Liverpool’s New Era Begins in 2022: Evolution Under Way
A gentle evolution, or a more dramatic revolution?
(Note: I’ll be back on full power soon, but still trying to take it easier during the league down-time, ahead of 3-4 months of manic football! For now, a 2,000-worder on TTT, most of it behind the paywall, but here’s the intro…)
A gentle evolution, or a more dramatic revolution? Either way, 2022 promises to be the year when things start to change at Liverpool. It certainly won’t be a full revolution, but how much the team changes, particularly in 2022/23, depends on how all the new options fare in the coming months.
(With one or two more additions in the summer, but remember that one of those happened early, last week. Another almost got done, and still should be done soon.)
Beating a half-strength Cardiff with a half-strength Liverpool side is no reason to get overexcited, but it was a big weekend for Luis Diaz (25), Harvey Elliott (18) and yes, Fabio Carvalho (19), who still looks destined to join his mate at Anfield, where Kaide Gordon (17) has already scored his own Kop-end goal this season. Carvalho scored against Man City yesterday, which is always a positive.
Diogo Jota, 25, is already leading the charge of the evolution (very, very good last season, sensational this season), and though poor today, Curtis Jones is part of the future. We have to remind ourselves that assist-machine Trent Alexander-Arnold (14 in his last 15 games) is still only 23. Liverpool have scored an average of almost three goals a game without Mo Salah and Sadio Mané this winter, and so, while world-class, it suddenly doesn’t seem like they are irreplaceable.
The hugely promising Ibrahima Konaté had a shakier game than usual – he’s quick over long distances but can be slow off the mark, and got caught out once today, that could have resulted in a penalty. He’s only 22, and still adapting. Caoimhín Kelleher also had his first slightly shaky game, after more than a dozen looking like the coolest customer in keeping. He was late with his tackle outside the box, but it was a clear foul with a covering defender, and not a red-card offence; as Alisson did recently, he just totally missed the ball, which was his to take first, rather than taking man before ball.
There’s no doubt that Liverpool are now in better shape for the second half of the season, with a top new signing and others returning from injury.