17 Oct 2012

LFC legend insists: Rodgers is wrong with this overly 'optimistic' comparison? Agree...?

Last week, Liverpool managed Brendan Rodgers argued that, when fit, his first XI is 'comparable to any team in the Premier League'. That's quite a bold, confident statement to make, but is it true that the Reds first team is as good as Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea's, or just wishful thinking? Anfield legend Steve Nicol is not convinced.

Discussing Rodgers statement on ESPN last night, Nicol - who recently called for Spurs cheat Gareth Bale to be suspended - dismissed the idea that the Reds' first team is on the same level as Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. He said:

"I think optimistic is an understatement! When it comes to passing the ball they're as good as anybody, but the problem is they're not scoring a lot of goals, and they're letting goals in the other end".

So, what is LFC's strongest first XI? In my view, it's the following:

------------------- Reina

Wisdom ------ Agger ---- Skrtel ---- Johnson

-------------- Allen -- Sahin

---------------- Gerrard

Suso ---------------------------- Sterling

---------------- Suarez

It's really tough to leave Jonjo Shelvey out of this team, and although Gerrard is not the player he used to be, he still has an impact; plus, he's the Captain, so he's always going to play.

I would have no problem with Shelvey replacing Gerrard in the above team though; he's in great form, and he'll only get better over time.

As for being on a par with the league's beat teams: on paper, Man United, Chelsea et al may have individually better players in some areas of the pitch, but Liverpool can match anyone on their day, and games against Man City and Man United this season prove that.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. I would like to see Lucas in the team sheet. With addition to an experienced striker. the team is only going to get better with the youngsters getting game time.

  2. Steve Nicol this, Steve Nicol that! C'mon guys? Do you not have better sources/references to use than this bitter man? So critical about everything nowadays! Nothing constructive to say atall!

  3. Agree with you on the young players. Who would you take out to put Lucas in?

  4. In regards to the striker department we are definitely behind. The midfield and defence are more closely matched with other teams, but I do not care about individual player comparisons - our defenders were not much better in 2008-09, but their performance was one of the best in Europe. The main thing is to find the right tactics and confidence.

  5. It was an idiotic statement we have no goalscorers - can't Brendon see that, why ? o0h iot must be poking him in the eye.

  6. Fans have been saying this for the last two decades but with very little to show for it. Must be a reason for that, apart from the anti-LFC excuses. I don't get too excited anymore by our big game performances as we only seem to turn up for them and show a mediocre attitude for the rest over the years, so I don't use that as much of a standard to see how good we are anymore, instead I get annoyed.

  7. I would'nt say they have the best team or match the top teams with best players, but when they all play well, they have shown they can match the top teams. The problem isnt their ability its the consistency. The top teams get the results when still playing badly, where as we dont.

  8. Maybe it is to do with ability as well to an extent. Lesser sides turn up for big games too but do poor against lesser sides, and are told they don't have the quality as well as the consistency. It is not out of the question that the same could not be said of us, as I think its early days as to whether some of these players are good enough, unless the standards have lowered.

  9. I think this team is spot on I don't think many would agree with me and jaimie here tho I quite agree the midfielder unlucky to be missing out is jonjo in my opinion and your comments on how we can match anyone on are day are spot on as well the only thing I think is missing from that 11 is a striker who can put the ball in the net then I do think are best 11 can match anyone else in the premier league

  10. When Lucas comes in, the ideal thing for us to do would be to try what Rafa once said... Gerrard as false 9. Play one of Suso/Sterling on one wing with Suarez on the other...

    A midfield trio of Lucas, Allen and Sahin. Sahin has an eye for a pass, Allen is impeccable in possession and running with the ball and Lucas is well LUCAS!!!

    Suarez's skill, instincts of running in behind defenders and his efficiency (scoring goals from outside the box) would come in handy out wide, while Suso (my preference over Sterling), with Johnson on the overlap would play as a tucked in WF, allowing Gerrard to drift in and out.


    Problem: Gerrard's workrate isn't the best given his age. Would mean, defensively our organization would require tinkering...


    Suso and Suarez pressing from the front, gerrard droppin deep and Sahin and Allen pressing wide, Lucas mopping up.

  11. Thats a good point. At the moment we do seem to be up for the 'big' games a bit more.

    I think one or two top players added to the squad would really make us solid contenders for the Champions League though.

  12. lucas for allen jaimie and like your team says the rest of rodgers sighings dont get a sniff sahins on loan

  13. For the moment (and that being the key here):

    In big games, Lucas will start ahead of sahin. Allen will be pushed a little forward into his more natural position, while lucas will shore up the defence allowing our fullbacks more freedom.

    A midfield with Lucas and Allen is defensively very sound, and well able to play a possession based system.

    As for Sahin, he is still finding his feet in the PL. At the moment he is more suited to the advanced role in midfield until he fully up to speed. Eventually think he will drop to a deeper role (at the expense of Lucas) as he has done in the league cup & europa.

    Either way, it's a nice headache to have.

    And I do agree with your Jonjo call. The kid is absolutely amazing. He needs game time and Stevie needs to be rested and managed well. In the next season or two I can see Stevie being the super sub and the roles reversed.

    And while I'm at it here. Does anybody else see the eventual midfield lineup of:

    Allen Shelvey


    Epic Stuff!!

  14. Compared to other top teams, the areas in which we mostly lack are in the experience of the game, for example how to cope with the good, the bad and the ugly (eg. keeping the lead after scoring, Shelvey's red card for a 50-50 challenge, repeated fouls on Suarez and his over-reaction in some of them...) and in the experience of playing Rodgers' system. The latter has lead to some individual errors at the back and also upfront, whereby players would be out of position to score when a goal scoring chance is created.

    Interesting and understandable to note is the fact that most individual errors are being committed by established players. This could be due to having to unlearn Dalglish's system and learn Rodgers' system instead. It is widely believed among sports scientists that it takes an experienced, proficient sportsman three to four times as much time to unlearn and relearn a new technique compared to a raw and promising sportsman. It is therefore unsurprising that our young kids seem to be playing better than some of the senior players. It is much easier to learn a new system rather than unlearn and old one and learn the new one.

    The time when we will really start matching the top teams would be when the whole team is playing the Rodgers' way in sync with each other and when we will add more depth in the squad. After 3 years of indecisions regarding our playing system and losing some key players, it will take some time, but we will be back.

  15. Your team must be based on fitness though, right? Or do you think Wisdom is already better than Kelly and Enrique?

    I'd pick Lucas over Sahin any day. Lucas for me is our best midfielder. If Gerrard is on the pitch I dont believe Sahin or Shelvey should be on it at the same time. Sahin offers nothing defensively.

    I'd rather play Allen+Henderson and release Gerrard further up. Yes I said it, Henderson! It's why we leak so many goals IMO.

  16. Take out Gerrard and push Sahin further up the pitch, I believe Hooper will be better for us than Huntelaar, wish we could have them both though. We could use Gerrard as a false 9 still.

  17. Klopp and Rodgers' respective team styles share the need for the team to press quick and high. Sahin arguably more than anyone else (along with Allen at Swansea), has previous experience of that at Dortmund and he was playing in a two-man central midfield too alongside Bender. He isn't that bad defensively and arguably his best defensive work comes from pressing, rather than backing off. The pressing style of defending is what Rodgers seems to be going for. So hold fire now on Sahin as its early days, he may well better his performances defensively, especially in the system that Rodgers seems to want to deploy. Let the team get through this adapting period to this new system as its early days.

  18. reina
    wisdom skrtel agger johnson

    lucas allen


    suso suarez sterling

  19. Push Allen to SG's position. SG should be used sparingly as a supersub. I know I'm gonna get bollocked for this. But think tru this people. It is for the club. not an individual.
    The time has come to let go Captain Fantastic gradually for the betterment of the club.

  20. I think Rodgers is almost right. We are a real centre forward away from having a really good first eleven, although nowadays we have to make our own stars instead of buying the likes of Hazard or Silva.

    Having said that, I'd like to thank that Nicol should ask himself a completely different question. How far away is he from being a 'pundit' as annoying is Lawro? Not too far, I'd say.

  21. The 2 areas we lack from a team consistently challenging for the title are upfront and in goal. The mind boggles that BR having seen that KK's teams only underperformed because of a lack of goals goes and spends 10 million of a limited budget on a youngster? Id much rather he had spent the 15 million on allen and 10 on borini on a proven goalscorer like Van Persie. Regardless of the policy of buying youth etc.

    Last season Reina made several mistakes and this has continued this season too and if not replace him he certainly needs competition to keep him on the ball.

    My defence would be the same as above - i think wisdom has been probably our best young player - though he doesnt get the headlines because he is a defender!

    Sahin has been impressive. A fit lucas would be the first name on the sheet. Suso too has been very good. Ideally I would like to see Suarez play behind the forward in a more creative position alongside a proven goals scorer. One of the problems with Suarez in this team is that he has to do the creating and the scoring. And inevitably after he has nutmegged 69 defenders he tends to fall over, or hit the bar!

    Like last year our position doesnt reflect our overall play. Moreso than ever proves the value of a proven goalscorer.

  22. Everyone is saying "on our day" we can match the top clubs, the problem is even newly premoted teams "on their day" can match the big clubs. Our problem is that we don't have too many days that are "on our day", also the current big clubs can win games when they are not "on their day". So when we can play bad and win then I will agree that we can match the current top 4 clubs.