It wasn’t a good display of greatness at West Ham on Monday. Jürgen Klopp cobbled a team together from his available players and from the starting whistle something was off and Liverpool struggled to get a rhythm going. It looked like it was going to be one of those frustrating games and boy did it deliver.
Every player on the team has been criticized at one point or another since the curtain finally closed on that unfortunate performance. But the frontrunner in Liverpool country’s Race for the Scapegoat must be Adam Lallana. The oft-injured midfielder has been a lesser influential gear in the works with every appearance over the passed two seasons but his dulled shine was hardly the only blotch on the crystal.
Today, John Alridge joined the voices shouting down Lallana, with his unique brand of displeasure. The ex-Liverpool striker didn’t like what he saw happening in a midfield comprising of Lallana and, our other favorite target, Naby Keita. So they will now be cast aside and shunned from civilized life.
“Klopp’s side dropped more points at West Ham, but a bigger issue for me in both games has been the performance or lack of it from Liverpool’s midfielders,” said Aldridge.
“Salah, Mane and Firmino will give you a cutting edge if the balance of the team is right, but the players sitting behind them at West Ham failed to produce the goods and it cost Liverpool.
“I know Klopp was forced into changes due to injuries, but Adam Lallana and Naby Keita cannot play together in midfield again, as they are just not up to the job for a title-winning team.”
Lallana is slipping or has already slipped down a level depending on who you accidentally ask. But Keita isn’t even Keita yet. It seems a touch harsh to shove him in the bag with Lallana. Because we saw Lallana and it’s had it’s moments but it’s over now or will be soon. Even though it’s February I still think Keita just needs more time.
Aldridge is less optimistic.
“My first impressions of Lallana when he came to Liverpool were not positive,” said Aldridge, “and while he proved me wrong to an extent with some good performances before his recent injury problems, it looks like he is struggling to get back to those levels once again after so long in the treatment room.
“As for Keita, he has not settled at Liverpool and has failed to deliver the performances we were expecting from him, with Klopp and his coaching staff fighting to get him up to speed and still waiting to see if he will be good enough to play in this team.”
So, Lallana is just struggling but Keita has failed. Keita doesn’t need to prove anything to John Aldridge or any other bucket. Klopp will be promoting patience and rhythm with his players and none more than Naby Keita. The manager will want to make sure to raise the player’s confidence in hopes of having him burning brighter in time.