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Delaney Adamant TAA Not The Answer To Liverpool's Midfield Problems

Delaney Adamant TAA Not The Answer To Liverpool's Midfield Problems
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Liverpool once again stumbled over the line on Saturday afternoon, after a nervy and chaotic 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest at Anfield.

With Forest battling relegation, a home game for Liverpool would have felt like a big opportunity for Jurgen Klopp's men to get a relatively straightforward three points on the board in their battle to secure European football for next season.

Instead, they made things difficult for themselves, twice giving up the lead before Mo Salah's winner 20 minutes from time.

There was high praise for Trent Alexander-Arnold's exploits in midfield at Leeds on Monday but, on Premier Sports post-match, Damien Delaney and Kenny Cunningham both questioned whether he was the man to solve Liverpool's issues in the middle of the park.

Liverpool v Nottingham Forest: Delaney and Cunningham critical of 'Pool midfield

Liverpool will be happy to have another three points on the board, but their tight victory over Nottingham Forest on Saturday once again raised questions about the strengths of their midfield.

Fabinho's drop off in form has been dramatic, while Jordan Henderson and Curtis Jones have been inconsistent for large parts of this season.

One solution floated regularly by pundits has been to move the often defensively suspect Trent Alexander-Arnold into a more central midfield role, given his world-class passing ability and creativity.



We were given a glimpse of its potential in Liverpool's comprehensive win at Leeds on Monday night, and again in spells during Saturday's game.

Despite the profits in goal contributions Liverpool have enjoyed in both games, former Ireland player Damien Delaney does not believe it is a viable long-term solution for Jurgen Klopp.

Speaking on Premier Sports at full-time, Delaney said that the owners must prioritise investing in new midfield talent, saying that Trent's excellence would merely be papering over the cracks for Liverpool:


They're full of issues in central midfield, we know that. Klopp was trying something to see, 'can Trent Alexander-Arnold offer a solution there?' He can't. Not long-term, without losing something in the flanks.

Go out and buy two midfield players. You have to do it. The owners have got to get the chequebook out.

It's not a long-term solution, Trent in the middle of the park. If the owners are saying, 'there's not a lot of money there, we're asking you to get creative,' and Klopp converts Trent there - it's not a stable, long-term, viable option.

Every now and then, coming in against Leeds it can possibly happen. But you need to go get the chequebook out and sign two central midfield players. Fabinho for me is nowhere near the player he was, the same with Jordan Henderson.

Alongside him in the studio was Kenny Cunningham, who agreed that the issues in midfield were serious for Liverpool - and questioning whether Klopp's tactics were helping the situation.

He said that the recent "box" shape of Liverpool's midfield, with Alexander-Arnold stepping up, were causing more harm than good, and taking away from the danger they posed down the wing:


The players looked unsure of what was being asked of them. I wouldn't be overly critical of Trent Alexander-Arnold, I don't think it matters who plays in that Liverpool midfield. If you're playing with that box shape and you're sacrificing your full-backs, where traditionally Liverpool have been so strong, to me that doesn't best compliment them.

Once you concentrate on that central midfield area, and even more so across that defensive line, what you're seeing now in some individual performances is the big concern.

The attacking talent at Liverpool's disposal is undeniable, but it's clear to see that investment is needed in midfield if they are to return to the level of recent years.


Saturday's win over Forest leaves them in 7th place in the table, with Brighton behind having two games in hand.

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