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Arsene Wenger explains why Liverpool are struggling

Liverpool
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) and Jordan Henderson
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 15 Feb 2021
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Liverpool's remarkably poor run of results has led Jurgen Klopp's side on the verge of dropping out of the Champions League places in the Premier League table.

The Reds were top of the league table at Christmas after defeating Crystal Palace 7-0 away from home, but have picked up just 9 points in 10 games since, and are now 13 points away from leaders Manchester City - who also have a game in hand.

Recently, legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed that he believes it was the loss of Liverpool's leader at the back Virgil van Dijk, and the makeshift role of Jordan Henderson at centre-back, that has led to the decline.

"One of the main reasons, certainly, was they lost Van Dijk," Wenger said. "What was their strength is winning the ball high, with [Jordan] Henderson and [James] Milner in midfield. By moving Henderson back they lost that as well."

Liverpool have struggled with injury concerns all season and have had to significantly adapt after losing all three of their senior centre-backs - Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip - to long-term injuries.

"By changing their structure, they gave a bit more time to their opponent" - Wenger on how Henderson's loss in midfield has affected Liverpool

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger claimed that the best Liverpool teams - those that have won Champions League and Premier League titles over the past few seasons - were built on their ability to press higher up the pitch and give very little time to their opponents, something they have not been able to do with the change.

"I’m just trying to find some logical explanation," Wenger said. "Liverpool were very efficient because time on the ball for the opponent was short. By changing their structure, they gave a bit more time to their opponent."
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"They won the ball higher up and could quickly feed their strikers. That was the main reason for their success and, of course, good defensive stability. And they have lost a little bit of all that."

The full video of Wenger's analysis can be seen below:

The Reds now find themselves in a concerning position in the league, and a win for Chelsea at home to Newcastle could see Jurgen Klopp's side fall out of the Top 4.

Liverpool have made two signings in the centre-back department on deadline day - Ben Davies from Preston and Ozan Kabak from Schalke. That, coupled with the imminent return of Fabinho, could pave the way for Klopp to get his skipper back into midfield and go on a favorable run of form.

With the Champions League round of 16 tie against RB Leipzig on Tuesday, Liverpool will need to find a solution quickly as success in Europe is now their only realistic shot at silverware this season.

Published 15 Feb 2021, 19:16 IST
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