Liverpool Can’t Spend Its Way Out Of This Mess

At the start of the 2022-23 Premier League season, FiveThirtyEight Club Soccer Predictions have given Liverpool the second best chance of winning the title. More than five months and 20 matchweeks later, however, the Reds sit ninth in the table, behind minnows such as Brentford, newly promoted Fulham, and Brighton & Hove Albion. , and the model gives them less than 1 percent of the home honor.

At the same time last year, Liverpool sat in third, nine points behind eventual champions Manchester City, but with a game in hand. The model appealed to City at the time – and was booked – but Liverpool played poor football from then on, fueled by the signings of former rivals Porto and Colombia. superstar team Luis Díaz in the winter window. The signing of Díaz is one of the best masterstrokes in the history of the winter season of the Premier League: His goals are expected without penalties and assists are expected for 90 minutes in played (npxG+xAG/90) tied for ninth (with Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez) among players with at least 11 starts.

In truth, the Reds have fallen short in their quest for a record 20th English top-flight title – thanks to the collapse of Aston Villa – but their impressive winter campaign has given them a chance .

It cannot be said this season, even if they lured the Dutch forward Cody Gakpo – one of the young attacking talents of Europe, and one of the stars of the World Cup 2022 – away from PSV Eindhoven . As good as Gakpo is now (and as world-class as it will be), it was too little, too long. Besides, Liverpool’s problems have nothing to do with its forward line – they lie (mostly) with its midfield (and its inability to keep opponents from scoring first).

To put it simply, Liverpool’s midfield is a mess. It is an unfortunate combination of being old and very sick. Team captain Jordan Henderson – whose presence at Liverpool was at the same time (incorrectly) and glorified – may not have been expected to play as many minutes as his 32 years. So for the maestro Thiago Alcantara and the destroyer Fabinho are both on the wrong side of 29.

A year ago, those three were one of the best midfielders in world football – a team that (more or less) took Liverpool to the brink of an unprecedented quadruple. Therefore, they each played more than 2,300 minutes in all competitions, which is a lot of minutes for any player, except for players who are at (or close to) their prime. 30 years old. It is impossible to know what Jürgen Klopp is thinking about at the beginning of the season, but it is impossible to think that he plans to play his old representatives as demanded done this season. However, long-term injuries to Curtis Jones, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and loanee Arthur have given Klopp little choice but to pull back.

Signing a midfielder during the transfer window (which ends on Jan. 31) makes sense – it makes more sense than signing a forward, while Díaz and The former partner Diogo Jota was separated with long-term injuries of their own – but this time, Liverpool did not put his toes in the market to improve his property. And Liverpool are unstoppable (at least this season). When the team relies on a strong press – that is, when the team relies on defense from the front (Díaz and Jota are two good strikers up front, but it’s been months) – and the press breaks , it makes the work of the midfield, and the work of the back line, more difficult.

So, is Liverpool’s season over? It’s not right. The league title cannot be guaranteed, and it can be said for a top-4 finish, which is the limit of financial damage – the Champions League competition is equal to ten million dollars that the teams can reuse of equipment and supplies. , they will be better in future subscriptions. But the Reds are alive in the FA Cup and the Champions League. Klopp’s teams have historically been monsters in knockout competitions – Liverpool have reached the final in three of the last five Champions League competitions, winning one, and won the FA Cup last year – for then money can be earned. But without signing a midfield (or two or three), that potential will diminish by the day.

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