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All good things must come to an end - Do we need a change of the front three?

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The poor form of the front three can be roughly down to three things in my view

 

1. Firmino simply not being effective

2. Putting Fabinho and Hendo in defence and losing the impact in midfield

3. Opposition teams being more effective against us

 

We've seen this a fair bit since even before the pandemic, and i don't want to be overly critical of anyone but is this just the start of a natural progression by which we need a new system and new players injected into the front three? Very rarely do you see partnerships last 2-3 seasons and perform at such intensity week in week out so maybe this is it? I'm not saying they'll never score again, have a good game, but will they ever hit the heights needed as a collective again?

 

I know the defence has had a knock on effect on the team but the poor quality and decision making by the front three in recent weeks I think is actually a systemic problem for us now.

 

 

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  1. We conceded 16 goals in 8 league games prior to Gomez joining VVD as injured (11 goals in 4 games prior to VVD's injury; 7 admittedly in the Villa outlier);
  2. We have conceded 5 goals in 10 games since Gomez + VVD were injured, and we reverted to 1 or more midfielders in defence (combo from Fabinho / Henderson / Milner). Fixtures incl. United (1st), Leicester (3rd), Tottenham (5th), S'ton (8th). 2 conceded total in those games.

2 possibilities:

  1. The total absence of centre backs has transformed us into a singularly better defensive unit than the presence of VVD/Gomez/Matip (variously). Unlikely.
  2. The entire system & structure of the team has been adapted to compensate. Likely.

When this system changes it impacts everyone. It impacts the time taken to reach the box. It impacts the position of the wingers on the touchline. It impacts cut-backs from the byline. It impacts position of delivery of crosses. It impacts committment of players to set-pieces. Everything.

 

Against City, Wolves, Palace in recent months we've played as scintiliatingly as any games in a long time. Salah remains top scorer. LFC remain top scorers. Despite being top scorers, when 2 midfielders and/or Williams/Philipps have played in defence in league games we have struggled to fashion chances. These are the facts.

 

The system (and Klopp football is nothing without its systems) is hamstrung at the moment. The mind-numbing levels of short term thinking posted across this forum this week is embarassing frankly. Everything from barbs at Klopp, Wijnaldum to the whole front 3 needing to be broken up to the entire team needing a rebuild. Just completely inane dribble. You'd hope the quantatively strongest LFC squad in history would allow for a more nuanced discussion. Apparently not. Maybe some are not capable of more than happy-clapping when we win and booing when we don't. At least their mentality is understood now. To note - we were odds on favourites to win the title 4 league fixtures ago.

 

Not a direct strike at this thread - it at least posits options. More at the pessimists & idiots who really, really don't deserve what this squad has crafted over the past 3 years given the circumstances right now.

 

 

 

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This is the first dip in form in nearly 3 years, in an unprecedented season due to Covid, with the entirely understandable mitigating factors of our entire central defence being out, 2 thirds of our first choice midfield playing central defence, and a new midfield being put together.

 

Perspective needed.

 

There's a separate argument to say that potentially they should be broken up because they're all 28, their resale value is currently still high and we can't afford for them all to hit 32 at the same time.

There's also the argument that we need a viable alternative to Firmino based on his form over much of the past year. 

 

And we also have Jota to come back

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I think the age and Bobby's form for quite a long time means some sort of change is needed. That's not shitting on what they've done you evolve teams you don't build them. Ferguson never built side after side, he built a title side and then replaced his players bit by bit with often insanely expensive players. One out a better one in, usually as and when needed.

 

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Think we need alternative options not dismantle them. The front 3 are best running at teams after transitions but when opposition pack the defence instead and we don’t have players available able to get them the service they need because we have to adapt to our CBs being injured they just aren’t going to be as effective.. Thiago should help but our lack of good alternatives is a concern, origi offers nothing and minamino is far too lightweight. A threat from outside the box and a poacher would be two possible options we could look for. 

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Defo needs breaking up.

 

Look at the goal output from them year on year. Either they're not as good as they were or opponents have become far better at stifling them. I'd say it's both.

 

Sadio is the only one who is better now than he was in 2018.

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1 hour ago, Alex_K said:
  1. We conceded 16 goals in 8 league games prior to Gomez joining VVD as injured (11 goals in 4 games prior to VVD's injury; 7 admittedly in the Villa outlier);
  2. We have conceded 5 goals in 10 games since Gomez + VVD were injured, and we reverted to 1 or more midfielders in defence (combo from Fabinho / Henderson / Milner). Fixtures incl. United (1st), Leicester (3rd), Tottenham (5th), S'ton (8th). 2 conceded total in those games.

2 possibilities:

  1. The total absence of centre backs has transformed us into a singularly better defensive unit than the presence of VVD/Gomez/Matip (variously). Unlikely.
  2. The entire system & structure of the team has been adapted to compensate. Likely.

When this system changes it impacts everyone. It impacts the time taken to reach the box. It impacts the position of the wingers on the touchline. It impacts cut-backs from the byline. It impacts position of delivery of crosses. It impacts committment of players to set-pieces. Everything.

 

Against City, Wolves, Palace in recent months we've played as scintiliatingly as any games in a long time. Salah remains top scorer. LFC remain top scorers. Despite being top scorers, when 2 midfielders and/or Williams/Philipps have played in defence in league games we have struggled to fashion chances. These are the facts.

 

The system (and Klopp football is nothing without its systems) is hamstrung at the moment. The mind-numbing levels of short term thinking posted across this forum this week is embarassing frankly. Everything from barbs at Klopp, Wijnaldum to the whole front 3 needing to be broken up to the entire team needing a rebuild. Just completely inane dribble. You'd hope the quantatively strongest LFC squad in history would allow for a more nuanced discussion. Apparently not. Maybe some are not capable of more than happy-clapping when we win and booing when we don't. At least their mentality is understood now. To note - we were odds on favourites to win the title 4 league fixtures ago.

 

Not a direct strike at this thread - it at least posits options. More at the pessimists & idiots who really, really don't deserve what this squad has crafted over the past 3 years given the circumstances right now.

 

 

 

I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but as I said this run of form isn't just limited to this season. Since January we've not been that good, now the intensity, pandemic, and the fact we won the league in the period does mean that the intensity levels had been bound to drop.

 

When I watch them, they look devoid of any novel ideas. Yesterday was slightly different in that Thiago was picking passes that others previously hadn't seen, but that Mane and Robertson link up has produced very little recently, Bobby is effectively a passenger when we need someone to step up, and well Salah has been Salah.

 

I'm probably just venting and i love them all to bits but the pattern of play is now becoming too consistent, and not in a good way.

 

I think we could be entering a period of transition and if we persist with something that may have ran its course then we will suffer for longer.

 

 

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1 hour ago, dave u said:

Defo needs breaking up.

 

Look at the goal output from them year on year. Either they're not as good as they were or opponents have become far better at stifling them. I'd say it's both.

 

Sadio is the only one who is better now than he was in 2018.

This. Something is definitely up with all three.
 

Mo in particular looks like he’s been found out. He’s not particularly strong at holding the ball up, and it doesn’t help that referees literally don’t give him anything, and he’s completely unwilling to go on the outside and trust his right foot. He’s very, very predictable to play against. Couple that with every single team knowing to play a low block against us and he doesn’t have any space to run in behind any longer. Strangely he doesn’t seem willing to take shots on any longer either. 
 

Bobby is just finished. His legs have gone. Great player for us, but he’s a shadow of where he was a few years back. We might see the odd flash now and then, but it’s like playing with ten men. Every single attack breaks down with him and every time he gets into a half decent shooting position he passes it back to the keeper.
 

Sadio is going through a dip, but he’ll be back. He’s the one I have least concerns over. 

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Problem Robbo’s facing is that he has to babysit Henderson and can’t get forward to support the attack. 
 

There was a moment in the 1st half were Gini was holding the ball up in their half waiting for Robbo to bomb on but he was nowhere to be seen. 
 

There was another passage of play in the first half were we got the ball back on our left side and Henderson started running up the pitch with the midfield and Robbo had to tell him to get back.

 

We couldn’t afford to take the risk yesterday of leaving wide open spaces for them to isolate Henderson in and Robbo made sure that our left hand side was on Wuhan levels of lockdown 

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4 minutes ago, Red74 said:

Problem Robbo’s facing is that he has to babysit Henderson and can’t get forward to support the attack. 
 

There was a moment in the 1st half were Gini was holding the ball up in their half waiting for Robbo to bomb on but he was nowhere to be seen. 
 

There was another passage of play in the first half were we got the ball back on our left side and Henderson started running up the pitch with the midfield and Robbo had to tell him to get back.

 

We couldn’t afford to take the risk yesterday of leaving wide open spaces for them to isolate Henderson in and Robbo made sure that our left hand side was on Wuhan levels of lockdown 

Less so yesterday but even when Robbo was supporting the attack - both him and Mane ran into brick walls - time and time again. Newcastle was horrific 

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Buying some centre backs and clearing out the squad players that contribute nothing - Keita, AOC, Origi etc - would be probably be a better idea. 

 

I do reckon Salah will go next summer though. He'll replace Mbappe at PSG when he goes to Real Madrid. 

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2 hours ago, Alex_K said:
  1. We conceded 16 goals in 8 league games prior to Gomez joining VVD as injured (11 goals in 4 games prior to VVD's injury; 7 admittedly in the Villa outlier);
  2. We have conceded 5 goals in 10 games since Gomez + VVD were injured, and we reverted to 1 or more midfielders in defence (combo from Fabinho / Henderson / Milner). Fixtures incl. United (1st), Leicester (3rd), Tottenham (5th), S'ton (8th). 2 conceded total in those games.

2 possibilities:

  1. The total absence of centre backs has transformed us into a singularly better defensive unit than the presence of VVD/Gomez/Matip (variously). Unlikely.
  2. The entire system & structure of the team has been adapted to compensate. Likely.

When this system changes it impacts everyone. It impacts the time taken to reach the box. It impacts the position of the wingers on the touchline. It impacts cut-backs from the byline. It impacts position of delivery of crosses. It impacts committment of players to set-pieces. Everything.

 

Against City, Wolves, Palace in recent months we've played as scintiliatingly as any games in a long time. Salah remains top scorer. LFC remain top scorers. Despite being top scorers, when 2 midfielders and/or Williams/Philipps have played in defence in league games we have struggled to fashion chances. These are the facts.

 

The system (and Klopp football is nothing without its systems) is hamstrung at the moment. The mind-numbing levels of short term thinking posted across this forum this week is embarassing frankly. Everything from barbs at Klopp, Wijnaldum to the whole front 3 needing to be broken up to the entire team needing a rebuild. Just completely inane dribble. You'd hope the quantatively strongest LFC squad in history would allow for a more nuanced discussion. Apparently not. Maybe some are not capable of more than happy-clapping when we win and booing when we don't. At least their mentality is understood now. To note - we were odds on favourites to win the title 4 league fixtures ago.

 

Not a direct strike at this thread - it at least posits options. More at the pessimists & idiots who really, really don't deserve what this squad has crafted over the past 3 years given the circumstances right now.

 

 

 

Is right

 

It beggars belief to me that people can't see how our system and entire structure is fucked because of holes at centre half and how we have chosen to fill them and the knock on effects that has all over the park.

 

We will adapt and it will though have its up and downs - suddenly it will work ok, then it will stop....all as a result of the huge inconsistency the problems have brought in terms of personnel, system, quality and how it all affects different things.

 

 

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It's not that they should be broken up because it doesn't work anymore, because it still works, this bad period notwithstanding. It's that all 3 are only under contract for the next 2 years and that means we're unlikely to keep all 3 for the duration of their contracts. One may leave for free, one may be extended, but all 3 won't be leaving for free and all 3 wont be extended. Logically, one of them will be sold soon and it may just be for the best, for the sake of freshness.

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Don’t know if I posted it a while back but Bobby hasn’t renewed the lease on his house for next year. 
 

Could just be that he’s moving closer to the other Brazilians like. 

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I think we need to start thinking of breaking them up but this will need to be done carefully. Jota was clearly step one of that process. Taki was a punt on a talented player that isn't looking like it will come off. I would be shocked if we don't bring in another attacking player next summer.

 

Sadio and Mo don't seem to get on that well. Nothing new that two top players in a top team don't like each other, but at times it's very evident. Still, that dynamic wasn't a problem the last two seasons so it shouldn't be going forward. Once their dynamic doesn't impact on team spirit or results, but I'd be cautious about how it might. Team spirit is what will get us through the next six weeks. It's one to watch.

 

FSG won't sign a world class player without losing one. I think if Mo wants out or wants a gigantic wage increase, getting in a top centre half and say Sancho for him is going to be very appealing to them.

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Still cant see how any of this 'unbalanced' team results in Sadio, Mo and Bobby worse finishing year on year and not capable of hitting a cow's arse with a banjo right now. They had 18 chances between them and other players yesterday.

 

And if Jota comes into the team, although Jurgen has played all 4 together, I dont think that's his long term aim so one of the 3 misses out. That's probably Bobby but what if Mo and Sadio still dont finish?

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I had said previously we should have looked to sell one of them this summer. I can't recall any team ever having the same forward line for a sustained period of success, it needs refreshing before you get to this point. All the great managers of the past had seen and dealt with invisible decline before it became visible to the lesser trained eye.

 

As an FSG fan boy I would like to think that was the plan before Covid came into the world. Even the signing of Jota has a look of a years bedding in before moving on one of them. Sadio is untouchable, the other 2 are under threat. 

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26 minutes ago, dockers_strike said:

Still cant see how any of this 'unbalanced' team results in Sadio, Mo and Bobby worse finishing year on year and not capable of hitting a cow's arse with a banjo right now. They had 18 chances between them and other players yesterday.

 

And if Jota comes into the team, although Jurgen has played all 4 together, I dont think that's his long term aim so one of the 3 misses out. That's probably Bobby but what if Mo and Sadio still dont finish?

Our expected goal count yesterday was 1.20 the mancs was 1.19.

 

We had 67% of the ball.....

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5 minutes ago, an tha said:

Our expected goal count yesterday was 1.20 the mancs was 1.19.

 

We had 67% of the ball.....

Honestly, Im not bothered about metrics like 1.2 compared to 1.19. It does nothing to explain despite 18 chances yesterday, 3 of which fell to Bobby, he scuffed all of them and neither Mo or Sadio were able to hit the target.

 

If van Dijk and or Gomez or Matip had played yesterday and we had 18 chances and your metrics of 1.20 and 1.19 and we still hadnt scored, what would be your explanation then? It's a genuine question. I can see the argument that without Hendo in midfield we might not be creating as much. Great news that people are waking up to the lad's contribution but there you go. Fab isnt a creator. It still doesnt explain Bobby's poor finishing, same as Sadio and Mo.

 

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3 minutes ago, dockers_strike said:

Honestly, Im not bothered about metrics like 1.2 compared to 1.19. It does nothing to explain despite 18 chances yesterday, 3 of which fell to Bobby, he scuffed all of them and neither Mo or Sadio were able to hit the target.

 

If van Dijk and or Gomez or Matip had played yesterday and we had 18 chances and your metrics of 1.20 and 1.19 and we still hadnt scored, what would be your explanation then? It's a genuine question. I can see the argument that without Hendo in midfield we might not be creating as much. Great news that people are waking up to the lad's contribution but there you go. Fab isnt a creator. It still doesnt explain Bobby's poor finishing, same as Sadio and Mo.

 

It tells you that we are not creating good quality chances.

 

We are not creating good quality chances for all the reasons people have mentioned about our team structure in lots of posts across the forum.

 

Fab does not need to be a creator in midfield for it to hurt our creativity......for example - what he is is someone who wins us more ball, in better positions and then gives it quicker to a creator in a better position who then gives it to Mane for example in more space and with more time.....

 

 

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4 minutes ago, an tha said:

It tells you that we are not creating good quality chances.

 

We are not creating good quality chances for all the reasons people have mentioned about our team structure in lots of posts across the forum.

 

Fab does not need to be a creator in midfield for it to hurt our creativity......for example - what he is is someone who wins us more ball, in better positions and then gives it quicker to a creator in a better position who then gives it to Mane for example in more space and with more time.....

 

 

Ok so we're debating whether an opportunity to score is not good, plain good or excellent?

 

Think this should be in the shiteness of modern football. Bobby had 3 very good chances in my opinion. Mo had a couple and sliced one so wide it almost went for a throw in.

 

I guess we have to disagree because to me, it looks like 2 of the front 3 are playing for themselves and not each other and that together with woeful finishing, in my opinion, is the reason we arent scoring.

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17 minutes ago, dockers_strike said:

Honestly, Im not bothered about metrics like 1.2 compared to 1.19. It does nothing to explain despite 18 chances yesterday, 3 of which fell to Bobby, he scuffed all of them and neither Mo or Sadio were able to hit the target.

 

If van Dijk and or Gomez or Matip had played yesterday and we had 18 chances and your metrics of 1.20 and 1.19 and we still hadnt scored, what would be your explanation then? It's a genuine question. I can see the argument that without Hendo in midfield we might not be creating as much. Great news that people are waking up to the lad's contribution but there you go. Fab isnt a creator. It still doesnt explain Bobby's poor finishing, same as Sadio and Mo.

 

Yet De Gea did 1 save from Thiago, you might not be worried but I am. Those chances we had yesterday none were clear cut and other than the fullbacks and front 3 who is a regular goal creator? we can have 60 to 70 per cent each game it's useless if we create nothing with it...  

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3 minutes ago, dockers_strike said:

Ok so we're debating whether an opportunity to score is not good, plain good or excellent?

 

Think this should be in the shiteness of modern football. Bobby had 3 very good chances in my opinion. Mo had a couple and sliced one so wide it almost went for a throw in.

 

I guess we have to disagree because to me, it looks like 2 of the front 3 are playing for themselves and not each other and that together with woeful finishing, in my opinion, is the reason we arent scoring.

We simply aren't carving teams open and creating big clearcut chances.

 

It has bugger all to do with shitness of modern footy, a functioning pair of eyes of anyone watching us over last 4 games will be able to see that we are failing to create really good chances.

 

Are we creating some? Of course we are.

 

Could we have done better with some of them? Yeah sure we could.

 

But on the whole we are creating bugger all of real threat - less quality and quantity equals less goals...and that is for my money down to the sort of things already alluded to.

 

We obviously will have to agree to disagree then.

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