By Maria Mark
Roy Hodgson had a disastrous, brief tenure at Liverpool and led the Reds to their worst season-opening performance since 2010.
Here, we examine some of the causes behind the team’s downturn after they won two cups in a row last year, advanced to the Champions League final, and finished just one point short of winning the Premier League.
Why has Jurgen Klopp’s season failed?
The injury list, which has not been brought under control, is the main problem out of many others.
The squad, which lost more players than it recruited over the summer, surely suffered as a result of the number reaching double digits at one point early in the season.
Both Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, who would have been Sadio Mane’s natural left-side alternatives, are presently unavailable to Klopp.
Why did the manager fail to anticipate this?
In that he wanted to recruit Aurelien Tchouameni, a France international, to boost his midfield but lost out to Real Madrid, he sorts of did. Even though there was no chance of luring Jude Bellingham away from Borussia Dortmund this summer, Klopp still has a keen interest in the English midfielder.
Additionally, he was working with the idea that he wouldn’t lose players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, and to a lesser extent Jordan Henderson, at the beginning of the season.
So the midfield is the primary culprit?
Without a doubt, the engine room of Liverpool has lost some of its impact due to the absence of important players and the overuse of the remaining healthy players. The high tempo pressing strategy is simply failing, which has made it simpler for the opposition to attack the defense.
Is that not something that could be resolved quickly?
Klopp would have completed it by now if it were that easy.
The defense’s performance has also come under fire, with regular standouts Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold being criticized for being far below par. The fact that backup Joe Gomez, with the exception of one outstanding performance against Manchester City, has had a typically terrible season, hasn’t helped.
What can be done, then?
At least four different formations have been used by Klopp, who was forced to abandon his tried-and-true 4-3-3 due to a lack of qualified players. He has tried everything from 4-2-3-1 to various iterations of 4-4-2, but just when it appears that he has found a solution, outcomes like the losses to Nottingham Forest and Leeds nearly return him to square one.
What will Liverpool do next?
Strangely, given Klopp’s resistance to it, the midseason World Cup is their best chance. The remaining players will take a brief break before travelling to a training camp in nearby Dubai where they will be joined by teammates as their countries are eliminated, even though they will lose some players to the event in Qatar.
It will give them the much-needed time to sort through injury-related challenges and work on solving their issues.
Are there any advantages, then?
With one match remaining, Liverpool advanced to the knockout round of the Champions League, avoiding the necessity to win their group’s rubber match at home against Napoli, who are unbeaten and on a 13-match winning streak.
While Darwin Nunez, a summer addition, has scored four goals in his past six games while not playing at his spectacular best, Mohamed Salah has eight goals in his last ten games. Alisson Becker, the goalie, keeps becoming better.