Liverpool’s horrid start to 2017 continued with yet another defeat. The Reds have now won just one of their seven matches since the turn of the year, missing out on a return to Wembley after a frustrating night against a weakened Southampton at Anfield. The visitors were without the injured Virgil Van Dijk and started 22-year-old Jack Stephens alongside Maya Yoshida. It should have been like lambs to the slaughter for the likes of Firmino, Coutinho and Sturridge, but the trio failed to take advantage as the team struggled to break down a disciplined Saints side, opting to pass sideways for the most part.
Daniel Sturridge doesn’t fit the system
There’s no doubting his ability but sooner or later we’re going to have to admit defeat and just acknowledge the fact Sturridge has a negative impact on the team. When he starts we don’t score. His last four starts have yielded just the three team goals. The team appears to be disjointed with him there because his strengths don’t match up with the strengths of the team. Spaces aren’t exploited. Passes aren’t played to match his runs. His movement doesn’t match the team. It’s sad to see but forcing it won’t help.
On top of all of that, when he starts it means Firmino can’t occupy the central role. When he’s not there he’s not as effective and the team don’t look anywhere near as good.
Desperately Missing Mane
We’ve made a terrible mistake. We’ve become over-reliant on a player and didn’t think to buy an alternative for when he was away at the AFCON. It’s borderline negligent what we’ve done and it can’t be undone now.
In his absence, Liverpool look pedestrian, poor and one dimensional. It means Liverpool have to play one of Lallana or Firmino in a wide role which removes them from areas they’ve excelled in. It’s just bizarre that we, as a club, have allowed one player to have such an impact on the way we play without taking into account the fact he will miss some games. We’re suffering because of it.
It’s bizarre that we, as a club, have allowed one player to have such an impact on the way we play without taking into account the fact he will miss some games. We’re suffering because of it.
To say it’s frustrating would be an understatement. What we’re witnessing now is so far removed from the fluid, destructive force we were earlier in the season. It’s like comparing black and white. Yet we’re not bringing any players in and we’re not really trying anything different. We’re just using the same players in a similar system to the one that guided us to an eighth place finish last season. This isn’t knee-jerk, this is anger at the fact we’ve seen this all before.
It’s a bad patch of form and we will come out of it but how much of an impact will it have had on our season?