Ajax 0-1 Liverpool | CL group stage | A new hope

Boom! and just like that we shook up the world! It was proclaimed the sky was falling but last night we proved otherwise and with a clean sheet to boot. Ahead of our next match versus Sheffield United let's take a look at the reasons for hope as well as some possible causes for concern.

Plus points

Adrian is not as bad as we feared. Nearly as bad but not quite and perhaps he will continue to settle and improve to a level good enough to get us by. It's not ideal but there is hope.

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Fabinho really is the mutt's nuts. Last night he again played superbly in a centre back role. So well in fact you'd be forgiven for thinking it was his main position. As Nester Sid mentioned in the after match comments, it could be that Fabinho has been given extra training for this role.

Our attack looks so much better this season than last. Not only do we have a returned to the fold Shaqiri, a magnificent Minamino and a jaw droppingly good Jota - seriously that pass was sublime but Jurgen is showing he won't hesitate to use them.

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In last night's match Klopp made a triple substitution, swapping our entire front three of Mane, Mo and Firmino out for the just mentioned trio. This is a definite change versus his often demonstrated over reliance on our most senior attackers. It's also a big improvement that having made the changes we all felt equally confident in the players joining the pitch, if not more so.

Areas of concern

Neither Fabinho or Gomez are great in the air, nor is Matip, certainly compared to Van Dijk. As noted by Liver Bird Spotting and Sid in our match thread posts, this could be bad news in defence if teams start lobbing long balls at us, especially with Adrian still not looking completely sure footed. It will lessen our own attacking threat from corners and other set pieces as well.

Our over reliance on injury prone players is still creating issues. Some of our senior players are getting a bit long in the tooth too. This means situations like last night's less than convincing midfield are going to reoccur.

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Milner's been a rock for us and you can't say enough good about him. A consummate professional, technically brilliant all round and with a wealth of winning experience. However he's not the most dynamic player and when injuries prevent us fielding, Keita, Thiago, Henderson or Oxlade- Chamberlain, which they often do, we can be left with quite a pedestrian and uninspiring midfield.

Our midfield was not altogether brilliant but did improve when Henderson came on. That highlighted the above issues as well the following problem we may run into again this season.

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Our younger players are simply not at the level required for big important matches. The example last night was Jones. A star of the future, undoubtedly, but in the here and now, not so much.

Looking to our next match versus Sheffield United

Interesting now to consider how we might line up. For a while it will chop and change as players return from injury. In defence we know Van Dijk is sadly out for quite likely the entire season.

We wish him well and hope his recovery is as speedy as possible but in the meantime we'll see a pairing picked from Gomez, Matip and Fabinho.

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Are Gomez and Matip good enough to be our defensive pairing regularly or will one suffer the ultimate insult of being usurped by Fabinho - not a defender by trade.

Midfield I think is less tricky to predict. Last season's mainstays are still the same. Klopp in my view will stick with Gini and Henderson for the most part. Adding Thiago when fit, sometimes Fabinho when he's not covering at CB and occasionally Keita.

In attack we have almost an embarrassment of riches and it's very exciting to see how they all progress this season. However with all those options comes tricky selection decisions.

Personally now I'd like to see Jota start ahead of Firmino for a few games. I don't think Klopp will do so and can see the case for continuing to field Bobby in the hope he plays himself into form.

However the team and results come first and for that reason I'd choose the in form player - Jota, and then bring on the out of form one - Bobby later in the game to do his confidence building. Ideally when we're a few goals up.

Salah is in fine form so he keeps his starting place and the same for Mane unless the knock he's carrying merits some rest. I've not mentioned our fullbacks yet but similar to Salah they are both in fine fettle and should continue to start games.

All things considered and subject to injury updates my team for Sheffield would be as follows.


What do you think all, can my line-up be improved and have some of your prior fears been allayed by last night's performance. Plus what are your biggest concerns going forward.

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