Not unreasonable crisis: the reasons for the weak start of Liverpool

Liverpool had the worst start to a season in 10 years. The Reds are currently 8th in the English Premier League standings, 14 points behind leaders Arsenal. This is a lot even for the fight for a place in the top 4, not to mention the championship race. The Merseyside crisis is a fact. The victory over Manchester City does not significantly change the overall picture. But blaming everything on the coach would be too easy. Liverpool are in crisis, and for good reason.

An aging team

The Reds work during every transfer window but never make many purchases. Basically, the Merseysiders make pinpoint signings for the medium term. Liverpool are rebuilding the team, but doing it very carefully so as not to lose quality. The slow work of to rejuvenate the squad has led to the fact that the Reds now have one of the oldest teams in the Premier League. The Merseysiders are second only to Fulham and West Ham in terms of average age. In the 2017/18 season they had the youngest team in the Premier League. They are currently ranked 18th in the league in this metric. Liverpool have an average of 7 players aged 30 and over in every match. This is the highest figure in the Premier League. The most respectable age for James Milner (36) and Adrian (35). Next come Jordan Henderson (32), Thiago Alcantara (31), Roberto Firmino (31), Joel Matip (31) and Virgil van Dijk (31). Alisson and Mohamed Salah are 30 years old. As players age, their speed and effectiveness decrease, and they become more prone to injury. Experience is good, but we also need quality young players. The Reds don't have many of them right now.

Trent's slump

Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of the most creative defenders in the Premier League. However, the pupil of the Merseysiders has always been weak in defense, and this season he is completely bad. In the current campaign, Liverpool's rivals most often attack through the right flank (43% of attacks), on which Trent is located. Previously, the player’s weak actions were leveled due to his attacking game, but this season this indicator is seriously sagging.

To date, the Reds’ pupil has only 1 goal in 9 Premier League matches. Trent has been bad this season, but blaming him alone is unfair. The fault of the whole defense of Liverpool is that the team already conceded 13 goals in the Premier League. West Ham and Everton concede less, which are below the Reds in the standings. Compared to last season, the Merseyside defenders began to win fewer duels on average 42.8 per match (was 46.2). In addition, the opponents take an average of 25 touches per match in the Liverpool penalty area (last season there were 20). Trent's decline is palpable for the Reds, but more importantly, the team has a complex defensive problem. Alisson currently has only 3 clean sheets in the Premier League, which is not enough to fight for high places.

Problems in attack

In the summer, the Merseysiders lost an important attacking player Sadio Mane. The Senegalese not only scored more than 10 goals in a season, but also gave assists and generally had a big impact on the team's game. Mane went to Bayern, and Darwin Nunes moved to Liverpool from Benfica. There are high hopes for the young striker, but so far he has only scored two goals in the Premier League. This is not what they want to see from a striker for 75 million euros. Separately, it is worth noting the decline in performance from Mohamed Salah. So far, the Egyptian has scored only 3 goals in the Premier League. This season, the winger scores an average of 0.26 goals per match (last season it was 0.75 goals per match). In terms of shots on target, the player's rate is 0.90 shots per match against 1.96 last season. In addition, Salah has become less in assists compared to last season (0.39 assists per match vs. 0.42) and created fewer potential scoring chances (0.26 per match vs. 0.59). Now the Reds' top scorer is Roberto Firmino (6 Premier League goals), but the Brazilian has been unstable in recent years. In addition to this, in attack, the Merseysiders have a tired Salah and Nunez, who cannot yet get comfortable in the Premier League. There is also Diogo Jota, who has not yet scored a goal this season in the Premier League, but has a serious injury, as well as an injured Luis Diaz. Liverpool are still scoring decently (21 goals, 4th in the Premier League), but the Reds' front line doesn't look as intimidating as it used to.