19 Apr 2015

Tactical Catastrophe: Rodgers reveals 6 reasons behind Villa changes; explains 'idea' behind Balotelli sub

In December, Brendan Rodgers pulled off a tactical masterstroke with his switch to a 343 formation (credit where credit's due), but his tactical limitations were cruelly exposed today against the the might of Aston Villa. Try as he might, Rodgers simply couldn't conceive of a tactical plan to triumph over a team currently languishing near the Premier League relegation zone, and after the game, he made an attempt to explain his constant changed throughout the game.

Liverpool started the game with Rodgers' preferred 343 formation, but during the match, he:

* Switched to a back-4 in the first half.
* Moved Coutinho - who scored a goals through the middle - out wide.
* Moved Gerrard into an ill-advised defensive-midfield role.
* Brought Balotelli on as a loan-forward in the second half.
* Moved Can into central midfield late in the second half.
* Reverted back to 343 in the latter stages of the game.

In his post-match press conference, Rodgers conceded that Villa 'were the better team', and offered two main reasons for his endless changes:

* Too 'passive' throughout the game, both in attack and defence.
* 'Movement and the sharpness' missing from the players.

Rodgers then outlined the 'idea for the changes':

* 'Spark some energy and some flow into the game'.
* To get a 'little bit more control of the game'
* To give 'more thrust and the energy to go forward'
* To get 'domination of the ball' and 'better possession'

Rodgers' changes abjectly failed to have any positive impact on the game, and it's fair to say that his tinkering probably cost Liverpool the game:

* Gerrard as a DM: Why? Rodgers has clearly learned nothing over the last year? Villa played at a high tempo, and Gerrard just didn't have the legs to keep up. This was obvious, though, so why make that particular change? It was a negligent, catastrophic decision, and it led to the Reds being overrun in midfield. Additionally, Gerrard's failure to win a header in the centre circle led to the Villa counter-attack that ended with the second goal.

* Balotelli is not a lone striker! This was categorically proven in the first half of the season, and the Italian himself has complained about playing there. If the idea was to give 'more thrust and energy' up-front, then why play Balotelli there, who provides little 'thrust' or 'energy'. Why not simply play Sterling through the middle, a tactic that has worked well on several occasions?

* Coutinho is most effective in a central role, yet soon after scoring a goal *from a central position*, Rodgers shifted him out wide, where's he less effective. It just beggars belief, and Coutinho was a peripheral figure for the rest of the game.

Rodgers derailed the first half of the season with his insistence on playing the likes of Gerrard, Coutinho, and Balotelli in the wrong positions, and when he finally stumbled onto the 343 (months after the issue was self-evident) it seemed as if he'd finally realised the error of his ways.

As today's game shows, though, that's clearly not the case. It was amateur hour at Wembley today, and Rodgers' inability effect a game against a relegation-threatened team is a giant red-flag.

Rodgers' intentions were honourable, and in the past, his in-game tactical changes have worked out well; ultimately, though, today represents tactical regression on a grand scale, and it may have sealed his fate at Anfield.

Author:



82 comments:

  1. I would like to comment on few things about today's FA cup result but it will sound repetitive. FSG will sack BR after the end of this season, no doubt.

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  2. rodgers need to go now.. even kenney dalgish prove to be better than him.
    Not in the history a liverpool manager didnt won a cup in 3 years managing a club.. today rodgers break that record.
    Rafa technical work will progress liverpool

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  3. Pablo Von Mooneyo8:54 pm, April 19, 2015

    the Brodge seems to me to be an excellent coach, but a very average manager. the most important aspect to management is obviously getting the best out of the players you have AND bringing in better players to improve the first 11. he's had over 210 Million to spend in that last 2 years and his performance in the transfer market has been abjectly poor. if i was FSG i wouldnt trust him or anyone on the fabled transfer committee with another single penny. that 210M in the right hands shud have us challenging for the title by now.... we are MILES off, in fact i think we're no better squad wise than when Kenny was in charge. meanwhile the top-4 get stronger every year

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  4. I did not see the match, but judging by the tweets /comments, the match must have been a catastrophe huh!

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  5. Broken a few records while he's been at LFC....

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  6. Can't argue with that.

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  7. I agree with everything you've written. BR gets credit for finishing second last season, but IMO it was Suarez all along. BR has been so short sighted that he didn't prioritise getting a decent replacement for Suarez and he kept going after undersized midfielders (except Can).
    The truth is that BR doesn't attract world class players, as they prefer to play for more established and proven managers. So FSG should think seriously about the situation and make a tough decision once the season comes to an end.

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  8. Well well well...

    Time to move on and make drastic changes from top to the bottom. 'Experiment Rodgers' has completely failed.It's not a disaster, it's a fiasco !
    This guy has brought an absolute shame to the club and the fans alike. Let's reflect on his CV of 3-4 years -

    1. 0 trophies
    2. Shambolic transfers
    3. Erratic formations
    4. tactical disasters
    5. a squad where everyone looks like a passenger
    6. counter productive praises
    7. unwarranted arrogance

    This guy is clueless and certainly can't do any better. Last season's finish was just a flash in the pan which was made possible by the genius of SUAREZ . I repeat - Genius of Suarez.
    In this season too he was able to pull out few victories just by individual brilliance of Coutinho et al.

    Tactically this guy is a nightmare.
    Time and again his team and formation have been demolished by better sides.His tactical naivety has been badly exposed in all the crucial ties.

    - Team was sodomized in Champions league
    - thrashed in Europa league
    - thrown out of FA cup and Carling cup by lower ranked teams
    - whipped by every top team in the EPL

    Klopp is available ,and FSG should waste no time in getting him.I think only Klopp is the one who can think of working with LFC.

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  9. To be honest, I think it was as simple as he handed in the wrong teamsheet and formation... I think it was nothing more than an accident, he gt the 3 and the 4 mixed up....

    Seriously though, as much as I support Brendan keeping his job, after todays woeful performance from him and the players, I would find it hard to argue the case for him...

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  10. he will break record others will win trophies.. what you want ?

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  11. When watching LFC I am constantly asking the players to get the ball forward. Too many sideways or back passes. Need to change the tactics and manager now.

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  12. If I recall correctly weren't we the first team to score 100+ goals in the prem and not win it since 1966?

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  13. Pablo Von Mooneyo9:19 pm, April 19, 2015

    i think the reality that we find ourselves in now is that we need one of two things to happen to get us back to the top of the league and Europe.


    1. New owners. im talking Man City type owners that have the wealth to pay top end wages and transfers. With the champs league money doubling next year we just cannot compete with the current top-4 and the reality is that gap will continue to get bigger the longer we're out of it. the likelihood of this happening tho id say is close to ZERO.


    2. A genius of a manager with an eye for spotting talent a year or two b4 anyone else. im thinking of a Wenger type, who seemed to sign 5 or 6 world-class players when he first took the reigns at arsenal that no-one had heard of. becuz make no mistake this team is short of at least 5-6 world class players atm, in fact id say currently we have none. failing this we at least need someone who is considered a big name in the game and has the influence to attract decent players. BR doesnt fit the bill for either of these descriptions.

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  14. Agreed again. I'd love to see De Boer in charge of Liverpool. He would bring some attractive intelligent football and attract big name players. He would also help with the youth system.

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  15. I think Brendon's going to get the chop. Likeable coach, like him to get until Christmas but don't see it happening. 2nd to 6th/5th is too much of a regression. American owners are a brutal bunch. Sure a few calls will be made to Klopp and others soon. Will they trust Brendon with another 50-80m??? Don't think so.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  16. Pablo Von Mooneyo9:28 pm, April 19, 2015

    im praying they've contacted Klopp already!!!! PRAYING!!! he'll take some convincing and im sure theres other big names looking at him, hopefully not Man fucking City or we've no chance! at the very least he can attract players from Germany that wud easily improve the quality of the team across the board.

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  17. Pablo Von Mooneyo9:31 pm, April 19, 2015

    im praying they've contacted Klopp already!!!! PRAYING!!! he'll take some convincing and im sure theres other big names looking at him, hopefully not Man City or we've no chance! at the very least he can attract players from Germany that wud easily improve the quality of the team across the board.

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  18. He clearly respect the club and it's legacy. If Man City are not considering of him , then I think LFC has a real chance of getting him.
    I believe this picture has a lot to say. Hopefully :)

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  19. I think F S G will give B R one more year - IF HE TAKES 16 POINTS OUT OF THE LAST 18 TO PLAY FOR

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  20. It's not going to happen.Period

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  21. In fairness to the owners there has been a lot of money spent. It has just been spent so badly. .

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  22. You're having a laugh if you think we can tie Chelsea. Hell he even said himself he has given up on the EPL this season, the chance we have of beating Chelsea is the equivalent QPR have of beating 1958 Brazil.

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  23. Agree with all this .... and more ! BR today showed that he is not a Big match manager and was 'out managed ' by a more rookie adversary . Don't know what it is but lately our team have not only lacked the testes but the skill to compete ..... win the ball , keep the thing and move it to the opposing goal ! What more motivation do you need than getting to the FA Cup FINAL ? Villa wanted it more that's for sure .... Could it be that THEY have lost confidence in their manager ? It will be interesting to see what our owners are all about this Summer .... whether they are happy to accept mediocrity or get serious about competing with the Big boys . Sorry to say but I fear Brendan will not be sleeping too easily tonight !

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  24. Under FFP you can only spend what you earn so no point changing if you're wanting a sugar Daddy.

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  25. To be fair a lot of the Brazil side from 58 are dead or infirm so I would not necessarily totally dismiss QPR's chances of at least a draw.........

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  26. Getting rid of BR would be the easy option I think he should be made to stay until he puts things right.

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  27. With the exception of Pele; he's very firm for a man of his age.

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  28. Maybe a season with a DOF might improve him, maybe he has too much on his plate

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  29. It's really nice of you to remember my posts, I appreciate that. A welcome surprise. I basically agree about that leadership, that ability to find something extra in the big moments. We don't have that in the side. It's not a matter of experience though I don't think. It's something more basic. You can see straight away that Grealish has it. Gerrard and Rooney had it when they were teenagers. It's not a common quality, and it can't be learned or picked up, I don't think.

    I tell you what though, there's also a downside with those players -- the "if only they could play like that every week..." feeling. Had that plenty with Gerrard over the middle part of his career.

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  30. BR has 6 more matches to play - 18 points & MCity losing 5 points; otherwise we 'll have a new Manager. I know, lot of journalists are selling "stability", but owners don't discuss with journalists, what target they have set for their Manager after spending over 500mn pound.


    Instead of new players, can we have a discussion on potential replacement? I have not much idea of who is available or who is going to be available - Rafa? AVB? Pelegrino? Klopp? Ancellotti?

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  31. Sorry to put the knife in.. but who's fault is that?

    Especially after 3 years and £200m spent..?

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  32. Here's the kicker..

    By keeping BR we will perennially come up short. FULL STOP.

    And by changing course we alas will be re-building but hopefully re-building with the hope of winning something.

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  33. And what - make us poor fans suffer in the meantime?

    If you give him until Xmas, and he starts the season like he has in the past 3 seasons.. then we'll be out of touch with the new guy playing for scraps....

    Very very short term thinking.

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  34. Good shout.. and good alternative to Klopp/Rafa

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  35. Klopp would be a steal and a huge statement of intent. He holds all the cards and it's all about what he wants to do. Unfortunately, as one SkySports pundit put it, he can go to a City, Real, etc and not lose his image as a great coach...he can at liverpool. So theres a good chance he comes to us after trying his hand elsewhere
    One name that nobody is bringing up is Frank De Boer. Love what he's doing there and has a name that can attract players. But I'll have to say my #1 is the ever polorizing Rafa...he knows how to win trophies and I kinda miss winning those
    More importantly is supporting the team as we can still mathematically get 4th. But your point still stands, even with 4th do we trust BR to attract the players we need to move to the next level? Its a no from me...

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  36. Alas BR showed to the vast majority of fans his complete lack of tactical nous today which quite a few of us have been pointing out for a while. This is not a happy day, but a crescendo was needed, and BR has unfortunately now hailed his leaving taxi.

    Hopefully now the club can move forward as one, whenever the change at the top happens..

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  37. The way we played is not my only concern ,but (sorry to ask ) would any manager minus BR pay 20m for markovic? I still find it very difficult to understand. Over 100m spent this summer no one is making a significant impact .I'm a big fan of BR but we can't continue like this

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  38. No need to be sorry to ask here but doubt if you will find anyone comes up with an answer ....

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  39. He has to take his share of the responsibility. But soon many players didn't play. Are people really saying he didn't do ANYTHING right and it's all his fault?

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  40. Here's the one thing that we all need to keep in mind after today's game with people here stating that FSG must be thinking they have to get rid of BR now:


    Are you claiming that if BR won today, he'd still have a job come the end of the season?

    We're going to determine our manager's fate based upon one game?


    If you're not happy with the manager's performance, one game won't make a difference there.


    Let's see how the season ends here as we still have 6 games to go and I think that will be much more of a determining factor regarding his job status than the one loss today.

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  41. The only scenario I would want Buck Rogers to stay...is if Roy Hodgson were due to come back to Anfield as the manager.

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  42. The transfer committee.

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  43. What about Can at FB we have a bit of history with CBs costing us games as FBs ask Skrtel and Agger.

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  44. That's like saying we were a "nobody" club a few years ago.


    Dortmund had an incredibly successful spell back in the 90's. Klopp merely brought them back to relevance

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  45. Ah, the game that showed us we'd win the treble...

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  46. Which Brendan Rodgers is part of?

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  47. The game was a total embarrassment on several levels. Where was Licas today? Hurt? Same for Sturridge?

    Unlike the headless chicken Allen running around but going nowhere, Gerrard trotted around with no apparent destination. Only Coutihno Sterling Can Skrtel and Henderson did anything.
    Idiotic changes in tactics after the fort formation actually resulted in a goal. The game tying goal was due to poor back checking by our trotting midfield.

    As much as I really like Rodgers positive attitude, Suarez made him and the team last years. The systemic failur in the transfer windows is staggering. Can has been a great addition. The ledger is dramatically tilyted toward term idle because of the signings:
    Allen. The first Rodgers signing and a collosal waste of money despite some hustle, can't put the ball in the ocean
    Alberto
    Aspas
    Lambert nice guy but a tugboat
    Lallana. 26 m for a porcelain figuring
    Lovren. 20 m was god for first 3 games the a disaster like today
    Balotelli. (You have to be out of your f $&@$n mind )
    Markovic 20 M for grat speed, no passing or playmaking skills, can't shoot and has 1 move: run right at the opposition as fast as possible and then lose the ball
    Borini. Decent hustle but never an impact guy

    How a an we possibly expect 6-8 players to Cary a team the whole season with all this deadwood and a team legend who can no longer run and can't control his emotions? I don't see him staying unless FSG wants only average. Without Suarez, we would have been 8-10 th place last year. This year has truly been disappointing but given a. On-existent striker list its a miracle we Arne where we are......UUUGGGHHHH!

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  48. Square pegs, round holes. That is Br's mastermind plan to conquer the footballing world.

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  49. He's not the only problem but i would say he's a waste of space, he can't shoot (Sterling mk2) ,can't dribble nor run off defenders. Markovic has 5 (7) goals and zero assist when we signed him... Have you ever seen a Player with that stats costing 20m?

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  50. you enjoy living in fools land

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  51. There's a place next door that's empty.......


    In the meantime please explain why you think I am the fool

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  52. Think about my comment - I'll add a smiley face if it helps

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  53. It was a very solid half time, in my opinion. Not counting his inability to defend that goal, but I think that is someone else's fault.

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  54. Has alwayz been my issue too.

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  55. Owners that give a shit about LFC would be a start. The Red Sox are paying wages that make Man City look stingey, and their capcacity is less than 30,000, so where's their money coming from?

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  56. theres no point ......but thats rogers all over

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  57. it was comical ,balo up front and sg as dmwas the icing on the cake.....there was a point in the game where i wasclueless to what postions the plyers where playing

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  58. except if the ref would have kept his flag down and that ball that came from the comical dm to that no good forward that ended up scoring would have been praised as genius.

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  59. i have avoided coming on here cause the BR out bandwagon was going to be in full force.


    the players are to blame for not coming to play, from start to finish Villa just wanted it more. BR can only give the tactics and set the players out there, his players were flat out out played and he changed things looking for inspiration but again the players failed. Raheem was non-existent, skrtel can't play in a back four, Can was nervous and trying to do much, Balo found his place but was just mistiming runs(except for an awful call)


    BR will not lose his job, he doesn't deserve to lose his job. But if he does, you all should apply cause clearly you have have won more and done more in the game.

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  60. While I generally agree with what your saying and sentiment the money spent argument falls apart when you talk of other teams spending similar or more in the same period. All of those teams were ahead of Liverpool at the beginning of the spending and all (I think) have a higher net spend. So in short have not sold their best or preferred players to then spend. We should hope to have spent the money better for sure but that spend doesn't mean challenging. I think Chelsea and/or City have spent around a hundred million more while holding on to their top scorers.

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  61. I think there are sneaky ways around ffp. Chelsea did the right thing by planning for it long ago. That is what they have so many players on loan.

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  62. There are no fees in baseball. So wages plus fee changes the outlook on what we are paying for players compared to baseball,

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  63. Not in my dictionary.

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  64. Mate if you have ever read any of my posts I have defended Rodgers more often than not. I totally agree that the players were not at the races but there were several bad decisions made by Rodgers and ones he has made before, A manager has to learn from his mistakes and he hasn't. Also the win rate of big games under him is not great. I think he has built a good foundation but perhaps someone else can move us further forward. I think he can't see the woods for the trees right now. Perhaps the summer will help that but personally I think it needs fresh eyes.


    I am surprising myself saying this.

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  65. That's the problem with Balo. He either can't recognize when he is off-side or he doesn't care. Additionally, after a shot on goal from anyone...including himself...he NEVER gets back to being on side with any sense of urgency or the possibility we might regain possession and re-attack. It happens with regularity but then he is useless because he's still offside. Balo was a huge waste of money. The sooner he's gone the better.

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  66. There are many forwards that have and still do continue to play that line. Balo is good at it and if he would get more game time his timing would be better.

    Inzaghi, made a career of paying offsides. Balo has enough pace to beat defenders and enough strength to hold them off. I hope he stays and him and Sturridge can stay fit enough to play together.

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  67. I know you have defended him. I still am though. He is a good coach with the potential to be great. He is very young and has to be given time, every coach starts with 0 trophies. I believe Gerrard leaving is going to do this club wonders. He doesn't lift the team on his own anymore, he is holding us back, there is a ton of pressure to play him and the team looks to him and just waits. Countinho and Henderson are huge culprits of this, it is tactics, when Gerrard is it they each step up and are given way more freedom.

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  68. Bit too sincere....;)

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  69. Klopp been offered the Hammers job, Big Sam will be free ;(

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  70. Your on fire....... Ouch!

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  71. Just stopped giggling.... Set me up nicely and in a fresh mood for the day... 6.55 in the am... Cheers.

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  72. They play something close to 2 million baseball games a week... or maybe a season....alright maybe an exageration... but they do play 162 games a season, and always full stadiums.... There's your cash.Plus there's 4 times the amount of people in America who love wasting money...

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  73. True and City to a lesser extent but we were not in a position to do the same back then and now it is too late for that particular ploy on the same scale as Chelsea but still worth doing where we can.


    Over time FFP will help Liverpool draw closer to some of the other sides because of our name history and the marketing of that .


    I thought you might still easily find ways round FFP but as the recent case with City showed it will not be that easy.

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  74. Like a politician. I could resign but I need to put things right- right!

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  75. And if you are wrong?

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  76. I agree. I think we should draw closer to Chelsea, City and Arsenal but the CO money will keep them ahead. United will benefit most from FFP. I think the FFP sanctions are a bit of a joke though. Half measures.

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  77. I agree with you there but the problems are bigger than that. Their is a tactical nievity when it comes to.defence. His reluctance to buy a DM is an ongoing issue and the players he believes can play there boggle the mind at times. Gerrard being the worst option. I think there are problems that are not of his making though. I can't see why we signed Balotelli. I also don't understand in what Universe he is the second option to Sanchez. Could two.players be more different?
    My problem is I am becoming less convinced that he has the potential to become great. He is definitely a good manager who has performed great but he has been out foxed by many managers who you could argue he should never be out foxed by. Not at the level we need to be.

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  78. I understand Balo, I think him and Sturridge could make a good partnership. Injury to Balo and sickness when Sturridge first came back prevented it this year cause it was right in the middle of a great run and br didn't want to completely change a winning team when both became available for selection. Tough call. The dm is weird. Lucas is a stud especially against physical teams where Allen is good against teams like arsenal and city, possession based teams. But BR is trying to fit Gerrard in who can play a better ball than anyone but unbalances us defensively. When lucas or Allen play it allows Henderson and countinho to push forward centrally and excel. Cause Henderson is great running back to help cover and then makes good penintrating runs to help open up Countinho's defensive splitting passes.

    Also, skrtel is horrific in back 4, he lacks good instincts and cause the guys around him to be pulled all over isolating himself to wall passes and huge gaps between his help. I noticed as soon we went to back 4 he went from good to awful, we need a rcb or better wingbacks depending on our formation.

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