PODCAST: A STERLING PERFORMANCE? by The Anfield Wrap | Dec 27, 2014 | Footie, Podcast | 28 comments NEIL ATKINSON, John Gibbons, Mike Girling and Paul Cope stagger around a Liverpool away victory to nil against Burnley. Like what we do? Buy us a pint! DIRECT LINK – A STERLING PERFORMANCE? Podcast RSS feed. Get the TAW podcast on iTunes. 28 Comments pauloffinland on 27 December 2014 at 5:07 pm He’s because he hasn’t got the pace. He can beat a man but not accelerate away. He flits in and out of games. Judge him when he has a decent striker to service. He hasn’t got the legs: a poor man’s Silva. Fixation on plyamaker being on the right. Sakho best centre half. Still problem closing down shots outside the area even after Jagiielka. Skrtl cocked up a lot! Chelsea move as a team. Jones can do the things Mignolet can’t and vice versa. M’s scrambled, doesn’t release the ball. The worst 1 and 2 in the country. Reply pauloffinland on 27 December 2014 at 5:50 pm Forgive the gobbledegook above, it’s what comes from having no editing/delete function. Agree with many of the points raised, an appalling performance but a much needed victory. You raised a number of interesting issues: Lallana: he checks back all the time because he hasn’t the pace to accelerate away from defenders – it really is that straightforward. He flits in and out of games, always has, always will. We’ll only really be able to measure his effectiveness when Sturridge is back and you play Sterling and Lallana behind him. He has quality but needs quality around him, but he’ll never dominate games. A poor man’s David Silva, which isn’t to say he’s a bad player. Kolo/Can; agree with Neil. He’s fixated on the right-sided player being the footballer, the player who brings the ball out when conventionally the spare man is the libero, the central player, a role perfectly suited to Gerrard had he the game intelligence. Bizarre, just bizarre. Kolo/Sakho: the two best defenders at the club but he doesn’t want to play either of them. Sakho was good again yesterday and will benefit from a run in the side. He’s fast, he’s strong and he’s physical, and he can pass. He sold Agger because he got bullied (allegedly), he didn’t win enough individual battles. If that’s his criteria for a defender than Sakho’s the best player at the club. He’ll win personal battles all day long. yet he doesn’t want to play him. There’s something very wrong. Lucas and Gerard were having stinkers, Kolo wasn’t great but you can’t tell me he was worse than the midfield pair. Nonetheless, Can played well. Closing down shots: still a problem post Jagielka. We sit too deep, which, given the quality of our keepers is frankly suicidal. Skrtl is particularly culpable, he made two or three appalling decisions yesterday. The Chelsea comparison doesn’t work because they move as a team: they have structure, we do not. We have the worst combination of keepers in the Premiership. Jones can do the things Mignolet can’t do and vice versa. Neither do either well. Paul Cope was spot on. The thing with formations is they’ll only surprise teams once or twice. Other managers do watch football! It wasn’t the diamond that won us so many games last season but the quality of our play and our players. The diamond just helped us get the best players on the pitch. Suarez killed teams last season. If he didn’t Sturridge did. Great show tonight! Reply pauloffinland on 27 December 2014 at 7:21 pm Oh, and another thing. Brendan didn’t invent the ‘box’ midfield. City have been playing it for at least 2 seasons and guess what? They can make it work with 4 at the back. It’s dead straightforward if you’ve got one or two decent defensive midfielders. Oh……… Reply robin crimes on 27 December 2014 at 8:09 pm Do you not think Gerrard is a decent defensive midfielder? Reply pauloffinland on 27 December 2014 at 8:33 pm I’m assuming you’re gently taking the piss Robin. No I do not.. Do you? Reply robin crimes on 28 December 2014 at 1:27 am Haha, sorry mate. No I don’t. Reply frankie on 27 December 2014 at 7:58 pm An enjoyable listen, thanks lads. Every week you list a catalogue of mistakes, poor play, poor players, poor tactics, substitutions, transfers etc, etc. But Rodgers hardly gets a mention apart from today and he’s called mad. It’s as though he has nothing to do with what happens out there on the pitch! Lads we are dying on our arses against relegation fodder, 9th in the league, a minus 2 goal difference, no forwards and diabolical keepers! Shouldn’t the opening question ‘why’? Reply pauloffinland on 27 December 2014 at 8:45 pm Mamadou Sakho: 80% pass accuracy, 100% tackles won, 4 interceptions, 7 clearances and 1 block. And never a word of praise from his manager. Fucking criminal. Reply Mr. Chance on 28 December 2014 at 10:14 am Yeah, it’s a weird one. I live in France and no one here can understand the way he’s been treated. Wouldn’t blame him for engineering a move away at some point. Reply pauloffinland on 28 December 2014 at 2:32 pm Well Didier Deschamps, who should know a thing or two about defenders, clearly rates him as does Philippe Auclair. Reply paul on 27 December 2014 at 9:12 pm Fully expect FSG to cash in on Sterling if the lad signs a new deal. I hope he stays, but seeing as he’s a London lad we nabbed from QPR, he’ll be better off joining a club at a higher level without worrying about his comfort zone. Reply Kevin Barry on 28 December 2014 at 4:04 am We are a mid- table team right now, with mid-table ambitions ( like – ‘if we can beat *** and*** we’ll be able to ***’). It used to he ‘when ‘, now It’s ‘if.’ Mid-table teams are targeted, just as we ‘used’ to target them. It was ‘Why don’t we buy so-and-so?’ as if the holding club had no choice. We are now, for the foreseeable future as long as we are managed as we are, a target club. Expect Sterling and maybe even Coutino and Gerrard to be targeted. Reply GraemeR on 28 December 2014 at 11:56 am Come on Kevin, it is many years since we have been able to pick off players from any club we wanted, confident we could hold on to our own best players. I would be amazed if Coutinho and Sterling were not Liverpool players this time next season. It doesn’t serve club’s or the owners purpose to cash in on players capable of making a big contribution to future success. Even taking a cynical profit oriented point of view, these are players who will continue to increase in value for the next 5 years. Reply Kevin Barry on 28 December 2014 at 9:37 pm AS far as I can remember we have only ever lost 3 players we wanted to keep; Keegan, Torres and Suarez. And none of them were in the category we are now facing. We’ve done it often enough and I suspect we are due for a taste of the same medicine unless out team morale improves. And the treatment of Sakho is a classic example of ONE of the things wrong with this man’s management. As pointed out by another contributor, Rodgers didn’t devise the diamond (or anything else, including his ludicrous tikka takka. And every week he tries another ‘style’ all with the apparent intention of playing Lovren Allen and Gerrard. I played football for many years, including as a semi-pro. I played under a number of coaches, good and bad, and I fancy I can spot a fraud when I see one. And I see one… Reply Andrew on 29 December 2014 at 12:35 pm Xabi Alonso, Mascherano, Owen, McManaman Kevin Barry on 28 December 2014 at 10:50 pm Allen? Mignolet? Lallana? Lovren? Lambert? All lured from a (then) mid- table club by us, simply because we offered more than their clubs did. They were presumably happy with their clubs and their clubs were happy with them. Suarez wanted CL status as they all do. Right now we are further from that promise than we have been since Rafa ‘lost the locker room ‘ or an influential part of it. I actually don’t object to us losing, so long as we fight. But abject performances irks me, and the public slagging of players does, too. That is not LFC. KFC, maybe… Reply Tom M on 27 December 2014 at 10:04 pm Astounded at John not seeing Die Hard. What’s going on, mate? Just on the football, I’m with Paul on Henderson. Think he played right wing back at Sunderland away last season and wasn’t much good out there so it’s not just a form thing. Lucas and Gerrard should be getting rotated game to game in centre mid anyway. Think Stoke on Boxing Day the other year was a good comparison – just bullied all over the pitch, particularly the mind-bogglingly awful first half. Reply NotLovinLovren on 28 December 2014 at 6:38 am Just dismayed by Rodgers’ man management, transfer business, tactics and team rotation this year. His press conferences are even worse than all of those As much as I’d like him to have success here it’s looking increasingly impossible, I’m all for support for the manager (as Rafa and Kenny should’ve had) but it’s very hard when it’s someone like Rodgers who has no credits in the bank and have never won anything Reply pauloffinland on 28 December 2014 at 8:06 am Yeah he hasn’t handled the transition to CL football. Reply GraemeR on 28 December 2014 at 12:19 pm You are not giving Rodgers credit at the bank for our best league challenge of the Premiership era? Six months on you are ready to say to can’t see him ever having success? Thankfully the club’s owners will have a more balanced and longer term view of what success means. Reply NotLovinLovren on 28 December 2014 at 1:36 pm This is also our worst performing league season at this point for more than 30 years, that’s after spending 120 million. If there are credits in the bank they are fast depleting If I’m FSG and I see 120 million being wasted down the banks, 210 million over 3 seasons and most of that was on pretty average players, I would say whatever their view of success is they’d call it a disaster. Reply GraemeR on 28 December 2014 at 2:46 pm No one would say results to this point in the season represent any kind of success. But, on a point of fact there have been a number of seasons in the last 30 years where we started at least as badly (98-99, 10-11, 12-13) and and a couple of other seasons that run it pretty close (09-10, 04-05). I’m sure FSG will take a balanced view towards the end of the season and if results haven’t improved I wouldn’t expect Rodgers to survive. Until then, I’m sure he has enough credit with the owners. The transfer business might not look good, but it won’t be regarded as a disaster by FSG because net spend has been at a reasonable level and overall salary spend has been brought back to a point that is sustainable against revenue. The acid test for the transfer business will be results. What looks bad now might look better then. Alternatively, FSG might be looking for a new recruitment team as well as a new manager. Reply NotLovinLovren on 29 December 2014 at 3:06 am No one’s saying sack him now, not unless we are flirting with the drop zone. He will get the season otherwise, but it’s not looking good for him unless we get top 4 I don’t see how this “balanced view” you’re talking about that FSG is taking would be any different to what’s been suggested so far Kevin Barry on 29 December 2014 at 6:20 am What will it take to ‘balance’ a quarter of a billion pounds spent on journeymen? He would have no future here – in my admittedly jaundiced view – unless he gets 4th or maybe 5th and the FA Cup. Failing that and him keeping his job would make Dalglish’s dismissal mindless bastardry. And I’m not pushing Kenny’s barrow, because I thought his tenure showed the game had passed him by, but he deserved better than he got. pauloffinland on 28 December 2014 at 2:14 pm That remains to be seen Graeme. Reply paul on 28 December 2014 at 8:55 pm Third season in, and he’s not improved on his first, but now he doesn’t have the excuse of inheriting a side he doesn’t want. He’s outspent almost everyone in the country and we’re fucking awful. Last season was a fluke, it happens. All but kids know one side gets a blip beyond their ability. Before Chelsea and Man City bought their way to the top, we’d have a “guest” club pushing for a top-ish spot with their division 2 players. Rodgers is a salesman. He will say what he thinks you want to hear. For someone to spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds and be at Hodgson levels is pathetic, absolutely pathetic. Perhaps if he stopped being Gerrard’s mate/tenant and looking to shag much younger women at the expense of his wife and kids, he’d be more grounded? Reply neilcaff on 28 December 2014 at 9:13 pm What is it with bringing in Rodgers personal life into his performance as Liverpool manager? What he gets up to in his own time is his own business, no one elses. Discussing it has no place on a football site. Get yourself over to the Daily Mail website if you want to natter with the rest of curtain twitchers. Reply Adrian on 29 December 2014 at 6:48 pm Top Podcast, as usual. Mignolet: nothing much to add, other than I disagree that he is ‘broken’. Nearly broken, for sure. Not quite, though. Why? As a keeper and a goalkeeping coach I know what that looks and feels like, having been in the pit that Mignolet has been in in the past. That incredible episode when Migno lets the ball go out for a corner before kicking it? Never seen anything like it in my life, and never will again, at any level. Looks awful. Worse than awful. However I have a theory: the fact that Migno did that (took AGES to kick the ball) and generally takes much too long to do something with the ball at his feet, is him deliberately overcompensating for the fact that every man and his dog thinks he lacks composure, is a nervous kicker and poor with the ball. Sounds weird, but I reckon it’s true: because if he was broken, he would not have dealt with a very good corner that resulted from his cockup so well. He attacked the ball with a vigour and conviction I haven’t yet seen, took out the attacker and defender in the process, and punched the ball miles. I know that ball came back in and they almost scored far post but it was an impressive response to the utter car crash of a mistake that preceded it. If he was broken, I reckon he’d have been terrified, rooted to the line. It’s the kind of mental strength we haven’t seen from the fella, and it was encouraging. And generally he dealt with corners much better than usual, attacking the ball earlier, with commitment, and moving towards the ball at the near post as well as outwards from his line, rather than just outwards, which has ended up with us conceding a few times in the past as strikers have snuck in a yard in front of him near post. Don’t get me wrong, I want a new keeper big time in January, it’s critical right now. But there are signs that Migno is coming good – he was beginning to play better before he was dropped (his performance levels were rising, not deteriorating, although the background noise against him was certainly going in the opposite direction when he was dropped). Goalkeeping is as much about personality as about talent as you all mentioned. The best keepers have both, of course: there haven’t been too many over the years. Barthez wasn’t great but was a strong personality, as you say – and this counts for loads. We all want a Mignolet who grows in stature as a person, who finds some hitherto uncharted depths of mental strength, who puffs his chest out and grows some balls. Let’s get behind the guy – don’t give up on him just yet as being a keeper who should remain on the books – and let’s just all pray the fella stops pretending he’s cool and calm on the ball. Just “get fucking rid”, Migno, when it’s obvious you should. And stop being such a wallflower ffsakes. 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.