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Jurgen Klopp could be forced to return to his own rule to save Liverpool’s season



Jürgen Klopp faces major Liverpool decision for Everton following Virgil van Dijk injury updat

Jurgen Klopp could be forced to return to his own rule to save Liverpool’s seasonJurgen Klopp could be forced to return to his own rule to save Liverpool's season

Liverpool meet Everton in Monday night’s Merseyside derby, with Jurgen Klopp hoping to welcome a host of stars back to revive their rapidly deteriorating campaign

The cavalry can’t arrive soon enough for a struggling Liverpool, which is why Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino could all dive deep into the Mersey derby.

The trio of injured players completed a full training session with Jurgen Klopp’s side on Thursday and although the manager is still reluctant to use players after long absences, he may simply have no choice .

The stats tell a grim story for the Reds boss. It is now four league games without a win, the longest winless streak in the competition for Klopp’s side in two years.

Jurgen Klopp

That previous barren spell in 2021 culminated in a fourth loss, a derby loss to Everton – the Blues’ only victory at Anfield this century. And with their neighbors visiting on Monday, the omens couldn’t be worse.

The Reds went without a league win in 2023 and have only had the worst start to a calendar year in their entire Premier League history.

It’s not hard to see why. Liverpool have not scored a goal in their last three league games; a statistic made all the more alarming by the fact that prior to that run they had only gone three times without scoring in their last 65 games.Liverpool board 'make feelings clear' on sacking Jurgen Klopp after latest disaster

They have scored just 34 goals this season. Incredibly, at the same stage last season, their goal difference was higher than that. Even worse, they have scored three goals in their last five games and TWO of them have been own goals.

The problem seems clear. Darwin Nunez simply doesn’t shoot at centre-forward. The £85m forward hasn’t scored a league goal since before the World Cup and since the return of the Premier League he has more shots (22) and shots on target (10) without scoring than any other Premier League player . Take a close look at Liverpool’s games this season, and the fact that they haven’t assimilated the Uruguayan striker is clear.

Their best wins of the season – two defeats against Manchester City, a 9-0 against Bournemouth, a 2-0 win over Napoli and a 2-1 defeat against Newcastle came when he was on the bench and Firmino started

Liverpool board 'make feelings clear' on sacking Jurgen Klopp after latest disaster

Indeed, all of Liverpool’s best victories have come with the Brazilian playing in the favourited, false 9 role, with Firmino at the heart of big away victories against Ajax, Rangers and Tottenham, and Nunez alongside him.

As Didi Hamann – a vocal critic of Klopp – said this week: ‘Other teams do to Liverpool what they did. Liverpool used to bully teams and was clinical in front of goal. Not anymore. “It’s too easy to make things difficult for Liverpool at the moment. If you stand up to them, they seem to have no answer. And that’s a scary thought with games against Everton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Manchester United to come.”

Klopp admitted last week that Mo Salah – who has scored just once in his last seven league appearances – is suffering because Liverpool have not adapted to Nunez playing like a more traditional number nine.

Over the past six years under Klopp, they’ve run a very different system, with Firmino, Salah and Sadio Mane all used as false 9s at different times, diving deep to create space.

With the derby fast approaching and the omens (and stats) against them, it’s understandable that Klopp would consider bringing Firmino and Jota up front to help Salah get back into shape and Liverpool find themselves.


Liverpool’s fixture and strategy they can apply to cope with it

Liverpool could see another Premier League game postponed next month and a potential nightmare week of games

Liverpool’s FA Cup defense may have come to an untimely end at Brighton last month but their game overload could only get worse despite their early exit from the competition.

The Reds currently have two games in hand after their home game against Wolves and the trip to Chelsea last September were postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

With Liverpool eliminated from the FA Cup, it has already been confirmed that they will now host Wolves on Wednesday 1 March. The midweek place was earmarked for the fifth round of domestic cup competition but with the Reds knocking out the West Midlands outfit in the third round both can play their postponed game on that date.

Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk

However, no date has yet been confirmed for the trip to Chelsea, while at Liverpool another Premier League game could be postponed due to the FA Cup later in the season. Jurgen Klopp’s men are currently scheduled to face Fulham on Saturday 18 March at Anfield in their last game before the first international break since last year’s World Cup. However, the FA Cup quarter-finals are also scheduled for the same weekend.

After winning 3-2 at Sunderland in Wednesday night’s fourth round replay, Fulham are still playing in the FA Cup and host Leeds United in their fifth round match on Tuesday 28 February. If they beat the Peacocks, Liverpool’s home game against the Cottagers looks postponed.

With Chelsea scheduled to host Everton on Saturday 18 March, there is no chance the Reds will rearrange their schedule with the Londoners in lieu of Fulham. As a result, they could have two league games to win before the end of the season.

Liverpool injury update: Latest injury update and return dates for Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Virgil van Dijk  and Fabinho

Meanwhile, there is no chance of Liverpool playing the postponed fixture with Chelsea before April due to both clubs’ current schedules. As the Reds’ next free midweek slot (Tuesday 7 March and Wednesday 8 March) falls between their home fixture with Manchester United on Sunday 5 March and their trip to AFC Bournemouth on Saturday 11 March, Londoners Borussia Dortmund will receive the midweek one in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16.
Technically they could play Fulham that week midweek, if their match against the Cottagers were to be rescheduled, but they need permission from UEFA to play a Premier League game on the same night as Champions League games.

Liverpool’s next available slot for such matches is 4th April (Tuesday) and 5th April (Wednesday). Between a trip to Man City and a home draw with Arsenal, the prospect of a triple header from Chelsea is less than ideal. With Fulham currently two places and three points ahead of Klopp’s men, it might not be much better to come up against these new domestic rivals.

Darwin Nunez

If Real Madrid were to eliminate the Reds from the Champions League, April 11 (Tuesday), April 12 (Wednesday), April 18 (Tuesday) and April 19 (Wednesday) would also all become free. However, they would again need UEFA’s permission to play on those dates, and if Chelsea play again in Europe, they could reschedule their meeting with Fulham for just those midweek dates.

Tuesday, May 2, May 3 (Wednesday), May 23 (Tuesday) and May 24 (Wednesday) are also free midweek game slots for rescheduled matches, with the remaining May midweek rounds (Tuesday, May 9, Wednesday, 10 May, Tuesday, May 16 and Wednesday May 17) worried about the Champions League semi-finals. Again, UEFA clearance is required to play on the final dates. If Liverpool go through to the Champions League round of 16, they won’t be able to play their postponed Premier League games until early April between Man City away and Arsenal at home or early and late May in the free slots between fights. at home with Tottenham. and Brentford and their home game with Aston Villa and the trip to Southampton on the final day of the season. On the last two dates, the two remaining games against Chelsea and Fulham could prove crucial for European qualification.

Klopp recently expressed his frustration at Liverpool taking on Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round over the weekend, particularly when they had Premier League games to play, rather than that round of play being slotted into one of the free midweek Premier League slots all January.

“With our tight schedule I’m not sure the FA Cup should have its own weekend, but now we have and it’s good to at least prepare,” he told reporters. . “But it will make other things more difficult as we still have two games on hand that someone needs to put somewhere, but no news on that yet and no idea when that will happen.”

With Liverpool still in the dark about this rearranged Chelsea game and the prospect of Fulham contributing to such an overload, Klopp’s frustration could grow even further.