Liverpool's four 'missing' midfielders - and how it has been so different for Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool's four 'missing' midfielders - and how it has been so different for Jurgen Klopp

It's been Liverpool's problem position for most of the season.

The Reds have squeezed out a superb 27 on May 31 in May.

Jurgen Klopp's gaze as a result – Manchester City – for all their attacking splendor and defensive excellence.

For now, they're in Liverpool and they'll have a chance to see them on Sunday when they're in the league's Fulham defense ahead of the Manchester derby.

For some, however, the glass remains empty.

Much of the focus – and in some quarters, the ire – has centered around a midfield that is said to be painting in spark and frost of creativity.

Liverpool labored in Belgrade, shorn of the bewitching talents of Xherdan Shaqiri Who left on Merseyside after he made himself public enemy No.1 in Serbia for his politically-charged celebration for Switzerland at the World Cup.

Klopp on Henderson and Keita's fitness

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Liverpool's midfield, for better or worse, is one of the options Klopp could call upon 12 months ago.

Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can as Liverpool players, so Klopp had a fit and firing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at his disposal, too.

And despite the summer arrivals of Fabinho and Naby Keita, the fact that Klopp's ready for sanction a near £ 50million deal for Nabil Fekir suggests he might have needed an extra arduous and fixture-packed campaign.

For different reasons, Liverpool, at one time or another over the past 12 months, wanted all four to form part of the Reds' midfield.

Liverpool made their trademark last season. As such, Klopp is unable to call on any of them as he attempts to rediscover the attacking verve.

It could have been so different in the engine room.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrives

Oxlade-Chamberlain was arguably in the shape of his career when he cruelly had his season ended in April.

Here's the versatile England international finally getting his chance to star in his favorite role as an attacking midfielder after years toiling away under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

It is a long-term damage to his knee, ending his campaign instantly and causing him to miss out on the Champions League Final and the World Cup as a result.

Klopp would reveal in July that Oxlade-Chamberlain, which was expected to be the end of the 2018/19 campaign as the energetic midfielder worked his way back to fitness slowly.

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"It feels like it's about time to tell people that this year is about focusing on recovery and rehab," Klopp said.

"We've got the injury after the successful surgery, we were sure of it."

Consider the bombshell dropped.

Oxlade-Chamberlain wants to return to this Liverpool side and eventually add thrust, pace and power that he presents on a weekly basis in the second half of last season.

However, a sight will not be forthcoming anytime soon and will be given ample opportunity to get fit.

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho celebrates his first Barcelona goal
Philippe Coutinho celebrates his first Barcelona goal

Coutinho was well on his way to his best-ever scoring season as a Liverpool player when Barcelona made their power play for the Brazil international in January.

The attacking midfielder was so often the conductor in Liverpool's midfield, regularly delivering the devastating front three to Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, while chipping in with a dozen goals himself.

However, Barca, who returned from Liverpool with the previous summer, returned at the end of the year and coughed up an eye-watering £ 142m to take him to the Nou Camp.

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Liverpool kept their powder dry as they weighed up potential replacements and instead beefed up their backline with a £ 75million deal for Virgil van Dijk – a transfer that was before Coutinho's exit.

Klopp admitted he was reluctant to lose his No.10 but saw no sense in keeping with him for the second half of the season.

"It was not that we had a talk and Phil said my head is somewhere else," said Klopp. We knew it when the club tried everything. "

Emre Can

Emre Can of Juventus in action during pre-season

Can's summer departure Coutinho's, nor has he been missed as much as Oxlade-Chamberlain, but a 24-year-old German international midfielder for nothing was galling.

Liverpool and Klopp never wanted. Can you leave it? Or are you ready? "Merseyside for Turin as he joins Italian giants Juventus.

Liverpool, to my coaches, to the staff, to the staff behind the staff, the supporters, to everyone, "he said after leaving.

"I want to be happy with Liverpool, I want to think back to you." It's a big honor for Liverpool. "Take care. Yours Emre."

Once again, Klopp says, "We have to create a situation where we want to stay – that's all we can do as a club, as a team and me as a manager. "

Can has made just three starts for the series A champions since moving.

Nabil Fekir

Nabil Fekir celebrates after scoring in the Champions League match between Manchester City and Lyon
Nabil Fekir celebrates after scoring in the Champions League match between Manchester City and Lyon

The transfer saga of the summer.

Nabil Fekir's proposed switch to the 11th hour in dramatic circumstances when Lyon sensationally ends negotiations with the Reds.

The French international, which is expected to join the Reds before Les Bleus jetted off for the World Cup in June, after club medical staff flew out to Paris following a breakthrough in negotiations.

TV interviews with LFCTV, Fekir remain with OL. A second opinion on a long-standing knee issue.

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"Olympique Lyonnais has decided to put it to the end of this negotiation tonight at 8:00 pm," read a statement back in June.

Despite having two months to return to the negotiating table, a deal never materializes and Fekir remains Lyon's captain when the Premier League's transfer window closed in early August.

The World Cup winner is once again in great shape for the Ligue 1 side, claiming four goals and as many assists in 10 appearances.

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