Article by Jack Gill
An interesting debate surrounding Liverpool Football club at the minute is how does this side, which is the best I’ve seen in my lifetime, improve? One suggestion is that our midfield needs a more creative player. Names like James Maddison have been flying about recently and before that of course, we had the whole Fekir saga that seemed to go on for years as well as the constant links to resigning Coutinho. In this article I’m going to try and decide my own opinion, and hopefully not annoy Chris Pajak too much by even making this a discussion point…
I, for one, am an absolute sucker for this. At the minute, we are boss at footie and I mentioned earlier this is easily the best side I have seen at our club in my lifetime but, it’s easy to see the distinct lack of goals from midfield and at times last season, like at Goodison and Old Trafford, our problem was lack of creativity. We’re the midfield entirely to blame for us not scoring in those two games? No, certainly not, our team now doesn’t necessarily rely on the midfield three to create and score and you can’t pinpoint three players. If you’re posing that question, to me, that’s like asking Firmino why he doesn’t score as much as Aubameyang, Aguero and Kane.
Against Sheffield United last weekend, it was the same, we struggled to break them down but is that the midfields problem or was it the whole side? Personally, I think Sheffield United were outstanding and that as a side we tried absolutely everything to break them down but couldn’t quite manage it. If you’re questioning the midfield, you only have to look who got the goal eventually, yes, it was a hilarious mistake by Dean Henderson but it was one of our central midfielders, Gini Wijnaldum striking the ball from outside the area and creating an opportunity out of nowhere really to ensure Liverpool took away all three points.
I look at this debate and the links to getting Coutinho back or signing James Maddison or whatever and although I’d love to see them in an LFC shirt, I don’t think they fit into this current Liverpool side and if anything, I personally think they would destroy the balance of the side. They’re both more naturally number 10’s and it doesn’t suit the system that has been working so well for Jurgen Klopp this season.
I think in terms of balance to our team the midfield we go for at the minute with Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum is perfect as it supports both the defence and attack in the ways we need to. Maybe they don’t often get many goals and assists but don’t forget, our full backs don’t play like natural full backs and a lot of our creativity evolves from our wide areas, and our wingers cutting inside as well as Bobby playing deeper in a centre forward role where he is referred to many times as ‘the system’. People may be forgetting that this is the system Klopp implements and perhaps it’s important to think that Jurgen Klopp doesn’t see our midfield three as players to create constant threats. We are playing with three attackers who score numerous goals and link up really well as well, we are not living in the days where we are reliant on our midfielders, like Stevie G (who was one of a kind,) to score goals.
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Our usual midfield three aside, we also have other more naturally attack minded ‘creative’ midfielders in our squad that Klopp could turn to if he wants creativity. One named Naby Keita who is world class and has just been very unlucky with constant small injuries when he is just starting to find himself since joining and the other, Oxlade-Chamberlain who has had world-class moments since joining LFC and picked up an ACL injury at a time when he was playing the best football of his life. We also have Xherdan Shaqiri who can be deployed in midfield but is struggling for game time recently showing Jurgen is clearly impressed with his current side and it’s balance. We have those options if needed and Jurgen Klopp is aware that he can turn to them in a situation where we need to be more creative in midfield.
Personally, I’m a sucker for wanting a creative midfielder at times, if we are struggling to score I will more often or not talk about lack of creativity the midfield but, I have the understanding that since Coutinho left, our side has became a lot more balanced and I believe that the balance is very important to our current form. If we need creativity, I know we have players in our squad in every position capable of creating and scoring chances.
Even at centre-back we have Matip whose capable of dribbling the ball forward from the back and creating opportunities and both he and Van Dijk are aerial threats from set pieces. We also do have creativity from the midfield, Henderson has a very good passing range and has been a lot better since his positional change when Fabinho came in and Gini Wijnaldum is also a very clever little player who is capable of getting goals and assists as well as the experience playing further up the pitch in the number 10 role at Newcastle in our ranks and I’m not a manager but Jurgen Klopp is and he’s a bloody good one so I know we can absolutely trust him.
I think to want more creativity from the midfield, shows the level we are at. People like you and I are being super picky and wanting something extra because we are so, so good at the minute. City are a rarity and players like De Bruyne are hard to come by, and with the current system we don’t need any more creativity, it’s very rare that we score less than two goals in a game and realistically it is the points that are the important thing come the end of the season. Obviously we have Naby Keita, who will be a phenomenal, all round midfielder for us to come in as well but at the minute ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and we’re winning games easily so why change a winning formula.
So, to recap, things we have learned, we don’t really need a creative midfield and we should stop moaning or even mentioning it as we’re bloody good at footie.
Up the Reds!