THE ANFIELD NOISE

The attack - what's the answer

An old topic from TIA that I hoped to not see anytime soon.

Right now I think that teams only need to put 4 defenders in their box and it’s enough to stop us from having a shot on goal

My perspective is the best way to improve our attack is by buying a center back. Klopp has bought his players to play in a system. So that we are greater than the sum of our parts. Shoehorning key players disrupts the entire system.

Our ability to be on the front foot relies upon the trust that we have a solid foundation. That foundation is the keeper, center backs, and a midfielder that covers our fullbacks getting forward.

Losing Henderson and Fabinho from midfield means our fullbacks no longer have the same cover. Playing midfielders in defense means we are now dropping back instead of pushing forward. Saw a stat Fabinho average position is 10m further back than VvDs.

Our creativity comes from our fullbacks. They stretch the game for us. That creates opportunities and space for our attackers. Our defensive line with Gomez and VvD being so far forward, creates further pressure, forcing mistakes.

Personally I would prefer putting Henderson in midfield, and continue playing a youngster in defense if we dont sign a center back.

Other than that, I dont see Klopp having many options. Whilst Jota would help massively, for now Origi and Minamino are next to useless. Personally I would like to see Shaqiri given a run. He might provide that bit of a spark from a more central position.

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Mbappé.

Next?

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Agree with @ISMF1 and think Klopp does too.

https://twitter.com/MaddockMirror/status/1350889091190165508?s=09

We perhaps hadn’t appreciated how delicately balanced our 433 formation was. Without all elements in place we turn into a side that struggles. The keeper has to be confident marshalling a large area and playing the ball with his feet. The CBs have to be fast enough and quality enough to push up high and really be involved in the game. The midfield needs to be hard working and industrious. Those last two release the full backs to be out an out playmakers although still better defensively than given credit for. Firmino then gets to operate in the spaces in front of their defence more like an attacking mid either pulling their defensive line out of shape or free to feed balls to Salah and Mane cutting in from wider positions.

But with the CBs deeper the midfield would have to work harder and cover more distance. But we don’t have Henderson in there who is the best for that or Fabinho who is good in their too. In fact last night’s starting CM surprised me as it was the least industrious I’ve seen for awhile from us although they actually did ok in that department. These issues at CB and CM pull the FBs further back so it’s harder to dominate the game as playmakers without exposing their side of the pitch to attacks. Firmino is then very isolated with a lot more to do and a lot more space to deal with being picked up by their midfield instead of bothering their defence. Salah and Mane also are further away from goal and wider in their starting positions when we are trying to make things happen. That’s a very basic, generalistic view of how I think it’s going wrong.

If VvD and Gomez had been playing yesterday I think it would have looked like we were playing with the gloves off and there would be no discussion over problems with the attack. However Jota coming back and getting the three some rest and using rotation would also help.

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Diogo Jota!

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I don’t think we can blame yesterday on defence. The midfield did as much as can be expected to put the attackers into goal scoring positions.

It feels like all three of Sadio, Mo and Bobby are short of form. That won’t last very long.

What confuses me is that Takumi Minamino had his best game for LFC against Palace - goal and assist, I think - and hasn’t got anywhere near the pitch since. God knows what’s going on there.

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Rest Bobby,
Give some starts to Mina.
And just starts here and there, but a good run of starts.

Hopefully it will freshen things up about in attack

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I agree, there is a huge part of it as ISMF points out which is losing the ball playing ability and higher line from Van Dijk and Gomez/Matip.

What Van Dijk did best was the long diagnol balls to Trent, he also took few touches before releasing the ball.

Matip/Gomez stepped out in midfield and also fizzed the ball low and hard forwards.

I actually thought Henderson replicated both of the above albeit a little less effectively yesterday and it showed, we played well. The midfield played more offensively i.e. they weren’t overly that concerned with what was behind and played with a sort of freedom we’ve not seen before… Now that could simply be the mentality of Shaqiri and Thiago, but the midfield did function and did start to create.

Hence me agreeing with your post, we had enough chances or got ourself into enough promising positions to have scored at least 1 goal first half. The decision making was just unacceptable, like when Bobby went for a shot instead of releasing Robbo who was literally unmarked and would have slide it across the goal for a simple tap in.

Not sure what is going on, but the main element for me is Bobby being bang out of form. His press seems none existant, he keeps losing the ball in midfield (which typically directly leads to the opponent getting in on our goal) and he takes the wrong choice every single time. 2nd half instead of just taking a touch and going for goal he tried this ridiculous back flick which looked like he’d snap his body in half trying to achieve.

What Bobby used to bring was the ability to make space for Mane and Salah, he also enabled us to break quickly as he’d release the ball quickly… He’s doing neither. So as you say, Taki has to get a chance… Even Origi in his 6 min cameo did more progressive work than Bobby did. That pains me to say.

Not saying Mane and Salah are absolved either, they aren’t at their best either. Far too much blind running into alleys and losing the ball, but a lot of that for me is because they are being asked to do everything.

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Yep he puts away at least 1 of the chances Bobby had yesterday.

Perhaps a slight tactical adjustment is needed?

Personally I think we should be looking to get players to the by line more often, especially as we now seem to have more possession in every game we play. We need to try and turn defenses.

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Lack of width is the issue here. Robbo and Trent aren’t as dangerous as they have been previously, possibly because of the endless changes in midfield, due to our ongoing CB crisis.

That takes away the width in our game, and makes us narrow and predictable. Defences only need to stay narrow and focus on our forwards and they’ll be fine. Add to this a newly formed midfield, and there are obvious problems to link the different parts of our game together.

The key is to get some continuity in the line-up from now on, so that everyone can get used to his role and his team-mates. Our build-up game yesterday was fine, it was just that width which was lacking. In my opinion, that’s what Klopp needs to work on right now: allowing Trent and Robbo more freedom in order to transform them into efficient wingers again.

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To a point I agree, but they got in multiple positions yesterday and the final ball was terrible. I think between them Robbo delivered 1 cross (which Bobby fucked up) which was of their typical standard, out of about 10 opportunities.

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How about some actual shots at the goal?

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Like Klopp said there is no easy fix. Part of it is missing Van Dijk and Gomez and part of it is the full backs and the forwards severely underperforming. Bringing in a new defender would help with the team’s balance and transitions but it wouldn’t stop Firmino from making wrong decisions or TAA from hitting the first defender with his cross.

It’s a really difficult situation. The effect of playing without CBs is compounded by the simultaneous loss of form of all our play makers. And Klopp is part of it too. His recent lineups and substitutions have been as uninspiring as his players’ performances.

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Our attack, in fact our entire game-play, is based on integration and intensity. All the players have a role in both attack and defense and playing in high intensity, this kaleidoscope of interchangeable roles was positively dizzying for the opponents.

The VVD-Matip/Gomez partnership didn’t just give us solid base, allowing the wingbacks and the midfielders to be more adventurous, the CB themselves initiated attacks from back. Dropping Fabinho (and as recent games goes, Henderson) in the defense hasn’t only robbed us of the attacking spark from the central midfield, it has also robbed us of their advanced defensive contributions. So, instead of always poised to spring an attack, we are in some way boxed-in.

The injuries and the mysteries surrounding Origi, Takumi, Jota, Keita and AOC means just a handful of players are playing almost every game. This is weighing down on the players and is visible in the lack of sharpness of our attackers. Mind it, they are also missing the usual services from CB, wingbacks and more advanced midfielders.

I don’t think buying a CB is the answer; though it might (considering Matip will have an injury free season) allow Fabinho to move into his usual role that covers the backline and supplements the attack. First of all, no club will sell a decent CB in the middle of the season and jeopardize their own season. Secondly, it’s an integrated system and the newcomer will take time to grasp our strategy.

I think the answer is Thiago and Shaqiri. We have always missed that creative spark in our midfield and these two can open up the opposition defense from varieties of positions.

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Our front 3 thrive on space and the opportunity to counter-attack. Neither of those things have been available the last few games. Salah is pretty ineffective playing with his back to goal and most of Bobby’s skill set is wasted against the bus.
We need to mix things up massively and I think that means dropping either Bobby or Mo and adding creativity to the midfield, for me Tiago and Shaq would be charged with opening a packed defence.
I think our attack has functioned poorly as a unit more and more as time has gone on and it has co-incided with Mo playing more for himself than the team. There, I’ve said it.

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Of course the defence playing a bit deeper has a knock on effect but rather than suggesting we’re just another CB away from being all good again I would look at why we’re so ineffective if we can’t play with an extremely high line and extremely high full backs. At this point in the evolution of this side we should have developed more facets to our game.

Full backs aren’t the only players who can provide width, and if they’re not getting as far forward or not playing well we could use our front three to do the job. Mane is great on the right hand side and would stretch the pitch a little more.

We need better runners from midfield - Gini’s attacking play and general quality on the ball this season has been the poorest it’s been since he arrived here, almost playing like a parody of himself. Keita has provided some nice runs off the ball but obviously hasn’t been available enough. These runners don’t even need to score goals, they open up space for others. Everything is a bit too static at the moment.

Another problem is Firmino, he simply isn’t enough of a threat when we’re not playing a high pressing or counter attacking game. A more classic #9, or even moving Salah centrally, would help in plenty of games. Firmino and Wijnaldum are too often passengers when the opposition are sitting in.

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Did you write this? Lol…

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To be fair, most players would with be with an opposition lad dangling off his neck, like Mo has to deal with.

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The best thing we could do for this squad is to buy 2 CBs. The knock-on effect of moving Hugo and Fabinho to the CBs is that you’re missing the drive and defensive acumen that you would get from those players. Hugo keeps the tempo high and presses effectively and Fabinho sweeps up the mess. At present we have nobody who can do that in the squad.

The negligence, arrogance, and incompetence of not replacing Lovren is continuously biting us in the ass throughout this season and will likely cost us a league title.

PS. this squad needs refreshing as well as one of Matip/Gomez needs to be shown the door as they cannot be relied upon. In the summer, I want Liverpool to be ruthless, Matip/Gomez, Milner, Origi, Shaq etc have to be moved on in order for the club to progress.

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