Jai Singh’s lookback at this week’s Premier League action.
What has gone wrong for Liverpool?
Another defeat for Jurgen Klopp’s men, this time away to Leicester. Having controlled and dominated the game for 78 minutes, coming away having lost the game 3-1 would surely have been a bitter blow. The confidence seems at an all time low for Liverpool, with their heads all over the place after Leicester got the contentious equaliser. That was quickly followed by another Allison error, following on from his two-last week against City, and a third, all in the space of 7 chaotic minutes. But what exactly has gone wrong at Liverpool?
Well, it isn’t just one thing. To say Liverpool are suffering from just injuries, or just fatigue, or just a lack of confidence, is a weak narrative that fails to notice that all these issues are linked, and there exists a chain of cause and effect. Every knew the Van Dijk injury was going to be massive for Liverpool, but whilst they had at least 2 fit senior centre-backs, they continued seamlessly and were top at the halfway stage. However, all 4 senior centre backs that started the season are injured. That’s enforced players having to play out of position, which leads to a lack of balance and change in tactics. The tried and tested system that has worked for the last 3 seasons hasn’t simply been worked out by the opposition, they just aren’t having to play against the same tactics, or the same players. Add onto that injuries to key players all over the pitch, Liverpool are stretched and fatigue is bound to kick in. Liverpool fans should hope and look forward to a Kabak and Davies centre-back partnership. Whilst not the most glamourous on paper, it will bring Henderson and Fabinho back into midfield, which will allow them to press higher up the pitch and be less easy to play against and through.
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United are close, but not close enough.
A disappointing result for Manchester United as they were unable to beat West Brom. It is the 2nd time in a month they have dropped points to a side in the bottom 3, and highlights that whilst they have made great improvements this season, they still need reinforcements to mount a serious title challenge.
Defensively, the seem weak. A strong and powerful centre forward will bully Lindelof all the time, and Bailly simply does not have the required level of fitness to be reliable to the manager. Maguire also tends to make a mistake, and whilst he will complain about a penalty he (rightly) did not get, he was also lucky not to give one away himself. Without Pogba, they seem to lack any creativity from midfield and Bruno, for all his match winning moments, is not the player to dictate a game like this in the same way Pogba or De Bruyne would.
So, whilst United are close, they need a few reinforcements to truly challenge. With the market the way it is at the moment, and with Mina Raiola constantly talking up a move for Pogba, it makes United’s summer business as important as ever.
Gundogan player of the season?
Since December, Gundogan has scored 11 league goals from midfield. Those numbers are outstanding and has meant that City have skipped a beat following the injury to De Bruyne. The German midfielder bagged a brace again this week and, if he had converted his spot kick last week, could have potentially been looking at back to back hattricks.
There have been several outstanding players this season, and whilst there is still over a 3rd left to play, Gundogan is surely up there for the award. If he keeps his form up, he would have to be the bookies favourite.