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Two lessons Jurgen Klopp must learn

Tuesday 28th February 2017
It has not been the ideal start to 2017 for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool after they suffered yet another defeat against lowly Leicester on Monday evening. The Foxes, playing in their first game since Claudio Ranieri was sacked, ran out comfortable 3-1 winners as they eased their relegation worries, and piled the misery on Liverpool.

Fingers were pointed, performances lambasted and points were dropped as the Reds slumped to a demoralising defeat. In all competitions this year, Liverpool have won just two games of the 12 they have played, an awful record considering they were legitimately chasing three different trophies before the turn of the year.

This run has also seen them fall 14 points behind Antonio Conte's Chelsea and, while Klopp has obviously had a positive effect on the team, their stuttering mid-season form will be worrying everyone associated with the club. It seems almost certain that they will end the season without a trophy as, barring a major collapse from every team above them, they are already too far off the top to chase down Chelsea.

Therefore, this season must now be used as a confidence boosting one in which they end the campaign as they started it, in good form playing slick football. While getting Liverpool back to their old ways will constitute a huge challenge for Klopp, he must also deal with a number of other problems that were exposed against Leicester, with two areas in particular need of attention:

Lucas should not be used at centre-half

Liverpool have a range of problems across the pitch, but their biggest issues are at the back. Beginning with their goalkeepers, Klopp cannot seem to decide on whether Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius should start. Neither goalkeeper has covered themselves in glory this term with mistakes, poor distribution and bad decisions ceding positions, goals and points. In front of them, they have one of the few areas of consistency in the team, with James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne comprising a very good wing-back pairing. However, between the full-backs is where Liverpool's biggest problem lies.

The centre-half partnership has not been solid at Liverpool for many years, with average players too often brought in to fill the gap at the back. Currently, it is the turn of Ragnar Klavan, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip to play there, with the latter the only centre-back of a particularly good standard. What is puzzling though, is Klopp's decision to play Lucas, a midfielder, at the heart of the defence. The Brazilian is not a defender and he was exposed against Leicester as Jamie Vardy targeted the makeshift centre-back and had a field day against him. Too often he was caught out of position or he made the incorrect decision. With so many problems already persisting at the back for Liverpool, why is Klopp choosing to exemplify their troubles by playing a midfielder at the back?

Liverpool need a new striker

It is no secret that Liverpool is in dire need of a striker. Chelsea, Manchester City and United, Tottenham and Arsenal are all able to call upon a striker that has scored more than 10 goals this season and, when thy really need to score, he can be seen busting a gut to get on the scoresheet for his team. For Liverpool, this job often falls to midfielder Roberto Firmino who is utilised as a centre-forward in place of an out-and-out striker.

For Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, this must be incredibly frustrating. The two have had to watch on from the bench as their side has struggled to score of late. The two, who can fill the role of a true striker, do not seem to be trusted by Klopp, who chooses Firmino in the role instead. However, the Brazilian does struggle at times, as he does not seem to possess the same instinct as the likes of Harry Kane or Diego Costa. It is, therefore, vital that Klopp either chooses one of his available strikers and plays them regularly, or he must delve into the transfer market and find a striker that will score 20+ goals a season. Until he does so, Liverpool will not be able to win the Premier League title.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.

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