Liverpool Echo

Liverpool need to address big Trent Alexander-Arnold priority and Naby Keita can help

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 14/01/2021 21:00:00 Joe Rimmer & Matt Addison

Liverpool's goals in the Premier League have dried up of late, but there is a clear area in which they can improve in order to get back into their goalscoring groove.

"The only way that most teams can stop Liverpool is to load the box and park the bus," said Neil Fitzmaurice on the Poetry in Motion podcast.

"They say to Liverpool, 'well, cross them in, because we have 10 in the box'. More often than not last season, the crosses did [find the Liverpool attackers] but now they have [been struggling with that].

"Maybe they need to start moving through the middle more and the acquisition of Thiago is important for that.

"They need to create by alternating the play [and making themselves more unpredictable]."

Naby Keita looks set to miss the game on Sunday at Anfield against Manchester United as he has not recovered from injury.

There is still time for him to do so, but he was missing from team training on Wednesday afternoon after his latest minor setback.

But once Keita is back, he, as well as Thiago Alcantara, will help Liverpool vary up their play.

In the meantime, though, Liverpool getting their full-backs back to the level they were at last season is more nuanced than simply altering their game plan.

Last season shows that Liverpool have the quality to cross, but have to do so from the right areas, rather than rush things and become impatient, for that to happen.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold has been below-par of late, but he holds the key to getting Liverpool back on track.

"One of Liverpool's greatest strengths is crossing," argued Joe Rimmer.

"They are getting to the point now where they are just lumping in crosses for the sake of it and I think they broke a record for the number of crosses against Southampton.

"It felt like they had just said, 'let's just get crosses in and we'll get a goal somehow', but that is not how it works. Liverpool are better than that.

"They get into better positions, they have better quality, and they work a cross in rather than lumping one in from deep and hope for the best."

Andy Robertson has five assists in 17 Premier League appearances this season; that is the exact same number he had after the same number of games last season.

Alexander-Arnold, meanwhile, has two in the Premier League so far in this campaign, though he has played two fewer matches because of his calf injury.

After 17 games last season, Alexander-Arnold had laid on six goals, so that is where the drop off has come for Liverpool.

Partly, that can be explained by the lack of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez at the back for the Reds, with Alexander-Arnold having to focus more on defending - even subconsciously, if not deliberately - because the players alongside him have often been makeshift.

But getting that line of attack back firing again despite the lack of options in the heart of the defence has to be a priority for Jurgen Klopp.

14. tammikuuta 2021 23:00:00 Categories: Liverpool Echo

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