Liverpool fans were full of optimism two months ago after hammering Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side went into the first international break of the season riding the crest of a wave following an excellent start to the 2017-18 campaign.
However, in their first match after the international break back in September, they were thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Since then they’ve won just one of their five Premier League fixtures.
The Reds subsequently find themselves ninth in the table, 12 points behind City.
The best they can now realistically hope for this season is a top-four finish - and even that will soon be out of their reach unless results improve.
Following their 4-1 defeat against Tottenham at Wembley last weekend, Liverpool will be desperate to get back to winning ways against Huddersfield Town this afternoon.
Savage says what we're all thinking about Liverpool's midfield
Ahead of the match, Robbie Savage has written his latest column for the Mirror on Liverpool - and more specifically, their suspect midfield.
The former Leicester City and Wales star believes Liverpool lack of a dominant midfield enforcer; the type of player capable of inspiring those around him.
“But never mind the fantasy front line or the Reliant Robin defending – I’m concerned about the midfield which is supposed to weld the two halves of Klopp’s side together,” Savage wrote. “Where is the leader in the middle of the park?
“Who is the nasty one? Who takes games by the scruff of the neck? Who lays down the law to his team-mates and hammers them in the dressing room when they come up short?
“At every title-winning team of recent times, there was a midfield general calling the shots - from Roy Keane at Manchester United to Patrick Vieira at Arsenal, Claude Makelele or Nemanja Matic at Chelsea, and N’Golo Kante at both Leicester and Chelsea.
“And every successful Liverpool side has had a leader calling the tune in midfield, from Graeme Souness to Steven Gerrard.
“But I look at Klopp’s engine room – Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum – and I don’t see a dominant influence.
“Where is the human shield for the back four? How many times have they dictated the game? When the going gets tough, as it did at Wembley last weekend, who stepped up to the plate?
“Look, all three of them are better players than I ever was. And Henderson has captained both his club and his country, a level every schoolboy dreams of attaining.
“But they lack a nasty streak. That doesn’t mean smashing people recklessly – I’m talking about taking responsibility, putting your head in where it hurts, applying steel as well as silk.
“How many of them would be first choice at Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester United, Manchester City or, at a push, Arsenal?”
Savage makes a good point about Naby Keita
Savage then pointed out that Naby Keita, who will arrive at Anfield next summer after agreeing a £48 million transfer from RB Leipzig in August, could be the man to inject some much-needed ruthlessness into Klopp’s midfield.
He pointed out the fact Keita has been sent off three times in his last seven matches - including in Leipzig’s 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich on Wednesday - and believes this might be a positive sign rather than a negative.
“And the guy who might supply that ruthless streak, Naby Keita, doesn’t arrive until next year,” Savage added.
“Keita has just been sent off for the third time in seven games for Red Bull Leipzig in Germany, so at least we know he’s got some fire in his belly.
“But in the meantime, the pressure on Klopp is growing.”
Keita looks the real deal
Keita certainly looks like a player who will seriously improve Liverpool’s midfield.
He played a starring role in Leipzig’s 3-2 victory over FC Porto in the Champions League earlier this month and Liverpool fans can’t wait to see him finally pull on the famous red shirt next season.
Will Naby Keita transform Liverpool’s midfield? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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