Liverpool’s Struggles Post Spurs Defeat
It’s fair to say that Liverpool’s Premier League title surge has lost some momentum in recent weeks, having started the season in exciting form.
The gut-wrenching and brave late 2-1 defeat away to Tottenham was followed up by a disappointing 2-2 draw at Burnley, with the Reds nowhere near their best at the Amex Stadium.
While back-to-back defeats for Man City have given everyone else some hope that the champions may have dropped off a little, there are clear doubts about Liverpool’s hopes of going all the way in 2023/24.
Midfield and Defensive Cracks Showing
The lack of a proper No.6 continues to look problematic, with Alexis Mac Allister floundering somewhat in the role, while the defence looks far more unsteady than it once did.
Let’s face it, if Alisson was replaced with a lesser Liverpool goalkeeper from the past, the current points tally would be lower.
There has been plenty to love about Jurgen Klopp’s side as well, of course, from majestic new signing Dominik Szoboszlai to an attack full of elite options, and the hope is that a legendary campaign lies ahead.
Merseyside Derby: A Turning Point?
After two below-par results, Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday, and while all meetings with the Blues feel significant, this one is so crucial when it comes to the Reds getting back into their groove.
The match comes straight after an international break and is a Saturday 12.30pm kickoff, which immediately raises alarm bells.
Liverpool can be famously sloppy in these games and with the likes of Alisson, Mac Allister, and Darwin Nunez all arriving back from South America fairly later in the week – the latter could be out with cramp – a lack of time on the training ground could be an issue.
Everton’s Resurgence and Tactical Approach
Then there’s the fact that Everton are a team that have picked up recently, winning two of their last three Premier League games and beginning to look like a Sean Dyche team.
Their quality is clearly inferior to Liverpool’s, so it is obvious who the favourites are, but we know exactly how the Blues will approach the game, and this type of tactical battle can be an Achilles’ heel for Klopp’s men.
Everton will have 10 men behind the ball and waste time throughout, and look to spring their Merseyside rivals on the counter-attack when the ball is lost, using the pace of Dwight McNeil, Jack Harrison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to dangerous effect.
Need for Tactical Security and Inventiveness
Liverpool have looked susceptible whenever their own attacks break down throughout the season, so they need to be secure as well as inventive in possession.
The rustiness that could be on show after the internationals, as well as a potentially quiet Anfield, also make this a possible banana skin, and while this may sound too fearful of an average team, we have seen this game too often over the past year or two.
Proving Championship Credentials
Liverpool should prevail, even with the above issues acting as reasons to be worried, but if they don’t, it will be another big setback in their title bid.
To have suddenly gone three league games without a win would be a major worry, suggesting there are too many flaws to clinch glory next May, but on the flip side, a resounding victory would be the perfect response to a slightly uncertain period recently.
Liverpool were down to nine men at Spurs, while a draw away to Brighton is no disaster at all, but failing to win is something that doesn’t bear thinking about.
A huge performance is required, in a fixture that looks like an awkward day at the office.