Premier League • England

Robbie Fowler points out damning stat behind Liverpool ‘disaster’ as pundit admits relief transfer ‘madness’ avoided

Darwin Nunez, Mo Salah, Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during Champions League clash v Ajax at Amsterdam ArenA

Robbie Fowler believes a lack of midfield production has hampered Liverpool this season but is glad they are not pursuing Jude Bellingham.

The Reds have stumbled to eighth place in the Premier League table ahead of Monday’s trip to face Leeds United. Qualifications for next season’s Champions League seems highly unlikely with only 12 wins from their 29 top-flight games this term. There have been patches of improved form, with 13 points from five games in February and early March.

But the Merseysiders have taken just two points from their past four outings, leaving them down among the also-rans.

Fingers have been pointed at many areas of the pitch. The fragile defence has been widely criticised, and even Virgil van Dijk has not escaped censure.

But Liverpool have continuously been linked with a summer move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.

The England ace would cost well in excess of £100m and Jurgen Klopp recently dismissed the idea of spending that much on one player.

Liverpool legend Fowler has long been against putting all the club’s eggs in one basket. And he has now doubled down on his comments, suggesting that there needs to be a total rebuild rather than just one acquisition.

“I won’t say ‘I told you so’, but Liverpool have finally caught up with my recent column suggesting it’s madness to spend their entire transfer budget on one player,” he wrote in The Mirror.

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“Ok, I will say that, but I take little satisfaction in pointing it out. The fact is, they have a glaring weakness in their team, and that can’t be fixed by signing Jude Bellingham on his own.”

Fowler slates midfield trio

Liverpool have struggled for goals at times this season. Mohamed Salah has done his bit, with 24 in all competitions.

But the Egypt international has had little help from those around him.

Fowler has identified the problem and feels the team’s woes can be summed up by the poor returns of three keys players.

He added: “I have a question for you. What is Liverpool’s first choice midfield? Even after a shocking season, it’s probably Henderson-Thiago-Fabinho.

“Second question: how many goals have they scored between them? The answer is a big fat zero.

“Yep, you read that right. No goals from a midfield trio that so very nearly wrote history. In any competition. So far, they have made a combined 99 appearances so far, and not a single goal.”

And it is not just in front of goal that the trio have struggled.

“It gets worse. In all those appearances, they have three assists between them, two for Henderson and one from Thiago,” he continued. “And that is where the disaster of this season stems from.”

Fowler makes case for the defence

Liverpool have enjoyed plenty of success in recent times with Klopp at the helm. But there will be no silverware in the Anfield trophy cabinet at the end of 2022-2023.

Fowler has been disappointed with what he has seen but does not lay the blame at the Reds defence.

“You look at the Premier League table, and for all the criticism of Liverpool’s defence, they still have the fifth best record, better than Manchester United and Tottenham, and not much different to City and Arsenal,” he said.

“Yet goals are a massive problem – despite Mo Salah having another inconsistent season.

“Nunez has done okayish, they’ve been without Diaz and Jota for long periods, and Gakpo, well, not great but he’s new.

“From midfield though, it’s nothing. Keita hasn’t scored either, neither has Jones or Milner; Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bajcetic have one apiece.

“That’s two goals from seven midfielders. Only Harvey Elliott has a half-respectable total.”

Liverpool fans will hope they can return to winning ways against a Leeds side fighting for survival at the wrong end of the standings.

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