29 Oct 2014

Transfer Shock: Aldo hints at 'radical' early exit for £20m LFC 'disappointment'. Gone in Jan?

Liverpool's dramatic victory over Swansea last night is a massive boost for the club, and although £20m summer signing Dejan Lovren scored the winning goal, he made yet another costly mistake during the game, and Reds legend John Aldridge is not impressed.

The criticism of Lovren seems to be intensifying this month. In a recent column for the Daily Mail, Reds legend jamie Carragher blasted the Croatian for making Liverpool 'look worse defensively than they did last season', and soon after, Aldridge told the Liverpool Daily Post:

"Signing him [Lovren] was supposed to tighten things up at the back but at the moment it looks like we’ll concede 50 league goals again. The way he dives in has to be a concern"

Aldo is back on Lovren's case this week, and in his most recent column, he scathed:

"Lovren is the biggest disappointment so far. He is not doing the job he was bought to do [and] it’s so worrying that it is already reaching a point where I wonder if Brendan is considering a radical solution".

For me, the criticism is harsh, and a little over the top, but when it comes to Swansea's goal against LFC last night, it's hard to disagree with elements of what Aldo and Carra are arguing.

Marvin Emnes' striker pretty horrific from a defensive point of view:



* Lovren is supposed to be marking Emnes, and he tracks him (somewhat) across the box before the ball is dellivered.

* Despite following Emnes' movement, Lovren doesn't get tight, and leaves the attacker acres of space to pick his spot.

* There's no urgency from Lovren here; by the time he starts to react, the ball is already in the back of the net.

* What makes the goal worse is that Lovren could see everything developing in front of him, and he still didn't react quickly or effectively enough.

Prior to signing Lovren, I argued that he'd be under the most intense pressure, and that's exactly what's happening. After last season's defensive shambles, everyone expected the Croatian to come in and change everything overnight, but that hasn't happened, and he's consequently getting more criticism than is warranted.

That said, it's hard to deny that he's made quite a few mistakes since arriving at Anfield, and if he can't handle the pressure or the expectation, then that's a problem. Aldo suggests a 'radical' solution, but I can't see Rodgers dumping Lovren in January, which is the most radical solution available.

The only other option is to drop Lovren for an extended period, but after making him the club's most expensive defender in LFC history, it's unlikely Rodgers will go that way, especially as it will, by extension, make him look bad.

For me, the best thing to do is to just play LFC's first-choice defensive unit as much as possible (i.e. Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno) and allow them to build up a successful rhythm/rapport. Chopping and changing things all the time is a recipe for disaster, and last season proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The strange thing is that Lovren looks incredibly solid 90% of the time - he does a lot of things well, but he's just prone to lapses of concentration, which didn't happen last season. Clearly, he's having problems adapting to LFC, but if the error-issue can be rectified, Liverpool will undoubtedly reap the benefits.

What can't keep happening is Liverpool spending huge amounts of money on defenders every season. In the last year, the club has splurged almost £60m on defensive players, so throwing money at the problem is clearly not the answer (unless, of course, LFC sell one or two defenders first)

Rodgers' defensive coaching is (arguably) a major part of the problem. The manager is developing a reputation for turning good defenders into chumps. Sakho plays well for France; Lovren performs imperiously for Croatia, and did a a great job at Southampton, but at Liverpool, both players are seemingly incapable of reaching the same level.

Why?

The common denominator is Rodgers and his coaching team, and if Liverpool are to have any chance of making the top four this season, something needs to change.

Perhaps the solution is bringing in a defensive coach (like Carra, for example, who wants the job), but whatever happens, the defensive mistakes/inability to defend set-pieces/balls into the box etc must stop before the the club's entire season ends up in the toilet.

Author:



61 comments:

  1. I think saying Lovren is solid 90% of the time is generous. I think he's been Liverpool's worst player this season. I think latter-day Agger is more a case of looking solid 90% of the time whereas Lovren is more on the Sakho level of constantly seeming ill at ease.


    That said, I wouldn't be in favour of selling him. It's early days yet and as JK has said, I'm suspicious of the behind the scenes coaching that is going on (or perhaps not going on). I know a lot of people point to the lack of a strong defensive mid, whilst I agree this is a structural issue for the team, it doesn't justify basic defensive errors like failure to mark a player properly.


    Again, it seems Liverpool's major defensive problem is a lack of leadership. I think any cohesive defensive unit should have two distinct and strong voices: a commanding centre-half and a vocal goalkeeper. Liverpool appear to have neither. Whilst there is cause to be suspicious of the coaching we're doing, you've also got to consider the shortcomings of the personnel available.

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  2. Notice how it doesnt matter what players and what combination of players there are in Liverpools 'defence' and that they are still awful? - it is bad coaching and bad management!!!!!!!.

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  3. While Lovren doesn't scored own-goal but it true he made quite a few of mistake on the left. At the moment, he doesn't provide that stability at the back and for this case, he obviously dreaming on the job!

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  4. I agree on one thing... keep the back 4 together for a period of time. Chopping and changing just upsets any rhythm. Bring Cara in as a defensive coach, stick with Moreno, Skrtel, Lovren & Manquillo and that will produce the results

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  5. Unquestionable as far as I'm concerned: this is a team problem and a coaching problem. If Rodgers expected Lovren to magically solve his defensive issues without otherwise adjusting team tactics or coaching drills then it was naive. It's the same with all the defenders - they are good when the system works but when it breaks down they don't know what to do. They panic. It's exactly the same problem that Skrtel has and exactly the same issue we've seen that leads to what Rodgers calls "individual errors". In that case it seems like it's easy to blame the individuals but I would be disappointed to see Rodgers continue along this line. If you don't coach a team with enough defensive drills then this is what happens. They can account for 90% of the game scenarios but when something unfamiliar happens they no longer know what to do. In that case even the best defenders will make mistakes.


    There is clearly a hesitation from Lovren, he didn't commit to the player coming through and it's hard to know why that was. Perhaps he expected Toure to follow through and track the player instead. Whatever the case the defence broke down and I don't think it's just about combinations or player familiarity. In every situation the team has a system, a set of rules and each player has a very clear role and it doesn't matter who is there beside you. There is no chance you'd see something like that happen with a Liverpool team coached by Benitez. Rafa drilled his players to the point where they new the exact blade of grass they were supposed to be standing on at any given moment. I just don't think that happens under Rodgers. Maybe it's a question of time and how much the team spends on their attacking strategy. Whatever the case, they need to get it in order.

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  6. Summed it up nicely

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  7. Keep Toure and Lovren. I like how they bring the ball up feom the back.

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  8. Should have brought in Hypia as a defensive coach. He is a legend at Liverpool and yet to be replaced. Oh How we miss his solidity and steel at the back.

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  9. There was a lot of luck involved in the goal, as well as very good team play by Swansea and individual excellence from Emnes, and I don't think it really exemplifies our general defensive problems.

    That said, there is an error, but the crucial mistake isn't Lovren's: it's Toure's, when he elects to come out and press Shelvey. This is totally unnecessary. Henderson is in position to hold Shelvey up and actually succeeds in disrupting the midfielder's intentions. Toure is in no-man's land by the time Shelvey plays the ball, however, leaving Lovren 1 v 2 in the centre.

    The Swansea players switch on to the danger as soon as they see Toure
    coming forward: look how Taylor has attacked the space Toure has
    vacated, from deep, and how Dyer and Gomis have immediately looked to exploit the space which results from Lovren's covering. Swansea are ready for this mistake, and exploit the situation really well.

    Once Lovren gets isolated there is virtually nothing he can do, and Emnes plays the situation ruthlessly. Lovren is positioned to challenge Emnes if he turns back inside or attempts to square the ball, and to push him wide if he takes a touch, but Emnes does the unexpected, from a very unusual pass by Taylor, who has done brilliantly to join the play, and breaks Borini's rather weak tackle with ease.

    I agree Lovren could have been a pace or two tighter but I think the situation would still have ended in a goal, because Emnes has three passing options to players in space in the box, as well as Montero free outside, when he receives the ball. There's nowhere Lovren can be to stop Emnes playing
    one of them in. Because of how alert Swansea are to the possibilities of the situation, as soon as Toure takes himself out of the game, in a
    typical display of reckless overenthusiasm, Liverpool are in deep trouble.

    I thought Lovren had a good game, and has had a quite steady and consistent start to his Liverpool career. The less said about Toure the better, though I do enjoy watching him all the same.

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  10. When Sakho gets fit i would be rushing Lovren out of the side i think given a decent run he is our man.

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  11. How about Steve Clark. As a defensive coach?

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  12. I think it has to be a coaching issue, we've looked weak on set pieces for a long time now and we seem to be getting exposed on the defense a lot.
    The set piece set up needs to be re-jigged, i dunno how but something needs to change and a defensive coaching change may be the key (assistant coach not BR of course).
    A better system at the back will almost certainly help Mignolet also, GKs cant save everything but he is a pretty good reflex keeper between the stick so if we can get a better defensive system in place i think our current squad is good enough and nothing drastic needs to be done.
    Also PLAY BORINI!!!! WOOOO BORINI!!! :P

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  13. would he come back? if so it would be a good start

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  14. Rodgers has been adamant no defensive coach is needed, just more time together in training. Pride appears to be his achilles heel.

    I'm not sure how much of a defensive coach Carragher would be. By his own admission he was more of a play-by-heart guy. You can't teach that.

    Someone who can organise the backs would be preferable. Desailly, for his overall experience, would be someone to consider.

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  15. Its clear, no matter how many defenders we buy, the problem will persist. BR needs to recruit defensive coach because all he ever talks about tactically is attack attack attack. However, this season we can't even attack properly. Maybe after couple of months we will realize whether transfers really worked out or not.

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  16. oh and btw, Aspas scored a hattrick

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  17. Forget about new defensive signings. We don't need them. What we do need is a sprinkling of defensive expertise in our coaching staff. The defenders we have in our squad are completely capable of achieving regular clean sheets, an achievement which has eluded us too many times.


    Rodgers, please, wake the f*** up. Your teams have historically struggled defensively for a reason. The only plus side to that is you're still definitely young enough to learn.

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  18. I bet my left nut that soon enough, LFC will be linked to Aarons from Newcastle.

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  19. This team also needs more leaders. I've been really critical of Gerrard's captaincy, but I may have been too harsh. All of the weight is on his shoulders, and there's no other prominent leaders in the team to share the burden and support him.

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  20. I am a Brendan Rodgers fan because of his philosophy and style of play. But like Jamie mentioned Rodgers doesn't know how to set up a fair enough defense. Unless he leaves his stubbornness and appointments a defensive coach liverpool are not going anywhere

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  21. I also don't understand why do we need to play Manquillo in Capital Cup. Johnson and Enrique should have played. Manquillo and Moreno should be fit and well rested for league matches and ECL.

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  22. Johnson is Rodgers Loveboy. He will play on the weekend

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  23. Put a decent DM in front of him and a GK behind him who can actually deal with high balls and watch Lovren become rock solid.

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  24. So he is indeed a good player.

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  25. For Sevilla, maybe.

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  26. At least should have played Enrique.

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  27. I guess Rodgers is just happy that Aspas' transfer value isn't dropping.

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  28. I just cant believe it... there must have been a mistake!

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  29. They were playing against a lower division club.

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  30. Ah, that explains!

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  31. Lovren didn't look all that good for Croatia. Having said that I do think he needs a chance. Thought Sakho deserved more respect than he had gotten too though. Lovren in his short career has already made more mistakes than Sakho ever did. His passing is worse he gets bullied easier yet the frenchman is most people's least favourite because he is gangly and if your black and gangly apparently your like Djimi Traore.

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  32. While I agree with you in part the problem is the.mistakes being Made are not coa hang but individual. Stupid lapses in concentratio, going for the wrong ball etc. Perhaps these things happen due to a la k of defined roles but I am not having that the basics could disappear from a players game due to it.

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  33. It's not popular but I think Skrtel is the destabilising factor. His refusal to come out of the area quickly, his penchant for dropping off at any sign of trouble. His refusal to heade instructions (according to Cara) all make his partners life harder. Mignolet also causes problems as you never know if he is going to come for a ball or not.

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  34. Hypia is managing, Clarke wouldn't come back either(debatable whether it would be a good move anyway our defence wasn't great u see him and Kenny anyway)he wants to manage. Song is on loan for a season. No go until the summer.

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  35. It is more Toured fault. Gets himself in no man's land and Lovren shouldn't be leaving so much h space in the middle. Having daidvthat once tracking him he should be more alive to what the ball is doing. I have been very worried about Lovren's Game when the ball is in the air. He doesn't seem to read the flight very well.

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  36. The problem is not the defenders or the coach or the team. The problem is that everyone expects immediate results after changing more than half of the first team. Give them a season to settle. Things will improve.

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  37. Liverpool's worst player? You haven't seen Markovic then? Or perhpas you don't regard him as a player. I would certianly be sympathetic to that viewpoint. A real Rodgers masterstroke buying that load of ........ They must be still piddling themsleves in Lisbon.

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  38. I'll say. Sami was brilliant.

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  39. I think when you look at Lambert 0 goals, Markovic 0 goals, Balo 0 goals and Can 0 goals, you get a pretty good idea about whether they worked out or not! LFC might just as well have burned the money in the car-park.

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  40. I watched the Sabadell v Sevilla match last night. Aspas is a hell of a lot better than Markovic. But then again, who isn't?

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  41. I think I just might possibly have heard that before. Maybe ten thousand times? LFC fans have been waiting a quarter of a century now for the good times to come. Trouble is, they never do. And with rubbish signings like the ones Liverpool go in for, they never will. Liverpool are a team with a glorious past but very little future.

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  42. I don't think its lovren its toure fault.

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  43. I've noticed that, too. He doesn't read the flight particularly well and he doesn't seem to have a good spring, either. The same has been true of some very good defenders over the years, though -- and his weakness under the ball isn't all that bad.

    I think Lovren's got some really good qualities, but clearly he'll need a couple of seasons to grow into being a Liverpool player. I think he can learn. We're already seeing fewer mistakes in distribution and communication than we were at the start of the season. There are visible improvements all over the pitch, actually, and I feel quite confident about the next couple of months: I think we are very close to clicking into some very impressive form.

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  44. His passing stats actually dropped from his first game mate but he might be getting that back. Overy last couple of Games he looked better.
    Agree across the pitch too. Need a touch more cohesion though and better energy throughout the game.

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  45. Agreed mate. Lovren goes out to meet the ball and Skrtel drops off leaving loads of space between them. The set pieces and balls into the box issues we're having have been the biggest problem defensively in my opinion and that shows to a lack of proper coaching as well as a severe lack of confidence. There have been signs of improvement in the last couple of games tho I've thought

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  46. Lovren is nowhere near Sakho level unfortunately. He is closer to Skrtel in making mindless mistakes. Lovren-Skrtel is a recipe for disaster. Can't see it working.

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  47. yet again J.K not having a clue do france and crotia play the same as liverpool that's a no so to argue that its the managers fault is a flawed view second its interesting that you defend lovren (Who I rate v highly) you slag of the G.K for the same things be consistant or shut up

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  48. Perhaps Rodgers hoped they would be able to get on with it as he had to coach and change the new forward players and new ways of lining up. Wrong if it was the case. I think our defensive issues are multifaceted Tbh. I worry out whole team doesn't practice at all with the ball in the air. None of our players look like they can head it with either conviction or accuracy. Wanting to press high up will always leave gaps and so unanimty becomes.far more.important. We need to hold.a high line so as to.cut out those gaps but to do that we also need aa keeper quick off his line. If we are not going to play a deep line then we will essentially be inviting teams on to us we need two Players in front of the defence, one being a specialist destroyer or better still a quality player who Can do this very well. We also need more tactical fouling. We need to cut attacks off.early but there seems a refusal to do this amongst our players and that is where I feel Rodgers has shown thee most naivety.

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  49. I hope that was sarcasm

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  50. Liverpool have conceded two more than City, one more than Arsenal, fewer than Everton, Man Utd, and Spurs. If Rodgers doesn't know how to set up a defence, neither do any of the managers in the league, with the sole exceptions of Ronald Koeman and Jose Mourinho. People are over-excited about nothing.

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  51. Because he is the best fullback at the club.

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  52. Another former Liverpool player who failed as a manager and yet gives it the big'un as a pundit. Lovren needs time as did vidic, Evra and Stam. When they first signed for Man Utd they were terrible in every way....... six or seven years on and their mantle piece is full to the brim.


    Skrtel is a footballing schizophrenic. When the atmosphere in the stadium isnt too intense Skrtel performs. But as soon as the pressure is on, Skrtels nerves radiate through the entire back for and causes chaos.


    £30million man Mangala at CIty is also having a difficult start to life by the looks of things. Does that make him rubbish too Mr Aldridge?



    None of the players we have signed are necessarily rubbish they would all fit in well in top sides that needed a grafter with quality. For example Di Livio and DI Matteo were good solid players but you couldnt have a entire team of them like we have. Unfortunately we needed flair not more graft.

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  53. It would help, but I don't think that our lack of a proper DM or a commanding GK excuses consistent and basic defensive errors, nor does it excuse his errant hoofs.

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  54. This is pretty much my point. Lovren has to accept the blame for individual errors, but the fact all of our centre-halves, in various combinations, make these kinds of errors suggests a deeper problem.

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  55. Interesting about the stats, didn't know that. Bielsa systems demand quite a lot of technical variation from the CBs though so he's probably finding it hard to adapt, though he played in a similar system for Soton of course last year.

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  56. Why would he want to be our D coach when he can be the manager of Brighton? I get that we miss him a lot, but you still have to see it from his perspective... we can't just pick up any former player we want as a coach, especially if they are coaching at a higher level than we'll offer... Not to mention being a good defender doesn't make you a good defensive coach.

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  57. Enrique's injured.

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  58. Totally Agree with Jamie- Pick a back four and stick with them for an extended time (esp in prem and champs). Let them play competitively with each other and build a better understanding. and for me it would be manquillo-skrtel-lovren-moreno.

    That actually isn't a bad back 4 at all and it make you think that its not just them its the team's defensive shape/movement as a whole. The keeper gives me a scare at least once per game which needs to be sorted out- my heart is getting too weak for this ;)

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  59. +1


    I was going to write exactly this. Migo is a good shot stopper, but in today's football he is obsolete. And we are waiting to buy a world class DM, until he is available for <$10mn & <$100K/week wage.

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  60. Beyond changes of personnel who will then need time to settle the recipe has to be to play a settled defensive unit. For me, the back six in every game they are available should be:
    Mignolet
    Manquillo
    Skrtel
    Lovren
    Moreno
    Can
    Prior to the season's start, I thought Sakho would be in for Skrtel but injury rules that out. Getting Can into that role of defensive midfielder is a key goal.
    A goalkeeper is needed, maybe Timo Horn and Wisdom can come back when Johnson leaves but stability is vital.
    We need to abandon the two defensive midfielders and play with two forward of Can - Henderson and Gerrard most of the time; Allen, Lallana and Rossiter as alternatives.

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