Former Premier League striker Tony Cascarino feels Jurgen Klopp has two players within his ranks that could cost the Reds their chance to secure a second title in three seasons
Liverpool have been told that a lack of intensity in midfield is what is currently costing them points after their recent defeat away at West HamUnited.
Jurgen Klopp ‘s side have dropped points in consecutive league matches after their 2-2 draw at home to Brighton& Hove Albion was followed by a 3-2 loss in East London.
As a result, the Reds currently sit fourth in the Premier League table – four points adrift of table toppers Chelsea as fifth-placed Arsenal breathe down their necks ahead of their meeting after the international break.
Former Chelsea forward Tony Cascarino believes that the absence of Georginio Wijnaldum in the middle of the park is costing Liverpool dearly after the Dutchman upped sticks at the end of last season.
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Wijnaldum is now under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino at French giants Paris Saint-Germain, yet the Reds opted against replacing him in the recent summer transfer window.
Instead, Klopp has the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara to choose from in midfield – two players that do not boast the same kind of skillset as Wijnaldum, according to Cascarino.
Klopp has had a number of injury problems to contend with in central midfield so far this season, the likes of Thiago, Fabinho and Harvey Elliot all sidelined with knocks at different spells.
As a result, games have often passed Liverpool by with a lack of midfield intensity – Sunday’s loss to West Ham a prime example as the Reds struggled to create many meaningful chances.
The Reds were often overpowered by a number of the Hammers’ most potent attacking threats, something that rarely happened to Wijnaldum during his Liverpool days.
“The key reason why they are not as strong as they have been is that the midfield ‘dogs of war’ are more like dogs of straw at the moment,” Cascarino explained to The Times.
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“The three playing in there used to be so relentless and aggressive that they made it really hard for opponents to get at Liverpool. Now the centre halves are exposed.
“The big miss is Gini Wijnaldum, who left a big hole when he went to Paris Saint-Germain.”
Cascarino went on to give his reasons behind why he thinks Liverpool will ultimately fall short in the race for the title.
“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara do not do the same job, especially against big physical opposition such as Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek in the West Ham midfield.
“Fabinho can do the job but he didn’t look fit to me.
“It’s the reason why I think Liverpool will struggle to win the league, although what we’ve seen in the last week — Manchester City losing to Crystal Palace, Burnley holding Chelsea, and now West Ham beating Liverpool — tells me the winning points total will be less than 90 this season, unlike some recent seasons.”
Klopp’s decision not to strengthen his midfield options in the summer could come back to haunt him if teams continue to exploit their glaring weakness.
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