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Thursday, February 29, 2024

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Premier League: Liverpool vs Burnley; ‘Our situation is not a catastrophe, just not perfect’

After another goalless game on Sunday Liverpool welcome relegation threatened Burnley to Anfield as they look to actually score a league goal for the first time in 2021.

Jurgen Klopp was quick to jump on shutting down the negatives in his press conference with his side on one of the worst runs, certainly performance wise, since he has been at the club as in his press conference he said: “Our situation is not a catastrophe, just not perfect. I saw a lot of good things in the United game.”

Many Liverpool fans as well as neutrals would probably disagree but that could be due to the extremely high standards that Liverpool have set over the past two years as most of the time it has been perfect.

The first 20 or so minutes were good from Liverpool on Sunday, they put their title rivals on the backfoot and looked like they had the upper hand but the pressure wasn’t sustained and Manchester United grew into the game as the famous front three looked as blunt as they have ever been.

With no goals in the last three league fixtures there is bound to be worry especially when every single one of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah look out of form all at the same time.

It is not all down to just the front three though.

One of the problems is not the defending as seen by the clean sheet and solid defensive performance from the makeshift centre half duo, but it is the defence itself, which sounds mental but hear me out.

Lots has been said about the fact that Liverpool miss the likes of Fabinho in midfield which means that the ability to sustain attacks is not there due to the absence of a proper defensive midfield.

But it is more than just that.

Obviously, every side in the world would miss a player like Virgil Van Dijk but not having a senior centre back partnership as a major knock-on effect.

The ability to squeeze up the pitch is also massive when it comes to sustaining attacks as Liverpool would never let teams out but now, they are allowed to turn and run with it with the centre backs dropping that bit deeper due to the fact the pace of Van Dijk or Joe Gomez isn’t there.

As well as that you have Trent Alexander-Arnold who will be wary of this meaning he does not want to be too risky compared to before when he would have Henderson and Fabinho covering for him then obviously limits his attacking output which has been poor of late.

Of course, Liverpool’s poor performances cannot just be blamed on the centre back issue, but it is a massive catalyst for lots of other issues on the pitch which is why it seems so bizarre to not look at getting in a central defender in now.

Joel Matip who was very touch and go to start against Manchester United has been in full training so will be fit to start against Burnley whether he will be thrown in to start though is another matter.

Nat Phillips may also get another start due to his physical nature which would suit this aggressive Burnley side who have struggled this season but our always capable of nicking a goal and then defending for their lives which is worrying for Liverpool as their issue has been breaking down sides.

Burnley sitting back will be a problem for Klopp’s men just cast your mind back to not very long ago in the games against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton to see why.

It would also be great to see Taki Minamino be given some sort of game time as ever since he started and put in his best performance in the 7-0 win at Crystal Palace, he hasn’t had a minute.

Which is just bizarre really, even though I’m sure Klopp has his reasons.

In his press conference Klopp said: “The world is a crazy place.” 

Which you cannot argue with at the moment, but he could make it a bit more normal by getting his side to actually score a goal which is not against children for the first time this year.

But it is a side in the bottom six, so you have every right to be nervous given the record this season.

Written by Elliot Thompson

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