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Thursday, February 09, 2006

What on earth is happening at Liverpool?

Can someone please shed some light on how Liverpool have managed to lose 3 out of their last 4 games? This is the team that won 10 games in a row; kept 10 clean sheets in a row; were touted chelsea's closest challengers and are the current Eurpean Champions. Ok I can accept the defeats at Utd and Chelsea but to lose to Charlton and draw against Birmingham?

This run has the distinct smell of when Gerard Houllier was in charge, when Liverpool had a superb start to the season leading the table by 7 points and then fell to pieces. They never recovered and Houllier was sacked. Lightening surely cannot strike twice, can it?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

fing is they're not actually that good - I mean, it takes goals to win footie matches, don't it...

2/09/2006 1:33 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

No, no capitulation. It is very unfortunate to happen against main rivals and good teams but it goes to show we cannot take our foot off the pedal and we still need to improve. No doubt Rafael had this in mind, he always looks to improve more, in his own way, and considering we were in the bottom half of the table with a former Southampton player sneered at by others, a goalkeeper unknown on this side of Europe and no striker who can guarantee 20 goals a season, we've dug ourselves out of it before and can do it again.

We have hit a blip and need to address it directly and accurately. The players need to get together and work on where they have been going wrong, whether it lies personally or professionally, but it is needed. Having squandered one game in hand, it is incredulous to consider we will now drop off position. That's the issue facing Liverpool and I hope Rafael gets that message thoroughly across come Saturday. Wait and see.


2/09/2006 1:34 pm

Anonymous Alexander said...

I'll tell you what's happened to Liverpool. You can't score and suddenly you can't defend either.

Bet Gerrard is wishing he'd moved on now.

2/09/2006 1:42 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the so called "special one" is still complaining that the ball did'nt cross the line... talk about sour grapes...

Champions league not too far away now, beat benefica and who knows, "I will luve it if we beat them, luve it"

Liverpoolto win champions league again.... Don't write em off.... they could surprise everyone (again) even the special one if the reds get the blues in the semi final's again....


2/09/2006 1:50 pm

Anonymous EuroBlue said...

The thing is, they were never actually that good. A run of games against some very mediocre opposition, and hey presto, everybody is suggesting a new dawn. Their defence was tight, which allowed people to ignore that they weren't scoring very many goals.

Last season Liverpool's League form was shocking. Lest we forget, they ended closer to relegation than to challenging for the title. Has that much changed for them this season? If anything, they are scoring even fewer goals.

In retrospect, maybe the Champions League win will turn out to be a massive albatros, delaying a real clear-out and stopping everyone from noticing that, actually, Tubby Benitez isn't as good as his billing.

2/09/2006 1:59 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at Liverpool's run of 10 wins in a row there was probably only the win away at Man City and the home win against Spurs that were anywhere near creditable. Otherwise it was all of the bottom 4 at the time and each of the teams promoted from last year.

Yes they still had to win them but they had a very lenient run of fixtures and flattered to deceive

2/09/2006 2:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liverpool have had a tough season and must be tiring now. I see this as a blip and it not being long before the rotation policy pays off and we start to see a fresher Liverpool team. I am still confident that Liverpool will be 2nd in the Premiership this season... but sadly I see them getting no further than that next season either.

2/09/2006 2:08 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Well...I can only say that it's unfortunate that Chelsea become runaway leaders because of defensive frailties and non-scoring...and somehow the similarities between Liverpool and Arsenal emerge. NO team has managed Chelsea's consistency in front of goal...nor their defensive record for that matter. There must be something to that.

For Liverpool...they played well against Chelsea...but just couldn't come back...much like Arsenal against various opposition away. A sudden lack of confidence or urgency.

I keep saying good teams must START play thinking they are one goal down...and the only team that does that is Chelsea it seems - they are so good at eeking out that draw or comeback that they haven't lost a major game even when it is not their day.

For must be disheartening that scoring seems to be the main deficiency...their strikers are not BAD....they just haven't scored. I read somewhere the only player who has scored lots is Sinama Pongolle...and he is on LOAN! HA!

Liverpool have got to find their feet....abut I must is more likely for them than my team Arsenal...we have major problems in selecting the same team for just 2 consecutive outings! For Liverpool...the changes are due to the Reina/Robben incident...but that's about it. I can see them coming back...just hopefully it is not against Arsenal...ha ha! Self preservation here...

2/09/2006 2:19 pm

Blogger n4l said...

crouch is shit n i think its high time we acknoledge that now! his runs are scrapy , his passing is shit! i think for the role hez been brought to play in the team, heskey was a much better option! he always seems to make runs behind defenders when he should be dragging away from them. he can't even make shots at goal! are his legs too long?? he never makes use of his head as he should b ! he never makes that asset of his count! he is always ducking his head wen the baal comes instead of directing it! i just hope that he proves me wrong n start banging in goals!!! how i would have liked him proving me wrong!

2/09/2006 3:32 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you have to realise is that Liverpool started the PL season with just 2 wins out of 8. They're in the middle of a sequence of 1 PL win out of 6. In between were 10 PL wins with only 1 goal against.

Which was the blip? In fact it was the wins against all the nobodies. They've now reverted to type. Their entire position is no more a quirk of the fixture list than Wigan's sequence of 8 wins out of 9.

Liverpool are the new Wigan - except they aren't quite as good and have players bankrupting them on £120k\week

2/09/2006 7:04 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Alexander said we can't score and can't defend. Is that generally or just in the previous 4 league games? Suddenly there is a loss of sharpness and form and Gerrard wishes he had left?? Gerrard decided to stay, through thick and thin, that's through love of the club.

Euroblue says we ended closer to relegation than the title. From 5th place?? So the other teams that finished below us are playing in the Championship?? One point I can understand is that the run came against presumed lesser opposition, no disrespect to those sides, but the Premiership is made up from 20 teams, 19 of whom have to be beaten. Out of those who we beat during the unbeaten run up to the defeat at Man Utd, five of them are in the top ten and we had four wins, one draw.

"Tubby" Benitez? Another one from the prejudicial appearance group that one must be slim to be accepted as of any worth. "Tubby" Benitez has brought the Champions League (and representation of Europe as a result in the World Club Championships, the finals of which we were very close to winning), the Super Cup (for the third time in the club's history), and a League Cup Final place, in his first season.

If one won the title by winning mostly against lower opposition, no one would be complaining. It's clear we have to defeat the likes of the top three to get any recognition. We were poor in the league last season, this season we only gained our ascent through wins against lower oppositions, and now we can't defend and can't score yet we are 3rd, when earlier we had been around 12th/13th. So if we tweak and pull and get the machine working again and maintain its course, begin to score and defend more consistently, it seems we can do even better, which would mean 2nd or 1st. The potential is there.

We're the new Wigan, not quite as good and bankrupting the club wages of £120K a week? Yes, can see the credence in that, albeit David Moore reported a profit at the AGM recently:

"After a disappointing set of financial results last year, I am pleased to report that the Club is back in the black. The figures show a profit before tax of £9.5m - reflecting our successful Champions League campaign - with turnover up 32% on last year's figure to £121m. The Club continues its significant investment in the playing squad, in line with the manager's remodelling strategy. Further on in this report, the accounts section addresses the impact of the level of change in greater detail, and its effect on our finances."

According to match reports, we have played well in the defeats so our overall performance hasn't been criticised, just the lack of goals and the moments of defensive slackness that has led to conceding them. Had Riise watched Gallas, had Warnock stepped up, had someone marked Ferdinand, Liverpool could have been facing two draws from those games. It wasn't as if we had defended the entire matches poorly and lost heavily. We dominated Charlton for the majority of the first half and lost in five minutes, controversial penalty or not.

There is no reason why the same form against lower oppositons couldn't have continued against Man Utd, Chelsea and Charlton. There had just been minor frailites which exposed that we are not rosy despite our league position, that we need to continue improvement despite our league position, despite anything. It's the same as being ahead in a game at half time and then coming out in the second half thinking the game is easy to wrap up, only to face resilience from the opposition in the second half.

So now there's a blip and most speak of 'can't score', 'can't defend', 'just lucky to be where we are'. Yet while we were unbeaten, no one predicted any drop in form. Similar to Stuart Pearce and his opinion when touted for the England job in the media, where he said nothing of the sort was mentioned when Man City were not playing that well, yet when their form turned for the better, the media suddenly touted him for England.


2/09/2006 9:09 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would bet that a lot of it has to do with what anon @2:08 said. They've played 41 matches, already, more than the total that Tottenham will play the entire season! There's been no break, physically or mentally, and there was bound to be a dip. No one could expect them to keep up with Chelsea's ridiculous pace in the title "race."

2/10/2006 6:49 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

It does sound more feasible, Anon (6.49am) and the side will have to get use to it if we wish to be as competitive as a top team should be.

The thing is after three defeats in a row we suddenly cannot defend, when in fact we are defending but suffer through one or two moments of lapses, and that is being further compounded by our lack of scoring, all recently. If we were to view it from another angle, where goals were being scored, then psychologically we would have the upper hand first, should then build on that lead and keep the pressure off our defence.

Why Morientes and Cisse are not playing to their potential is key, maybe they prefer a regular selection and not the rotation process. As for Crouch, he needs to sharpen up in front of goal, for he does get into positions, and now we need a regular return from him.

As for Anon (2.08PM), I can relate to his/her comment. A lot is expected of us and we can deliver, but need that right blend of consistency and quality and we are not far from that, for we came away from our defeats knowing that we can get something from away games against at least two of the best in the league, one of them the very best.

None of the comments have made any suggestions why we have defended well against Chelsea in the CL but not as well in the Premiership. But as Rafa feels the defeats, knowing that his players are just lacking something, and not a whole range of things, he will aim to address at least stopping the defeats. That could mean a 4-1-4-1 line-up, it may not. But if he were to employ a lone striker, it would mean the midfield are urged to be much more involved, attack possibly being the best form of defence. I hope for a 4-4-2 and a sudden uprising of more urgency, more possession and finer finishing.


2/10/2006 9:02 am

Anonymous Nturtle said... is no mean feat to counter or add to the dialogue...but you have done it very well.

Maybe sometimes it is down to plain dumb luck...and Liverpool don't have it (in front of goal - how many deflection goals has Chelseahad??!?!?)...nor Arsenal (defensively injuries).

I like your analysis on the situation, and I'm sure Benitez has something up his sleeve...he can't be a winner of so many trophies and not do something contructive...but certainly the players themselves need to step up a gear.

2/10/2006 9:58 am

Blogger T said...

Ditto Nturtle in giving kudos to Redsman for taking on all the anti-Liverpool points raised by some of the comments. I definitely side with your analysis on Liverpool.

They have recently been punished by a failure to convert their dominance of possession into goals. This can happen to any team at a given time, and I'm sure they'll soon be firing the goals in again. What I reckon Benitez needs to do is settle on a first-choice strike partnership and give it a full chance to develop. Who would you like up-front Redsman?

There is merit in the claim that Liverpool may collectively be fatigued- which the last mintue loss at OT and last minute concession of an equaliser to Birmingham has accentuated.

What they need is a confidence-boosting win at a Wigan side that you are fortunate to play minus Roberts and Kamara. You outplayed them at Anfield, and the confidence of that experience should serve the Pool well tomorrow.

2/10/2006 11:10 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks chaps. I appreciate opinion constructively against Liverpool but some of the comments just range on the short summary of 'not defending, cant score, rubbish, expect to drop down' tone. Short and sharp.

Nothing to add to your comments other than the mentioning of lower oppositions being taken for granted. West Brom, Birmingham, Everton, Sunderland, teams you're expected to beat if you're riding at a high level in the league, and rightly so but that is on paper. Chelsea were held and were losing to Everton at Goodison Park, have done so twice. Add Blackburn to those teams and consider they've done the double on Man Utd.

I get a sense of what Man Utd and Arsenal fans, and now probably Chelsea fans, when you see your side play in a manner that can and do achieve and you feel the next match will bring further positive football. For Liverpool to go wayward now is bizarre but I'll wait and see. Chelsea are steaming and I want more teams baying for that top spot (and finally include Liverpool in those teams), that would make the title winners not such a foregone conclusion.


2/10/2006 12:56 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Forgot to respond to T's question. Currently my strongest line-up would be 4-4-2: Dudek; Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia/Agger, Riise; Garcia, Gerrard/Hamann, Alonso, Kewell; Morientes, Cisse.

4-1-4-1 (painfully): Same goalie; same defence; Hamann; Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso, Kewell; Cisse.

I have harped on about needing two central defenders and with Agger's addition should hopefully be Gabriel Paletta, young at 20, just right to groom for the defence and has been involved in the U20s' World Cup win last year. Seeing how Arsenal of all teams bring in young players and can mould them into quality additions, this looks to be another positive step for Liverpool.


2/10/2006 1:07 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liverpool are more or less the same team last year with the difference being they have most of their players fit compared to last year. Their defends are not that strong actually. Benitez have adapted the EPL mentality into the defense which means they would do well with dealing with Crosses as they are preety physical and good in the air. But they can easily be beaten by skills as we saw when they were up againts Ronney, Giggs, Robben, etc. They also suprisingly still used the offside trap againts big teams despaite what happened in Istanbul when they got caught on a couple of occasions. I mean the offside trap is cool when your up againts a small team but againts a counter attacking powerhouse like Chelsky?? I think not. I still maintain that the same story that happened when Houllier took over not so long ago would repeat itself. Sadly, i think Chelsky would dominate the EPL for some time. They have so much quality in their squad and also backed with great spending power which means they can continue their spending spree, i dont think they will be beaten any time soon. They have only lost once this season and have hardly even drawn. In order to beat them, other teams would probably have to go unbeaten the whole season or something which i doubt is possible. Sure Arsenal did it once but it doesnt happen often. The only hope would be in The Champs League and FA Cup but i doubt they would win that again. That could be argued but i dont think they are strong enough to win it again.

2/10/2006 1:17 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

A good exposition of the Liverpool squad - strengths and weaknesses - Redsman. You are right, it is not as simple as saying that Liverpool cant score anymore/cant defend anymore.

In defence of Euroblue though, his/her statement that Liverpool finished closer to relegatiopn than Chelsea was I think referring to the points tally. Liverpool finished 25 points better off than Crystal Palace and Norwich but were 37 points from Chelsea.

2/10/2006 2:21 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Good point, Anon (1.17am), I have stated my discontent of Hyypia's reaction speed at times, so that is something that needs sharpening and I had said earlier in the season that I found Hyypia suspect for weakness of pace. He would be the proper replacement if Agger is to come on, though Agger replaced Carragher for the Birmingham game. The CL is important for its prestige and financial earning, but the league title is what we desperately want.

Thanks Abdul for that insight, though euroblue could have elaborated on this point.


2/10/2006 3:39 pm


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