If you have taken a look at the premier league table recently, you would have noticed that Liverpool are not living up to what is expected of them. Just 2 points out of a possible 15 leaves them in a disappointing 18th place. And that’s not the only worrying fact the fans have to take in. The fact that they have only found the net 4 times in 5 matches makes you wonder whether things are going to get any better.
Table position and stats are useful for showing how a club is getting on results wise but there is one man who wont be taking this for granted: Brendan Rodgers. He was brought in by the American owners, Fenway sports group, because of his style of play and philosophy. He showed this at Swansea last year, where they would kill off many other teams by their creative passing and exquisite movement, death by football as it’s otherwise known. With his new squad at Liverpool, he is trying to implement the same system.
They’re definitely dominating in terms of possession, Joe Allen a major factor in this. Every match his passing accuracy has been reaching the 90% mark. It might not be quite as good as last year with Swansea but still remarkable for a 21 year old who along with Xavi and Iniesta was statistically one of Europe’s best passers last year. He was brought in because Rodgers truly felt that he understood his style of play and that he could use what he learned from his manager and inspire the other Liverpool players. He has already shown how to spread play by linking up with the defenders and the forwards. Jonjo Shelvey is one of these players who has learnt much already. Improving greatly with his desire to drive forward and make things happen. A bit like Steven Gerrard at his peak, who is still a valued member of the Liverpool Squad as shown in the match against Manchester United. He might not be getting any younger but his passing and his ability to move around into different positions has already shown that he can fit into this new system. Gerrard and Shelvey need players behind them while they are driving forward, Nuri Sahin is one of them. Although not fully settled in yet since completing his loan move, he too has shown he can fit in. His technique and composure on the ball has shown this.
Although an exciting midfield is shining at Anfield, a few players with classy passing does not win you matches, despite it being of vital importance to the managers goals. Against Manchester City the team gave an outstanding performance throughout. This was because the midfield got everything right With Allen playing in front of the defence breaking up play but also linking up play when the ball was won back. This gave the two dynamic attack minded midfielders, Gerrard and Shelvey to break forward. This also meant they could support and bring young and pacey Sterling into the game. He needs this kind of support when playing against teams with big strong defenders like Kompany and Toure. But as you know against City you need everyone playing well. Unfortunately this did not happen. Martin Skrtel would have been a strong contender for man of the match had he not made the atrocious mistake that practically handed City the point on a plate. The script was already written, as its been a reoccurring problem for Liverpool for a couple of years now.
Unfortunately the defence, who are known for being a solid back four have been complacent of late. Skrtel was player of the season last year and deservedly so. But mistakes against City and West Bromwich have been costly. They have been a giant middle finger to the efforts of the young and upcoming Sterling, Shelvey, Allen etc. And it does not stop there. Many fans eyebrows were raised when Jose Enrique’s performances last season had not earned him a place in the Spanish national side. But a season later and he cant even get into to the starting line up for Liverpool. His passing has been so poor lately and his defending has been shocking. Wingers are having a field day on the counter attack when he was starting and this has resulted in the young Martin Kelly given a deserved starting place. Glen Johnson has bags of talent and has been a stand out performer for Liverpool. Unfortunately his brilliance coming forward from the back has its downside and has helped the side concede goals similar to Enrique.
Despite their being exciting football to watch for the neutrals, the results aren’t what the Liverpool supporters want. It should also be noted losing or drawing when you have been dominating does not necessarily mean you have been unlucky. Giving the ball away to a world class striker after scoring is poor and dribbling past defenders all game but not tracking back to mark wingers is just as bad.
The Striking department has also been a cause for concern. There is a shortage of strikers after a disappointing end to the transfer market. Liverpool should never have sold Andy Carroll if they wasn’t prepared to pay an extra few million for a striker who’s scoring last year was only bettered by Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie. An extra 3 million is nothing when you look at the amount of money they overspent on Carroll, Henderson and Downing. But after 5 games into the season it is time to move on and by moving on they will just have to make do with the Strikers they have got. Suarez is the only one who comes close to that prolific striker they so desperately need. Out of the unimpressive four goals they have scored in the premier league, two have came from him. Some might have argued they were unlucky not to get a point against West Bromwich but same old story again they can create all the chances they want but just could not put the ball into the net. Their were many missed chances, mostly coming from Suarez. Again just like the City match, just because you play well doesn’t mean you deserve to get the three points. Some times its the little simple things that matter. Such as placing the ball past the goalkeeper in a one on one situation. They haven’t done this enough and its their own fault. The midfielders need to be chipping in when this happens especially when their best striker is having a tough time. Many people might say that you get luck from working hard. Not always the case in football. If you cant handle the pressure you are not going to reap the rewards. This has been evident in Liverpool’s Strike force of late especially with Suarez and Carroll. Both have worked extremely hard but nothing gained because they haven’t been able to put the ball in the net enough when it really mattered. Now with Carroll gone, It is all down to Suarez. Having scored 80 goals in 120 games for Ajax there is no reason why he cant be the one to save the day.
Although many might think Liverpool are a sinking ship, Rodgers has installed a new hope for the Anfield faithful. Despite the poor form, Liverpool are improving. A new and exciting system that reminds so many fans of what Liverpool used to be about, shows that Liverpool still have something to offer in the Premier League elite. But it is going to take a while and fans are going to have to be patient. This a complete different system to what these players have been used to compared to the last few seasons. At the moment its not going to plan despite their efforts, but the manager knows now is not the time to make excuses. Hopefully with a bit of determination, teamwork and composure in front of goal their luck might start to change and Liverpool might become the force they once were.
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