Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0 in a Premier League match last Tuesday. The win took them to the top of the league table with 42 points from 19 matches. Diogo Jota and Darwin Núñez scored for the Reds.
However, prior to that, they drew two successive matches against Manchester United and Arsenal. While draws against United and Arsenal are not bad results, Liverpool would have hoped to win at least one of their last two home matches.
Liverpool has been predictable with their reliance on Salah
The match against Arsenal was the second consecutive big match for Liverpool, in which their reliance on Salah to launch their attacks was evident. Even their goal came from a long pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold to Salah.
The 31-year-old Egyptian played as the center forward in the second half, with Dominic Szoboszlai switching to the right flank. Salah did the same in the goalless draw against Manchester United last week. Hence, it is becoming a bit easy and predictable for the opposition forwards to stop Liverpool’s attacks.
They know that if they manage to stop Salah, they will go a long way towards stopping Liverpool as well. In this context, the performances of the likes of Luis Díaz, Cody Gakpo and Núñez should also come under the scanner.
Liverpool has not been able to launch too many attacks through their left of late, which remains a reason for concern. The decision to play Jota through the left against Burnley was a good one though, as the Portuguese forward scored once in the match.
Gakpo and Núñez have scored two and five goals in 17 and 18 Premier League matches, respectively, this season. Those are not the kind of stats one would associate with top-class strikers. Klopp might think of giving Diogo Jota more game time to increase his team’s chances of scoring goals.
Moreover, with midfielders like Curtis Jones and Szoboszlai more comfortable playing short passes instead of longer ones, Liverpool are very much dependent on Alexander-Arnold to play long passes from inside their own half. With Alexis Mac Allister currently injured, the Reds do not have a midfielder well capable of pinging a long pass forward in their playing XI.
Liverpool will have to play well in the coming month to keep their title hopes alive
Liverpool has Newcastle United, Bournemouth, and Chelsea as their next three opponents in the league, along with a two-legged EFL Cup semifinal against Fulham, and a trip to Arsenal in the FA Cup. While Newcastle is not in a great form at the moment, they might still prove to be a formidable opposition for the Reds.
However, Klopp’s men should aim to keep up a positive run of form should they wish to be considered a serious challenger for the title. They are still very much in the race, but with Manchester City’s tendency of playing better in the second half of the season than in the first and Arsenal’s continued brilliance, their job is not going to be easy. It remains to be seen whether they are able to rise up to the challenge.