NEIL ATKINSON, Jim Boardman, Rob Gutmann and Mike Nevin talk through Liverpool versus Swansea, what’s got us to this point, Rodgers’ recent changes and what’s to come against Leicester City on New Year’s Day.
Like what we do? Buy us a pint!
DIRECT LINK – FOR THE BENEFIT OF JOSEPH COUSINS
My two cents: Coutinho’s on his way to becoming a demonstrably better final-third player than we’ve been used to seeing. Just him growing into the role and really starting to reach into his potential. Same applies to a lot of the other younger guys. Can’t wait to see what the next year brings for this team.
*Also, Sterling off the post was the turning point of the game. Came on a ridiculous counter that itself came off a Swansea corner, right after Sakho gave it away to Bony for the shot on Mignolet and Swansea were really having a go at us.
Would have been goal of the season. Reminded me of Terry Mac’s goal against Spurs all those years ago.
He needs to improve his shooting/finishing to become a truely great player.
Never seen such a skilled player drag their shots so consistently.
I hope he improves his finishing with the positions he finds himself in but I almost don’t want him to become too clinical because he’ll basically become the complete attacking player and be the latest for Barca/Real to poach.
I like that he shoots. I’m not bothered that he’s horrible at it. I think unlike someone like Borini, he has it in him to improve there. If he just ups his conversion a little, it’s over.
We’d have another superstar to call ours.
His finishing is a worry as it hasn’t improved in 2 seasons. Still drags his shots. Lack of composure I suspect rather than poor technique. Let’s hope he can improve, that’s a job for the staff as much as the player.
Great show fellas. My take on the season thus far:
Brendan’s made A LOT of mistakes but we should still back him, he’s a young manager and will benefit from a little failure. He’s clearly failed three related tests; rotation, the CL and bedding in new players. In his defence, the Purple Knight took about 10 years to come to terms with European football and squad management, this is Brendan’s first season juggling a large squad and playing in the CL which, if we needed any reminder, is very different to Premiership football. We were spoilt by Rafa, who instinctively understood CL, it’s a learning curve for Brendan. United only became a force when Queiroz joined, another lesson for Brendan.
Domestically Brendan’s largest failings have been those identified by supporters. I rarely disagree with Mike, but stubbornness takes many forms. Rodgers started the season trying to replicate the Swansea system AGAIN, an act of arrant stubbornness; he compounded this failing by once again playing Gerrard and Lucas in a 4-2-3-1 despite the evidence from both the previous season and the WC that Stevie’s a spent force in that particular position. He also clearly instructed the team to play a game which was alien to the players, a controlled possession game which suited no-one. He then stuck rigidly to rotation plans even though the system and a number of players were clearly failing. So, this season has been a big learning curve for Brendan, but one which he appears to have learned from. As they say, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
As for the players, both new and old, then what have we learned thus far? Well, we’ve learned that Lallana just needed a run of games, we shouldn’t be surprised that he lacked confidence: how on earth is a player supposed to gain confidence at a new club when he’s in and out of the team, played in different positions and different formations? It’s a recipe for disaster. Thankfully he seems to have come through this rough patch with confidence undimmed and proven one of the bright spots of the season. He and Coutinho complement each other, it took them a while, but now they seem to be on the same wavelength. I’m hoping Coutinho will benefit from working alongside Lallana in training, Coutinho has more natural talent but lacks composure. His decision making in the final third remains erratic, Lallana in contrast is composure personified. Coutinho’s shooting hasn’t improved much and I don’t agree that geometry is the problem, it’s more to do with composure and one for the staff to deal with. He’s immensely gifted, a joy to watch, but inside forwards are judged on goals and assists. I can see him dropping deeper in the long run, he has the skillset to play alongside a defensive midfielder with Sterling, Markovic and Lallana rotating ahead of him. Rob was a little inconsistent today: he’s right to praise the consistency of formation and thus wrong to talk about Sterling as a striker. He should be rested before slotting into one of the inside forward positions.
Brendan’s stubbornness also manifested itself in his choice of players: Can, Sakho and Lucas should have been first choices all season. Whose to say he’d have changed things had Johnson and Lovren not picked up injuries? His work with Sterling in contrast, has been impressive. It took a while, but he eventually realised we weren’t Swansea and that Coutinho in particularly needs a moving target. I’d like to see us stick to the current formation now, with Moreno at wing-back and one of Manquillo, Flano ro Johnson on the right. I like a box midfield as it gets the best out of clever players like Lallana, Markovic and Coutinho, indeed I hoped we’d adopt this strategy last season having seen how much more solid and effective City were in transition: able to get the best out of Nasri and Silva without sacrificing solidity. In an ideal world we’d sign an Alex Song type player to sit in the middle, a keeper an a striker in the window. If he is determined to play Stevie, then I’d like to see him given a run as a libero in the Europe league, just to see if he can come to terms the role. I have my doubts, but I can see the value in trying it. In the league he should be no more than an impact sub: he simply doesn’t suit our style of play. Agree with Rob about our persistent failure to pick up second balls, it’s a tactical issue in that we withdraw too many players behind the ball at set pieces and in transition. Good coaching could sort that out. Agree with Mike and Jim about Markovic too, he should be rotated with Coutinho and Lallana and used as an impact sub. As for shit rugby: that was always my problem with slavishly picking Gerrard for his free kicks and pens: this isn’t rugby (thank God): it’s not a game for fly halves.
Well that was a much longer post than I planned and I doubt anyone will read it (and I wouldn’t blame you). I’m very happy that Brendan seems to have turned the corner and pray that he doesn’t revert to bad Brendan against Leicester. The new players are coming good and Can and Markovic look like real finds. I only hope he gives Sakho the run his form deserves. Love the show guys, you do great work, may 2015 bring good tidings to you.