Liverpool FC

Barnes identifies what’s going wrong at Liverpool, but Klopp hints at solution

Sunday night’s stalemate with rivals Manchester United at Anfield saw Liverpool register their third goalless Premier League match in a row.

It’s a run fans have not witnessed for 16 years – since Rafa Benitez’s side in early 2005. The Reds have now only managed to score one league goal since the 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace last month.

There has been a lot of chat around why the champions are struggling in the final third, with some former Liverpool players weighing in on the subject.

Club legend John Barnes believes the absence of Virgil van Dijk could be affecting the squad as a whole, saying without talismanic centre-half the team has been lacking creativity of late.

“[When] you’ve got van Dijk at the back who gives you that assurance, which allows the full-backs to go forward with conviction and be creative,” the former England international told GOAL.

“All of a sudden, the psychological effects of van Dijk not being there affects the whole team. I don’t think they’re being as creative.”

There’s no denying the squad has been hit with an injury crisis this season, with the back line in particular taking a hit as van Dijk and Joe Gomez still face many months on the side-lines.

Captain Jordan Henderson joined makeshift centre-half Fabinho in defence, as the boss opted for experience over youthful options Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips in the absence of Joel Matip.

Although the game ended in a draw, Klopp believes there are positives to take from the game, heaping praise on Xherdan Shaqiri’s efforts, who made his first Premier League start for the Reds since December 2019.

Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, the boss said: “The boys did really well, I liked it a lot, a six and an eight in the centre-half position – that was just good.

“Shaq is in a really good shape. He maybe could have played a little bit longer but I was not sure, it’s just a long time not playing. But he was really good.

“A lot of really good individual performances. When you think about the last two games, especially this was a massive improvement and that’s important obviously. That was much more us, if not completely us, and so I’m fine with that. And now we keep going.”

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