Liverpool, Brighton and Hove Albion faced each other on Saturday at Anfield in the seventh Premier League match for each side, and both teams played in line with much that we have already seen from them in this season. It was an exciting match that ended in a draw: the ball hit the net three times.
Leandro Trossar shocked Anfield twice early in the game, breaking the stalemate in less than four minutes to add a second result in 17th place. It was Roberto Firmino who gave the hosts some hope back in the 33rd and equalized nine minutes into the second half before a clumsy corner from Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez hit defender Adam Webster and rebounded into the net in the 63rd to put Liverpool out. forward. . But after 20 minutes, Trossard was again for his team and completed his hat-trick, taking advantage of the weak defensive reaction of the hosts, and scored from close range.
The match brought up a lot of topics worthy of discussion, both positive and negative, and it might be best to get rid of the negative ones first.
The Liverpool right-back has been a hot topic in English football in the last couple of weeks, culminating in his absence from the England team that faced Germany earlier in the week, with Gareth Southgate reportedly telling him that his overall performance was “lagging” from Newcastle. Kieran Trippier and Rhys James from Chelsea.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp came to his defense in his pre-match press conference, explaining how Alexander-Arnold is told to play and press high above the pitch, and when a team loses or fails to win the ball, his flank is understandably open. A long pass into this zone causes serious problems, but this is not the fault of Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool always take that kind of risk, it’s just that lately it hasn’t paid off like it did in previous seasons.
However, the performance of the 23-year-old football player against Brighton did not confirm the words of the coach. He was the culprit (the culprit, not the culprit) of both the first and the second goal of the away side, and the pressure he’s been under lately, mostly unnecessarily from the national coach, obviously had a huge impact on him. his confidence.
Trent often found himself out of position, which Klopp explains was not unusual given what he was told to do, but he was also very indecisive and insecure, even when in position for defense.
Southgate’s decision to keep him in the game against Germany and his subsequent words obviously give a strong indication that Alexander-Arnold’s chances of making the squad for the World Cup are slim and, given the situation, it may be better for him to stay on the sidelines and run away. public opinion during the month. Using this time to work on his form and mental recovery would be of great benefit to him.
Whatever the case, Klopp will now have a difficult decision to make before every game between today and Qatar, with a game virtually every three days. Does he place Trent on the bench from time to time to let him cool off a bit and risk his confidence in further deterioration, not to mention putting inexperienced Calvin Ramsey or centre-back Joe Gomez in his place, or does he stick to the bottom line? ? sack a player to show faith in him when others don’t, and risk his performances further negatively impacting the team’s results?
This is a very complex problem that is not solved by a spontaneous reaction, but rather with patience and great attention.
What’s wrong with Liverpool?
While some believe that the original issue that caused problems with Trent has affected other players as well, and call this issue a system that doesn’t seem to work anymore, those willing to jump down the right-back’s throat dismiss this. opinions, asking how a system that gave such fantastic results suddenly stopped working.
The answer is simple. It’s very possible. The game is evolving, teams are evolving, managers are developing new strategies for their teams to deal with opposition that was previously unstoppable. Brighton is a perfect example of this, but more on that later.
As far as Liverpool is concerned, it seems clear that there is too much space left between the midfield and the back line, and most teams are very quick to pick up on this and use it to their advantage. The high defensive line that Klopp expects to see from his charges obviously cannot work well without adequate defense up front, and this is where both Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara have to do more than they did on Saturday.
Moreover, captain Jordan Henderson showed a very poor individual game. Perhaps this can be explained by his recent absence due to injury and his quick return to play for England during the international break, but if so, it begs the question of why he was chosen in the starting line-up in the first place. Young Harvey Elliot played well for most of the season, and it probably made sense to give him a start and introduce Henderson for the last half hour, rather than the other way around. But now we have entered the realm of speculation and must admit that Klopp probably had his reasons.
Where to now?
Perhaps it’s time for Klopp to abandon his usual 4-3-3 formation and try a bolder approach. A 4-2-3-1 system with four forwards and a double turn in front of the back line could help in a tactical sense, as well as shake things up and make it more interesting for players who seem too focused on their path at the moment – too comfortable in their roles, so to speak.
Another thing to say is that Liverpool look very different when they score first. So with four strikers from the start, it might have been possible to storm the opposition’s goal at the first whistle, as Brighton did on Saturday, and do everything possible to get one or two goals away in the first half. Then, perhaps, one could think of prudence and introduce another experienced midfielder in place of one of the attackers in order to calm the situation and control the game.
Control of the game is something that has been sorely lacking in Liverpool’s game and needs to be rediscovered as soon as possible if we are to stop this decline in time and save the season from disaster.
The question of whether Liverpool can be considered a real contender for the title in this term has become relevant. Looking at the current situation, it seems like they should be happy if they qualify for the Champions League next season.
If there is a player from the “old guard” who is doing well this season, it is Firmino. The Brazilian scored twice to keep the dignity of his side against Brighton, but the whole picture becomes clearer when you take into account his overall performance. The popular “Bobby” has scored eight goals (five goals and three assists) in six Premier League games this season.
With Diogo Jota performing so well since his arrival from Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2020 and the signing of Darwin Nunes this summer, there have been questions about the need for the experienced Brazilian at Liverpool after his contract expires at the end of the season.
However, Firmino continues to answer that question himself by doing what he does best – helping his team when they need him most. Therefore, it would be very wise for sporting director Julian Ward to call the 31-year-old footballer into his office in order to discuss a new deal in the near future. If not, he won’t be short of options in a couple of months, as he will be free to talk to clubs outside of England from the start of the year.
Trossard has always looked like a player with real potential. Since his arrival from Genk in 2019, he has shown ball handling and intelligence, always sparking an extra creative spark in a team that is still not considered one of the best in the league. One of the downsides of his game in previous seasons was a clear lack of stability – there were games when he simply did not find the strength to spur the Seagulls or interfere with a well-organized defense.
Now, however, it seems that he has finally taken that step, taken his game to the next level, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, it’s hard to imagine him staying at the club beyond next summer. There will certainly be a lot of interest in his services, and even he himself mentioned a few days ago that it would be difficult for him to refuse if the former Brighton boss Graham Potter called him and said that he was needed at Chelsea. Watch this space.
At the age of 27, one could argue that Trossard is not quite in the prime of his youth for a footballer, but remember, Luis Suarez left Liverpool for Barcelona at that age and went on to win everything club football has to offer. The fact that he is a regular for Belgium speaks volumes about Trossard’s quality, especially given the competition for attacking midfield/winger positions in that team. He has played in every match this Nations League season and is a strong candidate for a trip to Qatar.
Apart from three superb goals scored at Anfield, there was always the feeling that Brighton would cause serious problems for Liverpool when Trossard got the ball. As the closest person to striker Danny Welbeck, he was a vital link, one step ahead of the midfield line that was tasked with building, and he did. He constantly found ways to exploit every little space he could find in the opposition’s half, and to be honest, it wasn’t all that difficult given Liverpool’s defensive problems. He was superb during the 87 minutes he played on the pitch, especially in the first quarter when he and his teammates held the six-time European champions on the ropes in their own backyard.
One thing is obvious. Whichever club signs Trossard next summer will get a top-tier ready-made player.
Potter, De Zerby, Brighton
A superb manager, Roberto De Zerbi, who took over at Brighton after Potter’s recent departure, chose not to fiddle too much with a system that was already working fine, and his humility paid off in tangible ways. Make no mistake – it was Potter’s team, Potter’s tactical ideas, Potter’s players, Potter’s long-term work, fully matured.
De Zerby himself spoke about this upon his arrival at Amex, saying that coaches usually take over teams in crisis and need to fix things, and pointing out how much easier it would be for him to take the helm of a team. already tuned perfectly, delivering surprisingly good results.
One could even say that it was an easy day in the office for the 43-year-old tactician, despite the fact that his first match in charge was played in one of the traditionally toughest stadiums in Europe against the team that won it all.
There are many challenges ahead, but Brighton, who started the second season in a row as perhaps the most pleasant surprise in the Premier League, is rightfully fourth in the Premier League table at the moment, ahead of three of the big six. There is a long way to go and competition in the top half of the English top flight is very tough, but playing the way they do, the Seagulls seem ready for Europe.