Former Liverpool star Jason McAteer believes that Jadon Sancho can be the player to unlock the club’s struggles against deep-sitting teams.
Liverpool blew most of their opposition away last season as they cantered to a maiden Premier League title. However, key injuries have played their part this season in a marked lack of the same intensity. Midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have stepped back into defence, which has affected the balance of the team.
Indeed, contributions from the front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have proved crucial in recent seasons.
However, aside from Salah’s consistent form, the trio have also been affected by the switch in personnel.
An inability to break deep-sitting teams down has proved a key flaw this season; Liverpool have lost 1-0 at home to Burnley, Brighton and Fulham in recent weeks.
The 21-year-old has become one of Europe’s most exciting forwards with his rise in recent campaigns.
“You’ll think I’ll say if I can sign any player, I’d sign [Kylian] Mbappe? The biggest talking points at Liverpool are the tactics,” the pundit said.
“Klopp has tried to evolve tactically. He has tried to use a 4-2-3-1, he has tried to change it up and go away from this traditional 4-3-3 – he just hasn’t really had the players to do that job.
“[Diogo] Jota obviously opens up the potential to that tactical change but sometimes you can become very predictable. I think Liverpool did, in some ways, become predictable, and I think that’s why they’ve lost some of the games that they have.
“You look at the teams that have come with that low block, they’ve come with that low defensive unit that is saying ‘come and break us down. We know we’ll get an opportunity. And if we can be clinical, we can kind of nick this’.
“I think that’s what’s happened in quite a lot of the games this season, Liverpool have come unstuck against teams that have offered those kinds of tactics, they haven’t been able to break them down. So, I think versatility would be the way to go.”
Liverpool should go after Sancho
“I know it’s a long-winded answer. But I’d sign Jadon Sancho. I’d sign him because he’s got that versatility,” McAteer added.
“I think he can play different positions: he can play left, or right, or down the centre if you wanted. “He’s got pace and he’s got creativity. If there’s a low block and you need something a little bit different, he offers that.
“He’s also young and he fits into the mould of this Liverpool team. That’s the player I’d go out and buy.”
Liverpool, who slipped to a low of eighth amid their slump, have retained many of their players during the current international break, allowing them their longest spell in the season without a game.
The Reds return to action on April 3, when facing Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.