For Jürgen Klopp, Roberto Firmino can fix the Thiago issue and open up the new-look Liverpool midfield. | soccer4u
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For Jürgen Klopp, Roberto Firmino can fix the Thiago issue and open up the new-look Liverpool midfield.



Liverpool have a problem in midfield and Jurgen Klopp will not be able to solve it with the return of Thiago only from the injury. Roberto Firmino can help provide the answer.

For Jürgen Klopp, Roberto Firmino can fix the Thiago issue and open up the new-look Liverpool midfield

Although it’s still a little early in the campaign to quash anyone’s chances of success this season – and bear in mind that Manchester City are just five points clear of Liverpool despite their different starts to the season – Jurgen Klopp’s midfield remains a major concern.

How quickly new signing Arthur Melo will adapt to playing in England remains to be seen, but the Brazil international will have to adapt quickly to the increasing intensity of the Premier League.

Thiago Alcântara is due to return to training on Monday, but his return could see Jordan Henderson out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury and Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left out of the 24-man squad for the group stages of the Champions League suggesting neither player is close to fitness.

Especially without Thiago, Liverpool lacked control in midfield. As is well documented, Klopp’s midfield was completely open without the Spain international.

Liverpool’s defense suffered, even Virgil van Dijk looked nervous and Trent Alexander-Arnold was upset. Against Everton, the Goodison Park side flooded six or seven forwards in a counterattack, with just two Liverpoolers – including Mohamed Salah – behind the ball.

Taking control of the game is a balance Klopp has yet to strike. His starting midfield trio against Everton was hugely attacking, with Fábio Carvalho and Harvey Elliott on either side of Fabinho and while that stimulated creativity, it offered Anthony Gordon and others a chance to counter at many times.

It’s unclear how long Liverpool would have kept those three had Carvalho not suffered a dead leg, but the switch was imposed at half-time and Arthur was not yet deemed ready – although he was named on the bench after the international clearance – Roberto Firmino arrived.

For Jürgen Klopp, Roberto Firmino can fix the Thiago issue and open up the new-look Liverpool midfield

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Firmino made four before and helps Liverpool, at least in the first minutes, to find Darwin Núñez more often. Liverpool’s attack was more beautiful there with Firmino, but midfielder two by Fabinho and Elliott was even more exposed. A draw with Everton was a fair result, but the two parties could have obtained a winner and Liverpool left things open.

There must be a balance between defense and attack. Núñez remains a problem, and while pairing him with Firmino can help, playing four up front isn’t a viable solution, especially when Elliott is one of the players who needs to dig deeper.

Thiago’s return will allow Liverpool to have more control and Arthur should offer similar qualities in his absence, but the game against Everton showed two things: one, that the Reds seem to be in dire need of one of those two players; and two, who need a three midfield to be well balanced.

However, Thiago cannot play all matches in a complete schedule. Arthur also needs careful management given his history of injuries and has no previous Premier League experience. Curtis Jones, another who has the potential to land the part, also had injury issues. How will Liverpool fare when the inevitable happens?

Firmino may have shown Klopp some of the answers. Playing in a forward four is not something that worked, but it does offer the ability to retrieve the ball high on the court, is no stranger to falling deep, and has the ability to keep the ball under pressure.

At least twice last season – albeit once against lower-class teams in the FA Cup – Firmino played as number eight left in a three midfield.

It’s not something Liverpool are likely to start matches with. Playing Firmino in midfield is a very unorthodox solution to a problem they were facing after failing to solve their problems in midfield during the summer transfer window.

But with midfielders who can lose the pace and those willing with their own problems, Firmino could be the answer for half an hour here and there to keep possession, potentially opening up options higher up the hierarchy – especially Thiago – to keep himself. available for as many starts as possible.

As a former number 10 regular at Hoffenheim, Firmino could play role number eight and offer a few extras. And after Brendan Rodgers played him as a full-back before Klopp arrived, it wouldn’t even be the strangest position he’s in for Liverpool.


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