Gareth Southgate is expected to make wholesale changes for England’s clash with Bulgaria in Sofia tonight.
And after the travesty that was the 2-1 defeat in Prague on Friday, that’s hardly a major surprise.
The Three Lions’ 10-year unbeaten run in qualifiers deservedly went up in smoke, the first truly drab display under Southgate for a long time.
Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose failed in their full back auditions while the midfield three huffed and puffed with little reward.
But the answer to Southgate’s selection dilemma may be a little more obvious than first thought.
Jurgen Klopp has transformed Liverpool into a relentless winning machine; champions of Europe and 17 successive victories in the Premier League.
The secret to Klopp’s success has been shifting the creativity from midfield to full back by ensuring Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson benefit from as much space as possible.
Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson are grafters rather than crafters, sacrificing invention for discipline behind their famed front three and with their full backs bombing past them.
Given the personnel at his disposal, Southgate should pay close attention to the Anfield model.
England’s midfield is equally stodgy but with one key absence; they haven’t had the full backs to compensate.
In Prague Trippier and Rose looked both shaky at the back and ponderous in attack, areas Alexander-Arnold and Ben Chilwell are far superior in.
Rose’s inclusion in particular seemed baffling when you consider his turgid form for Spurs this season.
Trent has produced 19 assists for Liverpool since the start of last campaign and is arguably their most creative player.
On the opposite flank Chilwell is in the form of his life at Leicester and isn’t far off Robertson’s brilliance now.
With the full backs offering the ingenuity and guile, England’s midfield three just need to be energetic and disciplined – proper 7/10 performances – to complement them.
Just like with Liverpool, Southgate will then have the creative firepower from full back to supply his sensational front three.
It’s no major surprise that England – powered by Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho – scored five against Kosovo when Alexander-Arnold and Chilwell were handed a rare start together.
After the s***show in Prague Gareth has an almost immediate opportunity to make amends.
By mimicking the runaway Premier League leaders, he should see vast improvement.
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