The Engine Room- Liverpool’s Midfield

“We’ve got the best midfield in the world………..Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Gerrard and Mascheranooooo”

I loved that song, not just because it was a catchy tune but because it reflected where we were at the time. Cast your mind back to that time, we were ranked the NUMBER 1 team in Europe. We had our swagger back. 

Have a look at those names again, Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano. Admittedly, Sissoko would be flattered to be included in this company, but with this midfield we could stick our chests out and happily go ‘toe to toe’ with any club in Europe.
With Rafa in charge and those midfield maestros, we always believed in our teams ability to get the result, home or away. 

You would have never seen Rafa putting out a second string team at the Bernabeu – we weren’t some European minnow grateful for the opportunity to play there! We were Liverpool, fear us! I’m a firm believer that the centre midfield of a team is the most important area of the pitch. It doesn’t matter how good your attack is, without the midfield supplying them with the ball there is little damage they can do. Also, no matter how good your defence is, they always needs protection.

It’s why it’s called the ‘engine room’ – it’s the heartbeat of the team – your centre midfield sets the tempo for games and with ‘the best midfield in the world’ we dominated teams. So fast forward a decade and what does our centre midfield look like now?

Jordan Henderson
– I’ve never known a Captain of a club to split opinion so much as Jordan Henderson. In my opinion I just don’t know what he excels at? Staring down the clown Diego Costa may be enough for some fans to see him as a ‘midfield hard man’ but it doesn’t cut the mustard for me, I’ve watched Souness. His main attribute appears to be the amount of ground he covers in a game, but if football was all about running then Kenya would win the World Cup? I just see him as an AVERAGE Premier League player.

Joe Allen – suddenly there is a clamour for ‘wee Joe’ to be given a contract extension. Admittedly, Joe had a great Euros and his contribution towards the end of the season for Liverpool certainly improved, but do we ignore what happened previously? I struggle to recall a game that Joe has dominated and he’s been with us for 4 years! Despite his upsurge in form towards the end of the season, he never appeared to be a certain starter for Herr Klopp. I believe there is a reason for that – he’s an AVERAGE Premier League player.

Emre Can – Emre is still a young player. He has potential. I’ve seen him boss some games, hunting down the opposition or pushing forward to support the attack, but I also see him go missing in some games & appear reckless in others. He’s still young though and is certainly worth keeping hold of for now.

Lucas Leiva – to annoy myself & use a phrase we have heard too often over recent years, Lucas shows character. His career with us has ranged from being a liability to a midfield general. Sadly for Lucas, he’s spent too much time in the former & not enough in the latter range. He’s a player I feel often comes in for too much criticism, the easy scapegoat. One thing no one can level at him is the fact he never hides in a game. Even when things aren’t going well for the team, he will always be in the thick of it – he doesn’t hide like some who are more interested in protecting themselves from criticism. Just prior to him damaging his cruciate ligament at Stamford Bridge, Lucas was having the best spell of his career. He was actually controlling games and dominating the midfield. Since the injury he has never got near those heights again in the following 5 years. Thanks Lucas, but I fell its time to part our ways.

Marko Grujic – one of Klopps first signings. He’s had a promising pre-season but its far too early to even try and judge the young man yet. 

In summary, our midfield is not good enough to be the midfield of a title winning team, or even a top 4 team. Its no surprise to me we are continually linked with centre mid players, I hope Klopp is able to secure more quality for us in that area.

Now I know many are fans of Henderson & Allen in particular, and will start quoting Opta stats about Pass Completion %’s, tackling %’s and all other sorts of rubbish that can be manipulated to match your view.
Well I’ll give you a fact that cant be manipulated & reflects how average our midfield is.

We finished 8th, that’s mid table – or in other words, AVERAGE

Written by @lebigmc5times

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