THERE are times when I strongly hate the way I write about football. People think you are messing round rather than committing to the subject matter. All season, the essence of why I discuss goals has been ignored because of the *way* I discuss goals.
Here’s this fella. Banging on about goals again. But isn’t he flowery? Isn’t he unconventional? Is the goals discussion flowery and unconventional? Be solid. Be hard. Be full of nous. This goals thing and these dickheads who peddle it. They can’t be serious. They aren’t really. If they were, then Christ, their arguments wouldn’t come across as though they are written by particularly angry stutterers. Forget these weirdo balloons and their goals and their punchy sentences. Be good at the football, like it is 2005. 1995. 1985. Not that it was even right then, the obsession with keeping it tight and holding midfielders.
Sorry folks. Let’s be clear: the essence of the goals argument is about winning football matches. It’s about winning leagues. It is about getting away with murder and profiting, rather than getting away with murder and then getting convicted of another murder as Liverpool managed today.
Let’s do the first half and do it in this order:
Liverpool 0-10: Dreadful. Arsenal’s press is magnificent. Something to behold. Aggressive and forensic. They deserve plaudits for it. Best thing I’ve seen off the ball all season. Absolutely phenomenal. Bang in there. Fair play to them. Toure and Lucas in particular are all over the show. Two lads who haven’t been playing struggle hugely under the cosh and the cosh is magnificent. Fantastic saves from Mignolet as well.
Liverpool 10-30: Liverpool the better side. Their game. Better side. But no Liverpool player looks likely. No one looks likely they will grab the ball and make it happen. The key thing that has to happen. Markovic arguably makes the right decision. And the wrong decision. Both are accurate. Both are wrong. He should be enough of a tit to blam it at goal. He should be good enough to weigh the ball through to Sterling. Both of these things are true. Shoot or assist. Whichever you do is right. Doing neither is wrong, wrong on toast. Wrong squared.
Liverpool 30-45: Good lord. Talk about losing the initiative. Liverpool in ribbons. In bits. What on earth are three or four Liverpool players doing for the goal? No one impresses, Moreno less than anyone. Toure all over the show for the second as he has been through the half. The third not fantastic either. But look at the third. A lad, grabbing the ball and simply wanting to put it the back of the net. Going to sort it out. Certain. Bang. Take that.
Liverpool: Have conceded their first Premier League away goal in 596 mins (9 hours and 56 mins) #AFCvLFC
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 4, 2015
And that is the football match right there. That’s what goals do. They take the game away from opponents. What Mamadou Sakho does with two lovely flicks second half is worthy of a goal, and what Jordan Henderson does with his penalty probably isn’t, yet one results in a goal and the other doesn’t. This is what the game is about. Getting the round thing into the square thing. Who does that for you? What’s his name?
You don’t need one name. You need three names, you need four names. Joe Allen did alright. Sakho played well. But lads like these need to look round a dressing room and see a match-winner. They need to know where and how it is coming.
There were inadequacies everywhere today but there were also key moments, there was also general pressure. There was some ok-ish stuff at the level you are at and that came from both sides. But one side scored the goals and football match reports, like history, is written by the winners. A season really is currently on the brink, a league season has disappointed at a time when league seasons should be everything. Let me give you the key stat:
Liverpool, played 31, scored 45.
Still, they’ll concede less than last season though, lads.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda
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You were watching a different game to me if you thought we were on top at any point. Arsenal spent a few minutes doing what they do these days and forfeiting possession for solidity and control. We were abysmal.
TAW being far too kind. We were awful in so many ways. Joe Allen was not alright. He was far from fucking alright. At his best he is alright and nowhere near his best today. Liverpool Football Club have not one single world class player. 2 or 3 that have yet to prove it maybe, but the rest are decent at best. And unless that changes then our fortunes will not change. Our top scorer having 6 goals is an embarrassment. I’d be concerned at 16, I’m fuming at 6. Our final third approach is too predictable and painful to watch no matter who seems to be up there.
It’s not just goals we’re missing, it’s early goals. This time last year we were flying out of the blocks, not giving others a chance to settle. Basically, what Arsenal & United did to us these last two games, but with goals instead of letting us off the hook ( We’d weathered both storms when we conceded first).
In that magical run of 11 wins, 6 times – Arsenal, Swansea, Southampton, Cardiff, Spurs, City – we’d scored by the 17th minute. Even though Cardiff was an equaliser, and we were losing at HT, that goal gave us belief that we could get more. More often than not, score first, set the agenda of the game, make the opposition worry about what we’re doing instead of the other way around.
I think we all fell into the trap of thinking Sturridge will be back to his best straight away, partly due to his goal at West Ham, partly due to the wave the team were riding at that time. That was always going to be a risk. And considering the pittance of appearances made by the rest of our strikers since his return, it appears to have been our only option. Henderson & Coutinho have chipped in well, but they should supplementing those ahead of them, not bailing them out.
Whether that is lack of ability on the part of the players, or a lack of ability on the part of the manager to get the best out of them, or a little from column A and a little from Column B, I don’t know.
Sorry, but that performance was more than just a lack of goals on our part and a plethora on theirs.
It was more to do with the level of performance being, frankly, shite.
Poor players, poor performances, no leaders……should I go on.
Less talk and more action needed.
What Rodgers fails to understand is all the greatest attacking sides are allowed to do so because they have a world class defensive midfielder – not 3 midfielders who are neither defensive or match winners. WHY PLAY ALL THREE?! Run a lot though, like, yeah.
Be a peddling dickhead Neil, the numbers prove you right. 4 goalscorers needed. 3 strikers 1 attacking midfielder/winger.
The owners though… Are they up to it?
Awful return for 4 and a half years. Right manager, wrong transfer team.
ALSO, set-pieces. A few of them would be nice!
Bummer result today, but staying positive. We still have it in us to make the CL (say, if we win the 6 very winnable of our last 7 games). But, we do need some of those elusive goals.
We’ll get beat at Stamford Bridge but the other six game should be getting won; that’d leave us on 72 points which isn’t so bad. Although much like 2012 I’d be putting a lot of eggs in the FA Cup basket at this point.
Sigh. Just, sigh.
Actually, no. There’s more to it than that. If you accept that sacking Rodgers at season’s end (eg, finish outside top 4 and fail to win the cup) is a bit of a nonsense, then how does this get sorted out? Being realistic, there are few managerial candidates of the required standard out there, and there has been too much invested, in both directions, for FSG to ditch the manager.
But let’s tackle those questions: big game bottle. It’s certainly becoming an issue. Are we still suffering a Chelsea/Ba aftershock? Why is the attitude in these games often remiss? When is Brendan going to stop digging a hole for himself? I knew when he began speaking about finishing 3rd or 2nd a few weeks back that it would backfire. And then there’s the fact that some players who have bucked up their ideas of late may still not quite be at the level we need (Mignolet? Allen?). Can they come good? Can the young lads, like Moreno and Markovic deliver? Who’s going to help them to do that?
Brendan’s pre-match comments were indicative, speaking about the need for experience etc. Yet the transfer policy suggests we’re not going to go out and buy Xavi Martinez or another finished article and that instead we’ll buy a random South American prospect and hope he miraculously turns out to be Suarez Mark 2.
Whatever happens between now and May this is a colossal window for FSG and Rodgers. We need goals by the bucketful, some kind of adequate Gerrard replacement (if that’s even likely) and a few other bits besides.
It’s time for some inspiration, it’s time to deliver.
Not too arsed about the 0/6 points in the last two games because we didn’t deserve anything from them. I think I said at the time but only getting 1/6 points in December against United and particularly Arsenal when we were the better team feels as though it’s cost us. Rodgers had a ‘mare picking Brad Jones for those games.
Have to agree with Neil, we’re far too ponderous in our attacking play and offer little to no threat on the counter. Sturridge needs to be on the shoulder not linking play up but he can’t gamble because our build-up play is so very, very slow. And this isn’t new, it was precisely this problem that plagued us at the start of the season. I like the system and I like the manager but we need so much more from our wide players and advanced midfielders: everything’s going through Coutinho, we need much more from Lallana, Markovic and Sterling and Moreno. Sanchez showed us just what we’re missing today. Sign him and our season could have been so different.
Today feels like the season has finished in the league. To be honest it felt like that, to me, a fortnight ago. If we’d beaten Utd then we’re 2 points behind now with everything to play for. Must be what they mean by a 6 pointer.
My point is though, it wasn’t lost today or last week even. If was lost in the summer when we didn’t buy strikers. If there’s gonna be an inquest that’s where we need to start. After this summer will be the time to start talking about whether the club has ambition. We’ve made it 10 times harder for ourselves all round though.
We did but strikers though – just not good enough strikers nor seemingly the managers choice of strikers!
Gutted today but hope Rodgers is not going to carry the blame.
FSG ideology may need tweaked especially with regards to the strikers – a proven, realistic target is required a la Lavezzi, Cavani etc
I have to agree. By the way, who was it who scored Chelsea’s winner yesterday? Any ideas?
@Maurice. What does that mean? Do you know anything about the club at present? Right or wrong, we have a policy. Do you know the role of Michael Edwards on the committee? He’s head of performance and analysis. Go on Google and type in ‘Remy Heart Defect Marseille’. It’s all over Google that he has a heart defect. That’s not a risk this new Liverpool will take regardless of whether he scores a few tap in’s for Chelsea. If you ran a sports company where your employees had to be some of the worlds elite athletes would you hire someone with a heart defect? Well?
Chelsea gambled on Remy and he’s scored 7 goals now with several of them being winners.
We gambled on Balotelli, spending twice as much on a player that never really suited our system.
We’ve all been over this a thousand times but for the record let’s do it one more time. We bought Lambert as a 4th choice striker, something different. No one complained about that. He’d just scored 13 league goals for Southampton. It gave us a plan B that everyone said we needed.
With Suarez being sold for so much money the club had to be seen to try and find a good replacement. This is where all the problems come in. We clearly went for Sanchez and definitely tried for some of the other big names in Europe. Questions need asking as to why didn’t secure Sanchez as we had a bargaining chip in Suarez. I believe the stories that he pleaded with Barca not to sell him to Liverpool and even that he fancied London. If you’re leaving the best club in the world then you’re going downwards. It gives you more scope to pick your destination on other factors outside of getting the best club you can although Arsenal are certainly more of a pull than Liverpool, especially with them being in the capital.
The long and short of it is we didn’t get our number one target. Who was back up? Names have been touted around and I’m sure there was back up. But we missed out on them too. In the end Mario was the most high profile left, nothing more. Just a high profile striker. Again, we were all happy. I went to Neil and John’s book launch the night we signed him. Everyone was buzzing. We’re fans though and there’s eternal optimism that a new player will be good. This is the area that needs investigating and it’s simply why did we miss out on our target(s) and end up with someone who was a gamble (even if we thought it was worth taking once the options were so limited).
Then we had Sturridge who’s form in the last season probably put him in the top 3 strikers in Europe. The plan was sell Borini and get a better striker as third choice. A Remy, for example. So, our strike force would have been Sturridge, Sanchez, Remy and Lambert. I’d be happy with that.
Like I say, we need an investigation into how we missed out on our first choices. I suspect (contrary to popular belief) we aimed too high. You’ve seen how full of shit the LFC fans are and I think the club thought similar. They thought, we’ve finished runners up, back in the CL and a former great club. We can aim high. Something went wrong.
The other bit of bad luck was unprecedented in that Borini wouldn’t leave, despite being told he won’t play. In preparation for next season we didn’t play him hoping he’d leave. So, I’ve said what I think our plan was and who are 4 strikers would be yet we ended up with nowhere near. For me, it can simply be summed up as such
Joint 1st choice – Got injured for longer than anyone could have anticipated (although always a risk)
Joint 1st choice – Didn’t secure him. I suspect one of the main reasons was down to our lethargic negotiating strategy.
3rd choice – Bad luck that Borini wouldn’t leave.
4th choice – ok, as a 4th choice.
So, what have the club done wrong? I suppose it all comes down to the top striker we didn’t procure. I put it down to negotiating. We’re not who we think we are yet Liverpool officials (one suspects) are trying to play hardball with players who are not that bothered about joining. What was our opening strategy to Sanchez? £50k a week and a Mars bar if we win? I’d guess yes. We’ve seen it over and over again. This is the area that needs rectifying. We were buying Suarez’s replacement – payed for for the next 5 years from Suarez but we tried to be too smart. The time spent playing our negotiating game cost us hugely. Then we need to ask who is doing this negotiating. If, as we suspect, it’s Ian Ayre then it’s no wonder we’re not getting our targets. Good intentions poorly and naively executed.
-people did complain
-his 13 goals came from playing week in week out. Check out how many of those goals were free kicks/penos something he was unlikely to be involved in taking with us.
-he was never gonna fit in with our style of football.
-Rogers sold Carroll who was just a more expensive version because he didn’t think he’d fit in.
-a great first choice replacement for Suarez
-agree that we could/should have done more to get him considering we held the bargaining chip.
-who are these other big names we “definately tried for”?
-our lack of having a backup to Sanchez is scandalous.
-we never wanted him, Rodgers said as much
-he was never gonna suit us
-his goalscoring record for the previous 2 yrs in Italy was actually quite poor as he relied heavily on penos and free kicks (like Lambert)
-we weren’t all happy with Balotelli, alarm bells were starting to ring.
Not only did we not do enough to get our first choice striker but the backup we had to him was poor and well down in terms of quality. It didn’t take a crystal ball to know that Sturridge would be out injured at some stage (he’s missed 35% of games since he’s joined) and so it was imperative that not only did we find an adequate replacement to Suarez but someone that could come in for Sturridge too.
Not one of our puchases from the summer has been an unqualified success. Can is probably closest but he’s rarely played in the position he’s been bought for and when he has he’s struggled.
Whilst I’d agree with much of your post Robin, I’m still disturbed by the alleged choice facing Brendan Rodgers: Eto’o or Balo. If that’s the best the scouts could come up with then they should be out on their collective ear. I’d bet there are at least 20 young, lesser known strikers who could have offered more. It sounds to me as though the scouts were sleeping on the job.
I see what Brendon was trying to achieve today, nearly worked but the players didn’t deliver.I hope he does not carry the can for this season. He’s been working with one hand tied behind his back. Lack of goals, have not had one fit striker who the Mgr trusts practically all season and failed to address it in Jan, which was naive considering Sturridge would need rest of season to get up to speed and Sterling is not the calibre of a top 4 striker, as are the others, which bring us to Mario.. where was he?
at least offers hope from the bench, he would not have made that Lazar run though.
The biggest stumbling block is wages to turnover, anything above 5th and are punching above our weight. It is going to be a constant struggle against the richer (not in history) clubs, going against the grain unless a filthy rich arab or russian comes in which I personally don’t want.