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Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho & more – five issues Jurgen Klopp must tackle at Liverpool

Five issues Jurgen Klopp must tackle at Liverpool

Off the back of a tumultuous campaign, Liverpool will head into the new season with the spotlight shining ever brighter on the Merseysiders as they look to reclaim their top-four spot.

Stability, vision and execution – each one is needed in varying degrees, with Jurgen Klopp’s side keen to avoid a repeat of last season’s aberration.

Yet there are several niggling issues that require Klopp’s immediate attention to further solidify the foundation on which Liverpool hopes to build a successful season.

We delve into five key challenges the 56-year-old tactician must address ahead of the coming campaign.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Until the tail end of last season, Trent Alexander-Arnold was a real dilemma for Klopp and the Liverpool faithful. 

The Englishman was a force to be reckoned with further up the pitch and added to Liverpool’s threat in the final third, but his attacking endeavour often saw him neglect his primary defensive duties.

Klopp seemed to have found a way to mask Alexander-Arnold’s defensive shortcomings and utilise his creative prowess by handing him an inverted role. But it remains to be seen if that system is sustainable in the long term.

Many people have touted the 24-year-old to switch positions from right back to central midfield, but Klopp has shown no signs of making that tactical change as it will require the German manager to invest in a new full-back.

It remains to be seen what plans Klopp has for Alexander-Arnold next season, but the German tactician must be ruthless in dropping the Englishman for poor performances – something he rarely did last term.


Fabinho has been a rock-solid acquisition for Liverpool since joining from AS Monaco in 2018. But even the most passionate Reds fan will admit that the Brazilian was a major cause for concern last season.

Recurring injury problems meant the 29-year-old spent ample time in the treatment room or warming the bench.

But even when he was on the pitch, Fabinho was guilty of some below-par performances, offering very little at either end of the field.

Fabinho remains a world-class holding midfielder, but Klopp needs to figure out a way to get him back to his very best or bring in another defensive midfielder to compete with the Brazilian for a starting berth.

Tactical plan ‘B’

Klopp is renowned for his tactical prowess, and his gegenpressing style took the Premier League and Europe by storm after helping the Reds win seven major titles since his arrival.

However, last season’s fall from grace was unprecedented as it seemed like other clubs had figured out what made Liverpool tick and used that information to thwart them at every turn.

While the gegenpressing style is still very successful, Klopp may need to figure out a plan ‘B’ to add an element of unpredictability to his side. 

A switch to 4-4-2 has worked in the past, while a three-man defence, which would offer more cover and maximise Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson in attack, could also be worth considering as a back-up tactical plan.

Thiago Alcantara

Thiago Alcantara has gone from one injury-plagued campaign to the other since arriving from Bayern Munich three years ago and, with just 12 months left on his contract, Klopp needs to figure out what to do with the Spaniard.

The 32-year-old is reportedly subject to interest from clubs in the Saudi Pro League, but Liverpool are yet to receive any official proposals.

Reports suggest Thiago’s representatives have been contacted about the possibility of a summer switch, but the former Barcelona man has rejected their advances.

Thiago has proven his credentials as an experienced maestro when on the pitch, but the midfielder’s injury record also shows he is unreliable.

Liverpool may be better off recouping funds from a potential summer departure than letting him walk for free next year.

Darwin Nunez on the bench?

Liverpool shelled out a club record £85 million fee to bring Darwin Nunez to Anfield last summer, but the Uruguayan striker has endured a rocky adaptation to life in English football.

Nunez has struggled to live up to expectations notching just nine Premier League goals last season and looks set to be relegated to the bench next season with Cody Gakpo firing on all cylinders.

The Dutchman only arrived in January but finished the season strongly with seven league goals and is poised to continue leading the line for the Reds next season.

Nunez’s playing time took a nosedive when Gakpo arrived, but he has shown he can be an asset for the Reds, and Klopp needs to figure out a way to get the former Benfica man firing again. 

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