Liverpool FC - an early season assessment

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Afternoon all, hope your week's are starting well. Thought we might take a brief look at how the season's begun and consider the pros and cons of what we've seen so far.

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It's fair to say results wise at least, we've gotten off to a very good start. A perfect start in fact. Three games and three wins, one of which netted us European Super Cup number four. Within each of those games though there have been areas of concern as follows.


Goal keeper

It's always going to hurt when you lose your best keeper to injury. When that keeper is also one of the best in the world, it's going to hurt even more.

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We've witnessed a completely mixed bag from our substitute keeper Adrián and while he's shown he's very capable in part, he's also shown he can be calamitous in equal measure. With Alisson set to be out for a further number of weeks I rate our goal keeping issue as 5/10 with ten being the most likely to cost us points in the league.


Defence

Only three games in but our defence certainly hasn't looked as solid as it did last season. We've failed to keep a clean sheet in all of those fixtures and with Gomez being used in two of them some of that can be attributed to a change of personnel. Other parts can be fairly criticised as under performance. Both Robertson and Alexander-Arnold have been a little sloppy in their forward play at times and TAA hasn't been amazing in defence. Even against Southampton where we reverted to last season's back four, Van Dijk and Matip didn't quite look their normal selves and the Saints were able to play through our defensive line on several occasions as a result. That said our midfield were off par and that added extra pressure on to our defence.

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Personally I don't see this area of the pitch as a big concern. It's reasonable to make allowances for the rotation aspect and also the travelling and lack of recovery time brought about by the Super Cup. Additionally it's the start of the season and players aren't going to be 100% match fit yet. Logic suggests that the same players who performed consistently well last season have not suddenly forgotten how to do so. It could be that the goal keeping situation has unsettled things a bit as well but I fully expect normal defensive service to resume shortly. In terms of the likelihood this part of our team causes us to drop points I'm scoring it 3/10. Some risk but very minimal.


Midfield

Possibly the biggest bone of contention and I think even our staunchest of 'happy with the squad as it is' proponents would have to agree that against Southampton our midfield simply wasn't good enough. That was particularly true in the first half where they repeatedly played through our midfield like it wasn't even there. It's perhaps too early to say we have a problem in this area but many fans have felt we lack creativity in central midfield for quite some time.

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We've previously debated at length whether or not we should have addressed this in the summer transfer window and I don't particularly want to rehash that. I can't see the point, what's done or not done is in the past and we must move forward with the tools we have at our disposal. My own take is that we do at present lack a player who even under pressure can not only provide extra creativity but also retain the ball and make incisive forward runs as well as accurate forward passes.

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At present pretty much all of our attacks go via either TAA or Robbo - nothing wrong with that being our main attacking outlet as they both excel at such. However, I believe it makes us too predictable at times and we need more of a central method of attack in addition. This gives us options and makes it harder for opposing teams to defend against. The type of player described also helps us take some pressure off our defence by maintaining possession in the middle of the park for longer periods of play. I was careful though to say we lack this sort of player at present because we have several candidates who with luck will play roles along these lines. The Ox, Naby Keita and Lallana.

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With three players all capable of providing us more attack and creativity from midfield the odds seem high that one or more of them will do exactly that. Also players such as Henderson can add to the mix and I'm sure will do as the season progresses. Midfield problems causing us to drop points, (factoring in the added pressure they sometimes put on our defence) with ten being almost a certainty to cause us issues, I rate this section 7/10 - some concerning potential for costly below par play here.


Attack

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In Salah, Firmino and Mané we have three of the best attacking players on the planet and even when one or worst case scenario two of them are not firing on all cylinders, the remaining one of the trio picks up the pieces. Currently Mané is continuing his fantastic upward soaring form of last season which is a terrifying prospect for our opposition and barring a bit of fatigue which was evident from the Super Cup game, Salah and Firmino also look to be match sharp. So we have no problems here at all. Add in the fact we have Origi who's now consistently performing at a high level, plus Brewster waiting in the wings and our attack is looking rather splendiferous. 0/10 chance of this part of our set up causing anything other than maximum points in every single game.

Overall then my view is that our current goal keeping situation isn't perfect, nor our midfield. Massive worries? Not really but to greater and lesser extents they're fair causes for concern I feel. Our defence though seems highly likely to soon return to it's very best and our attack is pure bliss but what do you guys think. Do you agree with my take on things, are you perhaps more highly troubled by some of our early season play, or do you feel everything is just peachy. To help you decide here is a short highlights clip of our game versus The Saints.

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