I am not about to criticize Klopp’s signing. He’s typically designing a team which will approach a game with a strong determination to win. That’s great of course. That’s what the players and fans want.
The pre-seasons matches so far have been fun and pleasing to watch. But there was one small issue that keeps bothering me. The new Liverpool team have yet to show a gritty side to their game. A stealthy player who can halt play when the Reds attack breaks down, a “take one for the team’ kind of player is still missing for a club expected to challenge for the top targets
The addition of Mane and Wijnaldum is a great prospect. And I like the fact they could both cause double the destruction and cost only half of Pogba’s ridiculous fee. Along with Couts and Firmino it’s a mouth-watering attacking style to look forward to. However, I don’t believe we can and should expect any of these players to make the 60-70 yards runs backwards to make a lunging defensive tackle.
As Liverpool last season showed they can be vulnerable in the middle of the park when their attack is reversed.
Especially when the Reds dropped unnecessary point against teams that pack their defence and catch Liverpool with sucker punch.
Most recently even Wigan and Huddersfield made it clear they can counter-attack a strong Liverpool side when there is an unattended gap between forwards and defenders. The lack of steel in the middle is very much looking a continuing trend for the Reds in the new season.
I don’t expect Klopp to make many more signings from now on, especially for a holding midfield dynamo. Neither am I going to underestimate Klopp to not fix this for the first game against the gooners.
I am only curious who will make this holding role their own. If I were to make a wild suggestion it should be the returning Reds captain. Although Emre Can and currently Grujic are showing great prospect, they both naturally look a box to box type of players. With the lack of maturity and eagerness they can’t be entrusted with such a disciplined role.
Milner is another who could be moulded, but I am not sure he will be a regular first 11 this season.
Henderson however, has a reason and the experience to do this for the club. It’s not the most glamorous role, but with the captaincy comes the responsibility. Plus with so much attacking flair being brought in, Henderson will do well to make a niche for himself to maintain regular playing time.
Henderson have the physique and the fitness to destroy and boss the midfield. And the radar to make a 30, 40 yard pass. For Hendo to remain Liverpool’s captain or more importantly to remain in Liverpool FC, he has to make this season his own. He would know his weaknesses and if he works on timing his tackles to perfection and getting dirty when necessary, he would become the leader Liverpool is looking for.
The answer to whether the Klopp’s Reds are a different proposition than ever before will become clearer in a few days when passion is raised to the highest level in pre-season against good ole nemesis Chelski.
Klopp have shown he won’t hold back his furious barking on the pitch. Now it’s time for some seasoned Liverpool players to show they can bite.
Never have pre-season carried so much weight for Liverpool FC and fans. But if the Reds can come through this with elegance and guts, there’s no stopping the Klopp and the Kop.
Raise the curtain for 2106/17