When Liverpool resumes play after the World Cup, manager Jurgen Klopp will have a lot of work to do if they are to save their Premier League season.
During the World Cup break, all 20 Premier League teams had time to reflect, but Liverpool had the most distinct concept of how to make the most of the break.
After a difficult start to the season, the Reds are currently seven points outside of the Champions League spots, although they do have a game in hand on fourth-place Spurs. After discouraging losses to Leeds and Nottingham Forest, victories over Spurs and Southampton right before the World Cup were encouraging, however four losses overall is more than they suffered the entire 2017–2018 season.
On December 22, Liverpool will play Manchester City for a spot in the EFL Cup quarterfinals, returning to competitive action. Mirror Football has previously examined Klopp’s to-do list as the season approaches a critical turning point.
1. Find cover in aттack
The news that Luis Diaz would be out of commission until March has caused things to worsen before they can get better. The Colombian international traveled to Dubai to join his club teammates for their warm-weather training camp, but due to an injury, he had to return home and a longer absence was anticipated.
Klopp stated, “It’s obvious it’s a great disappointment foreaᶅr all of us, for him too. “Honestly, there was no situation at all throughout training.
“[He] had a feeling. The following day, [he] didn’t feel like much, but we wanted to be extremely cautious, so we said, “OK, come on, let’s have a look.” Yes, when the news eventually arrived, it was a reaᶅ kιck in the face. But that’s it for now.
Liverpool star Luis Diaz has suffered a fresh setback ( Image: Getty Images)
Diogo Jota will also be sidelined until the new year, so Jurgen Klopp needs to evaluate whether or not the players he currently has at his disposal are sufficient to deliver the results that Liverpool requires. The facт that the Reds were willing to invest in Diaz during the January window of the previous season demonstrates that they are not scɑred to make moves in the middle of a campaign; nevertheless, they will not want to spend money on someone who isn’t obviously the correct fit.
2. Solve the long-term midfield issue
By taking Arthur on loan from Juventus during the close of the summer transfer season, Liverpool attempted to find a short-term solution to the problems they were having in the middle of the field. The Brazil international just played for 13 minutes with the first team before sustaining an injury that will sideline him for the foreseeable future, so it’s probably best if we say as little as possible about that.
Summer signing Arthur has failed to make an impact (Image: Getty Images)
But this isn’t the only reason Klopp would be interested in the long term, so don’t take my word for it. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, and James Milner will all be free agents at the conclusion of the current campaign, and the manager of the Reds could very well decide that it is time for a more extensive overhaul.
Harvey Elliott picked up a knock during Liverpool’s midseason friendly against Lyon, and although Jurgen Klopp believes the club was fortunate to escape serious injury as a result, the facт that it did highlights how little it would take to ruin the season. It is possible that the time has come to focus on both the present and the future, with promising talents such as Enzo Fernandez and Giorgio Scalvini among those who have been connected with a move.
3. Make the most of post-World Cup freshness
Ibrahima Konate is Liverpool’s only representative in the World Cup semi-finals (Image: Getty Images)
In contrast to some of the other teams around them in the league, Liverpool’s players have not seen a significant amount of playing time at the World Cup. One of their players, Ibrahima Konate, made it through to the semifinals, while the other five of their players were eliminated in the quarterfinals, and Uruguay’s team, led by Darwin Nunez, didn’t even advance out of the group stage. France played Ibrahima Konate in only a few of their games.
This stands in stark contrast to two of the sides that the Reds are aiming to regain ground on.
As a result of an injury received in Qatar, Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus will be out until the new year, while Spurs, who have numerous players competing in the semi-finals, have lost Richarlison to a similar injury.
After not participating in the World Cup, Liverpool were able to field a strong team for the first half of their match against Lyon in Dubai. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Joel Matip were all able to contribute to the match despite missing the World Cup. Klopp will feel that his squad has no excuse not to get off to a fast start in the upcoming league game because players such as Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson will have more than two weeks to heal before playing again in the league.
4. Recover defensively
Alisson’s Brazil team suffered an early World Cup elimination (Image: Getty Images)
Alisson is another man back after a quarter-final elimination, and the Brazil goalkeeper’s importance at Anfield has been emphasised more than once this term. “I think Ali’s the best in the world for sure in what he does,” team-mate Andy Robertson said after the shut-out against Manchester City in October, “We’ve all probably let him down this season in that he’s faced too many shots, he’s had to be making too many saves…”
The clean sheet against City was one of just four registered by Liverpool in the league before the break, though they also recorded the same number across six Champions League games. The run didn’t begin this season, either, with the Merseyside club conceding first in each of their last four games in the 2021-22 season but still earning 10 points.
Liverpool’s next three league games came away to Liverpool, at home to Leicester and away to Burnley, and only one of those fixtures brought a clean sheet last term. Klopp knows solid defensive display at Villa Park could set the tone for the coming weeks, though, and he will want a far greater solidity than before the break.