What comes next for Liverpool’s growing midfield?

The dynamic that surrounds Liverpool’s midfield is an interesting tale, due to the flexibility of the personnel and their individual traits. They have a fire starter in the shape of Philippe Coutinho, and then a workhorse like Jordan Henderson. However, rather than settling for this the Reds will be adding to this rotation with the inclusion of Naby Keita next season, and it might the captain who could face the most competition. 

Ask anyone, whether they are a Liverpool fan, England tragic or even a Sunderland supporter, they will all agree that Henderson has a fantastic attitude and a solid addition to any team. The Englishmen works harder than anybody in Liverpool’s midfield, and chases absolutely everything, not to mention how tidy he can be on the ball. Unfortunately, his penetrative ball playing can, at times be a tad lacklustre, which isn’t a huge deal in a Liverpool outfit that has enough attacking weapons to supply the local military.

For instance, during Liverpool’s comfortable win against Brighton the Englishmen was guilty of forcing the play with some poorly directed long balls. Given the result it didn’t really matter, and considering Henderson managed to maintain a pass accuracy of 90%, it might be criminal to even mention it. But let’s dive through our future portals and talk about the conundrum that will engulf the midfield possibilities at Liverpool next season.

This is where Naby Keita comes into things. Where does he fit? Who misses out? The lure of Barcelona is surely still on Coutinho’s mind but that doesn’t mean the Brazilian is departing any time soon, certainly not in Liverpool’s eyes. We can’t forget that Adam Lallana has returned from injury and will be eager to find his place back in the starting squad. Just the reintroduction of Lallana along with Keita makes places in the Reds’ midfield highly sought after.

If we are to dive into Henderson’s numbers we can we see he has a fantastic passing outlet, having made more than 800 passes this campaign, but he has only created one goal. Granted, that’s fine because it’s not really his primary role in the Liverpool squad, but that’s our point. With the introduction of Keita why wouldn’t Liverpool want to include more natural goal creators? As it stands Keita has also only had a hand in one goal directly, however he has scored five goals himself, compared to Henderson who has just the one and so does Wijnaldum.

 

In a perfect world, this all fits and Liverpool continue to build on their wonderful attacking personality. However, what would you pick? Roberto Firmino up top, flanked by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, with Philippe Coutinho heading the midfield diamond. We then have to have Naby Keita, because there is no way Liverpool fork out that sort of money and leave him to warm the bench. And then? Wijnaldum? Or what about the powerful running game of Lallana? Coutinho, Keita and Lallana in the midfield certainly screams goals, and given the Englishmen’s work-rate and Keita’s average tackle count Liverpool would have the defensive side of midfield sorted as well.

 

Nothing is bible, this is all at the discretion of Klopp, and it gives the German an immense range of options. Jordan Henderson is the Liverpool captain and his leadership qualities are undeniable, but if we were to look at it from an attacking outlook he might be the weakest link in the Reds midfield and that could sway the tide if the Reds are to reach the heights of Manchester City. But Henderson’s ability to get stuck in amongst the dirty stuff may be more than enough then any of his attacking output combined, because that sort of effort speaks to Klopp’s mantra.

Who do you choose?

It’s an interesting plot to ponder for Liverpool supporters next season, however, given how well they are performing at the moment it’s probably not even worth considering just yet…

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