Liverpool Message Board
Undefeated in 6 in the league is a bit of a turnaround and our longest streak without a loss for a year. It is however only 2 wins and 4 draws but improvement nonetheless. As we all know, it is the home form that has been causing us problems, draws away at Everton and Chelsea are only 'good points' when you back them up with a home win against the likes of Wigan (all due respect). Everton have pulled their form back and are keeping an 8 point lead over us to 4th spot though the bunch in the middle is becoming closer into range. With Spurs/Arsenal, Newcastle/Swansea, WBA/Chelsea plus West Ham/Stoke all playing this weekend, a win would do us wonders (if it wasn't going to anyway).
Despite Seaniceman being the brother of the mother of the kitmans friends frog, Pepe Reina should actually return from injury (or dropping, just for you), whether that means he should take the no.1 jersey by default is another question altogether. Lucas is back in training but not likely to be involved for another 2 weeks so fingers crossed that internationals don't cause too many upsets.
Martin Skrtel will return from a bout of the flu whilst Dan Agger should be fit having played the 90 against Chelsea with a groin strain (wonder if that was why he didnt track JT ;))
Subs: Jones, Carragher, Wisdom, Shelvey, Assaidi, Downing, Coates
Agreed, we do need to be careful with him, I guess years of no injuries then a period out puts other muscle groups and joints and risk. The good side of the coin is that the ACL has had a couple of months of added recuperation time since the thigh injury so the big problem should be stronger.
They really have to be careful with Lucas in how they bring him back, and I'd assume Rodgers will definitely play it more cautious even if Lucas persists..
His torn acl, which sadly, happens all the time in the NFL, often to a few at a time, is really difficult to come back from, and alot of times when they do too early, they injure something else as a result of overcompensation, which is similar to Lucas.
If he were to re-injure his thigh, or another part of his leg(s), it can result an another very lengthy layoff, perhaps one nobody wants.
Just putting that out there from a medical perspective, and obviously I want none of these scenarios to happen and wish him the absolute best return/recovery both for himself and us as supporters. Playing wise, if / when he returns and starts to put himself in contention for regular position, will make a huge difference, not only for the impact it would have on Gerrard and those in front, but I think we could see another dimension from Allen, since he is really really good on the ball, with clever movement and the ability to pick the smart pass, rather than the extravagant, which aren't always necessary.
Ultimately, having those 2 available, with the likelihood of starting, will also make the others, Shelvey, Sahin, Suso, and even to a degree Stevie, push themselves that much more. I do say Stevie because he's very vocal about advocating everyone to push themselves and challenges for his game.
Pair all of these factors with whoever we do add, will all make for a good impact on the team/season and the future.
Agreed, I think the return of Lucas in the next few weeks will see a new dynamic to the side and ironically bringing in a more defensive midfielder will make us more attacking! Gerrard being the playmaker is the answer, he will score more goals and create more from that position then anybody else in our squad. Having Allen/Lucas in the middle is a bit like an Alonso/Mascherano partnership just not as good but maybe more mobile.
Just 2 additional thoughts here for me, and since I think we are all seeming to agree on the overall premise, in addition to the (early doors yes) Silva-esque comparison..
While putting a player in a position and letting him have freedom to roam, always creates that difficulty to follow and mark him, leaving space and gaps, after a while, it can always be adjusted to. Silva is obviously a world class player, and he's a very rare type, where I only see Ozil, Modric (at times) and a few others in his mould and capacity, so having said that, he can always find a way to lose a marker. But, even if starting him wide as they do, if you were to ask any manager when preparing for a match vs City who they were most concerned with, I'd imagine since you obviously have the 4 strikers who are a given, they would say Silva is the one they worry the most about because he's the key to their engine and on his day, can cause havoc all over. That said, if you go out of your way to commit for one player so much, the counter move is in your hands. Basically, if your player is better at what he does than the other guy, the job will get done no matter what..
Second, while I agree at the moment, he's not one that will be smashing the back of the net the way we need it to happen, and where Shelvey/Sahin have not really stepped up, this speaks to my point of playing him wide right, and if given more time to adapt to that central role he likes, he could certainly add some goals, but more importantly, assists to others like Sterling, Gerrard, Johnson, and obviously Suarez. So, if he finished a match with 3 assists, that's the same as 3 goals really.. And, he's certainly more likely to create a goal scoring chance or assist through the middle than he is playing wide where he has to take on a fullback straight on..
End of the day, how Rodgers played it at Swans, what he envisions is also what we'd love.. two really pacey, creative, attack minded wingers who can score, and assist. So, when the time comes, and I hope soon, hopefully Assaidi will contribute to that, along with Sterling, and perhaps upgrading there a bit, and allowing Suso to just play a natural position with Suarez causing his havoc, and if they're in synch, they'll be good enough to shake their markers and do a job..
There's saying here for NFL, If we were to hand over our entire playbook to the other team the night before, and they knew exactly what we were going to do, but our players were better, or did their job better, and to the best of their ability, unless completely outmatched, will always come out on top..
Everyone knows Utd more often than not have Valencia wide on one side, Young/Nani on the other, with options galore of Trashbag, Van Persie and the elusive Chich, and more often than not, they still prevail.. Obviously not same calibre of players yet, but hopefully point taken.. You know what Utd are going to do week in and week out, and yet they find a way to win, even when chasing a lead..
I tend to agree with you here Hobs. The likeness to Silva seems apt, but like him it’s that free role of starting wide and drifting inside that really seems to pull markers out of position (leaving space for a full back) or creating space for himself.
I don't think he can't be effective in the center, but do think he'll get a lot less space, and like Sahan when he's played there; find he cannot be as effective.
But the bigger problem for me is that no matter where we line these players up, the objective is to get more goals out of the side, and I'm not sure I see Suso, at least not yet playing the cut and thrust required to get more goals from an attacking midfielder. I had hoped that would come from either Sahan, or JonJo, but to Jason's point neither has been consistent in that role, although both have shown signs of getting into good positions in the box at times.
Too soon for the Wigan game, but wondering if the solution starts getting clearer once Lucas returns. With Lucas and Allen playing more of the holding role, think that would free up the CAM to have a much freer role. No matter who plays there I think they will find they have more freedom, but surely we could see Stevie further forward where he's proven devastating in the past.
We'll never know until we try.. Afterall, who knew Sterling would perform at the level he has done, with such degree of consistency and work rate?
Sooner or later Assaidi has to get thrown in, because if we're making changes for an offensive move, and both Downing and Cole (who doesn't warrant a jersey let alone a spot on the bench) aren't chosen, and 2 subs unused, then he's got to be one of them. Not like Borini is fit and firing, or Jonjo was healthy, or Yesil ready yet..
I think we do have plenty enough cover to allow Suso to roam free, in Gerrard, Allen and even Henderson who if nothing else, can come in, has pace, extremely high work rate, and not all that bad when asked to keep it simple.
I think giving Suso the nod there from the get go, helps avoid any lapses in responsibility or work rate, because he'd essentially be pressing up like Suarez pestering the keeper and Cbs on the ball, whereas our wide players are asked to press fullbacks and wide players very high up, as well as track them back..
If putting him wide, which I think we all tend to agree now, isn't the proper spot for him, and when using the David Silva analogy for style (not at the level or class), you have to just think when's the last time you saw David Silva in a City match, pressing anyone or challenging on his feet or sliding in.. He's usually starting a game wide right, and ending up the entire match somewhere in the middle, which leaves them a little thin there, and could/would do the same for Wisdom/Glen, who are young and not the greatest tracking back, respectively..
I think it's easiest and best served if you put a player somewhere, and a defined role/responsibilities.. I recall in the Chelsea match, Rodgers seemed to be speaking to him for a good 5 minutes before coming on, and you could see a difference in the shape and affect with him..
I really think he's got the goods to be a tricky guy right there to pick some neat passes, and curl a few in on his left foot.. Every indication with Spain at various levels has shown that, so we should help him grow and enhance those abilities..
I am definitely not against Suso starting through the centre, just making the point that it is easier to find space when you drop out of your position, which I am sure is what he is told to do. I think we have enough in Allen and Gerrard to free up a more attack minded player in front of them. I don't think we will see it just yet though as Assaidi is deemed not ready, he has to be ready eventually though? Can't wait for whenever that might be!
I think with Suso, until he proves any of us wrong, or it potentially causes harm, which really isn't that big of a risk at the moment, can only be a good thing playing through the middle.
As much as I had rated Sahin, and that ideally would be him, present day, he seems to be lacking the physicality and stamina, and not that Suso is Hulk Hogan, but he shows the same fight on the ball that we see in Sterling and Allen. He also manages to have that movement that is just hard to really straight up mark out of a game..
Like Colyn, I'd personally likened him to a very young David Silva, and the issue, while being a world class player, with Silva and City, is that Mancini puts out his line up with Silva in a wide position, and he only drifts inside because that's what he can do, and it leaves them with nothing wide, except for Zabaleta.
I think Suso can do whatever is asked if actually being started in the hole/centrally, especially since Sahin isn't really grabbing it by the horns, and Shelvey has been less consistent than I think anyone of us would have thought. So, if Assaidi can step it up and get some time wide, we have a nice front 3, with Suso dictating in the middle (Silva-esque), and then Glen/Enrique/Wisdom getting forward, with Gerrard picking his moments between charging forward or passing forward, with Allen and eventually Lucas available to hold the middle.
And as long as Skrtel and Agger (already playing hurt now) are fit and available as a duo, I personally feel very comfortable, with those players going forward, Allen anchoring, and Gerrard tracking back.
I can't do anything but commend Sterling for how hard he tries to win the ball, and his work rate, same for Suarez who's an absolute pest, and Suso doesn't seem bothered by it either..
If we can put out our 4 most gifted, paciest, and talented players out at once, which we haven't done at once to date, that I can remember, it could finally give us the ability to see goals from multiple areas. While all young, and going to have growing pains, I don't think it's so easy to mark all 4 of Suarez, Sterling, Suso and Assaidi, while also having the threat of Gerrard, and Johnson bombing forward..
If we could get all 4 on the field, playing cohesively and with confidence, would be really exciting and a major boost for Suarez work rate up front, and relieve on the others in the mid/back.. It would be really nice, and fun to see us get a 2 goal lead for once, and then get these guys on a counter attack, rather than playing a 1 goal lead, or chasing 1 goal. And, considering Downing and Cole are nothing other than water bottles on the bench, BR may as well put all 4 out, and still has Shelvey and Sahin available, with possibility of including Yesil or Pacheco.. I see no sense in leaving the best one's out, and including ones that won't be used..
Jase/Nono, agree on Suso, he is a very gifted little fella! I think it can be a bit of a double edged sword playing him through the middle, yes, he looks better when he drifts inside to that role but he has the benefit of being able to come off his natural marker in the opposition full back and finding space 'because' Nuri or whoever is deeper in that midfield position. If he were to start in the CAM role, I think it is fair to say he would have a dedicated marker. Sometimes the apparently logical thing to do doesnt work because of how these things change the rest of the balance. It is no certainty but it is my feeling that this is one of the contributing factors to him drifting between the zones of the opposition as the left back can't just go with him across the centre halves leaving Johnson or Wisdom free rein up the flank. I think we will see a big input from Johnson should he be reverted to right back from the exposed space left there.
Assaidi, as far as I can see, is just deemed to be taking time to adapt. He is quick enough, skillful enough but there is big questions over his strength and discipline, I would love to see him getting more league opportunities, his pace would make him a big threat.
Here you go, to kick off the discussion.
Jones doesn't seserve to lose his place IMO. Secondly I want to see more of Suso in a central role. With Suso dropping a little deeper our only option up front is Assaidi or Downing. I think we all know the answer to that debate sadly.
This idea gives Gerrard the freedom to roam in midfield a little knowing that Allen will sit. But he still needs o be disciplined enough not to get into Suso's space
- 1 Reply to Colyn
I am sat on the fence with the Reina issue, Jones has done well and been a bit of a steady eddie, I know Reina's form hadnt been up to his own standards over the past year but he is by a long way the superior player normally. It would be harsh on Brad to be dropped but then what do you do, have Reina wait on the bench for him to make an error with the threat of an instant replacement, that might put him on the spot a bit! I guess though, having to win his place back could help focus his mind and its not something Pepe is used to seeing the no.2 do well in his absence. Perhaps if Pepe gets the nod he will be well aware that Jones is now a serious competitor and he isn't just a shoe in anymore.
I think Suso looks great when he gets into the hole, but I think for the meanwhile I like him coming in off a flank to do so, it pretty much allows Sterling to get forward and support which I think we are seeing more and more. I do like any reason to get Assaidi on the pitch too though! Sahin is a bit flakey for me, he is quality but he doesnt seem to stamp his authority on matches, I guess he is still adjusting, like I said before though, what is the point of loaning him then?!