Liverpool's 'Rotating' Problem
A lot of clubs have a rotation problem, balancing the heavy requirements of the winter schedule can be daunting, but Liverpool… they’re different. For once Liverpool have a deep enough squad that rotation is not an issue at all, but the Reds do have a rotating problem. The focus of supporter ire changes from match to match depending on the latest performance. Like a game of roulette played in the seventh level of hell, Liverpool players take turns sending their supporters into fits of rage.
At times the target has been at the top, with the False-Nine formation and it’s focal point, Roberto Firmino, having dry spells that coincided with poor stretches of form for the club. Now Bobby is one of the Reds’ brightest stars with the problems having made a complete revolution through the eleven. Mo Salah cost us early when his aim faltered. Sadio Mané is said to be having confidence issues (though he looked pretty confident attempting a bicycle kick at an empty net at The Emirates).
Coutinho had back problems, or so says his Catalonian doctor. Can’s focus may be on which Italian villa he’s going to move into, and every inopportune yellow he picks up is seen as proof of that. Wijnaldum is one of the Reds’ leaders in appearances yet he doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. Henderson is always an injury waiting to happen and Friday night, it happened.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have had a tougher time battling the offside rule than they have opposing wingers. Moreno’s been on a zero-tolerance policy with supporters and against Sevilla of all clubs, that policy was put to the test. Matip hasn’t lived up to the performance his stature suggests he is capable of and Dejan has Lovrened up enough to earn a sympathy Man of the Month award.
At the back, Karius had his “oopsie” moment against Spartak, cheating to one side on a free kick and then forgetting to cover the other side.
And finally, not to be left out, Simon Mignolet… oh Simon. His time in the barrel came Friday night when a sharply hit but straight as an arrow shot came right for poor Mignolet’s… hands. A slight flex of his neck muscles and Migs could have headed the ball away, and yet Xhaka’s ball sailed through our keeper’s hands and into the net, allowing Arsenal to level the score when they appeared well beaten.
– – – –
Every player who has played any significant time for Liverpool can easily be blamed for points lost here or there during this odd season. For Jurgen Klopp (who hasn’t been perfect either) maybe there’s something freeing in our relatively even distribution of errors. As the club goes into 2018 the manager knows that every Liverpool player is capable of a costly error, but at the same time each has contributed to a top-four season to this point.
It isn’t the worst scenario to be in. The entire squad can either improve or be improved upon with a new addition, while there aren’t any areas where you’d bet against a high-level performance in Liverpool’s next match.
What this should allow Michael Edwards and the back office team to do is to scan the January waters and simply try to add the best talent available rather than targeting a specific position. Reaching to fill an emergency need is where transfer disasters are born. As of today, a new signing at any position, be it an attacking player to add to the rotation in the front four, a central midfielder to bring solidity, a defender to fix our problems against the top-six, or a goaltender to add to our growing collection would be welcome by the supporters.
The problem is less where we add, but simply that the club recognises that Liverpool are close enough to compete for trophies to justify investment yet far enough away to make it absolutely vital that do some inspiring business in January.
While the club is never going to have a flawless squad, adding another top-tier talent would go along way to making our rotation of errors less frequent and less costly in terms of the league table.