Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will welcome chance to regroup during World Cup break

The Anfield boss will look for improvement in three key areas after sluggish start to campaign

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In normal circumstances, Liverpool would be ruing the arrival of a momentum-halting mid-season break brought about by a first ever winter World Cup.

But, after a mixed start to the new campaign, Jurgen Klopp has reason to be thankful for the time to think he has been afforded by this unusual hiatus.

The Reds have achieved one of their primary aims for this period in securing passage to the Champions League knockout stages.

Yet even the most optimistic of supporters would struggle to make a case for a Premier League title charge materialising this term, with a 15-point gap to leaders Arsenal having already emerged.

As such, Klopp has plenty to consider over the course of a brief holiday followed by a warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

There are three key areas where he will look for improvement.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the 2-1 Premier League defeat against Leeds United at Anfield on October 29, 2022. AFP

Fielding a settled front three

Darwin Nunez may have impressed on the left side of Liverpool’s front three before the World Cup break, but his role there was a simple case of Klopp lining up his best available options from an injury-hit front line.

As such, the Uruguayan is sure to be restored to his preferred centre-forward position at the first available opportunity and, fortunately enough, that is set to come straight after the World Cup.

With Luis Diaz in line to return from a knee injury imminently, the mouthwatering prospect of the Colombian joining Nunez and Mohamed Salah in Klopp’s attack has been teed up.

That trio looks like a perfect combination of pace, power, goals and work rate on paper, though they will probably need time to gel having only started as a front three on one previous occasion.

Klopp should set about ensuring that process gets started immediately by making Nunez, Salah and Diaz his first-choice attack for the foreseeable future once club football resumes.

Darwin Nunez celebrates with Mohamed Salah after scoring Liverpool's third goal in the Premier League game against Southampton at Anfield, on November 12, 2022. PA

Moving for a midfielder in January

Despite the Reds rounding off the pre-World Cup period with eight wins from 10 games (the penalty shoot-out victory over Derby County included), worries over the state of their midfield persist.

Klopp may have attempted several different shapes and mixed things up in terms of personnel since the start of the season, but he hasn’t been able to find a way of consistently controlling the centre of the park.

Fabinho has at least been showing signs that he might get back to his best after representing Brazil in Qatar, while teenage sensation Harvey Elliott is getting better with every week.

But it seems obvious that Liverpool could still do with a fresh face in the centre in order to sustain their recent recovery following the restart.

The club’s recruitment staff will have plenty of time to consider their options and sound out potential targets thanks to the upcoming January window being preceded by unprecedented downtime.

They should make the most of the opportunity by strengthening a midfield that has looked in need of help since the start of the season.

Liverpool's Fabinho in action in the Champions League Group A game against Napoli at Anfield. EPA

Making use of improved availability

Of course, if there is one underlying theme behind Liverpool’s struggles this term, then a squad-wide battle with fitness issues is surely it.

Klopp’s attack, midfield and defence have all been badly hit by injuries at various points so far, with 20 different players having missed games for that reason.

Mercifully, things do seem to be clearing up on that front, with several players who have missed large chunks of the season on track to be available after the World Cup.

The manager’s hope is that this improved availability allows for more rotation, creating a virtuous circle in which injuries are avoided.

He must set about testing that theory immediately when Liverpool are thrown back into another hectic run of fixtures in late December.

Updated: November 19, 2022, 1:11 PM