THE ANFIELD NOISE

The Central Midfield Thread

Needed a place where we can discuss our central midfield.

Current squad:
Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Milner, Jones, Keita, Ox, (Shaqiri)

Out on loan:
Grujic, (Minamino) - what to do with them?

Main points needed to talk about:

  • our midfielders are not scoring - surely something we can improve.

  • Gini leaving and Shaqiri very likely too - how do we react?

  • Milner and one of Keita/Ox (if they don’t fix injuries + form) to leave in 2022.

  • Thiago and Henderson aging and with their injury history might need game time managed probably sooner than later.

  • are there any academy players showing similar potential like Curtis?

Personally I think we will need 3 new players for midfield in the next three transfer windows (summer 21, january, summer 22).

I would start with not replacing Wijnaldum like for like but with someone who can add some goals.

Ca. Ma. Vinga.

(Had to stretch my one-word answer to ten characters)

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Camavinga with a full stop is ten characters. :thinking:

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True, but I wanted to break it up for dramatic effect. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Presuming we stay with the current midfield set up of 6, defensive 8, offensive 8 I see the core of midfield next year being;

Henderson; Tactically flexible, passion, leadership, experience, combative. Able to fill in the 6 to high standard, the defensive 8 or even the offensive 8.

Fabinho; World class, solid number 6. Better on the ball than most 6s. Emergency cover at CB but let’s hope not as much or at all.

Thiago; Creative, more combative than given credit for, world class, priceless experience. Great 8 or even cover at 6.

Jones; Better defensively than at first presumed but great technical capabilities and flare. Should be cementing himself as the go too choice for the offensive 8. Passion, youthful energy.

Milner; Experience, Passion, fire, no spring chicken. Can do a job in one of the 8 roles but shouldn’t be playing week in week out anymore.

I’d say we could do with 2 others adding to that. Whether that’s 1 or 2 from Keita, Ox, Grujic, Shaqiri, Wilson or the academy or 1 or 2 from the transfer market is up for debate.

Personally I’d add Camavinga all day every day if I could. Also like the idea of Gravenberch and Bellingham. Rabiot has all the traits for a Klopp CM if his attitude isn’t a problem for Jurgen. Still young but with top notch, winning, experience too.

A lot will depend on departures, we’ve currently too many on the books even with Wijnaldum running down his contract and leaving.

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The Ox has another 2 years left on his contract. If he fails to recover his mojo, he’ll be with us till it expires, as no club will pay a fee and match the wages he is on.

Disrupted by injuries, but we saw what he can do when he was playing with and post Coutinho. If he can gain some minutes this season off the bench for the remaining games, then maybe 2021-22 can be a new start for him again.

Klopp has been bigging him up lately in his interviews, so probably the Ox will see some game time.

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Wijnaldum will leave this summer and Milner will see out his contract and will probably retire. Grujic and Wilson don’t have any future with us and must/would be sold this summer.

Shaqiri and AOC both are brilliant in patches but utterly inconsistent, and the later has fitness issues too. Keita is brilliant but his fitness is scandalous. I would sell, if possible, Shaqiri & AOC and give Keita another go.

So going into the next season, our midfield roster will be like

  1. Fabinho
  2. Henderson
  3. Thiago
  4. Curtis
  5. Keita
  6. Milner

On paper this looks adequate. But considering Henderson entering his twilight years and Milner on his way out, I would add another midfielder as part of succession planning.

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Probably in the hope that he’ll dupe some mug team into buying him. It’s a bit similar to Jürgen waxing lyrical about Brewster.

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Our major problem is injuries as we have good quality here.
The other problem I see without Hendo available is Thiago Firmino axe just doesn’t work. Thiago against the Arse slowed the game down too much, turned the wrong way too often it was disappointing as he does have quality. Anyway the bigger problem imo is Firmino.
Then there’s Milner he just doesn’t look up to the level anymore (better in midfield than LB mind (he really struggled against Pepe compared to Robbo)).
Jones can flll in for Milner adding a better attacking option at the same time.
So no need to go overboard here (just worry about potential layoffs through injury) Camavinga would be a great boost.
So for me the most important is to sort the front 3 out get Mbappe in!

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Thiago made the Arsenal midfield call him Daddy! Fabinho made them cry!

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That looks like a post match comment.

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And yours doesn’t?

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West ham linked with Chamberlain a couple of days ago and their fans were not happy, if only he could stay fit.

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Mine was to give examples from a match still in my memory. :wink:

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Mine was to give examples from a match still in my memory. :wink:

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I don’t count Shaqiri in our central midfield roster, even if he’s more of a combining offensive player (plays the right sided role differently than Salah, which is okay), but the two 8’s as simply not his best roles.

I don’t think Grujic is good enough to be part of our roster, I think he gets sold similar to how Chelsea sold Mario Pasalic (who had better loans than Grujic so far).

This summer, I want a player who shares some qualities Gini has. In order to retain balance in our central midfield options. Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago, * new player * one of Keita/Chamberlain (probably), Jones and Milner.

Sure, there was a time we needed a Keita, a Thiago, tried something different with Chamberlain, now Jones is earning game time.

But we must not forget the hard working qualities Gini provided in the last 3 years (first two he wasn’t as important).

We’ll see what happens with Millie, it’s no big deal if he remains as part of let’s say 7 midfielders for next season, because he also covers the full back areas and will be in his final year.

As for other years in advance until 2024, that’s simply way too far ahead to predict. A million things can happen until then, nice susprises, bad surprises, players dropping/rising, talents not developing as we thought they would/might, big injuries, change of structure, etc.

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Thiago?
Look at his numbers and he’s better than Gini. with a fit Hendo do we need anymore as there’s also Jones. Milner perhaps needs replacing?

We also want sone young blood for the midfield. So, Jude Bellingham perhaps? And Camavinga as well.