4 Oct 2014

Big Breakthrough? - Two huge positives from today that may transform LFC's season

After a month of poor form, Liverpool finally got back to winning ways today with a vital 2-1 home win over West Brom. The Reds may have huffed and puffed to secure the victory, but three points is all that matters right now, and going into another tedious, interminable international break, it's job done for Brendan Rodgers' team.

This wasn't a vintage LFC performance by any means, but for for me, two major positives emerged from the game:

* Jordan Henderson. He is totally wasted when utilised as Steven Gerrard's water-carrier.

He needs to play further up the pitch where he can directly influence games on a more consistent basis, and he did that today with a classy assist, and a superb goal.

I'm convinced that if Hendo is freed of responsibility for all the donkey work, he can be a major *consistent* creative threat for Liverpool.

The only way this is going to happen, though, is if Liverpool have a strong, fast, reliable defensive midfielder protecting the back four, and right now, the club doesn't have anyone who fits the bill. Which leads me onto...

* Steven Gerrard. For a long while now, fans have been calling Gerrard to be played in a more attacking role for Liverpool, and today, we got a glimpse of how positive that could be for the team. For me, it's an absolute no-brainer - Gerrard has the guile, vision, and creativity to score/create goals, and he was a constant threat in the final third today.

I'd go so far as to say that Gerrard should play as a floating number 10/attacking mid (as part of a three/diamond) or not at all, even if it means having Lucas in the same team. A Lucas/Gerrard central midfield partnership is a non-starter, but they can operate effectively in the same team. I'd like to see the following line-up tried out for a few games:

--------------- Mignolet

Manquillo --- Skrtel - Lovren ----- Moreno

----------------- Lucas

----------- Hendo ---- Lallana

--------------- Gerrard

-------- Sterling -- Sturridge

Or, if Rodgers insists on sticking with 4231:

--------------- Mignolet

Manquillo --- Skrtel - Lovren ----- Moreno

----------------- Lucas

------------ Hendo

---- Sterling -- Gerrard --- Lallana

--------------- Sturridge

Coutinho is a skilful player, but he's off the boil at the moment, and even at the age of 34, I'd always choose Gerrard over him in the number 10 role. Yes, there's a possibility that teams may try and man-mark him out of the game, but with the likes of Sterling, Sturridge, Lallana et al around him, the space will definitely be there, and it'll be difficult to focus solely on Gerrard.

Additionally, if it's not working out with Gerrard playing further forward, Rodgers has good options to freshen things up (i.e. Coutinho, Markovic, Suso when he's fit). Ditto the holding role: LFC have Can, Allen, and Lucas to rotate for that role, so it all makes sense.

Obviously, Lucas is only a short-term option, but imagine having a Masherano-type player in there. Suddenly, things are looking a lot brighter.

Despite all the doom and gloom, Liverpool are now only three points off second place (!) It's a crazy season so far; the margins are so fine, and most teams - bar Chelsea - are slipping up on a regular basis.

It would've been great to build on the momentum of today's win, but once again, the international break interrupts everything, and if recent history is anything to go by, Liverpool can expect at least one injury over the next two weeks.

Fingers crossed it isn't Lallana, who seems to be finally finding his way at Anfield...

Author:



43 comments:

  1. Good article and the win may prove to be the most important of the season BUT to be controversial I say this - If Lambert was not a Scouser he would be murdered for his contribution so far - makes Andy Carroll look a world beater - Mario miles better

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  2. Gerrard should be moved around in games until we find a slot for him where he is most effective. In some games he will be effective deep in others more advanced and in some games out wide. I do admit that when Gerrard finds a role in any given match that gives him a yard of space and/or movement up front that he can hit, then he is fine. But to tie him down to one position means to give the opposition time to do their homework on him.

    We have to keep in mind in 2008/09 SG record was 44 games 24 goals whilst in 2009/10 his record was 49 games 12 goals in exactly the same no.10 role. When tightly marked Gerrard doesn't nutmeg, stepover, turn sharply or pull wide, he just pops it off and allows himself to be neutralised. I still remember Muamba, Diame and essien amongst many marking him out and eating him up. We have to be clever with Gerrard and make sure he is always giving the opposition something to think about.

    Playing DM has made SG a more intelligent economic and precise footballer, it will be interesting to see how a more mature and measured SG plays a more attacking role in the future.

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  3. Gerrard was incredible today class is perminant

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  4. the greatest attacking midfielder LFC has produced is wasted there at DM..its better to rotate him in attacking midfield as he surely influences game there..he has always been a game changer
    henderson is a world class midfielder in making(next gerrard maybe)
    coutinho will find his form once sturridge returns.
    balotelli surely was better today and held the ball very good and u need player like that in team.(he will start scoring once he partners sturridge)
    LALLANA take a bow
    sterling needs rest and BR should see it as hodgson is right there to destroy LFC
    future looks bright right now but liverpool's luck is not working at all so we ll see

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  5. Lovren was shocking again. So lucky not to concede more, sessegnon and berahino were joking with him, how on earth hes worth 20m? He must be dropped asap. Not convincing at all but at last a win. Balotelli nowhere near we want him to be. Lallana very good, can improve. Lambert lol dont know how he managed to get here honestly dont know what to say else about him. Sterling tired as hell, needs rest and wont get it. Now england crap games, woy could cause even more problems to us. Liked the gerrard move to no 10 role, been waiting for this. So so better there rather than that deep role. Look at lampard, stevie could do the same if not better. Hope BR saw something we did today!

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  6. Don't know how you can say AC is better than RL. Perhaps if he had stayed on his feet and not flopped about the pitch for most of every match...
    I'm pleased with Lambert and thought he did well today. Unlucky not to have gotten a goal. He's no Suarez, but we never expected him to be that, did we?

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  7. great win today, lallana was really good, i was unsure about him but he s getting great, dont really understand coutinho's criticism he moved the ball around really well and teams need that kind of player (liked his link up with lallana on offensive break)


    everything is not perfect though, sterling kept losing the ball (is he getting worse ? well at least interest in him should calm down if he keep performing like that)
    and lovren has lost an incredible amount of aerial duel with berahino which is really worrying (his partnership with skrtel is influencing him but not in good, his positioning is worrying too).

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  8. I love how Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson celebrated their goals.The passion took over.Primal roars/euphoric nutter celebrations!

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  9. Bob Loblaw you win funniest comment of the day! Andy Carroll's Donkeytail is being delivered in the post as your prize:)

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  10. What a difference 3 points makes!
    We don't really need anything more for now, the team still needs lots of work to integrate properly and destroy teams like last season. Until then, at least there were glimpses of the real Liverpool in that performance along with warnings of the masses of work needed to eradicate the easy chances we tend to give away- if Aguero or some other top striker had the chances Berahino got we would have been 3 down and struggling fo a single point. In particular, Lovren and Skrtyl seem to go for the same ball time and time again, rather than one going for the ball and the other covering
    Despite heavy hints to the contrary, Balotelli worked pretty hard when he came on and seems to be applying himself properly. Seems dropping him to the bench wasn't the doomsday scenario previously predicted.
    Manquillo defends better than Johnson but has poor distribution and delivery going forwards. One reason why Alves would be a good buy in Jan. Moreno will be excellent with more experience.
    Gerard actually did the DM role very well, covering round and mopping up consistently, before showing that there is still a bit of the old Stevie going forwards. Best performance for a while for me.
    Top 4 not such a stretch suddenly is it? Rogers out? Hardly.

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  11. Had Downing have showed the same attitude and showed the form that he is currently showing for WHU, then he would be worth 10, maybe 15 at a stretch, that's my point. I guess what it comes down to is 2 players, both from the same neck of the woods but with mentality poles apart. A lot of people, especially after his first season, were saying much the same things about Hendo, especially in regards to his price tag, which has been touted between 16 and 20M. The way he played last season and now into this season, I for one have to say that price tag is justified and is arguably a bargain. He, along with Lallana were excellent for us today.

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  12. To be fair, I haven't, right now, I read text books as opposed to autobiographies and novels. The falling out between Rafa and Yossi was highly publicised though. For all the genius that Rafa was as a tactician, his man management skills left a lot to be desired.

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  13. I think we should bring in I Rakitic(26) for every position on the park.

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  14. I see Newcastle are still letting in a minimum of 2 goals a game after Tiote came back. Why is that do you think, if he is so good at snuffing out attacking threats?
    Nobody seems scared of him at all...

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  15. I actually don't mind this particular international break. I think it's going to be very useful to give a lot of our players some rest given the recent heavy work load with champions league, and it means that Sturridge *should* be fit and raring to go once we get back to business again. It also keeps Gerrard more fresh, which helps maintain his impact in the attacking role that BR will HOPEFULLY play him in.



    It is clear to me that in January, we need to buy another defensive midfielder, a striker, and maybe another attacking mid if we're bothered.

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  16. But that has to do with transfer targets, not current players...

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  17. Lallana hasn't played too many games for us, but is certainly showing with every game that he is more and more a Liverpool player and worth his price tag. Markovic was in the Euro League team of the season last season, he was excellent and has the potential to be one of the top 5 players in Europe. Is he currently worth 20M? Maybe not, but if Shaw is worth 27M, then Markovic is worth just as much. Markovic will come good and when he does, he will be just as dangerous as Sterling. I can easily say Aubameyang is not worth 25M yet. Last season, in 32 games, he scored 13 goals. For a striker, that's a goal approximately every 2.5 games. Unless he is English, that's not worth 25M, more like 15M. And just for the record, you may get the players ages correct, but you correctly spell their names. Like I mentioned previously, it's Valdes, not Valdez. It's Aubameyang, not Aubamayang. The most glaring one in my opinion you have made though is it's Ilori, not LLori. In other words, if his name was spelt in lower case letters, it would be ilori, not llori.

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  18. The owners don't want us to bring in old players? Tell me then, how old is Rickie Lambert?

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  19. I've been calling out for SG to return to #10 for a long while now. He's exposed defensively at the QB role and as a past greats at #10 (Zola et al have shown) you don't need to be fast to play there, just brains and guile which SG still has in abundance.

    I was also calling out M'vila for the defensive role, but at the moment it has to be Lucas. Once you've got them in the team, the other players automatically fit around them as JK has explained.

    Never ever understood why BR ever thinks Lucas should play in-front of SG???

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  20. Agree. At the very highest levels, whenever SG has been man-marked he has not been able to influence the game. A real shame for an otherwise true modern all-time great,

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  21. Downside to the break, Sterling won't get a rest. He's just off the boil at the mo and needs time to rest, not a further 2 England games.

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  22. Yeah that's one negative I did consider, but it will help a lot of other players, especially Gerrard and Sturridge.

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  23. Haha brilliant :)

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  24. Modern day footballers' take all the money they can get, and the accolades that come their way; as far as I am concerned, they can take the criticism too. I believe Rogers was quite within his rights to try to put a rocket up Downing. Lets be honest, for 20 million quid he didn't do much for LFC. Good riddance, and if you can't take a rollicking, get out of the kitchen.

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  25. He should have been proving a point FOR LFC. Overpaid and overrated.

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  26. Let them be man enough to get over it. I am sick to death of these mambie-pambies.

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  27. Spirit of the Shadows6:15 am, October 05, 2014

    To play gerrard and hendo in more advanced roles we need a true world class defensive midfielder to do all the dirty work and cover the open spaces, someone in the mold of busquets or matic. Or else we risk being overrun and exposed.

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  28. What scouse said. One swallow doesn't a summer make..

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  29. I agree they were and if Henderson starts hitting double figures in goals and assists on an annual basis from now I agree that he will most definitely have been worth his price tag. Downing's moaning is about Rodgers saying he needed an attitude adjustment and Henderson is proving exactly that point right now. He did buckle down and work hard and that's why he is a now a regular starter whereas Downing decided to be insulted and moan and that's why he's now at another club.

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  30. I fully agree. Lambert did what Lambert does. He got into the box and made war. He held up the ball and allowed us to move forward. He's not Suarez or Sturridge. He plays to his strengths. He was brought in to give us a plan B so we cannot expect him to play our plan A. And on top of that, the pops he had today showed he knows where the goal is. And he doesn't think the sun shines out of his backside. This team's Kuijt and I say that with the greatest respect.

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  31. We talk about Gerrard's legs and age but who was the only player in red chasing down lose balls 85 minutes into the game? I agree he's wasted at DM though and we need a new one but I can't see him work as an AM. I find it difficult to put both him and Henderson in a midfield that would work for me.

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  32. Shearer made a great point on MOTD on the difference between us this year and last year. We always played into space putting defenders on the back foot and now we hold up the ball. Simply because Sturridge is injured and we never replaced Suarez with someone worthy. Rodgers' comments made me cringe though. "We lost a world class player in the summer". Yes we did and we got 75 million for him and HE is the one that wasted most of that cash in stead of buying back a world class player. He is the one that allowed DiMaria to go to Man U and Sanchez to Arsenal. And now he moans..

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  33. Yesterday we still were not convincing and hopefully after the International break we start playing some of the football we saw vs Spurs as if we continue to play with the aim of going one ahead and then sitting back an soaking up the pressure then 4th will run away from us.


    Still cannot get over Rodgers blaming injuries for the reason we are not playing at the intensity and pressing levels of last season.


    Although Markovic has not quite taken the league by storm he has shown that he is a workhorse. Adam Lallana has been our best player of late and has a great engine too. Manquillo and Moreno also have loads of energy and are always chasing the ball. Then there is Coutinho and Sterling who can both press as well as anyone etc.


    For me there are too many excuses at the moment and no solutions.


    Is Rodgers saying that whenever we have injuries to Can, Allen and Sturridge the team will not perform like it should? What utter rubbish.

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  34. Rodgers chose to use Gerrard this way perhaps because of the international break. He knows he can get the right rest and recuperation after the game. Perhaps hints that Gerrard dill begin to be used more sparingly in the future. If the drop to dm was to prolong Gerrad's career then this may mean he will be used more as an impact player. Time will tell but I think we all know that he cannot be all action all the time.

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  35. Or perhaps injuries to last year's players affects how we press as it is not a constant thing rather something we do in bursts. Knowing how and when (when being most important) is vital to that game. New players need to learn when or else we open up lots of gaps for opposition. We have seen that already. Pressing as a team can be difficult to implement. Spurs are having the same problems. Half of our team is new the pressing will take time and then (hopefully) it won't matter who is fit for it to be implemented properly.

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  36. The new player excuse does not sit I am afraid.


    Henderson and Coutinho will be able to do the job in a 1-2 midfield. Lallana was a pressing machine for Southampton so it is not like it is alien to him either. Just because Allen is not in our midfield now the team is in transition?


    I am a huge Rodgers fan but his excuses have cost us points this season as well as put in some very below par performances.


    What if Allen had to pick up a very serious injury that keeps him out like the shoulder injury he had? The excuses do not cut it.

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  37. Your comical? so you are saying L Shaw(19) is worth £27M? Lallana(26) is worth £25M
    BUT Aubameyang(25) is not worth £23M YOU MUST BE ON Something medication.
    And how many goals has Balotelli and Lambert scored for us so far this season in the games they have played?


    Aubameyang(25) has all the attributes to be a success at Anfield and he is not as good a finisher as D Sturridge(25) but he is as mobile and could be quicker as he has electric pace. Something Lambert(32) and Balotelli(24) do not have in their locker and one of the main reasons we struggle to break down and penetrate opposition sides this season.

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  38. Gaz, You are comical!!! I Rakitic(26) in the summer was available, yet we did not go for him. He was brought for £16M A world class box to box ball playing centre midfielder. Yet he is better than any centre midfielder we have at club by a country mile.


    And you seem to find it funny mentioning his name, In January we need A DM, Three quick pacey attackers who will create and score goals.


    And next summer B Rodgers needs to offer B Munich £25-£35M for the signing of T Alacantra(23) CM as S Gerrard(34) is 5 years past his best and playing on his name. He no longer dictates or dominates games and he does not protect back 4, he no longer has the energy, legs, mobility, pace or speed to cover ground and burst past people. So why is he still first choice?


    As S Gerrard(34) is an amazing class quality loyal servant to club but unless he is given time on ball, something that rarely happens in Premiership or he is given set piece. He is Passenger in centre of park ( Something I Rakitic(26) now at his peak won't be until 5-6 years time)

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  39. Lambert is 32, K Toure(33) out of the 15 signings B Rodgers has made since his time at club those two are only two past the age of 27 signed.

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  40. Mike, C Tiote(28) would offer us more protection to back 4 than any midfielder we have at club.


    And If B Rodgers signs C Tiote(28) in January, C Tiote(28) just came back from Injury and is not fully fit. A Lallana(26) has played last 3-5 games and just came back from injury and is still not fully fit.


    When C Tiote(28) is fully fit, if he was at our club away from home a trio of Tiote(28) , Allen(24) and Henderson(24) just in front of him would protect back 4 and keep things ticking in midfield nicely.


    At Home : C Tiote(28) would protect back 4 , Henderson(24) and Coutinho(22) Or Lallana(26) would dictate and dominate centre of park.

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  41. I'm not adverse to seeing Gerrard playing the number ten role as I believe he has the ability to make a difference further up the pitch. I miss when he used to shoot now he shoots once on a blue moon. If he has the vision to change play from deep in image behind the front pair...

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  42. The last outside the box goal he scored was against Manchester City near the end of Rodgers first season

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  43. Last year Newcastle conceded 59 goals with this miracle DM protecting their back four. 5th worst in the Prem.


    The year before it was 69 goals, 3rd worst, more than the bottom team.


    So was this 28 yr old defensive protector just biding his time?

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