah is far from in the best shape.
Ultimately, however, this team is a shadow of Jurgen Klopp’s brilliant team, which has been such a pleasure to watch over the last few years. Now we lack struggle, desire and spirit.
It is quite obvious that there is something to work on both in training and in the transfer market. In my opinion, a midfielder is needed in January, but we need much more.
JACK S: I really think a lot of our problems are related to the fact that our midfield offers so little, but the general lack of cohesion is obviously a serious concern.
I think Jamie Carragher hit the nail on the head by scoring a few points after the game. Liverpool have never replaced Gini Wijnaldum, and they really lack such a fighting midfielder.
What happened to Liverpool’s defence?!
JACK G.: It’s hard to single out one problem. I think it’s a combination of different things, but I’m really afraid to imagine what kind of situation we would be in if it weren’t for Alisson.
I think Virgil van Dijk was struggling with this muscle problem for most of the first half and it was clear from the moment Mbuemo ran away from him and it seemed to me that he looked uncharacteristically slow.
But as a team we’ve been very slow and predictable all season. The high line is used more and we are very vulnerable in the counterattack.
I was hoping the training camp in Dubai would help, but after Villa on Boxing Day, I think Leicester and Brentford were two of our worst performances under Klopp, let alone this season. In the match against Leicester, we used our luck, and we were lucky to score three points, but you can’t rely on luck all the time.
ADAM: Yes, since I was at the game and haven’t watched the goals yet (I’m not sure I ever will), the most unforgivable for me was the one that was actually ruled out for offside.
It was an infuriating sequence of events, as a result of which we walked away from the murder from around the corner only to throw it back again a few minutes later with a headbutt by Wissa, which Alisson almost crossed out.
The defense is a serious concern, and with all the talk about the midfield and the stories about Nunes, it seems that she has gone a little out of sight.
Our habit of giving in first dates back to May, to be honest, much longer than anything that can legitimately be considered a mistake.
Obviously, it’s a tough night for Konate in a difficult game that was difficult to get back to, and replacing Van Dijk was just prudent, but Liverpool urgently need to solve defensive problems if we are going to get together.
How do you assess our chances of getting into the top 4 now?
JACK S.: It’s difficult. I think a lot depends on how well Cody Gakpo settles in and when we can get players like Luis Diaz and Diogo Hota back in full shape.
Adding a midfield would be a real help this month, but I’m not sure how likely that is.
Now it’s hard to imagine that we will finish above Arsenal, City, Newcastle or Manchester United, but there is still more than half of the season ahead.
ADAM: Actually, I’m still pretty optimistic that the top four is within our reach, despite the results after the restart.
Brentford have always been difficult away to the point where I can almost excuse the points lost, but the real problem for me is the general lack of confidence, it seems contagious.
In the short periods when Liverpool were on top last night, they showed real purpose and I think Robertson’s appearance served as a catalyst for that, but the inability to maintain those levels against a much weaker team is worrying, there is no hiding from that.
As a side note to that, I think we finished great last night, given the circumstances, we held on to the players until hope ran out, and in those rare moments when Liverpool showed a little momentum, the players and the fans fed off each other’s energy. .
In fact, it was all in vain, but for me it at least illustrated glimpses of the push we can give each other, I would like to see more of that at Anfield in the coming months, please.
What do you think about the references to Mateus Nunez from “Wolves”?
ADAM: I haven’t seen any of Nunes’ reports until last night, but it’s very interesting.
Obviously, he is the one we and a number of top clubs looked at in the summer, and, by and large, the fee that is advertised is not extortionate.
Of course, the long-term dream is Jude Bellingham, and if we can guarantee that next season we will still eat at the best table, then hopefully this is something that can be visited in the summer.
Ultimately, the recruitment team rarely misses when it clicks on someone of value, so if it’s a player we like, I believe we’ll make the right decision.
JACK S: It’s a strange situation, isn’t it? Jorge Mendes wrote it all.
If he eventually joins in the summer, I think Nunez would actually get a one-year loan period at Wolves, but who knows why he couldn’t get through until this season!
Is it time to give other players a chance to impress in the FA Cup on Saturday?
JACK G.: Yes, definitely. Of course, I would like Gakpo to get some playing time.
I think he can be an important signing for us and hopefully will add energy and faith to a team that clearly needs it at the moment.
I would also like to see some young people like Ben Doak, Stefan Baisetic and Bobby Clarke.
ADAM: After a few busy weeks after the World Cup, the schedule between now and Brighton is quite favorable for us, so I personally would prefer that we perform relatively strongly against Wolves to try to start the cup race and gain a little momentum.
Having said that, if there is a way to get their minutes, it would be nice to see how the likes of Baisetic and Doak continue to show what they are doing, both looking many years ahead and can give us some interesting options to move forward. .
As for the senior players, it could be a game to look at those recovering from injury and maybe even play with the form to see if we can get something to click.
JACK S.: I agree. Klopp will need to find a balance here. While I would really like to see players like Kaoimhin Kelleher, Calvin Ramsey, Baysetic, Clark and Doak get minutes, Liverpool really can’t afford to lose here.
The FA Cup is definitely now our best chance to win silverware and we need all the momentum we can get at the moment.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s almost a full-fledged team, especially considering that we will have five days to prepare and another week before our next game in Brighton.