FSG and Jurgen Klopp have Case to answer over failed Jude Bellingham transfer campaigns  | soccer4u
Connect with us


FSG and Jurgen Klopp have Case to answer over failed Jude Bellingham transfer campaigns 



Jude Bellingham isn’t the only midfielder Liverpool could sign this summer, but the narrative surrounding the latest ‘volley’ is not unknown to the Reds.

Clever and shrewd were two words that could describe the club’s transfer business just a few years ago, a necessity when operating on a tight budget.

The limited funds available and the need to be self-sufficient comes as no surprise, we have heard and seen it all under FSG ownership.

Jurgen Klopp has admitted more times than you can count that financially Liverpool cannot compete with Man City and Chelsea.

This means the Reds cannot afford transfer mistakes, further underlining the aforementioned qualities of market knowledge. At first glance, parting ways with more than £115m on a single player goes against Liverpool’s strategy, but it starts to look silly when the narrative is defended at the cost of losing alternatives.

A lost season

We all know Klopp is willing to wait for goals from him, Virgil van Dijk is a good example of that and it paid off from him.

However, it was widely reported on this occasion that Liverpool had laid substantial groundwork in chasing down Bellingham, a player accepted as their number 1 transfer target.

The 19 year old would never come cheap, a generational talent doesn’t fall into your lap without the cash to top it.

But when a briefing to all Merseyside journalists led to the news of Liverpool’s withdrawal from the race, it didn’t come as a complete surprise. We’ve been here before.

Now he could still be part of a larger tactical plan when it comes to Borussia Dortmund, as we’ve seen the Reds ‘retire’ before, eventually signing the player.

But on the face of it, the club has sacrificed this season as they were unwilling to compromise on their goals last summer, for now say the cost is prohibitive when they would have known about it every step of the way.

Reporters checked several alternate targets by name, including Mason Mount, Matheus Nunes, Conor Gallagher, Moises Caicedo, Joao Palhinha and Ryan Gravenberch, to name a few.

But Liverpool could have gone after one of those players last summer, or several others – including Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes – and avoided the crushing reality check soon after a season of four-man pursuits. The midfield has been neglected causing poor management and a lack of strategic direction which is only made worse by the lack of money being reinvested into the club.

But for fans, the main concern will be that, prior to this season, Liverpool were at their best, having won every possible trophy in a three-year period.

If income after six consecutive Champions League seasons – winning once and in the final twice – winning the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, Super Cup and Club World Cup cannot significantly increase expenditure, then nothing will.

FSG are risk averse but now it is riskier to sit still and force Klopp to start all over again with a bigger handicap for rivals Liverpool.

It’s always “next summer”

Liverpool needed to build from a position of strength, a constant upgrade in the transfer market to rebuild the squad without having to jump off the bike and stall the momentum. Instead, the club have taken their time without investing and instead of a player here and there, they now need a handful of midfield signings and centre-backs to support – the list is long.

And the line that Liverpool’s plans must be altered if no Champions League is assured is weak at best, it’s the latest in a long line of always professing ‘next summer’.

Klopp will take a pragmatic approach to weeding out players who don’t want to push the train and help Liverpool get back to the Champions League, but that’s a whole different level of matchmaking.

But fans won’t be the only ones viewing the situation with skeptical eyes.

Van Dijk was quick to explain that “if we want to be where we have been for five years, we need quality imports”, acknowledging that while quality signings will be hard to come by, “the club but he has to do his job.”

It’s a cycle we know all too well, it takes showing signs of success to attract and retain world-class talent. The manager insisted that “the club will definitely get through the summer” but there is every reason for fans to feel unsettled by the noise currently emanating from Liverpool.

The search for a sporting director continues, cohesion towards direction and strategy is tarnished at best and instead of players being signed to fit the system as we used to do, we are seeing a trend towards changing the system to fit signatures.

There is obvious, and rightly so, frustration stemming from the Bellingham news, although it is clear that the issue is bigger than Bellingham signing or not signing.

But it still felt like, without a guarantee, Liverpool had put all their eggs in Jude Bellingham’s basket and now we have no basket and the balls in our faces.

How Liverpool will clean and right the ship remains to be seen, but the club need to show up and make their mark this summer. If it’s not now, it never will be.


Trent Alexander-Arnold’s midfield role vs. Arsenal explaind – what is an ‘inverted full-back’?

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s role against Arsenal was certainly a talking point, with the right-back being used in midfield when in possession. Harry McMullen takes a closer look.

Anfield played a big part in the incredible turnaround against Arsenal, spurring Liverpool to stifle their opponents and create golden opportunities to beat the leaders. But it would be unfair to attribute all of this to heart, mind and desire. Jurgen Klopp brilliantly adjusted his tactical setup – and his use of Trent Alexander-Arnold – to give his side the platform they needed.

Out of possession – but not ideas

Both teams’ chips displayed “4-3-3”. However, as we all know, Trent was used as a full-back in this game, moving from his usual right-back position to central midfield alongside Fabinho. In the case of formations such as 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, this is the basis for a number of different formations for each phase of the game (attack, defence, pass to attack and pass to defence).

So from the kickoff and on defense, Trent was still right back. But when he had the ball he was very clear in midfield. Klopp called it the ‘Double Six’.

I saw it clearly when Liverpool were behind. Arsenal used interplay pressure with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli alongside Liverpool defender Granit Xhaka on the left or Ben White on the right. scrub.

Arsenal did this because they expected Liverpool to have a 2-3-5 formation (or “possession configuration”) in attack. Here, the Reds have two defenders and three midfielders in deeper territory, now secured by the full-backs.

Liverpool have been doing this for years, but they have often left space behind their full-backs for the opposition to exploit. Last season this changed to spreading the centre-backs wide and Fabinho covering the central area. The collapse of the forward press and Fabinho’s shaky form this season has left the area open. This is why pundits often say that Liverpool has a “soft core”. However, with the return of Trent, Liverpool were put into a 3-2-5 formation, with Andy Robertson retaining his place at centre-back.

Suddenly Liverpool had an extra body at the back – Ibrahima Konate covering the right-back – and they broke Arsenal’s pressing structure. Martinelli wasn’t sure whether to hit Konate and leave Trent open or follow Trent and deliver Konate straight to Salah.

It was a smart strategy with Klopp, given that Salah could play one-on-one with defender Alexandr Zinchenko, who was spending more time in midfield at the time. Unfortunately, Arsenal were also very clever and quickly solved this problem. Zinchenko even lost possession in midfield, pushing Xhaka to Trent and Martinelli to Konate. That left Salah 1v1 with Gabriel a much better 1v1 defender than Zinchenko.

The game was thus a battle of two identical 3-2-5 formations and who could use them better. Given that Arsenal still have two years of experience with this line-up, it makes sense that they lead by two goals.

What has changed? Alisson began to hit the long ball more often as Liverpool moved into second place from the back.

Liverpool’s long possession has declined this season as their midfielders have been far worse at winning the second ball. However, with Trent Fabinho in the back six, Curtis Jones and Jordan Henderson were cleared to play as the number 10 strikers in midfield.

Klopp spoke about how Liverpool were compressed after the game. The midfielders had less space and were able to counter-press. The pair were so tenacious that Arsenal began what Mikel Arteta called a “transitional game” where his team “lost control” so often.

Of course, the Anfield factor allowed Liverpool to make the most of these tactical adjustments. Even the best laid plans can be lost if the energy of the arena does not support them. 

There were mixed reactions to what ended up being a mixed performance. The likes of Gary Neville dismissed him immediately and Klopp said Trent “had to get used to it”.

One problem is that Trent is not a strong press player. This is very important when playing doubleheader.
Here is an example from scratch. Trent received the pass as planned, pressed the play with his back and had no choice but to go straight back to Alisson.

However, as the game progressed there were signs that his confidence was growing. Here he does a good impression of Moises Caicedo for his competent passing of the ball.

Trent also got into his favored position a few times in the game, including the late Konate, giving us Kevin De Bruyne. A great piece by Aaron Ramsdale?

— Gunners (@Gunnersc0m) April 10, 2023

Of course, the assist for the equalizer came when it was 1-1 with Zinchenko near the foul line, so the overlap on the right at times is obviously advantageous. A convenient game plan – or a long-term change?

But have they been successful enough to overcome Arsenal’s real problems? Considering I was a Trent Invert-Arnold fan, this worked surprisingly well for me.

Of course, Klopp’s version is much smarter than mine. Placing Andy Robertson (not Fabinho as I suggested) in the back three will allow Liverpool to switch quickly and easily from a 3-2-5 to a 4-4-2. to defend Arsenal’s spell of continuous possession. While this block encourages a compact midfield, the forward press is more flexible and the two forward lines supported by ball players “jump” into the forward press when needed.

If Liverpool pull this off, it’s clear that Trent’s move to midfield has allowed them to be “more compact, high line, close midfield, front three together” and has also created a lot of chances. From a tactical point of view, development is just as important as smart recruiting in activating next season.


Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved