How do we fix it?

Our home form, that is.

I did some quick research into goals scored and conceded during our long unbeaten home run, and here is what I found:

Pre lockdown (55 games) 143-32 (2.6-0.58)

Post lockdown (13 games) 33-12 (2.52-0.92)

Total (68 games) 176-44 (2.59-0.65)

So our goals scored remained around the same after the lockdown, at around 2.6 per game, although the number conceded went up slightly- understandable given our woes at centre half.

And then we come to our last 7 games:

1-10 (0.14- 1.43)

Okay, four of those goals conceded came in one game; if you take that one out, we remain at around the 1 goal per game mark.

What has fallen off a cliff is our ability to score goals, which has gone from 2.6 to 0.14… and even that was a penalty! No goals from open play since Mané scored in the twelfth minute against West Brom, so that’s 708 minutes… more if you include stoppage time.

Defence is an issue, but not the main one. How do we start scoring goals again? We know what we are going to face: it’s been the same thing for the last three years. Teams come to Anfield, sit ten men behind the ball and hope to hit us on the counter attack or from a set piece.

We are not much worse off at preventing the opposition from scoring, as the stats above bear out. But we have become much worse at breaking down the ranked masses of our visitors’ defences. There is no space behind, so we can’t try to exploit that. Pace also becomes less important if there is no open field into which to run.

Do we need new tactics or new blood? The answer is almost certainly a bit of both; what are your thoughts?

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There’s matches where I watch and think the midfield isn’t functionning, sometimes our balance in midfield looks really poor like the last time Gini and Thiago played alongside each other.
Then there’s days like against Fulham and Milners doing a job, Keitas doing a job yet they find noone infront of them. You look at where the forwards are and they are lined up with the opposition defenders no dummy runs nothing. Our solution is to go wide to Robbo and TAA the problem is the lines are set so deep and close (due to noone pulling them around) that any cross has to be pinpoint perfect to a player who has perfectly timed his run and hasn’t been out muscled by the opposition defense who in general are twice the size of our midgets. Then there’s the opposition goalkeeper, why is it before every match my commentators comment on how poor the opposition goalkeeper has been recently only for him to go on and make a couple of great saves (it’s rarely more than a couple as we get so few ‘shots’ on target).
When i see the attack like this I just feel the drills in training are wrong. We’re repeating the wrong stuff.
Midfield is a balance thing so who’s selected more than anything however we haven’t much choice atm.
Also there’s no odd goals coming from the defense at set pieces. When I watch Nat his timings all off as if he hasn’t had practice. Practice makes perfect, also he let’s more senior players push him from where he wants to be (that makes timing issues as well). Then again he hasn’t played much but other than him and Rhys I can not see who else is going to score in these situations.

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Yeah I noticed on the stats they put up against Chelsea our goals against was hardly any different but not even sure if the 10 man thing is that much of a thing, we don’t even seem to be able to break down those who are more open.

Agree on most things here but the movement off the ball or lack of is so apparent. I also feel because we have inverted wingers we never hit the by line and if we do the are on the wrong foot, so it easy for defenders to show them inside where it is congested, iur forwards need to interchange more which is what the used to do.

BTW practice makes permanent not perfect, if you practice shit the end result is shit!!!
:stuck_out_tongue:

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Also everything seems a touch too many, Neco had space was about to cross and then he stalled and when he finally crossed it was blocked.

It was happening and has happened for months now.

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Defence - Weak. Not surprisingly with injuries and players who shouldn’t be at this high of a level, playing. Trent and Robbo are not pushing forward like they used to due to fear of isolating centre backs not as good as Virgil.

Midfield - Losing our best midfielders to the centre back roles. Also seems very passive and safe in possession and passing. Gini and Thiago especially mainly sideways passing. Something I thought Thiago wasn’t about.

Attack - Bobby poor, like last season but covered up by the fact that Sadio and Mo were brilliant and we won the league. One goal at Anfield scored last year and it was last game of the season. Sadio’s form falling off a cliff. Not sure what as happened, tiredness maybe. Mo probably my player of the season. Still doing what he’s expected to do, but still not at his best.

Jürgen - Substitutes are poor. Sometimes don’t feel the right player is subbed and the right player is brought on. Seems very tired himself and stressed. To be honest , not sure on his future. Think he’s growing tired of the game.

Agree which was my point before, where I mentionned practice makes perfect it was meant as specific to timing, like timeing runs, but I’m sure you realised that. :smile:

Neco’s hardly played! :wink:

I do think we are better off than we think though. We did improve well in the summer maybe one centre half less than needed. With Thiago and Jota added and Harvey back alongside Taki. Then obviously Virg and Joe back we will be a lot more set up for success.

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It is a complex issue. I do not think that the breakdown of defence vs attack statistics tell the full story.

Our goals conceded is likely to be low and remain low. Our attacking prowess, psychologically, plays a huge part in this. Teams are naturally more wary of attacking us for fear that we catch them out on the break. Instead, they would on go for the “clear cut chances”, i.e. hit us on the counter, 1 shot, 1 goal. It has been a recurring theme since the Rodgers era, (remember Mignolet?) but fixed only recently because we bought Alisson and VVD to plug our leaky defence. This confidence, at our backline to mop up all danger, flows through the whole team. The players dare to take risks, knowing that even if there is a turnover, it would unlikely cost us a goal.

Without VVD and Gomez/Matip, we are back to the point where every counter-attack likely leads to a clear cut chance. Thankfully we still have Alisson, but even he cannot stop everything on his own. This puts more pressure on the attackers to (1) retain possession; and (2) put away their chances. If they do not, we may well be sucker-punched. It is in the hesitancy when we move the ball forward: no more quick one-twos or risky passes; no more spreading out the field or constant movement to confuse the opposition. It is always safe play, waiting for the opposition to make a misjudgement before we go for the kill.

The issue of our attack is exacerbated with the lack of a killer touch of our forwards lately. Salah and Mane used to finish off chances easily. Of late, this killer touch has evaporated either due to fatigue, or simply hesitancy to take risks. Ironically, compared to other elite forwards we had like Torres and Fowler, Salah and Mane are arguably the best (well less Suarez) at taking on opponents one-vs-one, but yet they are hardly doing so to create space for themselves or other team mates. The topic on unfair treatment is for another thread…

I argue that we are also lacking a real leader on the pitch now. One that could lift the whole team up another notch. We had Gerrard and then Suarez, who would single-handedly drag the team over the line. We had Henderson, who though not contributing directly to the attack, would ensure heads will not drop when things are not going our way. But this drive is sorely lacking on the pitch now. Much as we call Salah and Mane world class, they would always be one rung below Gerrard and Suarez because of their inability to lift the team.

How to get out of this rut then? The first thing to do is to restore our team’s confidence in the backline. That may necessitate defending deeper and playing Fabinho in the DM position. As a consequence, our team may also have to abandon the “gen-gen pressing” strategy for the time being.

We should encourage our midfielders to shoot too. We do have Fabinho and Thiago who are good at long shots, so a pop or two from distance might disrupt the opposition.

Third, and this is the longer term strategy, we do need to get a more lethal no. 9. Much as it pains me to say, if Firmino cannot put chances away, then he is of no use to the team. The opposition would just ignore him. What we need is a prime-Torres or even better, a prime-Suarez. Once our no.9 starts to score again, the opposition would mark him more and this would free up both Salah and Mane (may not even be them) to wreck havoc. If we needed to spend big to get the best GK and CB, then let’s do it for the CF position as well.

All in all, if I were Klopp, until VVD and Gomez comes back, I would play a 4-2-3-1, with Fabinho partnering a more progressive midfielder like Thiago, Kieta or Jones. Only one of the FB should bomb forward, with the other being more defensive. The front four to play with more freedom. I would also work on set pieces. Phillips, Kabak, Fabinho and even Mane are not bad headers of the ball, so use it to our advantage.

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That’s not enough. You need at least 20 quality players in our first team. Which means, summer transfer market.

Right now, Liverpool has like, 15 quality players at best.

Agree the defense hasn’t been poor, absent that one match. The attack’s been death, which is a combination of some bad luck (woodwork, etc.), bad shooting, goalie worldies (even today) and lack of playmaking. Jota (if he stays healthy) is sure to have an impact. In fact, the offense is so off kilter that a simple regression back toward the mean is likely to improve the results soon. If it were up to me I’d play a simpler attack, two up front, Sadio and Mo, Jota in the hole between them and any one of a number of characters out wide with Fabs at the base of the diamond.

Still one game really fucked us, that Everton one. I hate to say it but the knock on effects of losing VVD (plus all our other quality defenders) just made it that everyone else had to work harder and they did. The problem was te attrition that caused meant eventually we burnt out.
In the same match we lost Thiago who had just joined and needed training sessions with the lads to get up to speed and he never got them.
You probably won’t like the analogy that I’m going to put forward but take Sheffield United, last season they gave it their all and eneded, for them, being well placed. This season I am sure they wanted to do the same but they just couldn’t. They burnt themselves out. Yet they play a lot fewer games than us.
We end up playing Nat and Rhys in defense they surely try their best but they can’t offer anything like what VVD did (let alone VVD and Gomez). That means our midfield have to work harder and we end up with ‘having’ to play the same midfield all the time. So the attack has to work harder.
I really hate saying this but we have burnt ourselves out and the only way through it is to work even harder. Even for our top professionals there has to be a limit somewhere and I think we’ve reached it (a while back but the hard work delayed the effects of that).
Our squad doesn’t help, so many are out with injuries for much of the season, Matip, Keita, Henderson (he’s having another on off season of niggles), even Jim (bless his aging soul) has caught the dreaded niggles. For those that are left it becomes overbearing and endless.
Still losing at home is unacceptable, isn’t it?

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Short term - maybe mess about with the formation. We don’t need to do a Rodgers and change the formation every time we lose a game but the time has probably come for some short term problem solving.

Drop the defensive line a bit. It’s painful to watch teams get in our right channel with ease time and time again.

Get the midfield right for each opposition. Wijnaldum should be playing games like Leipzig but against the teams who sit back at Anfield he is pointless, it’s like playing with 10. Fabinho and Keita looked bright against Fulham. Those 2 plus Thiago and Jones should be prioritised for these types of fixtures.

Long term, we need to freshen the squad up. In the summer The Athletic were reporting that FSG would be targeting next season as a re-build/transition. I guess they didn’t expect this season to go like this, but it needs to be done. If a big offer came in for one of the front 3 I think we’ll accept and put the money to use, and if we could shift the likes of Ox, Shaq and Origi that would be nice too, though that’s easier said than done. A little influx of 4 or 5 players around the 22-25 age range would add some fresh impetus to a team that looks low on confidence and ideas.

There’s still loads of quality in the squad and we have a brilliant manager, it won’t take an awful lot to have us competing at the top again. I fully expect Klopp to get it right next year.

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I never thought I would see the day when Phillips would be marshalling our back line, he struggles to do the basics. Most could not wait to see the back of Lovren even got death threats from the best fans in the world. Things will improve when our strikers start scoring goals believe me.

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I see a serious lack of movement off the ball, from our front line. Especially in the final third. There is no overloads, no diagonal timing runs when a player like Shaq gets on the ball at 25-30 yard out, at least two options should be moving to space for a little through ball or a chip to the corner of the 6.

But we are seeing nothing. So easy to defend against. Even when we do get something of a counter going, the first instinct of a guy like Mane lately is to slow the play down. Which is totally opposite to what we were successful with for the previous 3 seasons.

None of this makes sense. It’s so weird

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  • It’s finishing techniques (whether its capacity to shoot, guts to shoot, know-how or to shoot from distance, phobia to shoot etc but there’s something about our shooting that every one is missing clear cut chances or there’s that last bit of indecisiveness. Why?

  • We’ve been figured out in every aspect of our game and the result is the opposition have too much time to advance and anticipate us. Opposition teams have blocked our laterals and thus our football is suffering or suffocating. Our players prefers to waste their time in backwards phases and passes than putting them in the box.

  • Zero application of crossing and squaring in to the box. In no man’s land and our front players never taking good positions in the box. Robbo has stopped making first time crosses. If he does, then it’s against the first defender. He is too predictable. Opposing defenders relax more now, knowing that he will stop and go backwards. Trent on the other hand is even worse than Robbo this season - can’t defend, can’t cross, piss poor passing, giving the ball away countless number of times etc.

How do we fix it? I have no idea to be honest especially when it looks like the team and manager have lost all confidence, be it through personal issues, long term/frequent injuries, absurd refereeing or just rotten luck at times. I can only continue to support my team through this nightmare and hope we can get through the rest of this season and come back with a vengeance.

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Although I agree with you about the endless backwards passing in an much to slow tempo, putting them into the box raises another problem. Opposite defenders love a high ball since we have no aerial threats so all they have to do is staying in their position, move sideways where the ball is going and it becomes extremely difficult to find a way true.

If needed they give away a corner, without van Dijk/Gomez/Matip there is a slim chance something will come from that.

Catch 22.

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True. We can’t get goals from crosses nor from midfield nor from our forwards directly. We are in the shits.

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Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

I was looking for the first person to raise the subject of gegenpressing, as I am of the belief that the system has now been effectively nullified by the majority of opposition managers.

High pressing relies on winning the ball high up the pitch and then rapidly breaking into the space behind our opponents’ defence. At the moment, this is simply impossible: our opponents rarely have the ball, ergo we cannot steal it from them, and when they do concede possession they have loads of bodies behind the ball anyway.

If gegenpressing cannot be utilised, what purpose does it serve? :thinking:

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