7 Nov 2011

GILLESPIE: "Lucas Leiva found it very difficult..."

Former Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie has added his voice to the growing chorus of dissent over Liverpool's stuttering performance against Swansea at the weekend, and believes that the lack of fluency in midfield played a big part in the team's inability to take charge of the game.

Gillespie, who was analysing the game for LFC TV, described the result as a 'massive disappointment', but was quick to praise the performances put in my Swansea's players:

"Lucas Leiva found it very difficult today, as did Charlie Adam, because they got outnumbered in the middle of the park.

"In the premier league, whoever controls the midfield controls the game, and unfortunately for Liverpool, the three midfield players for Swansea were really really good, with Leon Britton just sitting in front of the back four, which allowed Gower and Allen to play.

"I read a stat recently that Britton had a 100% pass rate, and you can see why; he's just that sort of player. Charlie Adam and Lucas Leiva found it difficult to get close to them, and they dictated the game

"We didn't create as many chances as we did in the Norwich game, or possibly in the Man United game. I thought the performances in those games were better; I don't think we played particularly well today, and it could've been worse in fairness. ".

Gillespie was also worried about Liverpool's top 4 prospects after another two points were dropped at home:

"If you've got aspirations of the top 4 then you've got to win your home games. You're talking about 8 points dropped [at home], and that could be the difference between finishing 4th, 3rd or finishing 5th or 6th".

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Lucas found it difficult because he is not good enough. Sorry to be so radical but that has been my view since his first game.

  2. Hopefully Dalglish sees sense and doesn't send Lucas and Adam out against the triumvirates from Man City & Chelsea. 433/4231 masks the deficencies of your midfield, but Dalglish is sending them out to be exposed every week.

    I'll say it over and over again until proven otherwise - Adam and Lucas just do not have the athleticism to be a consistently dominant pairing in the middle

  3. As much as I am a fan of Adam, I have to agree with you on this. Lucas/Adam is not a partnership that should be used if it can be avoided, especially against fast teams.

  4. You need to check your stat on Britton again he had a pass right of 92.6% but had no shot assists or shots on goal.
    Nathan Dyer was their main threat down the wing Enrique did well and Johnson must have played a blinder because Routledge big fat ZERO in all attacking stats!
    Charlie Adam had the most touches of anyone in red with 100. Glen Johnson had 82 to leave him second.
    Lucas Leiva recorded the best stats in possession of the 22 who started the game. He passed the ball 66 times with an accuracy of 95.5 per cent, though just three per cent of his passes were long.
    Lucas pushed their attacks down the right wing without a defensive midfield it could of been worse.
    Adam set up more shots for teammates than anyone else. In fact his tally of seven shot assists was more than double anyone on the pitch.
    Some of the stats from our midfield!We lost to many battles in midfield but Swansea had a 5 man midfield ,Swansea did look good were slick at times and we should be beating these teams. 

  5. Recent usage of stats on here (by myself as well) has highlighted that stats can be used to prove / disprove anything

    Hence the adage "Lies, damned lies and statistics"

    Lucas had the most tackles of any midfielder in Europe last year, to say he hasn't the athleticism is bizarre but I'm getting sick of it

    We wouldn't need the best tackler in Europe if we kept the ball.

    It's getting more and more difficult to defend Downing, he's really testing my patience now

    We have many super young players that could make a difference. We should really consider giving Raheem Sterling a go on the wing. We are crying out for some genuine pace to get behind the full back and let Carroll get positioned for a cross he can actually attack. And we should give Adorjan some game time also, he is a cultured footballer. Conor Coady on bench too

    I am a massive Charlie Adam fan but he is not suited to playing in a side that doesn't dictate most of the play. A friend of mine was at the game on Saturday and was shocked at his immobility

    I would love to see the following line up


    Kelly      Skrtel      Agger    Enrique

    Johnson    Gerrard  Adam   Sterling



  6. Adam Morgan could be the answer to our waste in front of goal

    He's young but so was Owen

  7. One more thing

    Dream transfer scenario

    Tevez to Real, Di Maria to City, Adam Johnson to Liverpool

  8. jj, Lucas and his passing may look good but how far is the player from him when he makes a pass each time? How many of those passes were either sideways or backwards? How many of the passes were forwards? How many of those 66 passes were very short? How many were in our half vs the oppositions half? It would be interesting to know these facts. You have already stated that only 3% of his passes were long. 

    Adam and Lucas are not a very good combination I am afraid so either we need to sit out Lucas and have somebody else next to Adam or sit out Adam out and play somebody else next to Lucas as it clearly ain't working. Problem is that Lucas just does not pose an attacking threat.

    JJ, do you think we actually needed Lucas on Saturday and if you could give us your reasons too.

  9. yeah really thats why he got Liverpool's player of the season last year. An example against Everton Rodwell was marking Lucas not Adam because he dictates the flow and pace of the game and because we lacked that when he was out against Norwich we drew, against Swansea that was the other players fault....cough....cough....Carroll.

  10. Simon, I like your lineup but things aren't looking good for Gerrard. You have to feel for the man, his injuries are getting the better of him at 31. I am gutted for him.

    I would give Adam/Henderson a shot. Clearly Henderson is not a winger and why have the people who are coaching him not seen this? Put him in the middle and he will play better. You are totally correct, if we can keep possession then we do not need someone to make the most succesfull tackles in the league. Pace is a real problem down the right side of our midfield!!! Can we atleast try Johnson down the RW. He can attack and is very good at it so why the hell are we wasting his talent at RB? F*** knows. 

  11. You tell me, if Swansea were so great what would have happened with out Lucas?

  12. jj, I am not trying to argue with you. All I am trying to find out from you is wether you feel we really needed Lucas against Swansea.

  13. What would have happened against a team which was constantly breaking away with pace if we were playing 2 attacking midfield players especially with Henderson going AWOL again after some improved performances?I reckon the coaching staff did their homework and Swansea are and were a threat going forward.

  14. It is not a case of playing two attacking central midfielders. Did Swansea have one specific player dedicated to just tackling all the time? 

    It is not Henderson's fault that he is constantly being played on the wing. The manager and coaching staff need to realise that things are not working for him out wide. Centrally Henderson is much better.

    We coped without Lucas when he was suspended and we coped without him against the mancs. That is my point. At home we do not need a dedicated tackler. We need to see fluent passing football, attack, attack attack. Rip teams apart, let them fear Anfield for a change as for many many many years now teams have come to Anfield and showed no fear at all. Only play Lucas away from home, that is just the way I see it.

  15. I felt the same about Gerrard recently until i saw him confidently attempt to skin Evra down the outside numerous times

    That gave me hope for him, his groin injury has been hampering him for years and recent one is an infection

    His main talent for years has been finishing so maybe he can finish his career with 2 years playing just behind Suarez

    I really fear for Carroll now, and the £35 million outlay on him

    Revised line up, with Adam Johnson signed in January


    Kelly          Skrtel       Agger    Enrique

    G. Johnson    Henderson   Adam     A. Johnson



  16. You say that but we played Lucas and Spearing at home last season under Kenny and we were scoring every game at home until Spurs they need to push up the whole team up and not give teams the area to break away like what was happening on Saturday the ocean of space between the defence and attack was to wide.
     Lucas does need to get forward more he was involved in the last 10 minutes, he chested it for Johnson laid it off for Suarez.
    Like with Rafa in those last 11 games of the 08/09 season when players were pushed up the field that is the only time in nearly 20 years where I thought we were going to win every game and not concede at the same time I would push Adam up behind Suarez he his our main threat with assists.
    Give Bellamy a wing and give Maxi a game.

  17. Mate, is it really Carroll's fault that we payed 35mil for him? We came knocking on his door and he was never going to say no. Would you say no to LFC even if you knew that 35mil might leave you to vultures? The real big reason why people are taking him to the cleaners is because of his price tag. Unfortunately he won't score if we keep on hoofing the ball to him. He can score goals but somewhere along the line the way he is being asked to play is not bearing fruit. Crouch did not cost as much but remember how long it took for him to start scoring goals? Andy is only 22, he has plenty of years ahead of him.  

  18. Of course it's not anything to do with him that we paid £35 million, it was a brave signing. I still think he can do it but I just feel worried because we aren't playing to his strengths. And i feel that the price tag does add that extra pressure, although Kenny has no problem leaving him out sometimes. Once he is supported well within the club and ignores press bullshit he should be ok

    He is also really only fit now it seems

    He has potential to be miles better than Crouch. More powerful in the air, more aggressive and better striker of the ball. Crouch perhaps had a slightly better football brain, and better control with deft touches

    Carroll seems to be repeatedly harshly penalised so far though for the the slightest of nudges on defenders, for example Anton Ferdinand. Shearer and Duncan Ferguson would not have scored half the goals they did if referees were as picky as they are now

    We need to improve set piece delivery to him, Adam should provide that given time

    And we really need quick wingers who can get to bye line and clip balls back across goal so he can attack them

    This is a new team still with only 10-12 games together

  19. I would have Lucas, ahead of Adam , who is IMO very slooow and totally overated!, same with Downing, Henderson and Carroll, what a waste of money!!!!. 

  20. Newcastle must regret the day they sold Carroll..since then then the players they have bought into the team haven't found their form and they need 2-3seasons to gel .and since selling Andy they have not scored many goals and they are struggling..

  21. So the way I assume you would like to see the set up is



    Bellamy  Spearing  Lucas  Maxi 

    I would still like to see the following



    Downing Henderson Adam Bellamy/Johnson

    Enrique    Agger    Coates    Kelly

    We need to try something different for a change, we cannot keep on holding on to a setup that clearly is not working.

  22. So much for the 50mil pound man that went to Chelsea who can't even hit a barn yard door at the moment? Surely Torres should have out scored Carroll so far this season?

  23. 'That has been my view since his first game'; just about sums up how ridiculous some so-called 'fans' are!

    Lucas Leiva has been the outstanding performer in quite a few important games.

  24. Nice one jj.

    From your piece, I would have to conclude we needed to go 1 up front with 3 behind to beable to assist with the midfield battle aswell as hitting the front.

    I've been trying to work out what we needed to do to combat Swansea given that they took over the midfield between the first 10 and the last 10mins.

  25. still think the £35m is a bogus number.  We never had that in the bank, it was always Carroll + £15m for Torres, at a time when £30m was a reasonable price for the Spaniard.

    There's a real problem with Adam given how much we have to 'accommodate' him.  Hendo should take his place and Adam can just eff off. 

    A couple of good passes per game and a lot of average corners is just not enough for such a prime position.

  26. God only know's why he got player of the year(probably because the rest were not good enough).HE IS'N'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR LFC IF THE CLUB WANT SOME KIND OF SUCCESS IN HE FUTURE !

  27. Gary Gillespie is right, Lucas does not have what it takes to succeed in EPL. Sorry, Liverpool need better players than him in order to win anything.

  28. Most fans dont see that Lucas is a handicap.

  29. In games against the team who play through the centre. Charlie Adam is not the right player to put in front of the defends with Lucas. Lucas played best when he is teamed with Jay Spearing.

  30. 4-2-3-1 is the way to go............






    Now that is a quality side!!!!

  31. Lads, without Lucas we will be in deep trouble. Watch the game again and tell me who was rushing the opponents play and was doing the breaking up of play - Lucas or Adam? Adam is a good attacking mid but I am afraid he is too slow and not pacey enough. Maybe he need to lose some weight!

  32. Why some people keep on selecting Adam/Henderson is beyond logic, they are BOTH miles away, from being up to Liverpool standard, just not good enough. Just try and comparing them, to say, Xavi/Iniesta (QUALITY), they're the type of players LFC should be looking at!!!.

  33. i agree with you 100 % mate.

  34. What amazes me the most is the complete change from the way the team is playing this year, as opposed to the second half of last year when Kenny first took over. Guys like Meireless, Kuyt, Maxi all etc all playing fantastic AND result getting football. From the moment Kenny took over till the end of the season we were second only to United in terms of points. The mood in the camp was positive, the football was positive, we even had a host of quality youngsters come through and play with passion, speed, determination. What has changed? We have gone out and re invented the wheel, bought a whole host of players and now playing boring football. The scary thing is Swansea looked stylish on Saturday, we looked more like Wimbeldon! 

    If you control the midfield you control the game. So true. Anybody who has the slightest idea of modern football will know about the holding midfielder. The guy that breaks up play. The guy that passes the ball from box to box, short passes BUT accurate. A modern day invention. Think Claude Makelele. The guy could't pass the ball very far. Short accurate passes were his thing. look at what happened to Real when he left and look at what he did at Chelsea. Ask Mourinho who was his most valuable player at Chelsea in his first year....Claude. And this brings me to Lucas. The guy has the highest tackle rate, and a great pass completion record.  Doesn't matter if the pass is back sideways etc. He is a link man between the defense and the attack, moving from end to end. When people say Lucas is shite then they only showing their football ignorance. 

    What I think we are lacking is some skill, some flair, creativity. Think Aqualini, Meireless and dare I say it Joe Cole. Watched highlights on Liverpool TV last night, think it was from 2007 Pool vs Burnley,  3-0 Pool. Every assist from...Aqua. And he doing the same thing from AC Milan. British players the world over are known as grafters, hard players, industrious but hardly creative skillful players. Yes I am sure we could all think of a few exceptions But that not the point...the point is we have Downing, Henderson, Carrol, Adam etc. Each one of these players are good, have loads of potential, I just thing we need something extra to go with them. Someone to spark them, to bring out the best in them. The return of Stevie G certainly will take this team to another level. The addition of a truly world class creative player even more so.

    But it not all doom and gloom. The club is in a far better place, a year ago we we loosing to sides like Swansea. A revolution takes time. A house is built from the ground up and we are on a good foundation.           

  35. Charlie adam is not the problem. Its the one pairing him in central who
    is. If kenny dalglish wants to use the shitty henderson despite all the
    pleas of the fans to drop him then he should at least use him in a
    position he can have a positive influence on the game and this position
    is none other than in the center of the midfield with charlie adam. Last
    year with sunderland he had some good stats playing there and he also
    played well during the manutd match there. Until gerrard gets better
    henderson should replace him and thats why we bought him in the first
    place. Spearing is shit and is no better than the other shit called
    lucas. Replacing shit with less shit wont improve our game. Hendo/adam
    were among the  best creators of chances in the league last season. They
    SHOULD be played together. We got no better options right now. Then
    comes the wings, downing and rodriguez  SHOULD occupy each side. Again
    we got no better players to play there. Then in attack its a no brainer
    that caroll should sit and watch bellamy take his place alongside
    suarez. Adam, downing, rodriguez, bellamy, suarez and henderson(until
    gerrard is back) are the ONLY players we have capable of creating
    sufficient chances and/or goals for us. With norwich we had a somewhat
    similar formation and look how many chances we created! On any other day
    we would have crushed the opposition. If comolli with all his
    "statistical analysis" did not recognise that this was the best
    formation we put this season and that the poor result that day was only
    just because of bad luck and try this again with chelsea and man city
    then theres no f#ck*ng way we are gonna beat them!
    The players I
    listed are the only ones we have capable of linking together playing
    this pass and move football, the others are just too limited in skills
    below average or overrated. Lucas is too one dimensional and can only
    tackles in games doing nothing productive with the ball. Are we gonna
    win games by tackling balls, huh? Kuyt is too inefficient on the right
    side with his bad crossing and too wasteful as a striker with his poor
    shooting. He works hard but this is not enough to win games, is it?
    Caroll should be used as a sub for the last minutes of matches until he
    turn half as good and promising as he was at newcastle. Spearing=reserve
    player, he is not a squad player. And finally johnson is a freaking
    liability as a defence, he should either be used as right wing or
    dropped for kelly who is the better all round player as he can both
    defend and attack, is younger and is not prone to doing any mistakes as
    johnson. The latter may be better in attack but is not very good at
    defense. Opposition players are often beating him during matches...Thats
    all I got to say. Hope we stop with this shitty formations and start
    winning matches so that we do not get too distanced from the top 4
    places until january come and we buy 1-2 top quality NON-BRITISH players
    capable of giving us champions league football next season. 

  36. what a load of old pony lucas and makelele mentioned in same sentence and then talking about ignorance deary me open your eyes

  37. shite and lucas in the same sentence i understand