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I see where your going with this, and agree there is not much point wasting time on players we know are not up being top 4 or CL level players. However we can get caught up in then only wanting world class or near world class players throughout the squad.
Now I know we need to improve, and where we can we should be looking for the very best, however imo a CL side is not made up of great individual players, but a group that makes up a team that is better than the sum of its parts. A few world class players need to be in the mix along with a handful of very good players. But you do also need some grit and hard work, a squad with enough depth that can provide both quality, but also carry the water when needed.
Put this way, look at our CL squads from 2005 or 2007, and ask if we did not know all the players were CL players would be consider them of that level on a thread like this? Dukek, Baros, Cisse, Smicer all good players, all key to the European title, but are they all top draw? How about Gonzaliz, Aurelio, Crouch, Pennant, and Kuyt. Again some good player there (although some have done little to nothing since), but not sure again they would make many peoples short list of CL caliber players.
So my point is not that we should not look at the squad with a critical eye, and not be sentimental for players we like, but might not be good enough. However there are qualities in some players beyond star power that need to be taken into account, and at the end of the day successful teams are not made up of individuals, but a balanced squad that all pulls in the same direction, with the stars making the squad players better, and the squad players helping to make the stars shine.
I agree DSteer. My point behind the thread is that many in the squad have either improved or broken through from the youth set up etc. BUT that's still only good enough for 7th as we stand. The ultimate prize is PL and CL titles and we're obviously miles off. So where do you go? As Hobs has highlighted there are some obvious outs such as Borini, Assaidi, and Coates but they've not contributed this year and are in reality a waste of space and money in the squad. Those that have played are only good enough for 7th so there needs to be changes and that's where it gets difficult. For me anyway.
Lets look at the derby starting 11. Carragher is not included as his future is deservedly set with a pipe and slippers.
They weren't good enough to beat Everton at home. Tough game fr sure but who are the weak links there? We need to see a step change in quality and that means some players need to make way. For me the weaker elements of that side are
Johnson, Henderson, Downing, Strurridge. I still have uncertainties about Lucas too if I'm honest. and I've questioned Gerrard at times this season. You compare the spine of that side above to the 2008 CL side and the difference stands out a mile.
It's so tough and I do not envy the job facing Rodgers at all.
- 2 Replies to Colyn
Colyn...agree for the most part Johnson Downing and Sturridge but think Hendo has been showing real form recently and if he ever gets to play in his more favoured central role feel we will defo see the best of him and think he will contribute even more goals than the 6 hes bagged this season. Lucas I feel is a true work horse and feel sure he will be in the Brazilian side along with Couhtino next yr World Cup..again I think we could see far better from Lucas if he was given a little more freedom to roam think we could then very well see him contributing to the goals tally from midfield.
I think there are a number of ways to look at this and respond. On the one hand while I agree that there are a number of areas in the squad where we can improve, I'm not sure its a simple equation of looking at individuals and thinking if we switch this one out with another player we suddenly get better. For example you suggested looking at the spine of today and compare it to CL final 2008 (although I assume you mean 2007 when we went to Athens?):
2007: Riena, Agger, Carra, Alonso, Gerrard, Kuyt.
2008: Riena, Hyypia, Carra, Masch, Gerrard, Torres
2013: Riena, Agger, Carra, Lucas, Gerrard, Suarez.
To be honest I don't see what stands out by a mile.
But then if I look beyond the spine, I compare Johnson with Finnan, or Jose with Riise. Looking to the wide areas for the CL runners up I compare the likes of Gonzalaz and Pennant, to now Courtinho and Downing, to be honest I'm not sure we're that far behind if behind at all.
So maybe looking at depth as this is something BR has complained about: 2007 we had the likes of Arbeloa, Kewell, Garcia, Crouch, and Bellamy, while 2008 it was Arbeloa, Babel, Lucas, Voronin and Crouch. While today I do think our bench with the likes of Wisdom, Henderson, Shelvey, Sterling and Sturridge is a lot younger and less tested, I'm not sure its less quality, and surely more likely to improve over time.
Now again I do think there are changes to make, but just not sure they are clear or need to be wholesale. There are a number of players who have broke through as you suggest and helped us improve over last term (points, goals, position) but to suggest that is the maximum they can achieve I think is simplistic. Many of those youngsters are barely in their 20 so are likely to get better, and maybe much better, so its safe to assume the squad performance will as well. There are others who have not contributed to the level you'd hope or expect, which maybe good reason to look to upgrade, but many of those are not only new to the club but some have barely featured, yet get blamed for not being good enough . And lastly there are older players who I do think are not going to be good enough for a CL run or a title run, but maybe good enough to get us into the top 4. With these I'd suggest its a balancing act between what they can provide, how much we could raise from selling, and finally what the priorities of the squad are to make sure its balanced so it does perform at a higher level than the sum of its parts.