Liverpool’s excessive reliance on their wing-play


There’s no denying that Liverpool’s system is founded on their attacking threat from the wings. This is why their highest goal-scorers are the wingers, and their highest assist makers are the fullbacks.

Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who attack from the right, have 19 goals and 12 assists, respectively. Whereas, Sadio Mané and Andy Robertson, who flank on the opposite wing, have 17 goals and 10 assists, respectively.

The impact their performances have on the overall display on a game-day is incontrovertibly significant. Liverpool fans have been complaining over a lack of squad depth, or more specifically a lack of alternative attacking options, for a while now.

However, the Champions League semi-final home leg against Barcelona in the 2018/19 campaign has papered over the cracks and diffused the worries for a good amount of time. A couple of goals from Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum made it seem like Liverpool had sufficient firepower for when the wing-play isn’t up to the mark.

The anxiety and rants seem to be appearing more frequently again. Although the complaints can be impulsive and often misinformed, the Reds’ performances since being crowned champions of England, has done them no favours.

While we can place some blame on tiredness, lower fitness levels, and having nothing quantitative to play for, we mustn’t take our eyes off the lacklustre play on both ends of the pitch.


The club has lost two and drawn one of their last five games in the league. What has been more disappointing than the uncharacteristic results, is the club’s lack of attacking impetus to simply score more.

In the seven games played since the league resumed last month, Liverpool have averaged 1.57 goals a game, compared to an average of 2.28 goals per game before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to come to a standstill.

Liverpool’s other sources of inspiration in the front end of the pitch are Roberto Firmino’s occasional genius, and a chip in from the midfielders every now and again.

Firmino is perhaps the most crucial cog in Liverpool’s wheel, his selflessness and movement are what allows the likes of Salah and Mané the opportunity to shine. However, his finishing this season has been below par.

The Brazilian has scored just eight goals in 36 appearances in the Premier League. If he doesn’t score at least two more, it will be his first season in the league where he has failed to hit double figures.

When you look into the midfield trio that Jurgen Klopp often chooses, it’s typically players that will run tirelessly, and have an extensive passing range. Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Gini Wijnaldum are the most played midfield combination. The trio has a combined nine goals to their names.

Klopp has been reluctant to start players like Naby Keita and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, which has caused quite a stir. While the pair may not be accustomed to tracking back as much, this is something they can develop. Just as how Kevin De Bruyne or Mason Mount has done for their sides.

Liverpool is unlikely to splurge in the summer transfer window. So, if they are to find alternative goal-scoring threats it has to be from within. The likes of Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Curtis Jones have to start more often.

Apart from playing the more attack-minded midfielders, Liverpool should also look into the development of Rhian Brewster, who was sent on loan in January to Swansea City and should be back when the current season concludes. Rhian Brewster has been a goal machine, scoring nine goals for the Championship side.

Although the calibre of the Premier League is vastly superior to the Championship, the young Englishman can become a feasible goal-scoring alternative under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp.

The bottom line is that if Liverpool truly wants to discover new goal-scoring threats, it will take the Manager’s trust in players who haven’t played an awful lot. The club is unlikely to splurge in the market, so the development and integration of players into the system will be crucial.


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