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Title race The changes Jurgen Klopp should make to get Liverpool's season back on track


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp  (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The moment has come for Jurgen Klopp to try something different with his Liverpool team, as they simply must get their season back on track against Burnley on Thursday night.

What looked like a blip in form for Liverpool is starting to look a little more worrying and they need to win against Sean Dyche's side in what has become a massive game in Jurgen Klopp's season.

After a run that has seen Liverpool pick up just three points from a possible 12 in their last four matches and fail to score a goal in their last three against Newcastle, Southampton and Manchester United, we don’t know what we are going to get from them.

One thing you have been certain of over the last couple of seasons from Liverpool is an attacking unit that will create chances and score goals, but that end of the team has lost their way in the last month.

They are missing Virgil van Dijk at the back and any team would feel the impact of his absence, as he is simply the best in the world in that position.

Yet that is not the big concern for Liverpool heading into this game against Burnley, as I’d be more worried about Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino at the other end of the field.

Sadio Mane is working hard to find solutions to Liverpool’s attacking problems, but I look at Salah and Firmino and something is not right.

Who knows, Salah may have been affected by the Covid-19 virus he contracted in Egypt in November because he has looked below par since then.

The Egyptian does not look like the world-beater we have seen since he arrived at Liverpool.

As for Firmino, I feel the issue is a little deeper as he has been struggling for form for some time and Klopp has to be thinking of resting him against Burnley.

To put it bluntly, the opposition goalkeepers simply haven't been made to work enough by Liverpool over the last four games and they will face a familiar dilemma on Thursday.

Burnley will play with a flat back ten and will do everything they can to escape from Anfield with a draw, as they did at the back end of last season.

They will play for set-pieces around the box and will try to nick a goal that would pile the pressure on Klopp’s side, who need to come off the ropes and get back to winning ways on Thursday night.

No one will help them, as the rest of the Premier League are sniffing weakness in the champions now and Burnley will fancy their chances of getting something out of this game, so Liverpool's players and manager have to make it happen on Thursday evening.

Klopp's substitutions have not always been the most inventive in the last few weeks as it was clear Firmino, in particular, was not at it against United on Sunday.


Liverpool's Takumi Minamino brings the ball under control. Photo: AP

Liverpool's Takumi Minamino brings the ball under control. Photo: AP

Liverpool's Takumi Minamino brings the ball under control. Photo: AP

I would have given Takumi Minamino a chance from the bench, changed things up in the hope that something might click.

In the end, what we saw was a predictable draw, with Paul Pogba missing the biggest chance of the game to win it for United in the closing stages.

What I would like to see on at Anfield on Thursday night is a new long front three, with Xherdan Shaqiri in a wide role and either Mane or Salah playing down the middle.

Klopp needs to get captain Jordan Henderson back in midfield and that means playing either Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips in the backline, even though Burnley will then target the youngster as the weak link in the Liverpool side.

It is all about risk and reward for Klopp now, as a win over Burnley is essential if Liverpool are to keep their title defence on track. But I don’t have too much confidence that they will get back to the levels of excellence we have seen from this team over the last couple of years.

It was unrealistic to continue to perform as they have done after winning the Champions League and collecting 97 points in the Premier League in the 2018/19 campaign.

They backed that up by putting 98 points on the board and winning the title by a mile last season and the expectation was that they would repeat that form and retain their crown this time.

Possible mental fatigue, injuries to key players, a succession of woeful VAR calls and the absence of Liverpool’s brilliant fans have combined to create a perfect storm and now we wait to see whether Liverpool can rediscover their form.

Manchester City will pull clear of Liverpool if they drop too many more points and with the club seemingly unable to finance new signings this month, it’s up to Klopp to find a way to get his team firing again.

They could turn a corner by beating Burnley, but anything less will cement the suspicion that Liverpool’s dip in form is something more serious.

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