24 Feb 2015

Lawro raves: 'Brilliant' €12m star has made a 'big difference' to Liverpool

As I'm sure many fans will agree, Brendan Rodgers' decision to switch to a 343 formation is a genuine tactical masterstroke, and a key component of Liverpool's new-found defensive stability is the presence of Emre Can in the back three. Can has now started 15 games in a row, and he's clearly made a difference, but what is it specifically that the German brings to the team?

In a column for the BBC on Monday, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson hailed Can's impact on the team, and explain why he's such a valuable commodity at the back:

"He [Can] has been brilliant, and is able to play either side of Martin Skrtel. He can use the ball, and his passing ability from that position has made a big difference to the team".

Lots of people seem to rave about Can's alleged passing ability, but what do the stats say? Premier League this season (Correct as of 23 Feb 2015)

Can

* Passing accuracy: 82.9%
* Passing accuracy: Opposition half: 68.3%
* 580 passes. 38.6 per game (1 every 1.8 mins)

The team average is 82.8%, so Can is just slightly above that, but his passing accuracy in the opposition half leaves a lot to be desired. Compared to Liverpool's other central defenders:

Skrtel

* Passing accuracy: 90.8%
* Passing accuracy: Opposition half: 69.9%
* 1163 passes. 50.6 per game (1 every 1.7 mins)

Sakho

* Passing accuracy: 89%
* Passing accuracy: Opposition half: 85.3%
* 683 passes. 56.9 per game (1 every 1.5 mins)

Lovren

* Passing accuracy: 86.4%
* Passing accuracy: Opposition half: 71.4%
* 926 passes. 51.4 per game (1 every 1.4 mins)

As you can see, Can's passing accuracy is not on the same level as Skrtel, Sakho, and Lovren, so is it really true that his passing ability 'has made a big difference to the team'? If it's true of Can, is it not also true Skrtel, Sakho, and to a lesser extent, Lovren?

On he subject of Sakho - when it comes to positive passing out defence, he is (arguably) far more effective than Can. Although prone to the odd hospital pass, Sakho is positive and direct, and always tries to pass forward, and into feet.

Can - who cost Liverpool €12m - is doing well for Liverpool, but his impact on the team is overstated. In my view, Liverpool's defensive resurgence is less to do with Can's personal impact, and more to with:

* Employing a system that plays to the strengths of available personnel.
* Playing the same defensive unit as much as possible to promote cohesion/rhythm.
* Solidifying the middle of the pitch by Removing Gerrard from the holding midfield.
* Removing Lovren from the defensive unit.

Picking a back-three/four and sticking with it as much as possible is one of the keys to success, and that's exactly what's happened over the last couple of months.

Plus, if, say, Javier Manquillo had been given a run of 14 consecutive games on the right-side of Skrtel, I'm sure Liverpool's results - and defensive solidity - would still be the same (or similar) as it is now.

Author:



116 comments:

  1. excellent assessment and true
    I'm sure Manquillo or even Toure and Lovern could do it at RB allowing Can to move into the Midfield .

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do not think Can's importance can be assessed on passing accuracy. Skrtel's passing accuracy is so high because he either passes it to one of Can or Sakho or back to Mignolet. Can has lifted pressure of Mignolet by taking control himself. Instead of making the safe back pass to the suspect Mignolet, Can at least takes risks. As a result, Mignolet does not spend too much time on the ball allowing him to focus on other aspects of the game. He has made a difference in that if he does not succeed in making a forward pass, at least he gets the ball away from our half.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with prettig much al of that except for Manquillo. I honest to God can't see who you rate him JK. Can imo Can do much more from CM alongside Henderson with Wisdom on the right of a back three.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wisdom will never make Liverpool 1st team !

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the passing statistics tell a limited story. Skrtel rarely attempts ambitious passes, it's all in the middle of the park and often his is the last touch back to the keeper. Sakho is more direct and yes, he has his sketchy moments, but he absolutely gets the ball forward. Can is different from both of them because he's got those midfield player qualities. What I see him offering is a more intelligent and penetrative passing game. One of the big problems Liverpool had early in the season was that when bringing the ball out from the back it just went nowhere. Lovren and Skrtel were the two CBs and it was sometimes just awful to watch. A good pressing game really upset Liverpool and made it so difficult to even get the ball to the midfield, let alone set up a decent attacking play.


    Can has changed that partially because there are now three outlet points from the back as compared to two. He's also changed it in that he is frequently the guy passing the ball into the middle of the field or further forward down the pitch. He has that little bit more licence to push further forward than Sakho or Skrtel. What he's generally trying to do is get the ball beyond the defensive midfielder to a more attacking player. Sakho more often is passing to the winger or laterally to the defensive midfielder. Can also has the ability to run with the ball although he'll not do that too often as a defender. These are all the qualities of a passing midfield player rather than a defender. I actually don't think Toure could fill this role so well and Lovren is maybe capable but just isn't settling into the team.


    So no, it's not just about Emre Can. But what people are partially impressed with is his versatility and ability to step into a defensive role and be such an effective part of the team. We've also seen him play wide and then when certain subs are made he can step up into the midfield. When he does play through the midfield people are impressed by his good physical presence on the ball, his ability to move past pressure and deliver direct forward passes. All of this from a guy who's just turned 21 ... what's not to like?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is this the real JK? The last 4 or 5 articles of his; that I've read (especially the RS contract issue post) I have 100% agreed with. An Exocet of an article.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love ya mate. Thats just spot on

    ReplyDelete
  8. We just don't know what the outcome would have been with Manqulilo or Lovren in a back three and Toure was not available. What we do know though is that the changes BR made have worked.


    I would not call them a tactical masterstroke though as this might go to BR's head and that could lead to all sorts of difficulties in future ;-/


    It would though be interesting to move Can into midfield on a regular basis to see whether his more progressive though slightly riskier passing would pay off.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Best of the summer buys. Jamie - worried about Sunday - City will have 5 days rest wheras we will have 3 plus gruelling away fixture - B R has a really difficult team selection for both games

    ReplyDelete
  10. But how does this fit into the 'I know what Rodgers wasted last summer' paradigm?

    ReplyDelete
  11. It would be nice to see us get somebody like Camacho or, ahem, Javi Martinez, who have similar skill-sets to Can in that they have the ball control, vision and move-with-ball competence of Can, and can also play as a centre-half when needed. Our back three would suffer without a player that can play like Can in there right now. Maybe Lovren can step up.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think the composure Can has shown at the back has been instrumental in settling our back line and I don't think his impact on the team can be underestimated. Saying that, I called for this tactical switch in about October, simply bacause with the players we have in our squad, we're suited to 3 at the back and dual 10's so the tactical switch was pivotal but Emre has played all over the place including moving into midfield in a couple of games which has made the difference. You won't get that from Manquillo

    ReplyDelete
  13. YearsTeamApps†(Gls)†2012–Liverpool14(0) I wouldn't exactly say never...

    ReplyDelete
  14. I reckon Jaime is aware and agrees with same. Still a worthwhile article as we get to talk about Can; and liverpools resurgence. I'm happy.....hope your happy too ☺

    ReplyDelete
  15. So far, 22 million of more than 117 million well spent on Moreno and Can. Hardly impressive. And it's not just last summer either.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Can seems really calm under pressure would prefer him in cm to Allen. I do think the defense playing better is most down to not playing Gerrard in DM he just didn't have the make up. it bugs me rogers didn't sus that in the summer cos every other manager did. Sakho's playing really well and he has had a big part to play also his passing is excellent. Basically everyone in the squad has improved since united away and I don't think theres one reason for our form but many added together rogers has to get credit cos right now we as good as anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The difference between Sakho and Can compared to the other two is that they try and pass forward far far far more often. Which is why the stats show Can's stats lower. I have tried to find how many passes are made forward by the players and how many sideways or to goalkeeper but cannot as of yet. Perhaps Jaimie could help if he has an opta account? Truth of the matter is we can see that Can is better if these particular stats don't show it exactly. The number of passes per game is very relavant. Sakho and Can usually make many more than Skrtel and Lovren. I think Why these stats show more than anything is how good Sakho is.

    ReplyDelete
  18. How many of cans passes in opposition half have been into say coutinho who turns and makes something happen were as the other defenders are passing down the line maybe thats y cans efforts stick in the mind more than the others

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think we could do with wisdom in the team ;-)
    But I agree I don't think Andre will make but would like to be proved wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Indeed Can over Allen any day. I would go a step further and say if we get Song in the summer, i would like to see him in place of Hendo, WITH CAN keeping his place in that mid

    ReplyDelete
  21. Blasphemy! Thou shalt not criticize Hendo because by extension you are criticizing (is it with an 's' or a 'z'?! I use the Queen's version) King Kenny's transfer nous. You demon.

    That said, I wouldn't be averse to a Can/Nainggolan partnership next year, with Lucas and Pjanic (yes, AND - I am going to donate lots of transfer funds instead of sponsoring schools in my locale) as competition. With hopefully four competitions Hendo will still have a role to play, but I do believe we can improve. He wouldn't drop to the bench automatically if we were to get new midfielders, though.

    *tries to think of pun with 'Song'*

    ReplyDelete
  22. Bit harsh to call Lallana and Markovic failures, too, and Balotelli has shown that he can be useful here.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Absolutely right. Percentage of a number we don't have is obviously only part of the picture. Can makes far more passes and is more courageous in his passing and therefore gets more wrong. But he is taking pressure off Mignolet and thatvs helped him emensely in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Manquillo has the most tackles and interceptions out of the whole team barring Lucas. He is a decent player but not that good at going forward.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think that is a harsh assessment to say the least.

    ReplyDelete
  26. They have Barca Afterward. Will they have an eye on it?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm not calling them failures but you can hardly say they've been tremendously impressive. They've had their moments but for 45 million I think we are allowed to expect more. I'm not saying it can't still happen for them but for now, it hasn't really.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Its all very well looking at the passing statistics but it doesn't take into the account the type of passes each players is looking for. Skrtel generally plays 5-10m passes to the defenders either side of him or a short pass into the deep lying midfielders. Sakho also generally looks for a simpler, shorter pass. Can on the other hand is generally looking longer than the others and playing more ambitious passes so of course his stats aren't going to look quite as good. Besides I wouldn't say it was just his passing which has helped us it is also his calmness on the ball and the willingness to drive forward with the ball and bring it out of defence.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Totally agree Manquillo isn't the answer. Think he could be a decent player in time but never going to be a world beater. I would also like to see Can pushed up alongside Hendo but without and adequate replacement in defence at the moment I can't see this happening anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sorry, but that is just not true. Can makes the *fewest* passes per game of all LFC's defenders. League stats this season:

    Lovren
    926 passes. 51.4 per game (1 every 1.4 mins)

    Sakho
    683 passes. 56.9 per game (1 every 1.5 mins)

    Skrtel
    1163 passes. 50.6 per game (1 every 1.7 mins)

    Can
    580 passes. 38. 6 per game (1 every 1.8 mins)

    The idea that Skrtel only passes backwards or sideways is nonsense, and is not based on anything factual. People are just trying to turn Can into some kind of superstar, so they're marginalising Skrtel and lionising Can.

    The fact is, the *factual* stats show that Can has the lowest passing accuracy of LFC's defenders *and* makes the fewest passes per game.

    If anyone deserves praise for making a big difference it's Sakho, with his direct, positive passing in both halves of the field.

    ReplyDelete
  31. IMO Hendo cannot be replaced. Every team needs a player like him and he will be our future captain (rightly or wrongly) next year so he is pretty much a banker to start most matches.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Where is your evidence that Skrtel only makes sideways passes, and Can makes more ambitious passes?

    Playing inaccurate long-balls (which Can has done quite a few times - he averages 2.3 long-balls per game) is nothing to rave about. Skrtel rarely loses possession, and keeping hold of the ball is priority one on the field.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Agree about Can, and Wisdom is a good shout. Defensively, Manquillo is solid, and that's his primary role. If he was in Can's position now, I have no doubt he'd be doing a good job, and as part of a back-three, attacking quality is not really a priority.


    Playing Manquillo as a wing-back is a non-starter, but on the right side of a back-three, it could (IMO) work.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I confess I don't have any statistics to back up this statement but it is just the general feeling I have from watching us play.


    I'm not particularly trying to defend Can here as I have seen him play quite a few aimless balls upfield but I just feel he does try and be a bit more ambitious on the ball than the other 2. I agree Skrtel does rarely give the ball away and this often gets overlooked as a lot of people have this idea he is not very good on the ball. If my memory serves me correctly he has been one of teams most accurate passers for quite a few seasons now and that includes when Agger was playing who like Can was perceived as being more natural on the ball.

    ReplyDelete
  35. You may ultimately be right about Can; I'm just not sure his passing is the reason he's making a difference for the team.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Not this season no. But I'm hoping for Wisdom or Lovren to come good

    ReplyDelete
  37. Why are the comments on the Sterling article closed? Got that heated did it? :-) All I wanted to say is that if we're to pay him 100k a week now I wonder what we'll have to pay him once he actually learns to shoot.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Agreed, I think it is more down to his composure on and willingness to step up with the ball.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I still have hope for Lovren and feel we should be giving him every chance to succeed as otherwise he is going to be a very expensive failure. We certainly shouldn't have a £20M defender sitting on the bench I know that much. I think his main problem lies in his extreme eagerness to win the ball back, IMO he needs to calm down a bit, stop committing to tackles/challenges he is never going to win and his performances will get better. All the time he keeps trying to win the ball back when there is very little opportunity he is leaving us exposed in behind.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Just got home and started looking in to it myself and was surprised to find the same thing. Even looking at actual minutes played.

    Mate to say it isn't based on anything factual is a stretch if you are not showing any evidence to the contrary. It is my opinion but it is based on what is clearly there for everyone to see. Surely you remember the earlier part of the season with the Lovren to Skrtel to Mignolet repeat passes ad nauseum? Even now he passes more to the other two than forwards. But please I would love to see the stats that say that Skrtel passes forwards as much as his two colleagues. Until it is disproved it is just an opinion (that is all I was saying) that is based on what I see.

    As for Sakho you surely are not trying to convince me? I have been saying the same thing since last year and if you look up the stats for last year (it can be googled through the Liverpool opta stats comparison) Sakho had similar passing stats in opposition half last year. Much better than his colleagues yet it was you suggesting he was not good in that department. Through a quick search now I have become even more impressed with Sakho. But glad your on the Sakho train. Choo choo.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh yeah hy I said it originally was because I looked at two games a couple of games ago and in one Sakho was well ahead of Can by near twenty and Can ahead of Skrtel by ten and in another game the Sakho Can roles where reversed but Skrtel's was still on the least. So my mistake was judging it on a small sample size. Hands up it was a mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Yet it's okay to buy a money chasing Falcao for 12 million who's only in it for galactic wages

    ReplyDelete
  43. Just goes to show how good Sakho is then too with his 3.3 long balls a game yet such a high passing %.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I may have rose tinted spes on here but most of Can's long balls do seem intended to free a runner rather than a blam up field. They don't come off enough.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I don't particularly rate Manquillo as a modern full-back, but I agree that he could do a decent job there -- as could Johnson probably. Rodgers clearly likes to have one of the back three in this system have something a bit different to the others. One thing that makes Can the best pick there though is that he's not bothered about physical pressure from tight marking. He just shrugs it off. Can't quite see Manquillo or Johnson handling that with the same aloof authority.

    ReplyDelete
  46. For me it's not his passing accuracy like Lawro says that has made the difference. Apart from his hair and relaxed demeanour, both of which I love, it's the bombarding forward runs from defence to attack. It's more cavalier than Hansen/Agger bringing it forward, he leads a charge. That impresses me the most. He is defensively solid, not the best but good. It happens to coincide that he moves to RCB of a back 3 and our performances/results improve, that's the system. But Can gets the most attention with his change of position how he handles it and being so young. It's distorted view in his influence. But he has been fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Yes, I can't believe there's not been more mention made of Can's hair in this discussion. Also his stubble, facial features, and statuesque physique.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Robo Lazars, you're absolutely spot on regarding Can's supplementary ability to escape from the pressure. This has given us much more space when counter attacking and he's, after Agger, our best man to lead the ball out of defence. (could stats measure space?)


    His stature, his calmness, his ability on the ball really belies his age. I reckon we don't need a Song, Can is our Matic.

    PS: my first post here, hello from Singapore!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love Lallana so much that what you say here causes me actual physical pain.

    ReplyDelete
  50. There are pass maps available that you can look at. Skrtel makes a very high number of lateral passes and of course that's how it should be, he's a central defender in the middle of a 3 man back line. That's not to say that he's not good at what he does. Can and Sakho play in wider positions and it's part of their role to move the ball forward.

    ReplyDelete
  51. LOAN Falcao for 12 million you mean

    ReplyDelete
  52. In fairness I feel that Lovren also benefits from playing three at the back. The games he played recently he seemed better to me. Not rock solid. But better.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Don't worry he is being criticised for stalling on signing a new contract and being greedy.

    As soon as he signs you and others can say well contracts are not worth the paper they are written on and he'll be back in a year or two holding the club to ransom again.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Falcao has actually achieved something in football. Sterling is still very much at the beginning of his career and imo somewhat overestimating his value to this team. Now first and foremost the kid is a very good football player and I'd like it if we could hang on to him. That said, we could drop him to the bench and not even notice it and providing we bring in another top striker this summer, we could do it even more easily next season. Last year was his breakthrough season and that was all about Suarez and Sturridge. This year is his first year in which he is actually becoming (not there yet) a solid contributor to our team and he's become more important. But 100k a week? Not quite there yet. Gerrard didn't get that until he was well into his career with us and Sterling is no Gerrard.

    ReplyDelete
  55. It's the way his hair flows in the wind as he canters gracefully across the pitch in slow motion and soft focus with the music rising to a crescendo


    Oops sorry where was I?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Haha that's exactly what I'm thinking about Sterling

    ReplyDelete
  57. I think Lucas is very important in this issue as well. Earlier on in the season, teams cornered Gerrard out forcing Skrtel and Lovren to continuously pass to each other. Lucas is not easily left out of the game and is great tactically in that he finds space to receive the ball which has helped all three players.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I know the ridiculous way he keeps scoring those "lucky" scuffed match winning goals.


    He is bound to get found out soon though.......

    ReplyDelete
  59. While we're on it, Jerome Sinclair is starting to impress in the face, hair and beard department: really showing some maturity and authority, as well as great personal abilities with a shaver in his hand.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Where can I see those bud? Always looking for a new stat source.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I can't agree with that mate. In possession there is not a great deal of difference between Lucas and Gerrard when passing out from the back. Lovren and Skrtel would gladly pass to him ahead of Lucas I would imagine. O the turnover etc there may be an issue. My opinion is that neither Lovren nor Skrtel have the vision of Sakho or Can, they play percentage passes and that is fine to some extent but we need more penetration and those new additons offer that.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I agree Sinclair seems to be really evolving into a mature look and frankly his shaving technique has improved rapidly. Unfortunately I dont think he has the same potential with his head hair as Can or Hendo. But the mind boggles on how few people care about the aesthetics of our models....I mean players, I'm looking at a new spice boy era. Can as lead obviously.

    ReplyDelete
  63. So Falcoa is worth around three times as much in wages as Ssterling and a £12m loan fee beacuse he has "achieved something in football"? One problem I have about what he has achieved is that he didn't do much for Monaco apart from enjoy the tax benefits.

    ReplyDelete
  64. It's the way he runs towards me in a daffodil field and picks me up and twirls me around and then we fall to the floor laughing.....and then........

    Yeah lets talk about something else.

    ReplyDelete
  65. As long as they don't wear white suits.

    ReplyDelete
  66. In addition to Çan's calm confidence,I'm also convinced that the increase in pressing and attacking play has helped our defense immeasurably.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Absolutely. Problem with pundits is they are not managers. They want to say something easy, they don't want to have to think of all of the different things that contribute to why a team is doing well. It hurts their heads. Truth is a formation is meaningless without the right players to play it and vice versa.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Yes, Hendo has really been delivering, though I've been very disappointed with the performances of Coutinho and Sterling this year, whose matching flat-tops last season seemed to promise so much. I draw a lot of encouragement from Moreno's little beard, however, and hope to see him develop perhaps a mullet or undercut in to match it in due course. At present he seems to happy to play a supporting role, but he really needs to establish his own identity, I feel.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I still have nightmares about those suits, I've even convinced myself they played the match in them too.....gives me the shivers.

    ReplyDelete
  70. The lad's on fire.

    ReplyDelete
  71. I think Moreno is trying and if Can hadn't really upped his technique he might stand out some more, but I feel he could make the facial hair aspect his own. A bit more care taken and he can really get there. And I'm with you Robo Couts and Sterling have been a huge let down, no co-ordination no detail at all. It's like they gave up. Maybe Can scared them with his abilities in all departments.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I think that depends on how tonight's result goes. If they win 1-0/2-1 or even a draw I think they will be keen to take advantage on focus on next weeks game. If they lose 3-0 or something I think they will look at Premier League more. The impression I get is they want a big European team standing a'la Madrid, Barca, Bayern. With the right result tonight I think we could get something at the weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  73. English football just got that TV deal representing a 70% increase on the previous deal, which is in money terms an increase of something like £2.5bn. Most of that money will go to the big clubs, like Liverpool, which command the TV audience. What are the players and their business teams supposed to do? Demand that the tea lady gets a pay rise?

    The clubs *have to* reward the players commensurately with their importance to the securing of that deal: and the most marketable players -- or, to put it another way, the most valuable brands -- are, in that context, among the most important assets the league has. In those terms, some players are worth more than whole clubs -- which is the bigger brand: Steven Gerrard or Burnley? Wayne Rooney or Leicester City? Cesc Fabregas or Stoke?

    The Sterling brand, which Liverpool, like England, are keen to use as one of their principle "faces" on promotional materials, is one of the hottest around. Sterling should be rewarded appropriately according to his value: which is to be calculated not just on his abilities as a footballer, but as the business owner of one of English football's most valuable brands. Sterling ought to be rewarded appropriately according to his value to his employer, which in his case should make him among the top 10 or 20 earners in the Premier League. Anything less would be, straightforwardly, unfair.

    ReplyDelete
  74. In all honesty I thought he was incredibly shaky against Southampton, especially in the first half. It was a very strange game though, seen us play a lot better and lose but I guess its the results that matter, just ask United fans.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I feel your criticism of Couts is a little bit harsh for me he's doing a fine job. Sterling on the other hand well the less said the better, he really does leave a lot to be desired. Another who I feel could certainly contribute more is Skrtel, the lack of anything does cause me sleepless nights. As for Lazar, I mean seriously come on lad sort it out letting the team down big style.

    ReplyDelete
  76. If we were to judge Lazar by the standards set by, for example, Sturridge, or Can, then he would be nothing short of a disgrace. But he's just a lad, and you can't deny that the raw material is there. Those eyebrows, for example, are screaming out for a line or two.

    ReplyDelete
  77. They don't play return leg with Barca until March 18 and Leicester at home on Mar 4. They will be full strength with the advantage of having played a home European fixture.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Falcao doesn't play for us. If he did, he wouldn't be on those wages. Sterling does play for us and Gerrard is our top earner at 150k. So taking that into account, I don't see how Sterling, who has signed two new deals in the last two years should be making 100k a week.

    ReplyDelete
  79. How about lowering prices for the fans? Why should the greedy footballs and management always get the whole pie. Sports in general is getting to the point where the average guys just doesn't care as much, passion for sports seems to be on the decline. Most people I know are deciding to do more productive things than worship a bunch of greedy ***holes

    ReplyDelete
  80. I don't have to wait for him to sign to think that.

    ReplyDelete
  81. And that dark chocolate voice!

    ReplyDelete
  82. Really? It's been changed to the old way of playing the two legs in two weeks? Us being out of it for so long means I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  83. On Sakho. He sometime concerns, sometimes makes me laugh with his Bambi on ice impersonation as he tries to hold off the opposition with his arse. But his passing abilities with one good foot, are impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Always interesting to hear the view from North Korea.


    JUST KIDDING.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Probably the best way to go. It is only the most important of unimportant things after all.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Gradually the Sakho myths are being seen for such. He is no more one footed than others. We have some near two footed players in our team but Sakho is not the most one footed at all.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Beg to differ, Jay Jay. I like Sakho (in case I gave the opposite impression) but can't recall him ever passing with his right foot. However, I'll always stand to be corrected, so will watch even closer fno.

    ReplyDelete
  88. I could point you to a cross field accurate ball he played in the Soto game. He heavily prefers his left but when necessary he will us his right and you no what it's not a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Agree with your last point and refer you to mine in original post.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Nicolas Chamberlain6:51 pm, February 24, 2015

    Lallana is class. No doubt about that. He had a difficult start but he is showing why Rodgers was desperate to sign him. Markovic had his flashes but still hasn't convinced me.
    Balotelli and Lovren are a different story but even these two aren't total flops either.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Nicolas Chamberlain6:52 pm, February 24, 2015

    Wisdom is not good enough. Not even close.

    ReplyDelete
  92. It's been that way for R16, so that EL can catch up with CL for the QF stage.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Completely disagree with you JK. Skrtel and Sakho make a lot of short lateral passes whereas Can isn't afraid to maintain or even increase game tempo when he senses opportunity. He is also a FAR better rusher from any of the positions BR has put him in. Plus, he is not afraid of a little contact and can be overt and a bit covert / sly about it as well. I think HE HAS made a big difference. Think back to Glen Johnson who probably has 6 forward passes all season, probably the same number as Joe (the welsh Xavi) Allen.

    ReplyDelete
  94. I think Lazer has set the unrealistic expectation of being the key 'long wavy locks' man but just doesn't have the stature and volume to pull it off, however with some training and quality mirror time i see the raw materials there for a fine addition. Don't get me started on Skertel, it's like he doesn't even care anymore, not even a moustache or anything, it's really frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
  95. You guys need serious counseling on this issue......

    ReplyDelete
  96. Last paragraph absolutely nails it.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Haha touche.


    Notice, I spell Sterling with an 'e'

    ReplyDelete
  98. Methinks we're begining to care too much! I, for one, have taken to flicking the computer off when the wife enters the room!

    ReplyDelete
  99. There both at least good but one is excellent. ;p

    ReplyDelete
  100. I know, but JK's premise is, 'Sterling is a greedy little boy who cares for absolutely nothing about the club. Sell him'. That really contradicts with his logic of buying a gravely out of form striker, who probably cares little for Liverpool, and whom just wants enormous wages. JK has always been against providing exceptions for more important, accomplished players, so he should treat Falcao no differently to Sterling.

    ReplyDelete
  101. I get them from Squawka. Not sure how reliable they are but it's free and they seem to do really good per-game and per-player analysis. If you do a google search for e.g. "Joe Allen Squawka" the first result is usually the one you want and it should show up the current season with a game by game option where you can select each game and "Go To Match". You can then view things like the passing maps and action areas. I'm particularly impressed with the pass maps that show the successful and unsuccessful passes made. Don't tell JK but actually you can see that Can attempts plenty of forward passes to advanced players and those are usually the ones that don't find their mark. If I'm honest I think people like him because he's trying those passes, not necessarily because he makes them.

    ReplyDelete
  102. There's a difference between *making* forward passes, and *trying to make* forward passes. Can tries and fails a lot of the time, which leads to lost possession, which then leads to LFC being under pressure. I'd rather have Skrtel making safe passes but keeping possession than Can trying ambitious passes and losing possession.

    I'm sure Xavi also makes a lot of lateral passes, but the key is that he retains possession.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Agreed. One of the things Liverpool suffers from in the Rodgers era is deep lying midfielders and defenders giving away possession with our attackers already in the opposition half. That's when the team ability to press is lost and the defensive frailties of the holding midfielders are exposed. If it continues then eventually fans will get tired of Can trying these kinds of passes and they'll start to see him in a different light.


    The only possible defence I can put forward is that this may simply be his role and the team may expect that he will try these ambitious passes and therefore they are set up to switch into defence if it doesn't work. That might sound unlikely but the way I see the formation working is that when an attack is built up on one side the pitch, the players on the other side of the pitch tend to relax deeper. So if Can is pressing a long pass on the right hand side then the left side winger will be in a defensive position, the holding midfielder will be in the centre of the field and the second controlling midfielder will either be the guy looking to take the pass OR will be in a supporting role behind the player for whom the pass is intended.


    In my view it's part of the reason why the 3 man back line works so well. It's not just about defence, it's very much about building from the back and controlling possession. When a defender is making a through-ball pass then the midfielders are free. Turnovers are typically most damaging when a player is caught in possession, not when an ambitious pass into the opposition half goes wrong. So if Can doesn't make the pass then it's not the same as when a midfielder is dispossessed and the rest of the team is suddenly exposed. Just as long as the pass reaches the intended mark i.e. in the opposition half there is far less risk involved.


    None of that is to argue that Can is a particularly outstanding player or that anything he's done is specially good for the team. I think people just like watching him play. He has a go. Fans like that.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Totally agree. Plus, as you say, it's not just about last summer. Rodgers' transfers overall leave a lot to be desired.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Nice one mate. I agree with you about Can. I am not quite with Jaimie as i think.it is mostly about his composure. He can work himself out of pressure without putting a teammate in it. That's not always through passing. That can be invaluable at times.

    ReplyDelete