14 Apr 2015

Lawro insists: 'Outstanding' Prem star is 'certainly better' than Raheem Sterling at right wing-back

Brendan Rodgers' December switch to 343 literally transformed Liverpool's season, but despite the significant improvement in the Reds' performances, the right wing-back position remains an ongoing problem for the team. LFC simply do not have a player in the squad who's suited to playing the role, but Anfield legend Mark Lawrenson believes it's time to give Glen Johnson a try in the position.

In his weekend column for the Liverpool Echo, Lawro conceded that Johnson has 'some problems defensively', but then added:

"We’ve played both Lazar Markovic and Raheem Sterling as a wing-back, so why not Johnson? He’s certainly better defensively than those two".

Brendan Rodgers reverted to a four at the back for tonight's 2-0 victory over Newcastle, but if the 343 returns for upcoming games, then Johnson - described last week by Rodgers as 'outstanding' - is clearly the ideal candidate for the right wing-back role.

I've made the same argument several times over the last couple of months: playing Johnson at RWB means that Liverpool's most attacking players are utilised further up the pitch where they can the most damage.

I personally don't want to see Sterling, Ibe, or even Markovic spending 60% of their time tracking back and tackling; they're wasted in the energy-sapping RWB position, and it (arguably) impacts on their attacking effectiveness.

Going forward, if Liverpool employ the 343 formation, I'd like to see the following defensive line-up (assuming all players are fit):

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

------- Can ----------- Skrtel ---------- Sakho

---- Johnson ---------------------------- Moreno

OR:

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

------- Can ----------- Skrtel ---------- Sakho

-- Manquillo ---------------------------- Johnson

And Lawro is right - according to OPTA stats, Johnson is far more solid defensively than both Sterling and Markovic. Hard to believe, I know, but the stats don't lie (!

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43 comments:

  1. Missed the game, watched the highlights. Saw Sterling's first goal, proclaimed that he finally learned how to finish...and then I saw the sitter that he missed.

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  2. Aside from the goal, his finishing and perhaps final ball was lacking in general. Highlights the pressing need for a finisher.

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  3. If Glenn Johnson stays another season I will take a plane to England and rob however many banks it takes and personally pay him in cash to just leave.

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  4. We could seriously go out and buy ANY of the other right backs in the league, I honestly don't think there is a worse one... I'm just looking through the starting RBs of the bottom half teams, and I just cant find anyone that I would say Glen is better than...

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  5. Stats only tell half the story he's past his sell by date offers very little going forward these days

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  6. Just watched a compilation of Coutinho's touches vs Toon... Wow... I mean we all know the kid is good, but wow. Makes me feel a whole lot more secure regarding the Sterling debacle, that's for sure. He will be in the Hazard/Silva category before long, just gotta give him a little bit more bulk and get him scoring with regularity, but thats about all I can fault him on!

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  7. Johnson gets a lot of unwarranted flak. Sure, he's lost pace since his injuries a couple of years ago but he played well last night, and not for the first time this season.

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  8. Raheem wants a KOP SONG - 2 jump to mind immediately - BEATLES - GIVE ME MONEY -THATS WHAT I WANT and Abba - MONEY MONEY MONEY. Dont try and kid us Raheem - SIGN THE CONTRACT - THEN WE MIIGHT BELIEVE IT

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  9. The Burney left back looks really useful - very impressive against Arsenal

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  10. Eat The Rich - Aerosmith, Life's A Gas - T Rex, Missed Again - Phil Collins!

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  11. Why dont we leave the taunting of our own players to opposition fans? The kids got enough to deal with, opposition constantly on him, media constantly on him, it doesn't make sense for his own fans to heckle him as well.
    It's all very easy to poke fun and assume the worst, but I think we can have the guys back. I wouldnt be surprised if his signing a new contract hinged on the fans reaction to this whole fiasco. He doesnt sign a contract, sees if the fans stick by him, support him in a massive turning point in his young life, or if they resort to singsong insults.

    I must admit I liked the song from the kop aimed at his agents, but agents dont play for the team. Sterling does. For how long? We'll see.

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  12. Is that Trippier? I saw him earlier on in the season, looks like a quality player

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  13. The right sided position in Brendan Rodgers' 3-4-3 is not a wing back, it's a winger. Can plays as a fairly conventional narrow full-back. The wide player on that side is not expected to defend 1-1 or to cover space defensively as a wing-back would, dropping in to make a flat back 5 when the team is under pressure. The left sided player is to a much greater degree part of the defensive unit.

    The right-sided midfielder doesn't do more defending than he'd be expected to do in a 4-4-2. That's why Johnson, if he plays, is more likely to play in Can's position than in Ibe's, should we return to that system when we have a few more players handy.

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  14. A lot of people don't know what they are talking about when they write him off. It's just group-think. Johnson's a fine player. Not what he was before his injuries, when he had a real spring of acceleration, but he's a more than competent full-back.

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  15. Trippier is fantastic for Burnley but he wouldn't have the quality in his game to be a success for Liverpool. He makes too many errors in his passing from positions where a top team would expect to retain the ball or even to be progressive. But he has some very nice attributes, I agree.

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  16. Saying Johnson is better is utter nonsense. From which evidence? Am I the only one that watch the match? I couldn't count how many times he gave the ball away and let me not talk of his positioning

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  17. Jaime it's so annoying reading an article like this, making some fans to believe what's blatantly false

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  18. What do you think was behind the Hatton Garden raid eh?

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  19. I bet (hope) he's getting much worse from his team mates and the tea lady at Liverpool

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  20. He missed two that Ash said he could have put away with his left testicle......... and he usually favours the right one!

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  21. What's blatantly false?

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  22. My right one hangs lower and is considerably larger and heavier; it can be swung more easily and with greater power and accuracy:-). Far more tricky skill with the left :-)

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  23. Haha! You guys :'0D

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  24. Yes check out the you tube clips. Hint it helps if you have good resolution and zoom facility.

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  25. Yes, I regularly post videos of myself on Youtube.

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  26. I heard that nitrous actually makes up 50% of Raheem's diet. That's how he is able to run so fast.

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  27. He said Johnson should be above ibe & Sterling at RWB which baffles me, i know they are both wasted their but they are still miles better..Johnson loses the ball in his own half more than possession Newcastle had, had it been a strong opponent we could well pay the price

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  28. And thee was I thinking the squeaky voice was due to a lack of testicles which also explained those misses last night.

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  29. I agree Johnson is a liability and Sterling & Ibe may provide a different outlet as RWB.


    But Johnson is far bigger liability at RB in my opinion.


    I heard recently someone (a commentator) say Johnson has been one of the worlds best right backs and I nearly choked.

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  30. Group-think. Spot on, without being disrespectful. He is still a fine player, yes. Sometimes in the opposition half he seems to dither on the ball, but it's a strategic weakness that he finds himself without obvious options to pass to. Just the latest in a long line of scapegoats.

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  31. Yup. I've played as a 'wing-back' and it's definitely more what Moreno does than what Markovic and Ibe have done. Nice observation.

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  32. Well, you two form your own group think. In the meantime, watch the game again to see the following repeated regularly:
    Johnson fails to block a cross by standing 5 yards away from crosser.
    Johnson passes to opposition under no pressure
    Johnson runs forward, turns, passes backwards( and sometimes into touch)
    What you won't see:
    Johnson beats his player and produces fine cross
    Johnson repeatedly stops crossing player with great block
    Johnson plays decent 1-2

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  33. Johnson has been a defender his whole career. Perhaps a bit lazy on the defensive side, but a defender all the same. Sterling has been a FW or a Winger. It's not a stretch to assume the defender is better at defending. He's getting old and perhaps losing passion, hence the mistakes, but surely he at least knows what to do rather than Raheem learning as he goes.


    The whole point of placing Johnson (or Manquillo or Flanagan) at RWB instead of Raheem or Ibe is to free them from their defensive duties. Sterling has been much, much more impressive from an attacking role, and is arguable our most effective attacking player aside coutinho. Shunting him into the RWB position doesn't give him the freedom or space he needs to attack.

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  34. Regularly? Does that mean every day or every 5 minutes?

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  35. Hey Benji since when did you become the righteous police, I was having a bit of light hearted banter, don't you dare to assume the mantle of moderator with my post, and even if I wanted to be critical of Raheem Sterling I will certainly exercise my right to do so!

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  36. You may be right about stronger opposition punishing lost possession from Johnson, but I thought some of Johnson's attacking link up play last night was a reminder as to why some people think he was/is a world class wingback.

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  37. look, this is a game of football, not pool. You don't hit a ball with a ball.

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  38. The cross-blocking is a problem, yes, but people make him out to be the worst fullback in our history, which is far from the truth. All our players have weaknesses.

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  39. Not saying anything of the sort, but for his wage and experience he falls far far short of the required standard and his performances have deteriorated to the point where he should be a last resort. Watch last nights game again and you will see what I mean. One pass into touch defied description.

    People keep on about Hendo and Sterling but the real travesty is that we have been paying Johnson c£120k reportedly for a number of years and he hasn't been good for around 3 seasons now

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  40. Solution to the right wing back problem, Sam Byram.

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  41. Did you see the control from Hendo's cross, absolutely brilliant,, His first touch/control has always been an issue, but lastnight you would have thought it was his best feaure...

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  42. I think I've got a fiver spare, sure others will chip in, so don't go doing anything crazy...We're all in this together...YNWA.

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  43. If you could see my face, you would see a smile that only a loving mother/father could give their not so bright child when he learns to wipe his own arse....

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