Liverpool misfired as they drew 0-0 with Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all missed glaring chances at Anfield as the fabled Reds trio failed to lay a glove on Bayern.
Their poor collective performance means that the Reds will have to turn in a brilliant display in Germany if they are to reach the quarter-finals.
The performance of Mane, in particular, was atypically woeful. The Senegal international has been in electric form this season – scoring 13 goals in 32 games in all competitions. But he looked a shadow of that player against the Bundesliga giants, missing three glaring opportunities, including one horribly sliced effort that did not trouble Manuel Neuer despite him being unmarked in the penalty area.
Salah was quiet, his big opportunity coming in the 15th minute, as he prodded a weak volley into the arms of Bayern’s goalkeeper, while Firmino really did little of note.
It is okay when one of those players fails to perform because the expectation is that another will step up and grab the game by the scruff of the neck. When the entire trio flops, however, there is really nothing Liverpool can do about it.
Of course, Jurgen Klopp could have introduced Xherdan Shaqiri, the Swiss winger who has shown flashes of brilliance this season. He has scored six goals in the Premier League but there was no trust placed in him by his manager on Tuesday evening.
Divock Origi, who has scored one goal in five Premier League games, was introduced for Firmino instead on the 75th minute.
The lack of depth is astounding for a team fighting on two fronts.
Liverpool want to win both the Premier League and the Champions League and they have the chance to do both. They are level on points with Manchester City domestically and they are hardly out of this tie against Bayern.
But if an injury should befall that trio, they are surely in trouble.
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Sporting Director Michael Edwards is regularly cited as a major reason behind the Reds’ success in the transfer market, with the signings of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson helping to craft the team into winners.
But he has failed to add genuine depth to the club’s attack. Of course, the club must be commended for bringing in Mane, Salah and Firmino and for helping them forge a genuinely frightening partnership.
But the reserves are not up to scratch. Take a look across Europe at the top sides and there is always an option from the bench. City cannot decide between Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up front. Barcelona have both Philippe Coutinho, formerly of the Reds, and Ousmane Dembele battling for the role on the left flank. Alexis Sanchez cannot get into the Manchester United team. Tottenham Hotspur have not lost a single Premier League game during the last month, with both Harry Kane and Dele Alli injured.
Liverpool cannot boast that same breadth of quality.
Introducing one of Origi, Shaqiri or Daniel Sturridge into that front three for Liverpool diminishes its threat significantly, and it appears to be the one thing that Edwards has failed Klopp on.
Of course, it is remarkably difficult to convince a player to join a team and make do with being a substitute but there are surely better options out there than the ones currently on the Anfield bench.
As the season progresses, fatigue will take hold. Liverpool just have to pray that their fabled front three stay fit and do not undergo another collective dip in form that seemed to grip them against Bayern.
Otherwise, Klopp’s dreams of tasting glory both at home and abroad could start to fall apart, through no fault of his own.