Liverpool Message Board
I just recently posted this at the very end of a long threaded post and thought I'd just make it a new topic so it didn't get lost in the mix. This is about Meireles:
Hey gang, I have a friend from Portugal living in the states who I spoke with this morning via email and he was curious to see how Meireles did since he missed the match and he's not a liverpool fan, but he has been watching Meireles play for years and here is my discussion below via email. FYI this is completely independent of the reasons for Roy choosing not to use him, or his fitness, or his understanding of the language/system, just info on the player: Start from the bottom and work your way up to make sense of it.. You'll see my questions about him, and some thoughts on other players/topics.
He is a fine club player and did well for Porto over the years, I just think there are more dynamic players for that #8 role on the Portuguese national team. He works hard and is committed, but has below average feet and cannot adapt to a pivot function. My original dislike of him was solely based on the fact that there were better options on the NT. That being said, he grew on me and was dedicated.
Hulk plays just off the striker and mainly occupies the right side of the attack. He is on fire and would open the field up for you lot.
Just a ? since you've obviously seen more, what would you say are his limitations? From everything I've seen live or on video, I'm thoroughly impressed with his box to box play, passing, long range shot and finishing in the box. He seems like a much faster, more athletic Xabi Alonso, with less passing range of course.. I really like. His 15 mins yesterday were game changing against a team who's 17 unbeaten @ home, w/ fewer goals conceeded than Chels last year..
I doubt Hulk would be on the radar, but I think right wing or left wing has to be #1 priority in January. Kuyt can hold down one side and Torres/Ngog/Babel/Kuyt are enough forwards.
Just fyi, there are 2 teenage stars, Toni Silva from Portugal who's been compared to Nani looks great. And they finalized a contract for "Suso", dubbed the next Torres at age 16, scored a goal in first reserves match. Wouldn't mind a 17 year old and 16 year old over Maxi and Jova at this point..
Date: Monday, September 13, 2010, 11:38 AM
Meireles is limited but committed and plays his role well. He has a good attitude. I've grown to like him. Hopefully he does well for you lot.
Probably not and that's how I would have approached the Birmingham game and the west brom game. For united I might feel slightly more inclined to have a little more protection and was wondering if this formation even exists or has ever been used?
Glen Carra Agger Konchesky
Meireles Gerrard Jova/Babel
I don't know where I came up with that, but it seems to put everyone in a comfortable position, allows for the front 5 to go forward and still have 5 men and Pepe in defense... just a wild thought..?
Just a side note, obviously most of you saw or know Valencia broke his leg so I'd assume Obertan would play there and I'd like to think Konchesky could handle him fairly well. Unless of course (probably) Ferguson puts Nani there and Giggs on the left. If not, I think they should really look to exploit down that side vs obertan and neville/oshea. I honestly think Babel could win that one along with Cole weaving and interchanging with him on that side..
Agree with you 100% Hobitez about putting Cole behind Torres and Gerrard & Meireles in the middle of the park. I want RH at least try to start with this formation before going back to Poulsen or Lucas. I want to see more flare in attack!
I think looking at it again, if we were to set up purely to cause Utd problems then we should be looking to play Jova on the right and Babel on the left with Joe Cole as the focal point of midfield in behind Torres. I love the idea of Gerro and Meireles sitting in front of the back four but just get this nagging feeling that 1 or both of Poulsen and Lucas will be playing.
I dont mean to attack Poulsen already but he needs to gain his sharpness in the Europa and its clear he should be back up to Gerro and Raul.
Dave I think you were correct even though doubting yourself that Jovanovic can be more successful on the right side. Based on what he had done for Standard he was a player that could run straight at the right backs or whomever, do a little dribble spin them around and always cut inside to finish with a left foot shot or short distance cross to a forward or other cutting player.
He's showed that he is willing to run at the player marking him, but seems to be lacking the confidence in himself, or doubt his ability to keep going and get around, but once he has, he doesn't seem to have the ability to deliver a proper cross like a true winger. This being said, he was much improved vs bhc and I think he would have done even better on the right where Maxi was pretty much worthless. Jova was terrible in the first half vs WBA, and after the half he came out on the right side and kuyt on the left and was instantly more lively for the remaining 15 mins he stayed on the pitch, and kuyt created our goal from the left.
In regards to my comment of Babel's explosiveness, take it in context. Obviously he's not more than a healthy Torres, probably not more than Glen, and if we ever saw the real Jova him neither, but my point was if you had to be pressed for a name to add the pure speed and pace and just cause a threat on either side, Babel is really the one that comes to mind. And I totally agree with you that he's always been an impact sub, but this year he is needed and will be given chances, so if Torres improves and stays fit, Ngog continues to improve he may find his time being on a wing where we all seem to agree we are lacking. His speed and shooting ability from years past are at least enough to give defenders something to think about, and hopefully all this training and confidence Roy has spoken of will translate when we start seeing him in the games whereever it may be. To be honest, if it meant putting Danny Agger at CF and Martin Kelly at RW, to produce goals and W's I'd be all for it. Roy has got to start getting a foundation, a formation and a rotation from the minute that whistle blows. Man U absolutely seem to be in a true slide, as I thought they would explode on Rangers today, so that's 3 poor results in a row and this is the time to attack the animal while it's down and wounded and make a statement.
We know Torres rises vs United, as does Gerrard. I'd expect Cole to be chomping at the bit to play and play WELL. Meireles will be in the mix, so who else will step up? Babel, Jova, Pacheco... maybe Glen the invisible England defender?
Ok fair enough, I do agree with everything tactical you say there. I guess I would just prefer someone like Milner or Ashley Young who are equally comfortable on both sides of the pitch and can also come inside and go round a player to get to the byline and cross the ball. I just don't think we should be looking to for our wide midfielders/forwards to be coming inside all of the time, they should be looking to go wide when possible as well. We do have a few players who are very good headers of the ball.
I think you know by now I'm one who will rarely follow the crowd, but will stick to my convictions. I'm not arguing we should do it because everyone else does, but if we continue to play the type of system we do, then should have the right kind of players to maximize that system.
Just as a 4-4-2 is ideal when it has a target man who can hold the ball and a sniper who can create things from scrapes, I think a 4-5-1 is best played when your wide men are just as comfortable crashing the box as they are heading for the corner flag. I'd also note it works best IMO when you've got full backs who can overlap to create the width the wingers give up.
When that is the case it’s gives opposing full backs real headaches as they can’t just steer wingers wide, but have to be aware not just of the player cutting inside, but the overlap as well. Add in wingers who are more two footed and can switch from one side to the other, or even sit in the center, and you can tie a back 4 in knots as they try to isolate and mark up.
Maybe I should have said quality wingers so I would have not left myself so exposed on this one. However I'll give you Valencia, SWP (although he’s not getting much playing time with City or England), and even Bale (although he's a converted LB). Nani and Malouda are as much support strikers as wingers, so while the quality maybe better the style is not much more than what Jova or Babel should have.
However Adam Johnson is the one who really illustrates my point. He more often than not lines up on the right, but is left footed. Think about what he did to us, and what he did for England. Yes he's got pace to run the line, but his real threat is cutting inside on his stronger foot. Just as Kuyt did for Holland at the WC, or Messi does on a regular basis for Barca.
As for the rest I really don’t rate them, at least as being any better than what we've already got. At best they'd be a marginal improvement, but could not bring real improvement to the squad. While I defended Pennant as a good impact player while we had him, are you really saying we need him, or someone of his type and standard to make us better?
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