Happy Birthday, Lucas!
Liverpool FC - To the Edge: This is War - 2011/2012
Disclaimer: Some things in this article may be considered treason or blasphemy, but it isn’t intended that way. I just think it’s time we were more honest about our position constantly looking forward and beyond. It’s time we got back to being the most feared team at home and abroad. I am very critical in this piece, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to get yourself back on track. The players need to know that we are not satisfied, because if not, why should they play any different? I also starting writing this just after the whistle for full time, so I progress from fuming, to sour, to hopeful. Enjoy the ride. Pass and Move. The Liverpool Way. You’ll Never Walk Alone
Yeah, we won. 3 points. Suarez goal. Happy. But it must be said that Liverpool looked like shit at times today, often enough to have me worried. From the look on the faces of the crowd you would hardly know we won the match. Throughout the game we could barely string four passes together, and there are still so many big questions in the midfield. Henderson continues to look poor. Our defense was suspect and some would ask why there was no inclusion of Sebastian Coates or even Dirk Kuyt who can shore up the defense from midfield as well as spring the attack. As much as I love Kenny, I can’t really be happy with this display against an opponent like Wolves.
The most positive part of the match was the return of Gerrard, but one has to ask if at 31 years of age, he’s still up to doing things alone. Suarez put in another brilliant performance that was soured by his frustration at being substituted. Some would say “like that fucking mattered, we got three points,” but at the end of May 3 points will never win you the league. As a fan who is constantly looking at the big picture, LFC still have a lot of work to do if they are going to challenge for the title and the top 4. I think many Liverpool supporters are beginning to feel the tug of being torn in two directions.
We are known for our loyalty, especially to those who have been loyal to the club, but now we are faced with a situation that could soon be considered a dilemma. Kenny has got to take the squad to the next level, because as of right now we look like we still belong in the Europa league. I hope that our unwavering support for Kenny wont make him get too comfortable in the hot seat. A manager has to keep his edge to make sure his squad does as well. I know Kenny will improve, but he must do it soon. I have had so many great moments with the King, but we need to have more.
The game is moving faster than it ever has, and LFC must not be left behind. We must win a trophy this season for it to be successful, and the Carling Cup will not be enough. We also must qualify for the Champions League to preserve our international integrity so the best players want to come to LFC instead of our rivals. The FA Cup & Premier League are the only trophies for us, with the later meaning exponentially more. There will be two teams crowned Champ19ns in England next season.
Frustration mounts as £35 million Andy Carroll has yet to score a Premier League goal this season & Luis Suarez is consistently looking like the only player of quality out there (a situation that rattled a certain number 9 last year over time.) I trust Kenny, and I hope he is preparing the lads to win the league in 2012, not 1990. Harsh, but we can’t live in the past. I know if I sit through United getting to 20 titles I will be sick. The game has changed a lot since we last won the league. The Premier League is yielding much stronger opponents than even a few years ago.
Overall, I’m happy with three points, but I’m looking ahead to October and November and our opponents are looking much stronger than us. Who knows, maybe a little embarrassment is just what we need to get a reality check. There’s a few things I know for certain:
- Andy Carroll: This lad has got to start scoring, or at least become a menace to defenders. Right now, all our opponents look comfortable, & Carroll is way too much of a physical presence to just be trotting around unmolested the whole game. We paid big money for him and we expect a big heart. He doesn’t look like he’s doing everything in his power to get on the scoresheet, and unfortunately that’s not the type of player that’s going to make it at LFC
- Stuart Downing: He needs to switch things up a bit. I know exactly what I’ll see from him every time he runs down the pitch & so do defenders. Every time he gets into a good area on the byline, he crosses. Every freaking time. If only he would cut in, take a few more touches, he would be in the 6 yard area with a sweet spot looking for goal. But he crosses. He always crosses. And with the way LFC are playing he’s usually crossing to no one. He’s got great talent, but he has to improve his football mind. The most important thing is to score goals and win games, no one cares how good you look flying down the wing if you aren’t winning games.
- Charlie Adam: Mmmm he has a nasty tendency to disappear. It’s like he forgets he isn’t in Blackpool any more. At LFC you have to play 90 minutes, at any top club you have to play 90 minutes. It’s like the concept of ‘hold the ball, you have the lead’ doesn’t exist to this midfield & Charlie Adam is one of the worst offenders. Adam must work on his movement off the ball if he wants to ascend into the higher echelon of premier league players, right now he looks like he still has orange on under that red shirt.
- Pepe Reina: As for the other players on the field, I can sense Pepe Reina’s frustration from here. During his first 3 seasons at LFC he won the Premier League Golden Glove, now he’s on a team that has leaked goals the last 2 seasons. As a goalkeeper, it’s important that you feel protected so you can concentrate on your job. Pepe Reina saved more than a few penalties in that 2009 season when LFC almost won it all, he was feeding off the energy of the rest of the team, which is what all goalkeepers do. Liverpool must play better if they ever hope to keep him, because it seems that all a player has to do is submit a transfer request to leave LFC, and Pepe Reina might just do that as much as it would hurt.
- Martin Kelly: Martin will be an amazing player for us. But I feel like he is way too young to be going forward as much as he does. He’s a great defender, but there’s more to defense than tracking back, and putting in a decent tackle. Jamie Carragher is a legend for his positioning as well, and Kelly needs to learn that, because he’s clearly next in line to take his place. But how can Kelly learn from Jamie in game if he’s all the way at the other end of the pitch. LFC have been losing the ball lately, and we look especially vulnerable on the right hand side when Kelly goes forward. With Jordan Henderson’s inexperience in front of him, Kelly really can’t afford to go roaming, especially when that leaves 33 year old Carragher left to clean up the scraps.
- Jordan Henderson: I don’t think this lad is ready for a starting position. In fact, I’d rather have some of our reserves or academy products out there. Sure, he’s got the skill. He has a hard shot, he can hit a cross, but Henderson is too young to be the central midfielder we need him to be right now. He is a poor replacement for Gerrard, and right now doesn’t even deserve to be in the same paragraph as the Anfield legend. Henderson needs to sit down and watch some film of his performances and then watch film of Gerrard’s & Alonso’s performances. He needs to know how to move without the ball. He needs to understand that the flashiest option is not always the best. Sometimes it’s better to take the easy pass than to go for the spectacular volley. Because passing maintains possession, while when trying a volley it’s more likely that you’ll miss.
- Lucas Leiva: Adam, Henderson & Downing make him look bad. Let’s face it, Lucas has put in a lot of hard work just trying to look decent, let alone good, but the combination of himself Adam & Henderson in midfield are making him look very poor. I defend Lucas, because Lucas has constantly been improving since arriving at LFC. He has always been a holding midfield player, much like Javier Mascherano was for us. Lucas does his job, he holds the midfield, but sometimes he’s forced to attempting to spring the attack because of the the unproductive play of our other midfielders. Adam & Henderson especially aren’t doing enough to impose themselves on the game. As a result, somebody has to do it, and that somebody is Lucas. Downing is stuck on the wing, and Lucas is the only one left in the center of the park when Henderson does goes to sleep. In essence, Lucas is merely playing out of his element, this is why he looks so poor.
That is the key for LFC, everyone is playing out of their element, if Kenny can make them comfortable again, we will start winning games the way we should, not holding our breath into the 90th minute at home to Wolves. The season is young and I have faith in this team, they just have to bring it upon themselves to play better for the fans & supporters of this club and the owners who have had so much faith in them.
Won the match, got three points, now let’s concentrate on what’s coming in October
Bring on the Derby. Going to Goodison next week.
Behind the scenes training footage as Luis Suarez is back at Melwood.
With all the transfer news revolving around Alberto Aquilani in the last couple weeks I thought we would take a look at his highlights from pre season. Even though this is against the Malaysian XI who also lost to Chelsea, and Arsenal this summer, it has to be said that Aquilani has spectacular vision and command, and movement off the ball.
Personally, I think it’s a toss up between him and Meireles, both seem to be the same sort of player, although I’d take Aquilani on vision and fluidity alone. Raul of course, stays healthy.
Liverpool look to have some serious decisions to make in the midfield which is crowded to say the least with the likes of Kuyt, Maxi, Spearing, Cole, Poulson, Meireles, Aquilani, Shelvey, Lucas, new signing Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stuart Downing & oh yeah, Steven Gerrard. Poulson, & Cole look to be out the door. But Meireles, Maxi & Aquilani’s place seem to be up for grabs. Jay Spearing is homegrown talent, Jonjo Shelvey is a big prospect at the age of 19, and Lucas has the safety of being voted Liverpool’s Player of the Season last year for his consistency and worth ethic.
Personally, of the players on the fence, I’d keep Meireles & Aquilani, sell Maxi, Cole & Poulson, perhaps send Spearing out on loan to a decent side (maybe even a Norwich, Wolves, or QPR - crazy but he needs the challenge.) Shelvey stays to continue his development. I think having a surplus of good players is better than not having enough, and if Liverpool want to make a real challenge for trophies this season, they might need all of these players to step up over the various months.
In the end, the gaffer still has to decide whether to play Downing, Adam, Henderson, Meireles, Aquilani, Kuyt, Gerrard, or Lucas. Wow
It seems the most difficult part of the season will be deciding who will play, and keeping the spirits up of those who don’t. For the players, this may mean more much needed time with their young families. And for Liverpool this could mean fresher players for more trophies. Who knows, LFC may end up with a League Cup team, an FA Cup team, and a Premier League A + B team.
Either way, there must be a trophy come the end of the year because with this squad list, and lack of European football, it’s unthinkable that Liverpool wont win something. Although, this is football
You never know
Emotional Rollercoaster - Liverpool FC 2010/2011 - Season Review
This is guaranteed to make any scouser cry: you’ve been warned
Lucas Leiva is a Brazilian cowboy