PODCAST – MIRACLE ON 36 POINTS by The Anfield Wrap | Dec 23, 2013 | Podcast | 11 comments #TAWMAG6 Russell Brand features on one of the covers Neil was joined by Rob Gutmann, Karl Coppack and Gareth Roberts and they chat about the current league leaders, another comfortable home win and the trip to The Etihad. Download Issue 6 of #TAW Monthly via iTunes DIRECT LINK TO PODCAST: MIRACLE ON 36 POINTS Podcast RSS feed iTunes 11 Comments robin crimes on 23 December 2013 at 6:49 pm I’d class ‘In Bruges’ as a Christmas film, sort of, so that would be my choice. Excellent podcast this week. I think a lot of us are almost embarrassed to say ‘we’re gonna win the league’ after the past how many years of false dawns. Regardless of how it’s put over, you can hear the belief on the show. It’d be daft not to be confident. I just wish it wasn’t so tight even for a top 4 finish. The Gerrard question has to be posed and it’s too early to know the answer but I think we’ll find the dynamics are better without him as one of the 3. Who needs set pieces anyway when we’re creating the goals we have been. I know some people get offended by that view but i’ve / we’ve pinpointed his performance as not good enough in nearly all away games. As has been said a million times, it’s not what he does on the ball but off it. Anyway, it’s a brilliant problem to have. This City game is one of the most intriguing league games for years, for me. Ok, City are invincible at home and we’ve been poor away which doesn’t bode well but as was discussed, they’ve got area’s to exploit and we’ve got real momentum. I’m quietly confident. My problem is although 2 points from the next 2 would be very acceptable over the season, I want more. I want 4. I find myself saying this after every game but we’re really gonna know a lot more after the next 2. First and foremost we need to give City a real game. Merry Christmas and all the best to Liverpool supporters worldwide and the lads on the podcast who’ve made being a Liverpool fan even more enjoyable (in the sense of after a great victory we all look forward to the podcast as the place we want it confirmed that we’re just brilliant). x Reply Lee on 24 December 2013 at 9:18 am Liverpool, top of the league, Liverpool Liverpool top of the league! For Christmas, like. Well in! Merry Christmas guys. Reply BrianB on 24 December 2013 at 10:49 pm It’s a bit sad to hear so many people dismissing Gerrard.It seems that they only remember when we were quite literally a “one man team” his contribution was obvious.Nowadays we’re a bit more than that .For the first time in God knows how long we’ve got players who are performing consistently at a high level. But does this mean that Gerrard has somehow become less of a player? I don’t think so! But throw this baby out with the bath water if you want to.I happen to think that when push comes to shove he’ll be the one who will see us over the finish line. Reply paul on 24 December 2013 at 11:57 pm Gerrard today is nothing like he used to be. That’s age in action, get over it. It happens to all of them. At least Gerrard is a legend within the club and has performed at the highest level with superman performances. Reply Brownie on 25 December 2013 at 10:24 pm Well for what they are worth, the stats don’t support any assertion that there is anything BrianB needs to ‘get over’. We’ve won two games without SG – one fabulous result at Spurs and the other a home trouncing of most people’s pre-season relegation favourites – and suddenly our captain is dispensable? The ever-present in the team that took us to second after 15 games is ‘past it’ now we’re top after 17? Not ragging on Allen who is improving every game, but anyone who thinks Pellegrini or Mourinho would prefer to be facing a Gerrard-led Liverpool this week is delusional. Like Brian says, I just think people need to get used to not seeing 60 yard, marauding runs into the opposition’s penalty area half-a-dozen times a game, and re-evaluate the impact SG *is* having. This Gerrard commentary from some quarters reminds me of the “John Barnes never had a good game for England” myth that seemed to seep into the consciousness of many purely by force of repetition. Instead of judging the 2013 version of SG against the 2005 vintage he should be assessed on his merits and, right now, that means – when fit – he plays in any LFC midfield for me. Reply robin crimes on 25 December 2013 at 12:05 am Hi Brian. All the best mate! Regardless of what happens in the future, my opinion of Gerrard will never change. That said, I feel it’s only right to be able to question his role as we would other players. My feeling is it’s time to start looking towards the future whilst doing what’s best now. So, play him more selectively and less deep. Liverpool look in fairly good shape at the minute but to be where we are we’ve had to sever our ties with sentimentality. P.s I appreciate you’re point is that he should be in the team on merit but I’ve sensed, recently, that some people think you’re a ‘no good traitor’ if you even ask the question about Gerrard. This season could be his best chance of a league winners medal. Rodgers has to pick the side he thinks has the best chance of getting the points whether that’s with or without Gerrard. My point is, let’s at least be able to ask the question, regardless of the answer. Reply Brownie on 25 December 2013 at 10:46 pm No problem with ‘asking the question’ re Gerrard, but far from sensing that people are being seen as ‘traitors’ for doing so, I’m starting to see what I think is a lot of bandwagon jumping (not suggesting this is the case with you, Robin). I think people need to be careful what they wish for. “Liverpool look in fairly good shape at the minute but to be where we are we’ve had to sever our ties with sentimentality.” Not sure what you mean by this? We weren’t 15th when Gerrard got injured; we were second and he had played every league game in us getting there, providing the second highest number of assists in the EPL along the way. If we were talking about any other Liverpool midfielder with this record we’d be eulogising him – maybe even talking about him as ‘the new Steven Gerrard’. Allen is good player and may become an even better one, but he’s had two decent games including one against relegation candidates. I hope he has a stormer tomorrow, too, but it’s not “sentimentality” that has me preferring SG in LFC’s current midfield, it’s a dispassionate analysis of footballing facts. Reply robin crimes on 26 December 2013 at 3:48 am But Brownie, if I was going to play devils advocate I’d say look beyond the stats. Most of home games have been against the bottom half teams and Gerrard has done very well. The only team that came with any purpose was Southampton (and I’d include Utd in that). Gerrard was poor that day. What I meant by I’d like to see him played more selectively was at home against the bottom half teams. If we look at Gerrard in away games neither the stats nor performances have been good. I thought he was poor against Swansea and Newcastle, Terrible against Arsenal and Hull an aside from a brilliant free kick for the Sturridge goal, was poor against Everton. His other away assist came from the corner against Sunderland, which hit Sturridge on the upper arm. In his last 4 away games we took 2 points out of 12 and one of those was against 10 men. Plus we conceded 10 goals. Don’t forget he’s only had 1 assist from open play all season. What’s become apparent, regardless of our league position is we’re murdering the lower half teams who come to Anfield and try and put 10 men behind the ball but when a team presses us we’ve struggled due to our midfield not creating enough and not getting back quick enough to close down their attack. Basically, our lack of mobility. It could simply be the case that Gerrard and Lucas don’t work well together but whatever, the midfield hasn’t worked. With Gerrard playing we’ve only had 2 assists from a midfielder in open play all season. Bearing in mind Lucas has looked good in his last 2 and Henderson has started getting assists left, right and centre I think it’s only fair we’re allowed to question whether Gerrard is a guaranteed starter in all games. Regarding my sentimentality quote, what I was alluding at was we got rid of Kenny, Pepe was shipped out and we did the ‘Being Liverpool’ documentary. Some of the things we’ve done have felt wrong but one could argue they were done for the good of the club to move forward. One day soon, Stevie’s days will be up and when that day comes I just hope we’re ready to accept it regardless of the hero he is. Every point is vital for us to achieve our goal of top 4, We have to make sure we put our best foot forward for each game. Reply Brownie on 27 December 2013 at 2:56 am This is exactly what I mean. You’re right, Gerrard was crap against Arsenal and Hull. Remind me again who was great? At Arsenal Rogers pretty much conceded he got the tactics wrong and the midfield was totally overwhelmed – but we’re here talking about how shite SG was and no one else. He’s judged by a different standard which given his career is understandable, but when you’re deciding which team to put out there for your next game that shouldn’t come into it. The only question you should be asking is whether the alternative to Gerrard is more likely to win you the game and not penalise SG for failing to produce yet another Olympiakps moment for the umpteenth time. And there’s no point downplaying Gerrard’s assists because they’re not coming from open play. Free kicks and corners are not footballing aberrations: every game will produce them so to have someone with the ability to deliver a ball like Gerrard should not be dismissed lightly. And this is another dimension to Gerrard that noone else in LFC’s midfield possesses: if Lucas/Hendo/Allen have a quiet/bad game, they have a quiet/bad game and their respective influences are therefore minimal. Gerrard can have a ‘mare for 89mins and still deliver the ball that wins you the game. We’ve all seen it. And he still has more aissts than “left, right and centre” Henderson. My problem with the ‘sentimentality’ line is that it is the flip side to the ‘traitor’ coin. I don’t think there is a genuine LFC fan out there who thinks SG should be picked on sentiment and I imagine Gerard himself would be mortified if he thought that was happening. Of course his time will be up eventually but that moment has not yet arrived, IMO. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the extent to which the midfield did/didn’t work prior to Gerrard’s injury. I’m certainly not saying everything was perfect by any means but I genuinely don’t believe it is possible to reach second in the table just shy of the season midpoint if there is a fundamental problem with the midfield – the rest of the EPL ought to be worried is that’s remotely true. Josh on 25 December 2013 at 5:11 pm On how we’re breaking down teams so well at home: Key word is penetration. We now have multiple players who can take defenders out of the game and find gaps in tight areas off both the dribble (Cou, Sterling, Suarez) and the pass (Cou, Hendo and actually Sterling has a through ball in him as well). Benitez’s peak front line of Kuyt, Torres, Gerrard were not really at their best in tight areas. This played into teams that defended deep’s hands. The frightening thing is for a lot of these players that we have now is that they are almost equally adept in more stretched, counter-attacking moves as well. We are kind of good at both. Reply Walriley on 27 December 2013 at 11:30 pm Impressed that Rob G had heard of Sakamoto. That kind of culture vulture is rare in Liverpool! Reply Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.