The season rolls on, and Liverpool are yet to taste defeat in any competition thus far. A quarter final place in the League Cup, a top place position in their Champions League group, and a second place berth in the Premier League represents a superb start to the season.
With a home game against Brighton and then Atletico Madrid this week, the reds will then round off a busy week with a trip to West Ham. Squad management is perhaps the biggest issue at the moment, with Klopp having to rotate his entire cast amidst some problematic injuries. With all defenders well placed to start (based upon whoever looks strongest), the midfield once again offers more questions than answers. It’ll be impossible to predict a starting line up, until the likes of Naby Keïta, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara have either been ruled in or out of Saturday afternoon’s game.
Jordan Henderson is having a peculiar spell, in that he can either look really good, or really bad. The Liverpool captain needs to find consistency in his game, as a senior member of the team. His starting place is pretty much assured, and a midweek rest (versus Preston), would have helped in his own preparation. As a player susceptible to injuries, his game time must be managed, as Liverpool can not absorb many more lay-offs. As we approach the next phase of the season, the hope is that his blip was in-fact a hangover from his summer exertions, and last weeks superb showing can become more common.
Curtis Jones is now very close to becoming a regular first team starter, and the Harvey Elliott injury has certainly afforded him some opportunities as the attacking midfielder. We all know the absolute control both Fabinho and Thiago bring to this team, and Naby is now offering everything we knew he could. Rotation and competition are good factors to have in any elite or world class team, but the steady stream of injuries is still a worrying trend, with Liverpool’s engine room so key to regaining and controlling possession of the ball. A midfield trio of Fab, Thiago and Naby is a tantalising idea, and one that Klopp is surely desperate to see on the pitch, but each have problems in maintaining availability. It may be that we never see a proper run of this midfield, but the reintroduction of any of these three, will be welcomed by all.
The worlds greatest player, Mohamed Salah, is terrorising teams across Europe, and his impact can not be understated. It is no coincidence that both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are now hitting form, after too long just pondering through games. Mo has raised his levels to staggering heights, and it appears the supporting cast is eager to regain their own credentials. Liverpool have become a team that can blow teams away this season, and their urgency to overcome teams from the outset, is now causing teams to implode. Brighton are an impressive outfit this year, and much like Brentford a few weeks ago, they will be looking to match the reds on the field of play. Liverpool have to become bullies in certain games, and where we have seen Manchester City literally steam roll teams into submission, Liverpool have to continue this aggressive approach.
The Reds have everything to play for this season, but sadly injuries may once again play a pivotal part in their season trajectory. The campaign is still in its infancy, but the top three teams in the league will undoubtedly start to break away from the next tier of teams, and points dropped for each could be critical, even at this stage. Klopp’s reds have the bit between their teeth, and that’ll be enough to overcome nearly everyone, but getting over the line with three points is all that matters. Momentum is key if Liverpool truly wish to regain titles, and in order to do that, they must continue to play like nothing can stop them.