In the six weeks since the start of the 2022-23 season, Liverpool have gone from one of the title favorites to a battle for the top four finish. In Europe, after their first game in the group stage, it seems to be a challenge to make the knockouts.
According to former Liverpool star Robbie Fowler, that doesn’t mean Jurgen Klopp’s side is an exhausted force. This is not the end of an era. This side of Liverpool is in the midst of a difficult period with some very real problems to resolve, but they are not suddenly terrible.
“Liverpool have some real problems, no doubt about that, and not hiding from them,” Fowler noted. “In the frenzied parallel universe of social media, it’s the end of an era, the breakup of the Klopp empire, the collapse of his team as a force
“In real life it doesn’t happen in seven games. Liverpool were on the eve of a historic quadrupling. They were a few minutes away from the title. They were by far the better team in the Champions League final. Great teams go backwards, but it’s years, not days.”
While Fowler doesn’t see Klopp’s men as a completed group – although they looked very tired at times in the early weeks – he does think their struggles reflect something of a miscalculation on the recruitment front during the summer transfer window.
Namely, betting on an aging and injury prone core to stay fit – which they mostly did last season – and mistaking numbers for quality, resulting in a situation where they are now overly dependent on talented but inexperienced young players.
“So you have to look at other problems, and the main ones are injuries,” he added. “I’m not saying injured midfielders are an excuse, I’m saying Liverpool made a mistake by not planning injuries. They made the big mistake of thinking numbers meant quality.
“Jürgen Klopp said nine was enough and it was last season. But was it this time you have players in Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Thiago with a history of injuries, and then Jordan Henderson and James Milner who are quite regular? suffered injuries?
“Then they stay with three children and Fabinho, which is not enough. All three kids are good players, but they’re not elite yet. I would also say that applies to Darwin Nunez, who is still young, so it is unfair to say that he should be an immediate replacement for Sadio Mane.”