Liverpool played out another 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday night, with the Reds the most stimulating after another
It ended scoreless at Stamford Bridge as we went 465 minutes without either side touching the net in that game.
Despite the equal scoreline, Jurgen Klopp concluded the quality of football was a world away from last season’s domestic cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea.
“I saw two [0-0 draw] Liverpool v Chelsea, both finals were absolutely crazy,” he told reporters at his post-match press conference. “Very similar teams I would say, totally different level of football due to the trust of both teams.”
It’s hard to argue, especially where we’re concerned.
Liverpool were lucky to escape by a point after conceding two goals disallowed by VAR and being repeatedly exposed in defence.
But the bigger picture is that the Reds look lost, unable to demonstrate the fundamentals that helped them win it all.
Where do we go from here? Let’s take a look at some trends and see if there’s any hope of salvaging the day. SORGE – The midfielder’s age profile
It’s a tired conversation that simultaneously becomes more and more relevant with each passing week.
Liverpool have been plagued with injuries in the middle of the park this season, but it’s hard to have much compassion and only a lot of that can be attributed to luck.
The Reds have played 63 games in 2021/22 and every one of them has counted. It was blood and thunder from start to finish and the physical demands that this places on a Liverpool system are immeasurable.
Going into the next season with the same midfielders, many of whom are past their prime, certainly seems negligible with and without hindsight. According to Liverpool author Andrew Beasley, just 7% of Liverpool’s midfield minutes come from players aged 22-28, a staggering amount considering Newcastle’s figure is 99.5% by the same metric
There can be few excuses not to address it in the summer.
PRIORITY – Eliminate defensive errors
Making mistakes is part of sport, but Liverpool are far too easy to separate at the moment and would be in even worse shape without their goalkeeper.
Chelsea recorded a 2.17 xG on Tuesday night, underlining how lucky the Reds were to come away with a clean sheet.
On other occasions, such as the 4-1 victory over Etihad, the penalty will be more severe. It was a heavily changed four-way return to Stamford Bridge, but the persistent errors have been contagious throughout the squad this season and Liverpool need to focus on struggling to get ahead.
The Reds have conceded 33 league goals so far this season, the same number as in 2019/20.
SORGE – The departure of our best players
When Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah are criticized, you know we’re in trouble.
Liverpool’s previous ability to deliver results despite not being at their best was largely down to their ability to rely on their star men – aside from Alisson, there don’t seem to be many of them this season.
A football fan’s natural reaction to adversity is to look for scapegoats, and in recent months there seems to have been a new one after every game. World-class footballers don’t go bad overnight. Trust is a delicate commodity and there is a lack of identity across the entire workforce.
If a 7-0 win over Man United isn’t enough to inspire new faith, it’s hard to see what else could do the trick.
PRIORITY – Improve away form
Liverpool have collected just 13 points from 15 games this season, along with relegated Leicester and Southampton.
It’s a far cry from the 2019/20 title-winning season when the Reds amassed 44 points from a possible 57, most points dropped after the league had already been sealed. Anfield’s record has been relatively impressive, with nine out of 13 wins showing that Liverpool still have the ability to control and win football games against good teams.
Finding a way to win again in their runs must be a priority if the Reds are to return to their best form next season.
CONCERN – The impact of a missing Champions League
The last concern ties in perfectly with the first.
Liverpool fans will be troubled that the club’s summer spending plans will be limited by a failure to finish fourth.
In truth, missing out on Europe’s elite club competition only increases the need to prepare for next season, especially with Arsenal and Newcastle emerging as serious contenders. The midfield will need a big operation and there have been calls for defensive reinforcements to go along with it
It won’t be easy and losing a UEFA windfall will inevitably make the process more difficult, whether we like it or not.
That’s a great question, but Liverpool have been pulling off far more unlikely rabbits in recent years.
Let’s hope we have something worth rooting for in May!
10 key things to know ahead of Arsenal vs. Liverpool – includes Firmino’s parting gift?
League leaders Arsenal are visiting this weekend as Liverpool return to Anfield for the first time in over a month to make a statement.
Premier League (29) | Anfield
April 9, 2023 | 4.30pm (BST)
A humiliating 4-1 defeat at the Etihad last weekend was followed by a disappointing 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Liverpool will be looking to harness the power of the home crowd on their return to Anfield to inspire a better performance and get their current campaign back on track.
The Reds will welcome their strongest Arsenal side in many years in a match where just three points are enough to keep any hopes of a move to the top four. Here are 10 things you need to know before Liverpool vs. Arsenal.
1. A return of Thiago?
After a seemingly endless hip flexor problem and little indication of the timing, Thiago could be involved this weekend for the first time since February. Jurgen Klopp told the media in his pre-Arsenal press conference that the midfielder could ‘eventually’ be available as he has now trained ‘three or four times’ with the full squad.
“Luis [Diaz] and Thiago are training normally,” the manager revealed.
“Thiago looks a bit different [from Diaz], hasn’t been out that long, has trained with the team three, four times now and might be available. But we have to see how he feels today. today.”
2. “It’s Anfield”
Sunday is Liverpool’s first game at Anfield in over a month, most recently in the 7-0 win over Man United in early March. The boss spoke of the importance of using the atmosphere to the advantage of the team in an attempt to turn around recent fortunes, admitting there is “no secret” about the role the public can play.
The German explained: “In a home game, a big push can obviously be the crowd, celebrating challenges, celebrating slides, the ball going out – that’s where it all starts.
“It’s the first small win, you have to build on that.”
3. Further changes
Klopp revealed that the busy match schedule “opens the door for everyone” and hinted that further line-up changes can be expected this weekend.
The manager made six changes at Stamford Bridge as the side lost 4-1 to Man City, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah both on the bench and Virgil van Dijk completely sidelined with illness. “I said it before the game and I say it now, this is a different week because we play three times,” Klopp said during his pre-game press conference.
“But from now on, if we don’t play three times a week, we’ll have more time to train.”
4. Historically a difficult journey for visitors
Arsenal go into Sunday favorites as they chase their first league title since an unbeaten 2003-04 season, but Anfield is far from a happy hunting ground for the Gunners.
Liverpool have won their last six home games against Arsenal in the Premier League, scoring 22 times and conceding just four.
Arsenal’s last successful league trip to Anfield came in September 2012, when goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla sealed a 2-0 victory. 5. Expect goals
Unlike recent meetings with Chelsea, where 465 minutes went without a goal, this game often produces goals.
The two sides have scored 180 times in their Premier League meetings, more than any other match in the competition.
Only one of the sides’ last 45 league games has finished goalless: a 0-0 draw at the Emirates in 2015.
6. Jota to finally break his duck?
Diogo Jota hasn’t scored for Liverpool since a 2-2 draw at the Etihad last April, but Sunday’s opponents are a side he has generally found joy against.
The Portuguese striker scored seven times against Arsenal for the Reds, more than any other team, and averaged a goal every 73 minutes.
This could be the perfect opportunity for him to pick up his first win of the season after missing the majority through injury as hamstring and calf issues keep him out.
7. The top four hope for the lead
Not a single league win in three has seen Champions League qualification slip out of Liverpool’s hands, meaning one win will be enough on Sunday.
The Reds are 10 points behind fourth-placed Man United and a further loss of points to Arsenal could mean the end of any realistic hope of winning things back.
It will be a huge demand given the quality of the opponent, but Liverpool need to find a way to perform at their best and get a result to keep the season going.
8. A swan song by Firmino? Along with Jota, Roberto Firmino has also scored more Liverpool goals against Arsenal than any other team.
The Brazilian has scored 10 goals in 17 games against the Gunners, including a memorable 5-1 league hat-trick in December 2018.
Firmino will leave Anfield on a free transfer this summer and will take his last chance to score in this game if included.
Only Robbie Fowler (12) has more Liverpool goals against Arsenal than Firmino in all competitions.
9. Tierney in charge
Paul Tierney will take charge of Sunday’s match, a referee who has a history with the Liverpool manager.
Klopp protested against Tierney after his decision not to send Harry Kane off during the 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in December 2021.
The full-time manager told Tierney: “I have no problem with referees. Only you.”
10. Join us for coverage!
Liverpool vs Arsenal will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, starting at 4.30pm (BST).
If you’re looking for a biased take on the proceedings, look no further than This Is Anfield’s live blog of the day, which will be available from 3.45pm.
A win please, Reds!
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