Liverpool’s Midfield Struggles Ahead of Crucial Merseyside Derby

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Liverpool’s Midfield Struggles: Woeful Timing and Crushing Impact

They couldn’t have picked a worse time to all pretty much fall off that cliff eh. In the crucible of the Premier League, the midfield situation at Anfield has been the stage for many a drama. Yet, in recent weeks, it’s been more of a tragedy for Liverpool’s midfield maestros, a collective performance begging for a crescendo that’s just not coming. They need to pick it up and quickly as even rotation didn’t make it great and with a derby next up, there’s zero excuses.

Midfield Malaise: Liverpool’s Current Conundrum

Dipping into the analytical side of football, it’s not hyperbole to say the midfield at Liverpool seems to be faltering. With the anticipation building for the storied Merseyside Derby, there’s a palpable urgency for the Reds’ midfield to find form, and fast. Wataru Endo, hailed in the past for his ability to break up play, has seen a slump that can’t be ignored. His game against Fulham was emblematic of his recent woes – an abysmal showing in the first half with an only marginally improved performance in the second. The once-reliable shield of the back four has become a sieve since those United games and the Fulham match exposed this with Endo’s sporadic brilliance doing little to veil the errors. He’s only played half a season in truth but it’s all looking a bit much for him.

Creative Sparks Dimmed

Looking at Dominik Szoboszlai, the narrative remains woefully similar. Since his return from injury which has to be factored in, his contribution has been underwhelming at best, highlighted by a shaky cameo against Fulham that almost led to catastrophe with a couple of terrible giveaways. It’s not enough to simply be present on the field; Liverpool’s system demands impact, something Szoboszlai is struggling to deliver since his return. It’s unfair to measure him against earlier at the start of the season, but this is still well below the required standard right now.

Lone Ranger Losing Steam

Alexis Mac Allister has been the Atlas of this Liverpool side, carrying the midfield on his shoulders. But even the mightiest can falter, and signs of exhaustion are showing, with the engine room’s heart rate dropping to concerning levels. With a tally of six goals, he stands out, but even his verve seems to be sputtering as the season wears on. It’s telling that a player who looked as though he was an outside contender for player of the year is now well off it. The facts he’s played so many minutes is a factor and the weight of carrying an area has told in his defence.

Photo: IMAGO

Youthful Exuberance Yet to Ignite

Curtis Jones, with his mercurial talent, has also failed to reignite the spark since his return, with his miss against Crystal Palace symbolising his and the team’s recent frustrations. Liverpool’s midfield isn’t lacking in names but is searching for the form that has made them so formidable. It’s crazy to think that a player who at one time was one of the first names on the team sheet didn’t even raise one iota of noise on social media when he wasn’t played against Fulham. Haunted by that miss he maybe, but the old Curtis is needed and quickly.

Flickers of Hope

Ryan Gravenberch, on the other hand, offers a glimmer of hope. He may not have set the field ablaze, but his performance against Fulham was a step in the right direction – a goal, a key pass, and a decent duel win rate offer promise. Yet, it’s not just the up-and-comers who need to step up; the onus is on Liverpool’s seasoned players to rise to the occasion. It’s hopeful that he can press on but there’s little expectation Gravenberch is going to be the key cog in that area before the end of this campaign.

Looking Ahead

As we edge closer to the high-stakes Derby, Liverpool’s midfield needs to channel the spirit of their legendary predecessors. It’s not just about avoiding misplaced passes or squandering possession; it’s about reclaiming the assertive, dynamic play that’s defined their tenure at the top. The statistics don’t lie. The midfielders have been shadows of their potential selves, with give-aways and misdirected passes becoming an all-too-common theme. In the coming weeks, it’s critical they harness that latent talent, turning the tides to ensure the Anfield faithful have something to cheer about. Whoever plays and whatever rotation is employed, it needs to improve and quickly.

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