Defending deeper, Alisson back at just the remedy juncture and fabulous Fabinho adapting seamlessly ...
Published: 22:23 GMT, 23 November 2020 | Updated: 00:43 GMT, 24 November 2020
It is a enthusiasm road ahead for without their talismanic defender but in the immediate aftermath of his most likely season-ending injury, there are reasons for careful optimism at Anfield.
In the seven games after Van Dijk was left crocked at Goodison Park, Liverpool own conceded only three goals. In Van Dijks seven more appearances of the 2020-21 season, Liverpool conceded 14.
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It happens so often in football - a team loses their ruler person and the team steps up so efficiently, there are even cipher that suggest an improvement. It is comic to hint Liverpool are change without Van Dijk, but what is delayed the stats that play how the troupe hold stepped up in his absence? Sportsmail takes a look.
Liverpool responded impressively since Virgil band Dijk sustained a major knee injury at Everton
In three of Van Dijks seven games this season, he was without Liverpools No 1 goalkeeper Alisson unpunctual him. Two of those were EFL Cup matches, where the Brazilian was rotated with Adrian while an injury then had him sidelined for the shambolic 7-2 quash by Aston Villa.
Alisson adds so a lot of supplementary than a mild yoke of hands to Liverpools team. His sweeper-keeper role is so critical in how Liverpool flip the merriment from surety to shelling and there were lord occasions against Leicester at Anfield on Sunday where his fast cadence off his column helped nullify the hazard of Jamie Vardy.
He requited to Liverpools first-team a week after Van Dijks injury condemn Everton, meaning their 1-0 win away to Ajax was the only equal where Liverpool were without their two defensive lynchpins. Alissons fitness for the break of the season cede be even other momentous to Liverpools fortunes now Van Dijk is out for so long.
Alissons return, shortly after Van Dijks injury, has been a major nurture for Liverpool this season
His contribution to Liverpools show stretches far beyond a inoffensive pair of hands in goal
Yes, he has been injured with a hamstring emerge for a ration of the occasion that has followed Van Dijks difficulty but looking at the bigger picture, there cant be any doubts about Fabinhos aptness to fill in at the feelings of the defence.
He thrived there for Liverpool alongside Van Dijk in Liverpools 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge castigate Chelsea and excelled in the victory at Ajax. His return on Sunday in point for Leicester was a major cherish for Jurgen Klopp.
But his return to perfect fitness consign keep to be managed carefully, with games coming thick and rapidly over the successive few weeks. His difficulty in midfield is further a tragedy for Liverpool - he adds so much the backbone of Liverpools play when he is higher up the pitch.
But Liverpool posses an trappings of alternative midfield options. Fabinhos defensive nous could prove to be one the teams biggest assets across the passage of the campaign.
Fabinho has proven to be a super option to deputise in the pith of Liverpools defence
Of course, it isnt lawful Fabinho who has helped sooth fears over life without Van Dijk - and Joe Gomez. Credit must further go to Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips, who commit own their allocation to drama over the coming weeks and months as well.
Williams slope from Nations League to Champions League has been well chronicled and he also had some precious minutes alongside Van Dijk in two EFL Cup games condemn Lincoln and Arsenal.
Phillips covered valiantly too, filling in inveigh West Ham when Joel Matip was tranquillity sidelined. Phillips spent a spell of last season on loan at Stuttgart but a Premier League equal is a parade up from the German closing tier and he adapted brilliantly.
Rhys Williams has stepped up brilliantly for Liverpool in the Champions League this season
Nathaniel Phillips (centre) moreover produced a superb declare as Liverpool batter West Ham 2-1
A major vocabulary atom earlier in the season was Liverpools bad defensive line. Leeds did a expert calling of taking at Liverpool in the opening entertainment of the season, a gritty 4-3 win for the Reds at Anfield. The back queue was decidedly a trials rail Villa while their first spotless sheet of the season was against a Chelsea angle that played 45 minutes with 10 men.
While there hasnt been a macrocosm of tailor since Van Dijks injury, Liverpool perform appear to be defending a nibble deeper since the Dutchman was sidelined. A stroke further inform to their defensive system appears to have missing a wanting style - in the games that keep followed Van Dijks injury, Liverpool natural facing 3.3 shots on target a game, down on 4.5 with Van Dijk.
Liverpool have averaged facing less shots on target in the games since Van Dijk was injured
There were an trappings of candidates for comrade of the duplicate on Sunday night after such a controlling win over a couple as righteous as Leicester.
Diogo Jota cemented his retain vocation in Liverpool epic by becoming the prime trouper to score in his elite four Anfield matches. James Milner filled in valiantly at right-back before moving into midfield to baldachin Naby Keita while Roberto Firmino capped a cunning present with a richly-deserved goal.
Andrew Robertson has been in fantastic thicken in gone matches for Liverpool at left-back
But it was the tireless Andy Robertson that was voted queen individual in what has been an electrifying torch to the season from the left-back. He assisted Jotas goal to beret another dark show down Liverpools left flank.
His workload is further going to hold to be carefully managed by Klopp. Scotland had concerns over a hamstring originate with Robertson in the bygone international desist and the Reds handle does now own an out-and-out left-back to rotate him with in Greece international Kostas Tsimikas.
As enthusiasm as Robertson stays fit, he contributes massively to both defensive and attacking patterns of Liverpools play. It cannot be underestimated valid how good, and important, he is to Liverpools play.
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