According to Fabinho, Liverpool’s problems over the past month don’t have anything to do with the pressure of being in a title race. Rather they’re the result of opponents adjusting to counter this Liverpool side’s threat—and their inability, so far, to adjust.
“We have confidence,” Fabinho insisted when speaking to ESPNFC. “We enjoyed a brilliant December, which was almost perfect, but now we have had this dip. It is difficult to explain why this has happened. I believe that now teams who play against us sit very deep.
“We need to do things a little differently and maybe we aren’t doing this. Often, we want to go through the middle and it is difficult against physically strong and defensive teams. We need to find solutions and in these past few games we haven’t.”
That Liverpool were looking to work through the middle was clear against West Ham. And just as clear was that it wasn’t working to break West Ham down. It’s especially confounding given some of the past success this side has had working the wide areas.
Earlier in the season, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold provided width and telling crosses from the flanks, creating chances and helping to keep their opponents honest. Now, that isn’t happening and Liverpool’s opponents are packing in.
It seems a simple issue, Liverpool’s players falling back on a collective desire to attack the middle of the pitch and in doing so making it easier for their opponents. The question now, then, is if that really is all it is—and if so how quickly they can fix it.
“We know our quality and we know that we can give more,” Fabinho added. “If we do it, with our quality, we will continue at the top. But I’m talking and talking is always a little easier, so we have to try to put it into practice. Personally, I am not worried.
“But we know that in the next game we have to give much more. Beating Bournemouth is important to continue with a three-point gap at the top of the table. Now we only look at the next game and that is against Bournemouth.”