Mizgan Ahmed on October 26, 2015
Liverpool have been struggling to score goals this season and forward line players must take the blame for it. This problem is a continued one since Suarez left Liverpool at the end of 2013-14 season. Since then, Liverpool bought Lambert, Balotelli as his replacements and recalled Borini after his loan spell finished, and an injury-prone Daniel Sturridge as the other striker. So, Liverpool didn’t had any world-class striker (as Sturridge was constantly injured) who can score goals week in week out without getting consistently injured. Brendan Rodgers tried to get best out of either Balotelli or Lambert but neither of them could live up to the expectations. So, for most parts of the season, Rodgers started with Sterling as false no 9.
Come the 2015-16 season, Liverpool and Rodgers recognised a problem that was becoming a headache – a proven goal scorer. So, they cashed in 32.5 million on Christian Benteke and also bought Danny Ings hoping to get Sturridge fit and form a lethal combination. They recalled young Divock Origi after his loan spell finished. So this time on paper Liverpool had 5 strikers at the start of the current season, but now Liverpool only have three strikers in Benteke, Origi and one academy striker Jerome Sinclair. So, this shows that Klopp still has strikers crisis as Origi and Sinclair are too young to be proven-goal scorers and reliance on Benteke is not what Klopp wanted after having 5 strikers on paper.
Persistent goal-scoring problem cannot be solely because of the lack of strikers or injuries, the problem this season mainly lies in the creative front of the game and Philippe Coutinho being out of form is a big blow for Liverpool. We still haven’t seen the Coutinho of last season. He has struggled a lot in that no 10 position and it looks like opposition teams have worked out how to counter him and he is yet to find a new way to surpass it. We have seen in the last season that when he has time with the ball, he can be very deadly. This season teams seem to close him down as soon as he gets onto the ball, making him uncomfortable on the ball.
So, the best thing to do for Klopp is to get him out of that position and try him in a little deeper role, maybe in the midfield triangle consisting of two central midfielders and he being in the tip of that triangle, which would mean a 4-3-2-1 formation with Lallana/Firmino and Milner/Ibe behind the striker Benteke. Can and Lucas in that two central midfield positions.
This is the 4-3-2-1 formation which Klopp can deploy allowing Coutinho to drop a little deeper and he will get a little extra time on the ball so that he can be more creative and be more like an attack-creator of the team.
So, minor tactical changes can be made to get the best out of Coutinho and be more joint on the attacking and creating front of the game. Coutinho is still Liverpool’s best player and to get the best out of him is the key to get Liverpool scoring consistently again. If he is allowed to play in a role where he gets a bit of time on the ball, then he can be very dangerous.