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Reds Column IV

Premier League 2020-21 Preview: Liverpool vs Burnley

After being held to a Goalless draw by the visitors Manchester United Fc, Liverpool Fc are set to play against the visitors Burnley Fc in the Premier League.

Date: 21 January 2021 (Thursday) ; Time: 9:00 p.m (BST) kick-off ; Venue: Anfield, England.

After Joël Matip was declared unfit to play for the encounter with the visitors Manchester United Fc; Captain Jordan Henderson was utilised as a Makeshift Defender to partner Fabinho at Centre Back.

Without Matip, Liverpool Fc (The Reds) does not have other Senior Centre Back options as Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are sidelined for an indeterminate period.

Both Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams are inexperienced. As such if Matip is deemed unfit to play against the visitors Burnley Fc (The Clarets); Jürgen Klopp might continue utilising Henderson at Centre Back.

The Reds are currently winless in their last 4 games and has failed to score in the last 3 games. So, Klopp clearly has got his work cut out to quickly resolve the Goal Scoring issues of the Front Three (Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah).

The last 4 Matches began to unfold a worrying trend for the Reds as their usual dependable Front Three are showing signs of lack of form.

Some of the few positives from the Manchester United Fc Home Match was the commendable performances of Thiago Alcântara, Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho and particularly Alisson Becker.

The lack of Goals and the rise of Diogo Jota particularly may have affected Firmino’s confidence. Perhaps utilising in-form Takumi Mianmino might prove helpful for the Reds.

The Japanese International can be utilised as a Left Winger in a 4-3-3 Formation or as an Attacking Midfielder playing right behind the Lone Striker in a 4-2-3-1 Formation.

With the Front 3 misfiring, the Reds are clearly struggling to break down defensive minded sides that are content to defend deep and score Goals on the counter.

The same could be said about the Reds next opponents: Burnley Fc (The Clarets). Since losing 2-0 to the hosts Clarets (2016-17 Season), the Reds has not lost to them including a 1-1 draw at Anfield last Season.

 

Reds Team Injuries and Suspensions: Joël Matip is edging closer to regaining his Full Fitness, despite missing the Home Fixture with Manchester United Fc.

Konstantinos Tsimikas seemed to have fully recovered, after sustaining a knee injury during the FC Midtjylland away encounter during the Second Half and was involved in the recent Team Training Sessions.

So there might be a possibility of Matip and Tsimikas being included in the Squad to face the visitors Clarets.

Since injuring his knee during the Second Half of the FC Midtjylland away Match, Diogo Jota is currently sidelined but is recovering ahead of schedule.

After being sidelined due to a muscle related issue, Naby Keïta is edging closer to returning back in action.

Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk remains sidelined for an indeterminate period.

The Defensive Stalwarts had undergone successful surgeries on their injured knees. No timescale has been set by the Reds for the return of the Defensive Duo.

There might be a possibility of Gomez being ruled out for the rest of this Season but Van Dijk has stepped up his rehabilitation.

 

Verdict: Jota’s Goal scoring presence is sorely missed and his return to the side could not be any sooner. However, the Reds simply cannot wait until Jota returns back to the side.

It is easy to point the fingers at the Front Three. Yet, there are other factors that have contributed to the decline of form for the Front Three. For instance, frequently experimentating the squad by using youngsters like Curtis Jones in the Midfield when other viable options like Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri were available.

Frequently utilising inexperienced youngsters can affect the Team’s overall chemistry and morale. When Curtis Jones played for the Reds recently, (more often than not) the Midfield especially looked disjointed and the defence felt more under pressure.

Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri are viable Midfield Attacking Options for the Reds but they are clearly undervalued by Klopp. Time is simply running out and the Reds are clearly struggling, so experimentation using youngsters needs to stop for the foreseeable future.

Just couple weeks ago, the Reds were one of the contenders to win the Premier League but after a winless run of 4 games, the Reds are now are forced to fight for the Top 4 Spots.

 

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