Liverpool cannot let their guard down with Maribor

Filed under Premier League

Liverpool’s game against Maribor can be another stepping stone to developing their consistency. It is also a big step towards knock-oLiverpoolut stage qualification. However, it will require Jurgen Klopp’s side to be diligent from the beginning of the game. An early goal for LFC is key! They have to ensure that they do not give Maribor any hint of an opportunity, so total concentration is going to be required.

In the previous game, the Maribor team seemed to be an unknown entity. But since they managed a draw with Spartak, LFC had their guard up. The 7-0 beating in their own ground has set this game up to be a ‘formality’, but if Maribor somehow get an early goal and quieten the crowd, this game could be anything but a formality.

LFC do not need any additional pressure right now. They need momentum, which builds confidence, so when they play the top teams they are up and running. The Reds have to be totally concentrated and not take any chances tomorrow. An early goal or 2 for LFC would certainly be the best way to getting this job done. The longer it takes the Reds to break them down, the more likely doubts may creep back in.

There are still some players that are out due to injury. Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Alberto Moreno may all have to sit out. Philippe Coutinho’s presence is still up in the air. Loris Karius will likely be playing.

Hence, the back line, if all 3 of these are not able to play, largely picks itself – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joël Matip, Ragnar Klavan, and Andrew Robertson. Although their performance together in the back may be promising, Klavan on a bad day is very bad. Hopefully, if he has to step up, he can carry on where he left off in the Huddersfield game.

It is unlikely that Klopp will experiment. That can be done in the can do that in the FA Cup. This is the CL, so we can expect the strongest side that are actually fit. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may get a start if Coutinho is injured, as it looks likely to be. However, his skill-set is better for the front 3 instead of the middle 3. But then this would mean that Daniel Studge gets dropped to the bench. Based on Studge scoring and starting the victory in the last game, it is very likely that he gets the nod over AOC to start.

The game will probably not be as easy as last time, where the opposition barely showed up, much less played. But by the same token, it is still Maribor at home – if you don’t get 3 points off them, it’s because you did something wrong, not because they were good.

The wrong mind-set going into this game could easily end up in a freak result and one that would all of a sudden create a massive pressure for a win away at Seville (not easy for any side) and could even end up going to the last game needing a result against Spartak, which would create a nervy atmosphere at Anfield.

Therefore, getting 3pts in this game is still vital for LFC, but this team has yet to prove they can consistently replicate high levels of concentration and performance.

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