With only two points acquired from their last two Premier League games, Jurgen Klopp’s men cannot afford to trip up again when they face Bournemouth this Saturday if they are to clinch their first domestic title since 1990. Yet, given the Reds recent shortcomings, Maryam Naz details four reasons how they could falter against the Cherries…
- Defensive disarray
The Reds have been hit with injuries to crucial defenders Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold – a move that has forced Klopp’s hand in playing a heavily rotated, and inexperienced back four.
Against West Ham, James Milner and Joel Matip were fielded as the understudies, but Matip’s lack of game-time and Milner’s proclivity to make forward runs proved costly.
The Hammers exploited this in the build-up to Michail Antonio’s goal, and throughout the match.
If Eddie Howe’s men have done their homework, they’ll want to operate in a similar vein of attack that could lead them to take points off Klopp’s men.
2) Overcomplicated attacking
A trademark of Liverpool’s attack is the seamless movement of their front three: Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Yet, in recent games, the trio have looked distinctly off their usual blistering form.
In Monday’s clash, the need to execute the extra pass in the final third, rather than taking the shot on goal, led to a breakdown in their attack.
For Bournemouth’s defenders, this will inspire confidence, as the Reds habit of an overcomplicated attack could benefit their hopes of keeping a clean sheet.
3) A blast from the past
Ex-Reds player Andy Carroll almost secured his side three points in the dying moments of the game on Monday night- a move that surely would’ve haunted Klopp and his men come April.
His former employers struggled to keep him at bay and could be undone by another ex-Red this Saturday in the form of Jordan Ibe.
The 23-year-old was a force to be reckoned with against Liverpool’s fellow title-contenders Chelsea, playing a pivotal part in their 4-0 demolition of the Blues.
Ibe has proved that he is more than capable of producing a similar performance against Liverpool and could be the man to exploit their defensive problems.
4) Predictable passing
At the London Stadium, Fabinho and Naby Keita repeatedly looked to find Salah during one of his trademark, darting runs in behind the defence.
But West Ham’s back four were prepared. Both Aaron Cresswell and Issa Diop used their physicality and spatial awareness to keep the Egyptian in check.
What’s more, their predictable style of attacking was not only repeatedly nullified, but also used as a form of counterattack.
As soon as the ball to Salah didn’t fall, the Hammers regained possession and instigated an attack of their own.
Eddie Howe’s men will be looking to spot the same patterns in Liverpool’s attack, and if successful, could emulate West Ham in both preventing Salah and co from scoring freely and hitting the Reds on the break.
Follow Maryam on Twitter @MNaz98