Gerard Houllier - RIP :-(

17 Jan 2012

REVEALED: The facts about a big PROBLEM that Liverpool must fix NOW...

Despite spending over over £100m on attacking players over the last year, Liverpool have one of the worst goalscoring records in the league. Kenny Dalglish's team has even been outscored by the likes of Blackburn and Bolton, and only six teams in the league have a worse home goalscoring record. With an 8% conversion rate, things obviously have to improve (!), but as last weekend's draw with stoke showed yet again, one particular aspect of Liverpool's attacking play is embarrasingly dire.

Quite simply, the quality of crosses produced by Liverpool players is not not good enough, and this is having a direct negative impact on the club's ability to turn possession into goals.

It's the same old pattern all season: Someone creates some space for a cross, and instead of *thinking* about where to put the ball, it's just hoofed in aimlessly, often without even looking up.

Liverpool's players seem to think that creating the space means all the hard work is done, and all that's left is to just whack the ball towards the box, irrespective of accuracy. Let's take a look at the facts:

Photobucket

As you can see, some pretty atrocious figures there.

KEY POINTS

* Only 21% of all crosses have actually found a Liverpool player this season.

* Only 4 successful crosses per game (as a team)

* Downing's success percentage is a paltry 20%, which means only 1 in 5 of his crosses actually finds another player. Okay, he manages to dig out one decent cross every game, and that's a positive, but given the fact he's a winger, and his JOB is to get crosses in, surely he should be capable of more?

* Henderson, Adam and Kuyt have even worse success rates than Downing (!).

* Jose Enrique has been a success at Anfield, but his crossing accuracy also needs to massively improve.

* Steven Gerrard has only been back for a few games but he has almost achieved the same number of successful crosses as Henderson and Adam, both of whom have played significantly more games.

I'm sure other fans feel the same, but it's ridiculously frustrating to see poor-quality crosses being hoofed into the box in every single game, and I hope Kenny is working a specific training plan to fix this problem.

I use the word 'embarrassing' to describe Liverpool's crossing accuracy because that's exactly what it is. We're talking about professional football players here, with access to world class training facilities, and the best coaches money can buy, and this is the best they can do?

Based on the figures, the following solutions could be put in place straight away:

* Play Glen Johnson on the right-wing already! He has the best success rate for crossing in the team, so why not capitalise on that?

* Never play Kuyt or Henderson on the wing again, EVER. What's the point if they can't cross accurately?

* Get Gerrard on the ball in wide positions more, and let him deliver more crosses.

* Never let Andy Carroll anywhere near the wing, and certainly don't allow him to attempt a cross (!)

Jaimie Kanwar


38 comments:

  1. You can't argue with pure stone cold facts. I was actually not aware of this until now and it makes sense. Pennant was a good crosser I think but we let him go for a pound.

    Commolli bring in 2 wingers and a striker please!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kuyt's limited wing play becomes clear in different tactics

    Did well under Rafa's defensive tactics but sadly, maybe to time call it a day, Dirk, at Pool.

    I'd put Gerrard on the right again or Johnson, at least his defensive deficiencies will be less apparent and have the impressive Kelly at right back.

    Oh Barnes and McManaman, seems we'll never have wide players of your quality ever again as we seem to keep on buying crap under Rafa, KK, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Chances of that happening are slim, as it will be illustrating failure in the winger/s and striker they did buy last summer.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is disappointing the service provided to the Strikers whether it be from the wings or through the middle. I was pleased when we signed Downing all the more so when listening to radio phone in shows after he signed with Villa fans gutted he had gone and saying LFC had got the better of the two players  (young being the other). On recent evidence Downing has been poor, slow to settle and doesnt seem to understand what is required of him. The right wing is worse, under RAFA we played Kuyt there and he is never a right winger. I think we can get the best out of Carroll but only with the correct service. Cut our losses on Downing and Henderson, and Purchase a quality Left and Right Winger together with an alternative Striker who is different instyle to Carroll and Suerez you never know it might be the answer. Or lets have a look at some of our young reserves Sterling is a winger I think and age doesnt come in to it for me play them if they are good enough irrespective of age.  

    ReplyDelete
  5. Successful crosses isn't only about good delivery. It's about positioning, strength and jump. Carroll is our main target in the box, but he can't even get into right position. At the stoke game, kuyt had a few headed chances, only because he made the runs into right areas. But I do agree that crossing needs to improve especially from downing, who lacks the ability to exercise a good final ball

    ReplyDelete
  6. I seem to remember a manager from Spain getting loads of stick for using Gerrard on the right (which was also one of his best goal scoring seasons too I think). Downing and Adam have been one big let down (although I didn't and don't rate Adam) KD needs to get this problem sorted or our American owners will be looking (and rightly so) for another man to take the helm.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What is that in comparison to other teams? Im sure 20 - 30% is the normal rate. Also its the fact that thier is a distinct lack of movement in the box. I do agree that the crosses need to be improved but i have seen on many occasions quilty balls getting knocked in the box and no1 on the end of them. Andy carrol is half the reason why the stats are so poor. The ball has to be PERFECT from him to make anything off it as he has no movment which means he will never get across the defender to actually get his head on the ball. I gurantee the stats would be better if we had stikers who could MOVE rather than WAIT!

    ReplyDelete
  8. unemployed manager from spain

    ReplyDelete
  9. For me, e was more effective on the right and playing behind the striker, than he ever was in central midfield, Stevie G.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I honestly believe a striker and right winger would boost our goal scoring capabilities. We don't even need a world class striker, just one that can put away the chances. If we had yakubu or Steven Fletcher (not that I want them or think we should get them), they would have had 15+ goals with the chances we've had. Just a striker with a decent shot to goal conversion rate

    ReplyDelete
  11. Suarez should be converted to a winger. His crossing success is more than 2 times better than his goal conversion! Suarez and Bellamy as our wingers, Maxi as our striker!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Putting the ball on Carrolls head can come from anywhere in midfield,people seem obssessed with wingers but wingers are not used as often as they were used years ago.Its more about right sided and left sided midfielders than out and out wingers as modern football requires these wide midfielders to track back and allow for the full backs to overlap and bomb on ie Downing has to cove Enrique as Enrique bombs on a lot.Wingers in the modern game are a luxury few can afford and lets face it the Steve Heighways and john Barnes of the past are just not around anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  13. As your stats state the accuracy of crossing is not the most accurate but Crossing the ball is a difficult skill that only a few players I can think of have mastered to be accurate more than others, Beckham, David Bentley springs to mind. Don't know what other players your stats will show have the accuracy. Maybe Gareth Bale.....Not many others out there!!! Theo Walcott (Joking!!!)

    The system LFC play does not require us to play with out and out wingers who cross the ball, every time I watch us we have never got anyone in the box anyhow. LFC play a short pass and move game with midfield runners getting into the box.
    City are top of the league and last night did they play with wingers. NO, Nasri and Silva play there but tuck inside and allow their full backs to bomb on, exactly what LFC try to do with Johnson and Enrique.
    Against Stoke, why would we want to keep crossing the ball when all their back 4 were 6ft plus and we had the mighty Dirk Kuty as the central striker. And when Suarez returns he will love to be attacking crosses all day long wont he??
    Again stats tell you one thing, if you personally analyse games it can tell you something completely different(IMO)

    ReplyDelete
  14. If Liverpool fans can find out so much info and pin-point the problem, What manager and couching staff are doing ?  Come on, show some improvement. Whole season we have been seeing same pathetic football and still no improvement. 
    Same mistakes again and again, huffing and puffing without a direction!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think Andy carroll is getting far to much of the blame for the mid field here .Henderson is totally guttless ( i could do his job) he never passes the ball forward always back .Downing is usless as is charlie adam.Kuyt is past his sell buy date .I think we should play Maxi , shelvey , give sterling a go , drop Downing , henderson and adam .We need to be more positive even if it means losing the odd game , we would still have more point than we do now .Drawing five match's = 5 points , winning three and losing 2 =9 points .

    ReplyDelete
  16. Not sure that the problem is not finding players because of quality of crosses - more that when the ball is played in there is never anyone there! This was painfully obvious on Saturday and was even noted by the commentators. When someone does run on to one they are usually too late to convert it. Anyone any ideas why LFC players are so shy of getting into the box?

    ReplyDelete
  17. The problem with the current team is that it is drilled by Steve Clarke. Every player has a position and every player must adhere to it or else. So players are afraid to try something in case they caught out of position and get blamed for it. This is the main reason we never have enough players in the box as everyone is holding back and staying rigid. So Downing et al can have as many crosses as they want but under the current system no one will ever be there to convert them.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The facts are great and well done but what would be en lighting is to have this comparison with the top six. Then you can highlight and say this is the reason for lack of goals. Until then your just bashing the team again JK. 

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry, I'll just stick to blind faith from now on.

    Sent from iPhone

    ReplyDelete
  20. For the Bolton game I hope they can pair Suso and Sterling in the game for 45 mins. I know is a risk but every player come out from the reserve team (Robinson , Flanagan , Jonjo , Spearing and Kelly) perform outstanding. Why don't give them a try instead of playing Henderson and Caroll for one game against Bolton.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I agree in general with what you are saying... however, I was at the Stoke City game last Saturday and seated in the Anfield Road end. On several occasions in the first half different players (Johnson, Downing and Gerrard) all created space down the right hand side to cross the ball and looked up before making the cross but no one was in the area! So they had no choice but to play the ball back or delay making the cross. Virtually everyone in the Anfield Road stand was urging Liverpool to get forward and get bodies in the box, which in the first half just didn't happen. It was difficult to see whether this was the same in the second half when Carroll came on and we were attacking the Kop end?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Agreed.  Wide midfielders are the future.  Guys who can go on the outisde if needed but are just as content to cut inside and play make.  Yossi, Mata, Rosicky, Silva, Pires (in his day) and Nani all fall into this category.  The trouble is these types of player are  few and far between.  Making 1994 tactics work in the modern game has a price.  It'll be interesting to see how much more money is thrown onto the anfield bonfire in the future

    ReplyDelete
  23. Quite agree. What constitutes a successful cross? Downing's crossing volume is encouragingly high. But Carroll is a lumbering giant who expects the ball to be delivered without having to move for it - he is not making runs into the box, which is awkward from a winger's perspective. Stationarity requires pinpoint accuracy which is harder to achieve than playing a ball into space with the striker already in motion. Keep Downing going - he will deliver. Cut Carroll now and buy an energetic striker with height and pace.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I wonder what the stats are for runs into the box?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Congrats, JK, for another LFC bashing article. 
    It is getting boring and tedious now!! 
    Constant negativity is all I read on this site.
    That or a load of transfer gossip finished of with why the player wouldn't come to LFC anyway.
    I must ask, from where did you get your stats concerning crosses?? 
    And please tell me the the last time you wrote an article that was full of positivity and praise for the team??
    I would really like to know.
    You'll Never Walk Alone!!
    Walk on with HOPE in your heart!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well we are 7th, so there is bound to be quite a bit of bashing, unless this is our aim now, 7th place.

    ReplyDelete
  27. ..........and when the ball should be crossed in..........it aint!
    sack downing for starters.
    id be sacked if i was as sh#t at my job as he is his.
    anyone agree??

    ReplyDelete
  28. Think that the new players can still improve, but don't think Carroll can be blamed for the service he has not been getting. He was putting them away at Newcastle, so something is not happening here. He scored for England, so I don't agree that he is bottling it. In fact, maybe he is not getting fit enough. I never wanted Adam, to be honest, thought that Henderson was far too expensive but thought Downing would do a job. He hasn't.  Kelly is a good right back, we've been calling for Johnson to be pushed forward for some time now and the stats on here totally justify that call. He has a goal in him as well. Good shot, good crossing, more pace than Kuyt. This should have happened a long time ago. Not having Lucas to play alongside Gerrard makes 4-4-2 tricky, as to who plays alongside Gerrard, but against average teams we should have two up front and two wide men.

    ReplyDelete
  29. the modern game is not about crossing anymore, nowhere near as much as it used to be anyway.....as someone rightly pointed up above its the passing game, wide midfielders rather than wingers, man city boys nasri and silva are best examples of it, playing one-two's and trying to find a gap to play it into the box...Kenny is trying to play this game too, you can see it, he wants a passing game, the reason we actually end up having to cross the ball is that we don't seen to have the quality players to do the nasri-silva job, so we resort to swinging it in cos we know we have a big man carroll in there and hope he can get on the end of, so actually crossing nowadays is sort of last resort, or rather the option kenny doesn't have in place tactically as his preferred option. He is naturally giving a chance to the likes of henderson, downing and adam to do this job but so far they have seemed toothless, especially henderson, he doesn't seem to have the forward-thinking confidence, he takes the safe option and plays it to the side or backwards if he's not certain a through ball will work. Downing is known as an out and out winger, a crosser of the ball, not too many of them in the modern game but kenny has coached him to come more inside and pass, or take a shot which he seems to be having no success with, i think the lad had a cracking shot on him but once again he is lacking in confidence in taking on proper belter of a shot to one of the top corners or the far post, instead he comes in and hits it tamely to the near post everytime.....I think whats lacking from these lads is intelligence, the quality is not there, i dunno if its something that can be coached into them, maybe overtime Henderson can learn the system but for now he's just a passenger in the team cos kenny wants to keep going with him cos he cost a bomb and is young and doesn't want to drop him for fear of knocking whatever bit of confidence he has. Its so frustrating to watch because you can see what the coaches are trying to do but the quality just doesn't seem to be there to do it. I agree with what some of you wrote above Kuyt a great servant for Liverpool but his time is up for sure, i'd say he and maxi will go in the summer and we may bring in some new young blood. 

    ReplyDelete
  30. You've highlighted the real problem! That we never get anyone in the box. Our wide players are going to have to pick passes out instead of just crossing generically or our other forwards have to position themselves adequately. These are all things that can be worked on and that we do not need new signings to resolve.

    ReplyDelete
  31. It will be more better if we start using some of our academy players to play up front... Andy will gel like Lucas but, not at this present time we need real poacher like El nino or Alan Kennedy.

    ReplyDelete
  32. totally agree with everything you said there. KK is just playing those players you mentioned simply cos of their price tags and he is trying to save face; downing, henderson, adam and carroll =£110m! ... laughing stock of the prem

    ReplyDelete
  33. surley the problem is not the crossing but the lack of people getting into the box.
    The greater number of people in the box the greater the completion rate.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This site has a strange agenda and has totally sold out.  I'd preferred the site when it try to give a different view on things that matter.  Now its just purposely antagonistic and, shallow and pointless.   And what's with Cougarlife.com (WTF!) and facebook everywhere, is this something you're personally promoting Jamie.  I dont care whether you print this comment, it purely directed at you Jamie.  When you weren't commercial I gave your view more validation, now you have views for money and this is only the second time I've been on this site in months.  Used to be a regular visitor.  Shame. 

    ReplyDelete
  35. We still have a long way to go and the statistics prove it so. So get cracking, Kenny.

    ReplyDelete
  36. wow, people are really bashing on Henderson. He does seem a little tentative at times...but his ball to Gerrard in the Newcastle game was fantastic. He's played a lot of really nifty forward balls and, while it's not consistently happening for him, I definitely think he was a good purchase. He seems like an intelligent, YOUNG, lad. He's made mistakes but I think playing alongside Stevie will do him loads of good. I haven't been all that impressed with the teams play a lot this season, but at times they look fantastic. It's just a matter of time. There's a lot of pressure on the new guys to succeed and even though they've struggled through the first part of the season I honestly think they'll come around. 

    YNWA

    ReplyDelete
  37. decent points. City also sign a different style and class of player to play wide and centrally, They are getting playmakers, true 10s, and guys that are proven internationals, And we are signing adam, henderson, downing: guys that are not tens, are not playmakers that are comfortable in tight space, and are not proven internationals. The top teams are buying a different class and type of player. For my money henderson or adam aren't gonna start for any top 10 side in the world. That's where we are buying mediocre players. And the Carroll issue is obvioulsy wasted money to me.

    As you mentioned people don't get in the box but part of that is because our central midfielders are often doing nothing more then sitting in front of the centerbacks.

    It was a bad decision to buy him because he doesn't fit the short passing style. It also doesn't help that Kenny seems insistent of not using his subs and playing only one striker quite often.

    ReplyDelete
  38. passing accuracy is also extremely poor at pool. man to man connections are abysmal. players should be rated on their passing success rate without which goals would not happen.

    ReplyDelete