Liverpool’s form and results were supposed to improve once Jurgen Klopp took over the reigns from Brendan Rodgers. After an emphatic start to his career at Merseyside, which included huge wins over Chelsea, Manchester City as well as Southampton, Klopp’s last month or so has not been too great. While no-one is questioning the ownership’s decisions to sack Brendan Rodgers and appoint Klopp, a move which was definitely a massive coup considering the position Liverpool’s rival clubs are in currently, the fact that Liverpool still find themselves in ninth place, with 25 games played is obviously a worry.
While the main reason for Liverpool’s league decline is attributed to the worrisome injury list that left the Reds completely handicapped at the time, there are some other reasons at play as well. One cause for this disappointing recent run has been the alarming lack of pace in the side.
Liverpool currently don’t have anyone with real pace in the starting 11, bar Alberto Moreno. Moreno likes to move forward, as has been on display on number of occasions, but he doesn’t make too much of an impact even on the attacking side of things. While that can also be attributed to Liverpool missing Philippe Coutinho on that flank, the fact that Liverpool’s only real threat as far as speed is concerned comes from their left-back, who doesn’t make a significant impact on both sides of the pitch, is a cause for worry.
Against Sunderland, Jordon Ibe, who hasn’t done too well as far as end product is concerned, made the most difference after coming on in the second half simply because he could offer that tenacity and agility to the Liverpool side. The Reds don’t have real speed in the side and one can see the inability of the players to really stretch out the opposition defence and cause them a real problem.
Raheem Sterling was a player Liverpool could count on to do the same last season. The youngster’s ability to run at defenders ensured Liverpool had more threat last season than they do currently. Jordon Ibe, whilst talented, has shown that he’s really not ready to be a consistent first team player and for a 20-year-old, that’s not a huge setback. The fact that Liverpool can only rely on him to offer them that extra bit in the game is the club’s problem in fairness, and not Ibe’s.
Liverpool’s most successful season in recent memory had them being led by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, both of whom possess that attribute. To look at the more current picture, league leaders Leicester City have a group of players who run fast and are extremely agile on the pitch. Jamie Vardy’s contribution this season shows how much an agile forward with speed along with good presence of mind, can help your cause. Liverpool’s main striker currently can’t boast pace as his strength and has been criticised for the lack thereof. Daniel Sturridge’s recurring injury has been problematic for the Reds but considering his record with them, it doesn’t come as a surprise and can’t be listed as an unforeseeable problem. Divock Origi possesses decent speed and it’s unfortunate that after getting among the goals, he got injured. The good news for Liverpool is that Origi and Sturridge are both expected to return soon which will help the team.
However, the player who could have really helped the side in this department and whose absence the club has truly missed is Danny Ings. The former Burnley player is the real agile, enthusiastic and fast forward Liverpool have but sadly can’t use properly till next season. It has already been spoken of in abundance how perfect Ings could have been for Klopp’s system as the German’s style revolves around pressing and Ings’ style of play would have benefitted massively under Klopp.
Lazar Markovic will return from loan next season and does have the ability to accelerate and cause the defenders some problems. Getting Markovic and Ings back will be like singing two new players for the German boss but there is no reason why Klopp shouldn’t and in all likelihood wouldn’t be adding more players in the summer and the one quality he should really seek from them is speed as it has been evident on a number of occasions in recent matches that the side is massively craving it.