I’M getting bored of the recriminations.
It’s easy to talk about whose fault this season is. It’s easy to talk about fixing it with knee-jerk sackings and ‘I never thought he was any good anyway’ tirades. Easy to point out the positions that we need to fill to sort everything out. Much harder to put ourselves in Brendan’s position and figure out how we’re going to solve everything with what we have to hand at the moment and the probability of not being handed a bottomless pit of both transfer and wage budget come January 1.
So, whose fault is it then? Brendan’s? Yeah, probably. Because he bought badly in the summer? No. I don’t think so. I genuinely think that he bought very well in general, Mario apart obviously. Mario was a panic buy. Mario was a gamble. We know that, Brendan’s told us that. Mario was a ‘who’s left after everybody we actually wanted turned us down?’ buy. It’s not Brendan’s fault that Alexis Sanchez fancied Arsenal, fancied London more than he fancied the idea of a house in Crosby and shopping in Liverpool One. Not Brendan’s fault that ‘something’ showed up in Loic Remy’s medical that knocked the deal on the head when it appeared to be a formality. Not his fault that Diego Costa used us to up his contract at Atletico and then jumped to Chelski’s roubles at the first opportunity.
Put any of those in the squad alongside a fit Sturridge or replacing an injured Sturridge and we’re in a different ‘moment’ to the one we currently occupy. Basically we have the one vital thing that we’re missing at the moment – an ‘out’ ball.
All this endless misery? It’s caused by that simple lack of mobility at the sharp end of the pitch. And we can’t blame Rickie Lambert for that; he wasn’t bought to be that player, he was bought to be the fourth choice behind Sturridge and a Remy or Sanchez or Origi. He was a squad player, no more. We shouldn’t have to be relying on him to the extent that we are. Lambert is quite definitely NOT that out ball. He’s not mobile enough, he has no speed, he’s actually, quite startlingly, deceptively slow.
This lack of an out ball has impacted the whole season. It’s no coincidence that our only real threat this season was in the Spurs game, that Balotelli’s only real indication of his ability came in the Spurs game. The one game where we actually had the speed of Sturridge coupled with another threatening presence for defenders to think about. Options. It’s still all about options. Not wanting to hang a whole season on Daniel Sturridge’s shoulders but all our options revolve around Sturridge being fit. No pressure, Dan.
So far, so obvious, then. We need Sturridge back. Or we need that conversation with Lille that starts “Errrr, we’d like Divock now please, how much do you want?” and then we can pin at least some of our hopes on a 19-year-old unknown quantity because, if we’re honest, there’s absolutely nobody else available that we’d want that’s going to come to a team that’s in the Europa League and struggling in their own league. We have what we have, time to deal with it, time to build with it.
And what we have is genuinely good enough.
So why doesn’t Brendan trust what we have? Why does’t he trust the lads he bought in the summer.
And we’re back to the out ball. The new players were settling into a new team, a new country, a new lifestyle. The last thing they needed was a major disruption to that new team immediately. The loss of Sturridge was that major disruption. And yes you can argue that we should have also bought another striker just in case of the very obvious chance of injury to young Daniel but – again – who was there? Who was available that fancied us? And who was the big name that we wanted as a marquee signing? Big names aren’t guarantees of success; look at Falcao’s position on the United bench.
So we have no option up front and the new lads are struggling to create with this lack of options. They’re struggling to show their true form, their true ability, they’re just basically struggling. So we want the old guard back WE want the old guard. US. We demand it. Play Kolo, play Lucas, play Enrique. We demand changes after mistakes, after poor performances, forgetting that we demanded those players changed out after their mistakes, their poor performances. So Brendan makes the changes and we start asking why he won’t play his signings, his expensive signings, why he won’t give Lallana a chance, why he won’t trust Sakho, why he won’t put Borini on the bench when he’s clearly the most mobile forward we have, kind of forgetting that we all wanted rid of Borini three months ago and that we’ve never been impressed by him.
Is Brendan struggling then? Too bloody right he is. Is he out of his depth? Possibly, at the moment. He’s learning a skill that he’s never had to learn before: successful squad rotation to compete at all levels. Is he the right man for the job? I reckon so but he needs to lose a bit of the bloody mindedness that’s seeped into him in the way that it infected Houllier’s and Rafa’s last seasons before he makes this his last season.
Did he buy well? Well we all bemoaned the lack of options on the bench in the run up to the end of last season — all agreed with the idea that if you wanted to change the game and all that you could see warming up was Aspas, Moses, Alberto and Cissokho then you were on a hiding to nothing. I know, I know HE brought them all in but he got to shop bigger this summer and needed to improve the squad, not just buy two big money names to replace the one that we’d lost. Can we all agree that our bench is better than last season? Right, crack on then and don’t start claiming that Aspas has suddenly become a solution because he scored a hat-trick in four minutes. Do you really think he’ll ever do that again? Yeah? Honest? Think about that corner for a while.
We’re not going to overhaul the squad in January because:
2. Refer back to 1. It’s not happening.
All that’s left then is for Brendan to deal with the hand he’s been dealt even if — especially if — he dealt it himself and in doing this he needs to look at one thing over all; the last 10 minutes of the Basel game.
Look, it didn’t work, we didn’t quite get there but how fucking great was that last 10 minutes? Most fun I’ve had all season. Give me that every week and I won’t care about anything else. Ten lads absolutely determined to make something happen to the point of insanity? We’ve just described all the fun we had last year. Get them to show that level of cojones every week and we’ll all start smiling again. The first half? Ignore that bit Brendan, we’re all fed up of that first half, we’ve seen that first half every week this season, you can finish doing that now. Give us the second half. Give us the pace and the madness of the second half at the start of every game, give us the unpredictable, give us the mad. If we don’t know what’s happening then the opposition won’t.
Who are you going to use then? Given that you’re not going to conjure a genius out of the hat in January, who are you going to use?
Tell you in a second. First off. No more messing around at the back. Mignolet to Skrtel to Lovren to Skrtel to a half attentive Johnson to Skrtel to Mignolet causes opposition goals. It did it again last night. Move the ball upfield. Quickly. Put the lads in who will move the ball. You like technicians, stick them in the team.
Now, obviously Brendan neither wants nor needs me to tell him his team. So I’m going to. And then you’re all going to queue up in those boxes below to tell me I’m an idiot. No need, I’m well aware of the fact thanks. But anyway:
It’s him or Jones so he’s the lesser of two evils and he pulled off another vital save last night. He saves us more points than he costs us.
Johnson and Moreno. Yes, they’re both a little erratic defensively but it doesn’t matter, we’re going to push them up and attack. We’re going to score goals because scoring goals is fun and we haven’t had much fun trying to be solid because we’re just not very good at it.
Lovren and Sakho. I know. I can hear the groans already (and I haven’t finished writing this yet, let alone hit publish) I have faith in both Lovren and Sakho; Lovren will be the player we thought he’d be and Sakho is gloriously mad and we like mad, remember.
A three in front of them. Henderson, Allen and Lallana. Henderson to run round and kill people, Allen to keep things ticking over (I like Joe, I like how he keeps things ticking over) and Lallana because he’s one hell of a footballer. Between these three we’re not losing the ball AND we’re moving it forward. No, there’s no defensive midfielder there but there wasn’t one last season and we all liked that.
A three up top. Sterling and Markovic either side of a front man. Obviously Sturridge when fit but otherwise Mario (when fit) or Lambo (if necessary).
Come on. You must be okay with that? Pace on the wings, creativity in midfield, barely any defence to speak of? It’s the 13/14 season all over again with the exception of that little genius we had.
And your bench? Gerrard, Can, Skrtel, Lambo or Balo, Coutinho, a goalie of some kind and one of the kids just for the hell of it. Or Kolo. Or Lucas. All that possible through getting one player fit again, with no signings and suddenly we have that out ball we need, suddenly we’re not sitting deep and inviting pressure, suddenly we’re all having fun again.
Easy this management lark, isn’t it? A big house in Formby has my name on it.
Cheer up, we’re going to be okay.
What sort of sophomoric fool keeps pointing attention to that ONE corner kick Aspas took, a training-ground corner kick that had been previously tried to some success, and one that required (in this case) Coutinho to be alert and not be flying a kite? The exact same free-kick had been tried earlier in the season, and it required Suarez to react to the out ball. He did, and produced a fantastic shot that hit the left post (from the attacking team’s pov). Moreover, Aspas had taken at least one more corner-kick earlier and it was a peach.
So, stop. Kindly. Just cease.
Re playing the veterans. Don’t be daft. Playing Lucas and Kolo has nothing to do with the supporters not wanting the new signings, especially the new ones, being used. It has to do with Lovren sucking donkey dick, Gerrard being awful at ‘controller’ given this season’s available personnel, Henderson being awful as the lone most withdrawn midfielder, and Can having never played as lone most withdrawn central midfielder. It also has to do with Kolo and Lucas being capable players for two positions that have given us problems. Rodgers selections have, and ought to have, the square root of eff-all to do with what supporters want or prefer. He makes them, touts leaving Borini off the match-day squad as a “manager’s decision’. He is the joker who went multiple matches with Lucas out of the matchday squad. He’s the joker who played Can vs RM and CFC, saw him play well in both occasions (even scoring vs CFC) and then did not use him again.
He’s been picking Henderson despite him being out of form and misfiring. He lionizes Gerrard incessantly and obsequiously for no apparent reason. He said Sterling was “outstandin'” vs Basel even though he was consistently ineffective, chose the wrong option, failed to shoot when he was in the box, not marked and with the goal in sight, shot when it was not on, etc. etc.
He is the one who chose Jose Enrique to start with Henderson as the left flank advanced midfielder. This boggles the mind. And it has nothing to do with the supporters and their wishes.
It is his INSTRUCTIONS that result in our slow, tentative, aimless football. The first few minutes of the 2nd half, with the substitutions and the new instructions show us empirically that HE HAD INSTRUCTED the players, and had selected players to play timidly, tentatively in the first half.
Sterling’s wasted out wide. He’s not very good at crossing either; that one great cross against Norwich excepted.
Especially as the only feasible target man for crosses was substituted to
make way for wide players. Genius…
I completely agree with that team near the end. I’d love to see it. Thing is, we won’t. Rodgers just seems to play safe and he’s even making a mess of that. I’m with you mate, all this could have been avoided with Sturridge. I also look back to Spurs for that glimpse of light. That’s not to say I’m not amazed at Rodgers unravelling. The club has been unlucky but whatever happens the narrative won’t change over time. This period is a permanent blot on Rodgers landscape. He needs to calm down now, take a deep breath and start again with a clear head. I’d absolutely love to see that team though.
What a brilliantly thought out article. I hear it let alone I also see it, your team you picked there I’d agree with upto swapping Allen for Lucas, other than that it has an air of optimism about it and it’s that thing of the unknown, unknown to us that it might just change our fortunes and reinstate some much needed confidence to the players and also the manager, Brendan looks like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and abit like a chess player at check mate.
We need that one big performance and big win to set us up, it’s just weres it gonna happen or coms from, because am telling myself the next game, the next game again, your defo right about something we all need to have some fun at the match again because at the moment Anfield is like a funeral wake.
I have to say am glad to see a fellow red defend Rodgers and have a bit of faith in the team ( even if it is blind ) but am behind Rodgers and don’t agree that it was just Suarez and sturridge that propelled us to a title challenge, it was the collective who just did everything Brendan asked to perfection, great article tho la…..
Lucas for Allen would completely defeat the object for me.
This from a Southampton regular:
1) He started the season extremely well for us but tailed off somewhat towards the end; still a good player mind but not as good as he was before.
2) He was playing beside Fonte who’s a leader for Southampton on-and-off the pitch. Fonte organized the defence and largely kept Lovren in line and on track. At Liverpool there hasn’t really been a leader figure in the defence since Carragher retired and Mignolet isn’t the beat goalkeeper at keeping his defence in order so Lovren’s been left to have a free reign… and as has been said, that involves chasing every ball.
How bad must our scouting/committee/Brendan’s judgment be not to pick up on 2). Makes us look like amateurs.
Everything you need in a nutshell.
Best article I have read in a long time.
One thing I would add is I think we do need a striker in January seeing as Borini evidently must of slept with Mrs Rodgers.
Nonsense. How can you say there’s no realistically affordable strikers out there to come and suit our system. The buck stops with Brendan in signing Balotelli. Replacement for Suarez should have been no.1 priority and when Sanchez refused (not that I think we tried hard enough to get him) we should have had 5-10 other names on that list. A season can literally live or die by a striker. Goals win you games. Rodgers and the committee messed up big time in taking a gamble on the most important part of the team. Everyone knows Sturridge will never play 38 games a season so making him main man is just foolish.
Alexandre Lacazette is an option. Even Wilfried Bony. Lacazette is 23 and currently top scorer in Ligue 1 with 13 goals and 4 assists in 15 games. His club Lyon is not in Europa or CL so he isn’t cup tied. He has good shot, pace, strength and very good off the ball work rate in pressing. He is a cross between Drogba and Sturridge, basically the next Henry. We should go all out for him. He won’t cost more than 30 million. I reckon Lyon could let him go for 20 million.
Do your scouting and watch your footie lad before coming to absurd conclusions that there’s no player out there for us to sign as a striker. What we have now is dreadful. Sturridge won’t save our season. Sturridge will have minor injuries here and there when he comes back. Even if he stays fit throughout, I don’t know if he can be a 20 goal a season striker again. He has to prove he is world class without Suarez beside him.
Basically the next Henry, basically.
The last player to join Liverpool who was branded “the next Henry” was Ryan Babel.
If we’d have signed Lacazette in the summer, everyone would have been saying “who?”. Including you no doubt…or is this where you produce all your comments from the summer urging Rodgers to sign the fella?
If it wasn’t for bad luck with a medical we’d be sitting here with Remy. Missing out on Bony is probably a legit criticism, but see above re the point about Remy. We may have had 80mill burning a hole in our pockets, but Falcao, Cavani, Costa, etc.. didn’t want to come. Sanchez didn’t want to come, either. That’s not Rodgers’ fault.
People need to realise that Suarez was sold behind Brendan’s back, and Brendan was planning to have Luis Suarez in his plans this season
A blind man on a galloping horse could see Suarez was going to leave in the Summer. The second he signed a new contract don’t you think his ‘representatives’ (fcuking hate that word) would have inserted a watertight release clause?
And it wasn’t as if Suarez left on 31st August. His departure was being openly articulated BEFORE the World Cup even started.
Rank bad planning coupled with even worse scouting and feeble / unrealistic negotiating. That’s the story of our transfer window. End of story.
One final moan. How many God-forsaken tourists holding aloft half and half scarves on the photograph above? This used to be OUR club. We’ve been infiltrated by part-time no-marks prepared to pay extortionate prices. Better print the words to YNWA on their ticket so they can join in……
well said chum
Rubbish. We all knew Suarez was off, it was simply a matter of Barca or Madrid. The new contract was specifically given to him to maximise the sale price and give the man a way out without having to go to court or strike. The negotiations were underway before the world cup, Madrid pulled out when he bit a player for the third time.
Rodgers is the one that’s taken an exciting team, bought nine players in the summer and turned the club into a joke. Notice all the youth players he’s trying out? Me neither. Notice all the players he’s bought in and then refuses to play?
You can see it in the players, they’ve had enough. Whatever is going on at the club is turned a spirited side into one that doesn’t give a shit.
Does no one remember 2/3 months back when we played Balotelli up front on his own with 2 wide men?
He was shit!! It didn’t work!! Not even a little bit!! So much so people demanded that if we have to play Balotelli then he must be played with a partner. In fact his best performance came when he played with a partner against Spurs and his goal against Ludogorets came when he had a partner on the pitch. So why now playing him up top on his own is a good idea again?!!
See all this, “What could we do? We tried to get Sanchez and Remy but didn’t work out!” It’s bullshit!!! It’s an excuse!!!
We should have been prepared in advance of the past summer for Suarez leaving. It’s what a properly run club would do. He tried to leave the summer before, we held firm and an escape clause was put into his new contract so it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that he might try and leave again. There were several other strikers that moved in the summer that would have been possibilities. There were strikers who could have moved had we properly moved for them. Bony?? Luis Adriano??
We bought badly in the summer. We bought players we did not need. We bought players who don’t suit our style of play. We didn’t buy one player that progresses us this season. After £120mil spent not one of those players could you say is a first XI player and that’s atrocious. We could have used Suso, Texeira, Wisdom etc etc as squad players who know the club, the manager and our style of play.
I want Rodgers to succeed. I don’t want him sacked but he has serious questions to answer about the summer and this season.
is it just me, or does any one else think Coutinho should be one of the first 3 names on the team sheet every week?
Definitely. As long as the name Balotelli doesn’t appear anywhere else in that team sheet. When we don’t have the ball we’d be playing with nine men. Coutinho is a luxury player. Invaluable when we need to unlock packed defences (like last night), but a liability against the best teams (like Madrid).
Didn’t he hit the post against Real? I’d say it’s being a bit hard on him to suggest he doesn’t put a shift in as well, Jonathan. He looked to win loads of ball playing in midfield in the run-in last season. I think people just overlook willingness to graft when he has to because he’s a Brazilian kid with no. 10 on his back.
You’re not alone there. Maybe the only player who’s done himself and his ability justice this season? Might be harsh on Sterling who is still just a kid who we’ve putting the weight of the club on just now; think we at least waited till Gerrard was 22-23 to do that to him.
Coutinho hasn’t got ‘full 90 minutes, 2 games a week’ stamina but Liverpool post-Suarez looked as if it was rightly being built around Sturridge, Sterling and Coutinho in an attacking sense (possibly Lallana with him being the main signing as well but we’ll park that for now). 2 of the 3 available shouldn’t have led to everyone feeling sorry for themselves the way we all have.
The thing about him is he’s ideal both home and away. When teams come to Anfield to be hard to break down or when they are at home and feel they have to come on to us and leave space, his creativity and eye for a killer pass is what’s needed. Plus, I want to see him play as many minutes as he can within reason because he’s just fun to watch. The results are a big part of this but there’s just generally been a dearth of fun this season particularly compared to last where every game felt like a party. More of Phil putting smiles on people’s faces by threading balls through and less of idiots on the Echo site saying Rodgers should resign as their actual constructive solution for a disappointing season.
It’s not just you. I was a bit amazed he didn’t make that team above, given that I’m guessing Ian Salmon watches all or nearly all of our matches. When I heard an announcer (I think it was ex-Liverpool man Jim Beglin, sad to say) badmouthing Coutinho a couple weeks ago, I just put it down to the fact that announcers are usually at least a month behind where players are actually performing.
I can’t really agree he’s a luxury player as Jonathan W said. I think it was starting from one of the derbies last season, he became more combative and turned into an important part of our pressing. Having said that, I can see the wisdom of using him as a bench option against good attacking teams on the road, at least where the fixtures are packed close together. I just think he’s too consistently essential to teams we’d want to put out to call him a luxury player.
Not when Lambert’s starting. Different planets.
May have said this last season when the Kolo and Skrtel o.g. show was in full flight but I’d play Gerrard right-sided center half next to Sakho. That’s probably just me but he drops between the center backs from that deeper midfield role anyway. Sakho was poor against West Ham and shaky against Tottenham but has the potential to be a top class defender (he looked the part in the World Cup). He’s been bombed out for less than what Lovren and Skrtel have been getting away with.
Fuck it, just put Gerrard in goal. At least the kicks would be shit-hot.
Sakho’s been injured for a while–I don’t think he’s being frozen out of the squad.
Ha! I suggested that last week! I hoped he’d be able to prolong his career by dropping back, but can’t see it now. Doesn’t have the nous.
What I can’t figure out is why Rodgers gets so much sympathy despite fucking up, but Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish got precious little.
Kenny got plenty. Hodgson less so and deservedly less so. Rodgers is performing as he did and Hodgson never had £120m to spend on 31 months to sort out a half decent defense. Anyway…..
Ian, Rodgers doesnt do mad. He has never done mad. He is all about control, both on and off the pitch. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Rafa is about control, but of a different kind.
It’s Rodgers insistence and philosophy of control that should make us all see last season’s madness was all about having the king of madness Suarez at the club, along with great supporting actors in Daniel and Raheem. The madness was never going to continue with Luis gone. Even when Sturridge comes back, he won’t bring back the madness.
Two things on this madness.
One. Id love it to return. Of course. There was nothing better than watching 13/14 lads playing mad football and just loving doing it. We’ll concede 3? Fuck it, we’ll score 5. Rodgers should bring it back as it suits the majority of this group of players. Johnson, Moreno, Enrique, Hendo, Allen, Sterling, Sturridge, Coutinho, Markovic. He won’t.
Two. Im not sure you can sustain success with the madness. Its never been done before. This type of madness usually leads to flash in the pan teams for about 18 months max who never quite get the job done.
True. But what is left? The ‘sane’ Liverpool are doing worse, results-wise, than any mad version could ever hope to achieve; and they’re also making me feel an unprecedented need to go stealing knickers off washing lines or to hunt down a BB gun.
I’m only mildly exaggerating. Which is worrying. Especially for my neighbours.
And if Coutinho is the ‘Brain Of The Team’ why is he always found sitting on the bench near Pascoe?!
(that’s me totally agreeing with you Doug S btw).
Fabtastic article, those calling for Rodgers to go are obsurd given the unavailability of sturidge and luis. He can’t be judged until sturidge returns or is replaced adequatly. And the self determination we all loved last season when he was telling notes what a loser he was. G. Gove this man a chance , he is three best young manager out there.
bloody spell check, notes = moyes
I enjoyed reading that. I have to take umbrage with the notion that Mignolet wins us more points than he costs us, though.
I firmly believe we will see a much higher level of performance from the back four when they have a keeper behind them that they trust and can organise them.
I am genuinely baffled as to how we signed him in the first place. He never has, or ever will be at this stage of his career, the ‘sweeper keeper’ Rodgers apparently covets. He’s a good keeper when on form; just not suitable for us. Worrying that our scouts decided he was what we needed.
I don’t believe it’s the fault solely of Mignolet.
I was addressing a specific point in the article that suggests he wins us more points than costs us.
Of course Rodgers has questions to answer and the buck stops with him. One auch question being why sign a keeper so unsuited to our style of play.
I agree with lots of this. I just don’t get all the “can’t believe X isn’t playing” stuff given no-one has done remotely well enough to put himself in the ‘cannot_possibly_be_omitted’ category. No-one. We can all make shouts for individual players who we think would do better in certain systems, but every player for whom you can make a case, can easily have a case made against him. For every game where he’s done well, we can point to one and more when he’s been poor. (Toure possibly being the exception given his recent run of games.) Exhibit A: all of the people lamenting Borini’s exclusion on Tuesday must have just landed from Venus, because they sure as shit can’t have been living on this planet since he’s been at the club. And to be clear, this is not to say that he’s particularly worse than the alternatives. But to listen to some of the complaints you’d think we’d left the 1984 Ian Rush out of the squad.
That said, your preferred team could probably represent Lilliput. It would have to be the smallest team in the EPL. It’s just too lightweight for me. We’d get bullied by most teams and I see nothing resembling a spine. The same could be said about Barcelona these last 7 or 8 years, of course, but at the risk of winning the most redundant TAW comment fro 2014, we’re not Barca.
I don’t think we can really blame Rodgers for employing the safety first, pragmatic approach this last run of games given what had come before. When you’re lying on the operating table with massive trauma, the surgeon’s first job is to stop the bleeding. We’ve moved from 4 straight losses to unbeaten in 4. We are, undoubtedly, harder to beat. True, we don’t look much like beating anyone ourselves, but it seems Rodgers has opted for trying to hang in there until Sturridge returns. And I don’t really blame him. The approach has some merit while the teams around us continue their efforts to try to be as shite as we are.
Having said that, I’d be tempted to go with an attacking team to Utd. They are shaky as feck and have a defence every bit as bad as ours.
Agree with pretty much everything Brownie but management isn’t just about picking the best players, but the best formations, styles, compatible players etc etc. I’ve no problem with the manager adopting a pragmatic (and I know there are issues around this word with the AW boys!) approach to get us out of a rut. I do have a problem with the manager selecting Coutinho ahead of Lallana when Rickie Lambert’s in the team. Lallana and Lambert have started three games together, those three games have resulted in three goals. Coutinho and Lambert could barely manage there passes: not rocket science is it? Nor was starting Kolo and Lucas after the Real Madrid game. It’s a worry.
I want Brendan to succeed and have no managerial agenda (I’m not pining for Kenny or Rafa) but he does seem to have lost the plot at the moment. Hope he manages to pull through.
Brownie, given the manager’s recent selections is there anything that really makes you believe he will put out an attacking formation at Old Trafford?
I agree with your metaphor but let’s face it, the reason the patient is bleeding so much is because they shot themselves !! Our Summer spending chickens are coming home to roost and quickly if we are reliant upon Sturridge to revive us. As for Borini, He would never be in my first XI but when you have nobody else should we not at least have him on the bench??
Nope, you’re probably right. I expect a similar set up to what we saw first half on Tuesday – with possibly Can/Lallana for Allen and Moreno for Enrique. I think he’ll persevere with Lambert as he could cause problems for Utd’s makeshift defence. Smalling looks like he is definitely out. I just think Utd are there for the taking and the boost it would give the team to go there and win is almost worth the risk of the ‘balls out’ approach. I’d copy Mourinho’s striker-less strategy from last year and have a double-pronged Markovic and Sterling up top with probably Gerrard behind trying to feed them in at every opportunity. Then a three behind them of Lucas plus two of Hendo/Can/Lallana.
And I do get that at least some of our metaphorical trauma is self-inflicted, but that damage is done. Nothing we can about that, now. Put it this way: I’m slightly less apprehensive about going to OT on Sunday than I was a couple of weeks ago. And that’s despite their run of 5 straight victories which must be the most unimpressive 5-on-the-bounce I’ve ever seen.
There’s nothing to fear at OT (other than genius banners and low flying planes). Hope the players know that!
Bang on the money Ian and a really good read.
Brownie you have cheered me up mate. A win there would put the cat amongst the pigeons.
I think we all want some of that madness back but we have to remember without Studge and Luis to finnish things off the madness doesn’t really get started. Sterling/Markovic/Coutinhio aren’t exactly clinical finishers so when we get our breakaways and don’t hit the net, it could end up being a thumping defeat.
No easy answers but against them I would go balls out and go down fighting. We usually get stuffed there anyway. Balotelli off the bench to get the winner ? Now we are talking.
Doubt anyone thinks of Borini as Ian Rush, I realise I may sound as if I am the players dad. My point is that he is named in the squad, therefore available. “Freezing” the lad out, or psychologically torturing the kid as I see it, is a pointless exercise as, again, Brendan named him in the squad at the start of the season. Therefore, by ignoring him the manager effectively reduced his already thin attacking numbers by sheer obstinacy. Personally, I would have liked to see Jordan Ibe come off the bench, explain that managerial brainfart to me. Ibe is no Lilliputian, and has he not been at the academy, along with Wisdom long enough to be well aware of the tactics laid down by our imperious coaching staff? Because, as we all know, the academy introduce the younger players to the “Liverpool way” whatever the fuck that is. Ibe and Wisdom, loaned out, and what, forty million spent to replace them? Borini could have been used as a twin threat with the towering,muscular and ginormous Lambert, thus making the average height of the team somewhat taller, though Allen rather than Can reduced it somewhat. I called my seventy nine year old father to read out the team to him before Tuesday’s game. On hearing “Enrique” he let out a sigh, I had already ruined the game for him. Was The ex Newcastle nutcase in the team to pump balls into the box? I don’t recall too many, was it for his defensive prowess? Let us leave a young man already impressing Del Bosque on the bench because as we all know, if only DB would come and watch Enrique, he would shitcan Moreno in a heartbeat. Coutinho is as good a player as I have seen in some time. Some regard him as a luxury as he does not do what? I seem to recall him rendering Toure ineffective last season by just picking his pocket. Do all ten need to be fierce in the tackle? Go watch Stoke, oh wait, don’t you might not come back. We are between a rock and a hard place. The conundrum that is the manager, FSG, the committee, the non existing coaching staff, the sudden departures of back room staff and the Napoleonic attitude has me baffled. I have read and reread all the articles and comments because I care. I have great memories of times spent with friends watching the Reds on the Kop as a youngster, I travelled all over England as a kid, I doubt I would have done so if not for the team. Spending time on this website reassures me there are people who genuinely get the importance of Liverpool continuing to be a footballing force in Europe, for economic as well as pleasurable reasons. I am sure the majority of supporters want Brendan to succeed, as I do, if only because we have already invested three bloody seasons in him. Hopefully, the Beanball, Billyball Bullshit will be kicked to the kerb. I neither understand nor concern myself with how much these players make. It seems now, if you can believe the crap in the media that the Sterling entourage are going to throw another “shit sandwich” Brendan’s way, as did Gerrard not so long ago. Being from Venus, or Bootle as my folks assured me, I have to admit me head is spinning. After what, nearly fifty years of watching footie I am still clueless it seems.
Nice one Ian. I’m with you on the team apart from two spots.
Lucas instead of Allen, because as humdrum as we’ve been in the last few games, remember how bad we were before Lucas came back in? His passing is also at least as good as Allen’s.
And I just don’t have the same faith in Lovren as you do. None of the other signings from the summer had as much time to settle or show what he can do as Lovren, and what he showed wasn’t very good at all at all. There may be a case to say he’d be better with the more stable influence of Lucas in front of him, but I’d bring Kolo back in if he’s fit (and Skrtel if not).
Because if you want mental how’s Kolo and Sakho for ya?!
First name on my teamsheet this Sunday would be Markovic. Never thought I’d say that, but the injection of pace, movement and quick thinking he showed in his brief showing on Tuesday is exactly what we need right now.
I’m all for Kolo, Sakho and Markovic starting Sunday.
In fact I don’t want to see Lambert or Balotelli start another league game. We have to compromise too much in order to accommodate them and it’s not like we’re getting anything back in return from them.
I want to see a front 3 of Sterling central and Markovic and Coutinho/Lallana either side. Could also use Borini or Suso in that front 3. And I’m sure there’s a coupla reserve players who could step in there too.
Enjoyed that, nice one. Everyone knows better than Brendan (they think) but they don’t actually have to go out there and do it.
This article is entirely perfect. Nothing to add. Thank you for writing it.
I like it – I’m with you on this one!