Liverpool seemed to gloss over a number of important facts after they are the 4-3 win over Arsenal on the opening day. Alberto Moreno was the only player to suffer a lot of criticism, but it was a result of mistakes that directly led to goals. However, he was not the only underperforming player in the team. Jordan Henderson has been highly inconsistent over the last 12 months and he failed to provide sufficient power to the back four as Arsenal almost came up with an unlikely comeback. Henderson’s performances, though, were in the glaring spotlight after the loss against Burnley.
Despite having more than 80% possession, Liverpool struggled to create any meaningful chances and had only a couple of shots on target throughout the 90 minutes. This would be a perfect opportunity for someone like Henderson, who was moulded by none other than Steven Gerrard, to come up with some good long range efforts. Apart from having attempted no shots throughout the 90 minutes, Henderson also created just three chances for his teammates. The former Sunderland man is not a defensive midfielder by trade, but he was given the job of taking care of the back four. His partners Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana are even poorer when it comes to defending, which makes the job especially important.
However, Henderson was unable to contribute in any form of the game. Klopp may have been much better off selecting a proper defensive midfielder like Emre Can. The German has just returned from a long injury layoff, but his absence was already felt in the game against Arsenal. Can is not just excellent when it comes to reading games and stopping the opposition hurting the back four, but he is also excellent at being able to bring the ball out of the back. The two goals conceded by Liverpool against Burnley were a direct result of the opposition putting immense pressure on the back four trying to play their way out.
Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren are extremely good on the ball, but they need an asset like Can to help them out in tight situations like that against Burnley. Can may need some time before he reaches 100% fitness, but it is of paramount importance that he returns if Liverpool are to continue with this formation and similar style of football. Liverpool’s next game is against Burton Albion in the League Cup.