Liverpool retained faith in the 4-4-2 system shown against Rangers, but defensive deficiencies were again the subject of discussion in the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal.
Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool
Double pivot stays in place
Then it wasn’t just a one-game Band-Aid: the dual midfield prop returned for a test in the Premier League after Jurgen Klopp switched to Rangers.
Thiago and Jordan Henderson were chosen again, Fabinho remained on the bench, and it took the skipper less than a minute to be caught — instead of tracking the run of the only dangerous man, Edegor, who remained with the Emirates Ocean, from which to choose a pass. He found Martinelli, the target.
In possession of a double hinge has a lot of advantages.
We have a slightly flatter recirculation line when trying to create pressure, we have an additional attacking player trying to get outside the defense, we have an additional threat to goals — all the main things related to having an additional striker over the midfielder.
What Liverpool don’t have yet is alignment and progression of passes into the final third: sometimes they are too static and very dependent on Jota (from the very beginning) to come in and take the ball on the turn, or from an overlapping outfield defender. be off the ball.
In truth, it’s still a bit of a mess. We’re being split by counters and bypassed by straight balls into the channel, and we don’t have runners in place to handle it. There is still something to work on.
Double pivot stays in place
Despite the fact that he ran for defense many times against the Rangers and, of course, made a lot of shots, Nunes could not get into the protocol in Europe.
The boss and his teammates praised him, but patience and positive emotions do not go far for everyone — the goal has a funny way to win back potential critics, and the context is often ignored.
This time he kept working hard with the ball, kept working hard without the ball and hitting shots whenever possible – and found the back of the net. His finish was ordinary, from close range and for the first time, but the anticipation and desire to get ahead of his marker were more impressive and important.
It wasn’t all roses. We’re not used to having a No. 9 in red on our shoulder, so seeing someone standing four yards out of the game several times a game is pretty frustrating, and we’ll probably have to get used to it.
Gomez on at right-back
We’ll see what the boss says after the game, but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s departure at half-time is unusual enough to make headlines. Given that the fullback suffered a short injury in the middle of the first 45 minutes, it would be easy to blame him for the problem that broke out.
Nevertheless, it was another difficult exit for our 66th number: both Arsenal goals at the beginning and at the end of the first half were scored through him.
The first one was not his fault: we had already covered the lack of midfield tracking, and it was a great pass between defenders, and Trent was already very narrow. If he had been even closer to Matip, it would have been an easy pass outside of him.
The situation is different with the second goal: Trent and Henderson had to block Martinelli. These are basic things: a person goes beyond sprint tracking if he tries to get on the list of authors; another holds to block a cut on the right leg. They both went instead and left a huge gap. Goal.
So here’s the thing: is there already a “rule” for who does what when recovery is underway? If that’s the case, then whoever ignored it did it horribly wrong. If not, then communication or decision-making by their couple was an abomination, and not for the first time.
Gomez appeared at half-time, and for the first five minutes he struggled badly, with numerous passes behind him and one ball over his head.
He improved in one turn, but, of course, our game in the formation suffered.
What even is control
When was the last time we saw seven or eight Liverpool shirts in their own box scrambling, trying to get inside, desperately throwing out their hooves and avoiding having the third or fourth pick crushed?
Not once, not randomly, not even to defend the advantage in the last five minutes… but constantly? Most of the half?
It is surprising that currently the Reds do not have the opportunity to dictate where to hold matches. These are players who have been almost invincible in Europe for so long, and now look incapable of doing something as simple as holding the line on the edge of their penalty area.
We could not avoid the pressure of the home team, which is perfectly normal if you are able to repel the danger.
All Liverpool managed was to get out of the penalty area for 20 seconds at a time, until finally they missed a penalty.
Alisson and Virgil, knocking on each other in added time, almost summed it up.
Some attacking play may still look neat, still look purposeful and have a good relationship between attacks, but at the end of the game none of this was.
These were diagonals, balls from above, straight and repetitive – and not at all accurate and not useful. Firmino in the last 10 minutes was the only one who tried to play the usual way.
Where does Klopp go?
Firstly, in the middle of the week we have a game in which it is vital to win, but which we also have to win. This is a return to Rangers and we have already seen that we are much better than them.
But after that it’s Man City. They were our rivals. Now they are just a team that is constantly beating everyone, and we are floundering on garbage, average miders and clubs that you should not even think about to easily spend.
Like Arsenal, a club that was better, stronger and psychologically more stable than in previous years, but could not keep up with him here.
Klopp has a huge, huge job ahead of him in the coming week.
He can say as much as he likes that everything was close, or it got better, or something else. The truth is that at the moment we are far from that, and the top four is the minimum allowable minimum, and we are even far from that.
Whatever tactical form we use next week, it is better to improve it significantly after possession of the ball, otherwise it will become very dirty.