Liverpool are hundreds off the tempo this season. 19 factors off the highest of the Premier League desk on the time of writing and searching incapable of difficult for any silverware this season.
It is not dissimilar from the scenario they confronted within the Covid-hit 2020-21 marketing campaign and we all know that Jurgen Klopp was capable of get well from that to win two home cups and virtually win the title the next season, suggesting it may not take a lot for Liverpool to be on the up once more.
The rationale they’re so erratic is that Klopp’s high-energy, high-pressing soccer is inherently dangerous, which means it solely takes one small break someplace within the chain for your entire system to break down in on itself. It does not take a tactical mastermind to work out that the issue this season is in central midfield, the place Liverpool have failed to interchange Georginio Wijnaldum and are paying the results.
They need to have signed Jude Bellingham final summer season. That a lot is apparent. However would it not actually have solved all their issues; put all of the items again collectively and allowed Liverpool to capitalize on the wobble at Manchester Metropolis?
We took to Soccer Supervisor 2023 to seek out out, transferring Bellingham to Liverpool for £100 million in the summertime of 2022 and simulating his first two seasons at Anfield. Here is what occurred.
2022-23: Bellingham holds midfield collectively
The season’s finish was written into its starting. The fixture machine gave us Manchester Metropolis versus Liverpool on the Etihad because the opening match of the marketing campaign, and the end result – a 1-0 win for Pep Guardiola’s workforce – would show decisive. Liverpool completed the 2022/23 season second to Man Metropolis, dropping the title by six factors. If solely that sport had gone the opposite means, Bellingham would have helped Liverpool to the title.
He was definitely a giant presence in an finally disappointing yr… though, judging by how issues are going in the meanwhile, it was nonetheless a greater yr than in actual life. Bellingham was a daily fixture on the coronary heart of the Liverpool midfield, beginning 33 league video games (six targets, two assists) and beginning all 12 of their matches in a Champions League marketing campaign that ended with a 3-1 combination semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich.
Bellingham scored in Munich within the first leg. He additionally netted the opener in a 1-1 draw in opposition to Man Metropolis within the league at Anfield, and assisted Roberto Firmino’s Ninetieth-minute winner on the Bernabeu that despatched Liverpool into the ultimate 4 of the Champions League – the emotional excessive level of the season .
It is fairly clear, then, that Bellingham was a internet optimistic to the workforce. However the perfect was but to come back.
2023-24: Liverpool dominate Europe
The 2023-24 season kicked off with a 1-0 win at Southampton courtesy of a 25-yard screamer from Bellingham. It was a end result and efficiency that foreshadowed how the yr would go.
Liverpool gained every of their first ten league video games of the season, thanks partly to the brand new partnership that was fashioned between Declan Rice, signed that summer season, and Bellingham, with the latter surprisingly picked by Klopp to play on the base of midfield in a rejigged 4-3-3. Such a stable platform noticed Liverpool concede simply 21 targets within the Premier League, serving to to an excellent return of 96 factors – and a primary league title in three years.
It was a procession in the long run, Liverpool successful by 13 clear factors and successfully being confirmed as the brand new champions as early as January 7, when a 3-1 win over Manchester Metropolis put them in a commanding place. Bellingham scored the second purpose in that sport, as ever being proper on the coronary heart of what his workforce achieved.
In reality, Bellingham completed the marketing campaign with a 7.22 common score throughout 30 league video games (seven targets, 4 assists), which was sufficient to place him in a Premier League workforce of the season that was unsurprisingly dominated by Liverpool gamers.
However that wasn’t all. Liverpool bested Man Metropolis within the Champions League closing, successful 1-0 courtesy of a first-half Luis Diaz purpose. Bellingham was, as common, very good because the pivot of Klopp’s workforce.
In the true world, Liverpool are badly struggling to take management of matches that appear to veer wildly from finish to finish. That would not be farther from what we noticed throughout two years of Bellingham on the membership on FM23, throughout which period Liverpool had been stable as a rock; constant, defensively resolute, and finally vastly profitable.
Let that be a lesson to you Jurgen.
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