Liverpool fought back twice to earn a point against Manchester City but it was in the middle of the park where it felt like Jurgen Klopp’s side was lacking.
Kevin De Bruyne was outstanding and while it would be easy to diminish his performance by saying his goal was a deflected effort off Joel Matip (his second of the season ironically), he ran the game for City in midfield.
For Liverpool, it felt like Thiago was all on his own in midfield as Fabinho had an uncharacteristically poor game, missing tackles and looking much slower than the frenetic tempo.
Jordan Henderson meanwhile, simply looked out of his depth and struggled to add value to the game in many key areas and looking ahead, it’s going to be very interesting to see how Liverpool strengthen in midfield.
Naby Keita is out of contract next summer and while his injuries have been less of an issue this season, he’s still more injury-prone than Jurgen Klopp would probably like.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also out of contract in 2023 and despite being fit for large portions of the season, he’s battled to break into the side and looks as though he’s not part of Klopp’s long-term plans.
James Milner has been offered a one-year contract extension, according to Fabrizio Romano, but the 36-year-old would be kept on at Anfield as much for his on-field contributions as his experience and leadership.
But if the 2-2 draw with Manchester City taught Liverpool anything it’s that their midfield still lacks control in the biggest games which was on display last season against Real Madrid when Toni Kroos and Luka Modric dictated the tempo of the game with ease.
Manchester City adopted Liverpool’s tactics on Sunday by playing more direct and they learned how dangerous it is as it allowed Jurgen Klopp’s side the space they needed to counter-attack and find the openings to score the two goals required to level the score.
If Liverpool would like to reinforce their midfield ranks this summer, the perfect option would be Aurelien Tchouameni.
The 22-year-old was a talented young boy when he was first linked with the Reds but he has now matured into a dominant midfielder that is also able to advance play while dictating play.
A midfield of Thiago, Tchouameni and Fabinho would have the control and bite needed to help Liverpool find the balance needed in big games and, according to French outlet FootMercato, he’d cost a very reasonable €50m (£42m) in the summer.