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Monday, October 24, 2005

Liverpool’s lack of fire power is costing them in the Premiership

Five Goals in 8 matches, this is simply not good enough for Liverpool Football Club.

Why is it that the team can score in Europe and not in the Premiership?
In Europe, teams give you much more time on the ball, and this allows the midfielder’s to support the attackers more readily. I also think that the Liverpool players have real self belief when it comes to playing in Europe, who wouldn’t after what they achieved last season.

In the premiership, the teams battle so much harder, you must win the physical battle before you can start applying your skills. If you are not up for the fight, then you will lose. Added to this, Liverpool have mediocre strikers who pose little threat to the opposition defence.

Morienets: He is very weak on the ball, doesn’t win many headers, cannot hold the ball up. You are probably thinking that I am talking about a different striker. No, I can assure you that since joining Liverpool, Nando has had one good game, and that, ironically came against Fullham last season at Anfield. For a striker of his “quality” he has been a huge disappointment.

Peter Crouch: What is the deal with him? The man spends so much time with his back against the opposition goal, I am not entirely sure that he knows where the goal is when it comes to shooting. He is so weak on the ball, gets bullied off the ball far too easily and his heading ability is suspect at best. Neil Mellor is a better striker than Crouch. I don’t know what Rafa saw in Crouch.

Cisse: He is the only striker who carries any real goal threat. Rafa should not play him wide on the right, Rafa should play him down the middle along with another striker.

I was amazed, when Rafa decided to sell Milan Baros, he is far better than Nando and Crouch. Milan did have a slight temperament, and not the best scoring records but he was a real threat running with the ball at the opposition defence. By stark contrast, Crouch and Nando pose absolutely no thereat what so ever.

So where do Liverpool go from here? I am afraid Rafa must make up his mind and sell Nando and Crouch in January and by a decent striker. This may sound controversial, but I honestly believe that Mellor and Pongollle would do a better job up front than Nando and Crouch. Liverpool also need to by a decent winger, and never play Josemi, unless it is for the reserves. I will leave Harry Kewell for another article.


Blogger T said...

Great article Skippy. I've been waiting for some analysis about where Liverpool are not getting it quite right in the Premiership as compared to their peerless form in Europe.

The contradiction in results is so puzzling to this outsider! Your analysis on Crouch is the most accurate I've seen anywhere on him- and I rate you opinion on him and the others as you are a brilliant non-pro striker.

Baros was good because he has pace that scared defences and an obvious tenacity to score goals. Mori doesn't have this, nor Crouch.

Cisse is less intimidating than Baros because his ball control seems lacking to me, which he should concentrate on at the expense of time spent on his image.

Mellor scored a stunner against Arsenal lsat year, and I remember SKG positively commenting on him previously on EFT. Where is he?

10/24/2005 4:31 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

The analysis. Liverpool better in Europe than in the Premiership. 5 goals in 8 games, not the reverse. 13th in the table after 2 wins, 2 defeats, 4 draws. I commented on Liverpool on my article on the CL run-out recently. When facing the Premiership, players familiar with the ground, the opposition, it's one game of 38, so the possible theory is lose one, or two, is not detrimental because a lot can change with three or more wins following, not necessarily in a row.

Champions League is similar, one defeat isn't the end but you have one sixth of the games you have at home, so another defeat can make things very seriously detrimental, possibly ending with your elimination. Plus the prestige of remaining in the competition is good for morale, the fans, the press and for the club.

Are Liverpool not taking the Premiership seriously? I wouldn't say it is intended but not playing well after featuring some days back in a CL fixture seems to have become more than coincidental. Chelsea were expected to romp over bottom Everton but Everton were very diligent in defence, particularly in the second half, and Chelsea in return were not as industrious as expected. Man Utd were almost as lacklustre on Saturday as they were against Lille. Yet I'm still to be convinced teams fare little after a CL match.

One thing is for sure and that's Liverpool players are hesitant to take shots more often, as if they are worried about not getting it on target. It seems diabolical to be creating many chances and hardly pressurising the other goal. Gerrard, Alonso, Hamann, Riise like to take shots from 25-30 yards. Cisse needs to work on his control as stated because he gets himself in positions well.

The players. Wanting to see the real Harry Kewell is an understatement. We want to see more of Zenden, who can run and dribble and cross, I presume that is why we signed him. With Kewell, Zenden, Riise, Warnock, We have enough cover for the left side so why should cease with Traore (I will continue to raise this until he actually holds down a regular performance worthy of his inclusion) and employ Riise/Warnock at left-back, Zenden/Riise on the wing. Kewell is back in contention and I hope it stays that way. He can go on the left wing or as a striker partner.

Morientes. Again I raise how Bergkamp came to Arsenal and hardly took off until his second season. It could be the same for the Spaniard. We need patience with Morientes because he does not want to disappoint and he wants to play and score. I hope he plays from the start tomorrow.

Crouch. The potential with Crouch is well documented in his height. England fans (so they call themselves) allegedly booed him when coming on for Owen against Poland (though it could have been directed at Eriksson for subbing Owen). If the bos were aimed at Crouch, very fickle. He did very well in his home debut against Austria, little touches, passes, flick-ons, and though we want to see more to further appreciate him, he did better than a few regulars that night. Becuas he is tall he doesn't fit the expected requirement of a striker, which is as good as being prejudicial. The impression is he doesn't look right because he is too tall and such tall people cannot control the ball skillfully because they have gangly legs. He almost scored against Chelsea, which is more than a number of strikers can claim. We'll wait and see.

Hyypia. For me, has good height for a defender, good vision but is too slow and is found otu for pace too often, which exposes him badly when out of position. He may have been ill against Chelsea and this is why Rafa is on the look for a central defender, to cover when Hyypia is too ill. But he needs to be replaced. We need another defender, sturdy and with pace to help Carragher cover for fast strikers.

Baros. OK, he has gone. I was uncertain about releasing him for I felt he was tenacious and energetic enough to creat for us and he could well have been scoring for us right now. One thinks how he developed a working partnership with Jans Koller, fired in goals in Euro2004 and could have fed off Crouch but it was not to be.

Reina. See Morientes. I want to give him more time, has good potential and is reputed to be a good penalty-stopper, almost did so against Lampard. Perhaps is good to come out to punch but I want to see big shouts and more confident gathering of high balls.

Traore. Nuff said.

Finnan. Needs to improve, would put above Josemi, who can be too rash at times when exposed. I blamed Finnan for exposing too easily the areas which Drogba infiltrated against us. He can be a sharper right-back.

Luis Garcia. Unpredictable, can turn a game round for us or constantly throw it away for us. Along with Sinama-Pongolle, our best options on the right.

The formation. 4-5-1, 4-4-2, 3-4-3, 3-5-2, are they failing us or we failing them? Chelsea seem to be the template for 4-5-1, there is no reason why Liverpool cannot do the same. Someone like Hamann or Sissoko behind Gerrard and Alonso, Zenden and Garcia on the wings, one striker up front out of Morientes or Cisse. Or 4-4-2, Alonso holds, Morientes and Cisse.

It can work, it must be the players. Chelsea play so well that a change of formation could be meaningless to their play. It has to be down to the players. I think Liverpool are spending too much time passing it round when they want to get into or near the box and strike, often. Cisse could play a lone striker PROVIDED he is backed up well by his midfield. Otherwise, he must play with another.

Rafa needs to talk to the players to install more belief into them, because they are not playing to the best of their abilities when it comes to taking their chances. We have the players, we need them to get more ruthless.


10/25/2005 12:02 am

Blogger Skippy said...

Thanks for the response Redsman and T.

Of course you want to give players time to settle, and show their worth. However, you can also judge players by what potential they show. Sadly, Crouch and Nando show no potential at all. I hope over time I will be proved wrong.

Rafa, must be concerned, he is picking a strong side tonight. This may surprise some as traditionally Rafa fields youngsters in this cup. However, I think he realises how desperate things are and wants the team to gain confidence from a victory in a domestic competition.

10/25/2005 10:06 am

Blogger T said...

Redsman, your comment is again worthy of an article in its own right- excellent analysis. Your attitude towards Traore is like mine to Cygan: who is currently outdoing himself by collecting two consecutive clean-sheets.

I give credit where its due so well done Pascal!

Clinton Morrison faces his old adversaries in the League cup tonight. If Liverpool do put out a strong team as Skippy suggests- it should be fun.

10/25/2005 10:26 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

Liverpool’s dichotomy between the Prem and CL reminds me of Chelsea’s days under Gullet and Vialli. We could put in quite stunning performances either home or away in European games but struggled to reach such levels in premiership matches.

As mentioned above some of the reasons behind this lay in the difference in pace of the game allied with midfielders being given that extra couple of seconds on the ball to play their game. Also as we expect it to take a season or so for a player to get the swing of the premiership why not a manger to learn how to counteract the subtle nuances of a faster more physical game?

On a differing note I’ve noticed another similarity between the two aforementioned Chelsea managers and Raffa which is they seemingly only trust players from a particular league. Gullet and Vialli believe that if it’s good enough for Serie A then it’s defiantly good enough for the Prem. Consequently we ended up with some sub standard players who just couldn’t adapt.

Raffa seems to have the same view of La Liga. Of the 15 players Raffa’s signed only 5 were from non La Liga clubs (even then Zenden, signed from Boro, used to play for Barca). And two of those, Hobbs and Carson were buys for the future and are not part of the first team.

Do you think this is down to a belief that La Liga is the best league in Europe and performers there can be stars here or that Raffa like to stick with what he knows rather than scouting further a field?

10/25/2005 11:06 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

It would seem Rafa is keen on rebulding Liverpool to the glory days it once had, that is to say days rather than 'day'. Selecting players from La Liga predominantly indicates little less than the reason he is more aware of who can play how in the Spanish league, than elsewhere. Also Rafa needs to bring in players on a tight budget so his signings have to be merely knowns with good potential. There has been a complete revamp of the club's scouting system.

To add to what Skippy has said, Liverpool are lacking, as Paul Walsh on Gillette Super Soccer Saturday mentioned, a fast pace on the attack. I mentioned they spend too long passing the ball around, and by this time the opposition have regrouped enough numbers. Instead of having someone take on defenders, the ball is played back and then around to the other side and back again, and this is why we are not ruthless enough in front of goal. and I want to see more confidence on the ball, for too often under pressure we can lose possession.


10/25/2005 11:24 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Also want to add that Rafa MUST field his strongest side tonight because anything less may not finally emanate the quality level of the club. It's an old adage Alan Hansen has been reiterating, and we should forget about strategy, basically in the last third, take your shots and put them on target, or quickly release for the forwards to do their job. We need to be firmer, stronger and tougher. We have a number of left-footers and in watching Robben we see how a left-footer can equally play on the right as well as the left, where he comes in to bend or shoot:


Finnan Carragher Hyypia Riise

Garcia Gerrard Alonso Zenden



10/25/2005 11:37 am

Blogger SKG said...

t mentioned how highly i rate neil mellor. after his goal against arsenal last season, i thought he would grow into another michael owen - i.e. a young player from the academy given a chance in the first team. sadly this has not happened and although injury has played its part i fear that rafa has his favourites.

i hope rafa realises that the only way to bring back the glory days is for the youngsters to be given a chance.

10/25/2005 9:09 pm

Blogger T said...

Good comments BilndJak. I was unaware of the extent Benitez has plundered la liga. I think he's gone there because this is his league of expertise.

I must say however that apart from the purchase of Xavi Alonso- I doubt whether the players he has bought in are up to Premiership champions potential? What I mean by this are players who have the high quality and consistency to perform very well over 38 games.

Liverpool fans: I think Kirkland should be ahead of Reina. What's your instinct between these two?

10/26/2005 11:14 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

T, refer to my comments attached to the 'At a Breaking Point: Peter Crouch of Liverpool FC?' article.


10/26/2005 7:09 pm


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