25 Oct 2011

GILLESPIE: Liverpool's defence is causing a problem for the team...

Liverpool were brilliant in the first half against Norwich on Saturday; the team started like gangbusters and could've been 5-0 up at half-time. Things changed in the second half though; energy levels seemed to drop, and big gaps began appearing in midfield, which allowed Norwich to get back into the game. Why is this happening on a regular basis? Former Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie believes the problem lies with Liverpool's defence.

Speaking last night on lfc.tv, Gillespie noted that both Charlie Adam and Steven Gerrard 'tired a bit in the second half', but argued that it's not really their fault:

"For me, it's not about the midfield, it's about our defence. We stretched the game too far. We dropped a little bit too deep, and started defending on the edge of our 18 yard box, and when you do that, it creates too much space in the middle of the park.

"If Charlie Adam and Steven Gerrard have got to come back, get the ball of the back four, then go forward and get the ball off the strikers aswell then you're talking about a run of maybe 60-70 yards at times, which is never going to be easy.

"If you squeeze up from the back, making it a tighter pitch, then you're only talking about 20-30 yards that you've got to run, and that's where the energy went out of our game a little bit in the second half".

I think Gillespie is spot on - the links were broken at times on Saturday, i.e. the link between defence and midfield, and the link between midfield and attack. If your midfielders have to keep running 70 yards to get the ball during the game, they're obviously going to tire very quickly.

I think this also highlights how Liverpool missed Lucas. Normally, he would be doing all the running between defence and midfield; collecting the ball off the defenders and passing it along to the attacking players. In his absence, Gerrard and Adam had to do it, which seemed to tire them out.

It's not a problem that can easily be fixed - Liverpool are not blessed with particularly fast central defenders, and until that's addressed, the defence will continue to drop deep during games.

Jaimie Kanwar



  2. Been saying it for weeks.  Everyone hovers around the issue of Jamie Carragher but no one is wiling to speak up or even use his name.  The inclusion of JC in the team unfortunately throws us out of sync in so many ways.  We will win nothing of any major significance until he is out of the side.  Mark my words.

  3. JJ - One more post like that I will ban you permanently from the site.

  4. You are all looking for scapegoats & sacrificial lambs .

    Carra is one of the top two central defenders in the country & without doubt is the one who is consistently good , Terry is up & down by comparrison to him .

    Fact of the matter is his , we have played 9 league games with what is in effect a brand new team .

    New addition to the back 4 , & the use of Kids breaking through .

    More or less a brand new midfield , new winger , new central midfielder & a new wing/central alternate , with 3 new forwards who havent even played 30 games together yet .

    We are a work in progress & its patience whether we like it or not is the only thing that we need right now because we have a decently balanced squad for the first time in years & we have that squad playing within team tactics that see's us getting results even when our supposed "Match Winners" arent playing & we havent had that since the late 80's .

    Gillespie knows a good defense from a bad defense but its a team game & theres more to it than just defending .

    We are unbeaten in 5 games now & have 4 very interesting league games coming up & a very interesting game in the League Cup too .

    How we go into December after those games wll give us a fair indication how we are going to do his season .

    From what I have seen so far I think we have a decent chance of winning a trophy & playing in the champions league next season & if we get those it will be a massive improvement on this past two seasons .

    Winning is a habit , Lifting Trophy’s is a religious practice .

    I'm disappointed even when we dont win the flip of a coin at the start of a game .

    I dont think we are too far away , I think we are on the right track & we might even make a challenge for the title & or the Champions League inside the next 3 years , especially if we keep on improving the squad as solidly as we have done so far .

    Patience is what we need right now .

    Let the dust settle , let everyone get used to looking at each other , let everyone get o know each other .

    The club has been a crazy house this past 12 months with all the chopping & changing that has been goin on .

    You are all in emotional turmoil because of it & you dont even realize it .

  5. Totally agree,

    Isn't this piece implied criticism of Carragher, he's the
    defender who is wedded to the 18 yard line? Until this problem is addressed and remedied in
    the same fashion of Sami Hyppia, then this will be a consistent problem,
    won't it?

    Hyppia was a better player and he was made 4th choice.
    I see no reason why Carragher should not be similarly treated, if the
    team is to move forward.

    Gillespie, as ever, is just being diplomatic...

    People that refuse to acknowledge what is going on are in denial.

  6. HELP! Carragher isn't even in the top two central defenders at the club!

    It's 24 domestic games since we last won 1-0, we had a run of winning
    3-0, 1-0, 2-0 and 1-0 Skrtel and Agger played as Centre backs in those
    four games. Carragher was out injured for that run only coming back as a
    third centre back for the 4th clean sheet the 1-0 win at Chelsea.

    We looked rock solid during that period since then we have been as watertight as a sieve.

  7. 5 games unbeaten & counting ,  with a brand new team & manager & back room staff & owners &  you want to nit pick the peanuts outa dried up shriveled  media shit after only 9 league games ?

    Monkey see monkey do I suppose but this man only enjoys zoo time for so long .

  8. Exactly.  Its no coincidence that our run under Kenny started to go pear shaped at the back end of last season when Carra came back into the team.  Carras legs went at the age of 31.  This means we have been carrying the lad for 2 years.  Carra has now informed us that if he is not 1st choice he will go home and take his ball with him.  Carra still has the backing of many misguided fans who refuse to believe that Carra is neither strong in the air or on the deck.  When will we return to supporting LFC over individuals?  Pallister, Bruce, Stam, Gary Neville were all loved at Man U but when Fergie saw they weren't up to it anymore he got them out.  Only one out of our last three managers realised this and for this reason refused to renew his contract.  If Carra loves LFC he should do the right thing and step aside.  The correlation between Carra seeing out his contract and our resulting lack of success we only be picked up by few.

  9. A little  overhaul is needed in the back line. Better act now before it's too late like the case of Rio Ferdinand against City.

  10. Got to disagree with this comment. Carra is knowhere near as good as Vidic, Kompany or Agger imo. 

    Unfortunately his best days are behind him. No doubting his spirit but physically he just cant do it anymore.

    Also in respect of our defence I am not overly pleased that Johnson walked straight back in when fit again. I think Kelly offers us a more rounded option. A better defender and more consistent. Maybe time to give him a go at centre-back?

    Hopefully Stevie G will return to match fitness soon too. He looks like he missed out on pre-season training. I hope its just lack of fitness and he has fully recovered.

    The midfield is my major concern. I am not an Adams fan at all. Before Blackpool he had a pretty patchy record. Is he fit? Why does he look so slow? He doesnt appear to have any zip in his play?  Downing is a solid performer but lacks flair. Henderson has potential but  looks to have arrived 2 years too early.

    I think Maxi and Spearing can count themselves unlucky. KD is sticking to players brought in and ignoring Rafas players. Thank God for Lucas! who would have thought that?

  11. I don't see how Gillespie can say this when Johnson and Enrique were both making long runs and taking deep positions out wide to service Suarez and Kuyt up front. Against Norwich it seems the play CLEARLY fell apart in the central midfield, both with Gerrard playing most of the match far too deep and Adam doing yeoman's work in Lucas' place but not offering what we brought him to LFC to do, make passes. We would have been much better served starting Hendo instead of Adam and subbing Maxi for Bellars. Maxi is a poacher who might have latched onto one of those brilliant Suarez near misses.

    Were we compressed at times? Absolutely. There certainly were acres of space in the middle of the second third where there should have been players because of some deep defensive work. But that, for me, comes down to negativity in the midfield, because our wide defenders were certainly pressing the issue all match long.

  12. Gerrard isnt match fit and Adams just has never looked fit. He is slow of movement and mind. He does have a lovely left foot but we need more energy and movement from him.

    Why is a £35M centre forward on the bench and we are persevering with Kuyt up front when we all know he isnt going to get 20 premier league goals a season? Put him back to wide right where he has served us so well. Round pegs in square holes I am afrraid.

    Maybe this year we have too many players, that we dont know our best formation? Why have Maxi and Spearing been cast aside for players not offering as much for the team?

  13. So all in all we are shit & would be better off dead & Kenny should be hung drawn & quartered eh ?

  14. i agree with some of the comments ,but to be fair the defence has never been up to scratch without the addition of a solid defensive midfielder. when lucas plays we look more composed and stable at the back. Adams problem is sometimes his movement. instead of moving into space on the midfield to allow defenders to give short passes, he will often stand still, this means the ball goes long. Or instead of moving into position in the midfield, he will come short and take the ball off the defenders feet, which is another bad move as when he turns, all he has available is the wingers or surez in front of him, which effectively stretches the attack, unless it is an absolute corker of a pass, it will be and has been  defended easily. liverpool need to play more as a unit. attacking and defending together. when they have done this, they are world beaters.