Monday, 3 September 2012

LIVERPOOL NEED ROOT OUT SQUARE PEGS

Liverpool are in  crisis management.  The years of profligacy and  incoherent signings are having a damaging effect on the club right now, and it's going to take a while before it's toxicity clears.  It's fans ogle the past, when the winning glory filled the air like the scent of an attractive woman.

The team is not all that bad. It retains it's solidity in defense from the  Rafa Benitez phase ; it's midfield is plausible, even if scarce in quality personnel ; the weakest segment of the team is it's attack -owing to systemic and personnel flaws. In my postulation, there are two players who are largely responsible for their sterility - Captain Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez. These two lack the gravitas to act as the fulcrum of Liverpool's attack.

Steven Gerrard is the heartbeat of the team, especially when he plays through the middle in their 4-3-3 system. He is the one with the  prerogative to join the front three, especially in tandem with Luis Suarez.  My impressions of him, and corroborated by evidence from Liverpool's last game is that he is a square peg in a round hole. A misnomer if you refer to him as the playmaker ; not intrinsically designed for the pseudo-playmaker role. Players who have to play behind the striker need to be measured in play, less prone to the long diagonal  pass, and play at a slower pace to carve out openings and achieve penetration. Effective combinations with the striker is derived through subtleness, stealth, and angles of approach with the ball.  Gerrard is predictable, and over reliant on speed of execution to be effective in a that position. It's a specialist position that also requires a high dose of technical skill. It makes Liverpool pretty basic to deal with when they attack. Gerrard's mundane repertoire of technical invention is a stultifying factor in Liverpool's attack.  To compound matters, his goal scoring ratio is mediocre. He is actually better of in the role as the second  man in the midfield base of a 4-2-3-1 formation. That way his athleticism, tackling, speed,  and long range passing skills, and broader vision are put to best use. Liverpool have been ineffective with Gerrard in the advanced midfielder role, and that illusion needs rooting out. 

Luis Suarez has loads of skill, clever on the ball, achieves penetration, but a lousy finisher. It's a waste of time relying on him to get 20 goals a season, due to his inconsistent finishing. He takes loads of touches in the box, and results in him being inefficient, over-elaborate, dramatic, and self-indulgent to be taken seriously as a goal scorer. Luis Suarez would be much better suited to a 4-4-1-1 system, as the man behind the striker with the freedom of movement, dropping grenades in every corner, making life impossible for the opponents. If he could curb his selfish streak, there is no doubt he has the capability to be a highly creative influence.  These two players are not fit for purpose in the Liverpool system, hence the lack of end product and goals to Liverpool's play.

The Andy Carroll debate is a storm in a tea cup. It was queer seeing SkySports pundit Jamie Redknapp so melodramatic about Andy Carroll's loan move to West Ham. What did Andy Carroll contribute to Liverpool last season ? is he the clinical finisher Liverpool need right now ? Can he play effectively in  Liverpool's 4-3-3  system ?  moreover, is he even fit  right now? after his rumbustious display for West ham at the weekend, he picked-up a hamstring injury. Typical.  Jamie Redknapp's eponymous declaration of  Falcao as the " best striker in the world ", after the Atletico Madrid Man slaughtered Chelsea in the Super Cup, gives an indication of a pundit who is as simplistic as he is histrionic. Mr. Redknapp was outlandish in the way he was using his position to promote a move by Liverpool for Michael Owen. The way he went on about Liverpool's striker crisis, one would have thought they were on the edge of an abyss. Liverpool require a rational approach to their goal scoring issues. Be that a change in system / or recruiting the right personnel, it's pretty clear loaning out Andy Carroll represents the best way for Liverpool's owners to mitigate the impending  financial loss on the £35 million investment. If he does well, Clubs would see reason to Pay Good Money. Keeping him at Liverpool when the manager does not want him, nor believes he makes sense to his tactical approach is watering down Andy Carroll's valuation, and a potential bigger loss for FSG.

For Brendan Rogers, delinking and re-constructing Liverpool as a team post and Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish is going to be the hottest challenge he ever handles. It would be fair if he gets time to do the necessary restructuring and rebuilding  involved. Liverpool Football Club are about to embark on a steep detour. The Club is broke, and in debt, no windfall from the Champions League for a while, and an eroding capacity for attracting the big names. Time for calm heads - it's grim.