15 Feb 2013

LFC legend blasts: 'Disappointing' Suarez to blame for Zenit loss. Fair...?

Last night's 2-0 Europa League defeat felt like a hangover from the Kenny Dalglish era: lots of clear-cut chances created but an abject failure to finish them off. Defensive frailty ultimately cost Liverpool the game against Zenit, but Anfield legend Gary Gillespie has laid the blame for the loss squarely at the feet of Reds striker Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan had plenty of chances to break the deadlock against Zenit, and in several cases, it seemed harder to miss than actually hit the target. In an interview with Talksport this morning, Gillespie - who co-commentated on the Zenit game for LFC last night - revealed his disappointment with Suarez's performance. He observed:

"It's disappointing. If he [Suarez] puts any one of these chances in then it’s a totally different game. Zenit had opportunities too but they weren’t as clear cut as Liverpool’s. For a man who’s scored 22 goals this season, you’d think with the chances he had, he’d at least put one in the back of the net. It wasn’t to be, and Liverpool have paid the price for that".

Gillespie is right in that Suarez's abject finishing probably cost Liverpool the game, but given the fact he's scored 22 goals this season, I don't think we can be too harsh on the guy. The problem is not really with him; it's with the ongoing failure of LFC's other players to help Suarez and regularly chip in with goals. For example:

* Raheem Sterling: 1 goal in last 23 apps
* Stewart Downing: 1 goal in last 21 apps
* Jordan Henderson: 3 goals in 31 apps
* Lucas Leiva: No goals this season
* Joe Allen: 1 goal in last 32 apps
* Jose Enrique: 1 goal in 23 apps
* Glen Johnson: 1 goal in last 32 apps
* Fabio Borini: 1 goal in 15 apps

Granted, Jordan Henderson has chipped-in with a couple of goals recently, but overall, this is just not good enough. If Suarez, Gerrard, and now Sturridge don't score, upon who else can the club rely?

Suarez is a fantastically talented footballer, but he is, unfortunately, prone to barren spells. He's in the midst of one now (no goals in three games), and between November and December 2012 he:

* Scored only 2 goals in 10 Premier League games.

* Went 6 games in a row without scoring a goal.

I may be in the minority here but I find this a little concerning. Two goals in ten Premier League games is not a return that reflects the Suarez's ability, and his current barren spell has (indirectly) led to Liverpool dropping five league points, and facing elimination from the Europa League.

Like Michael Owen before him, Suarez seems to be one of those players who scores in bursts, and then goes quiet for a while, and this makes it even more essential that the players around him are there to pick up the pieces when he's not scoring.

That isn't happening at the moment, and it's the main reason the Reds' season is all but over in February.

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. think gallespie could look at a hell of a lot players before he picks out suarez,we will only really rate him in the summer when he has left

  2. I know Sturridge has played less minutes but him and Suarez have scored four each since his arrival.Yet it's seen as a good return from Sturridge but a barren spell for Suarez?

  3. Its hard to criticize Suarez because of his overall contribution so far this season but if he did score at least one we probably would be basically through because I got the feeling if we scored they'd either fall apart or we simply park the bus,but Im sure he'll Score in Anfield next week

  4. Actually agger has been prolific in PL with 2 goals! It's the same as Allen, Henderson and Lucas combined in the league
    Oh god it's funny even to say it:D

  5. could of got two hat tricks in two games but Suarez has none

  6. So wasteful. I can see them getting one at Anfield, but can't see us getting 4! It could have been 5-5! An away goal would have made the difference and as usual we are being punished for not taking our chances. Suarez is a great talent, but inconsistent in terms of he is not a great goal scorer. I think that with his known 'baggage' a £40m fee if he was to go abroad at the end of the season would not be something to turn down, so long as that money is invested in a proven goal scorer. However, I am going to the return game next week and I will not be sitting in silence all the match and booing at the end. YNWA 

  7. Suarez is great player but not an out and out striker.
    He was bought in to play along a striker in Torres.

    He's entitled to an off game or two, if everyone else chipped in then his off game infront of goal wouldn't be an issue.

    With sturridge back in the team it shouldn't be a problem now.

    What I don't get is how poor Allen has become. He looked like a fish out of water at times and still some how got the highest rating yesterday by some site.

    This whole bollox about system is a joke! Recently I was watching games from before BR turned up and our passing and build up was our strength and has been a fundamental part of our clubs style of play.

    BR can't reinvent the wheel !!

    But I am prepared to give him another season on the bases that there has been signs this season we can deliver.. Hopefully in the summer with right acquisitions into the squad we may gain some consistantcy.

    The other reason is because there arnt really many better options about at this point to take over the reigns and even if there was they too will time I guess...

    Though Avb seems to be doing fine.

  8. No goals in the last three games = barren spell. Nothing to do with Sturridge.

  9. To be fair to Suarez the midfield regularly looks incapable of keeping the ball in and around the oppositions box. Something I have noticed about the team this season is so often we look like we've had half our players sent off. Suarez will be all alone up front and there will be no one in midfield! Where do the players go? Perhaps it is a thing of not trusting the defenders enough to do their jobs. 

  10. And where would we be without Suarez's goals this season?! It's not a major issue for me. Every player has an off day. Ask the defence for a start! Where's downing's scoring contribution cutting inside into the channels?! Midfield goals?! Only Gerrard. As usual! Centre backs scoring from set pieces? Nope. Just glancing headers wide. Suarez isn't above criticism but the team as a whole is under performing.
    Defensive lapses are the major hindrance to collecting points. Arsenal? City? Zenit? Any top 10 team so far?

  11. First half wasn't too bad from the team, so if they took their chances, i.e. Suarez, the second half would have been a different affair. So yes, Suarez should shoulder some blame for that. Not much blame but some. But at the end of the day, we still had another 45 minutes to play and we barely created anything (admittedly one golden chance for him in the 2nd half). It wasn't if those chances he had were all in the last 10 minutes of the game. We still had an entire half to play. On the other hand, at this level, you have got to take your chances.  His inaccuracy in front of goal is no excuse for the performance from the team in the second half. We lost the game because partially because he didn't take his chances but also because we barely created anything and the defending was poor. There is no excusing that second half performance from the team, regardless of how the Suarez misses would have changed the game. Still got to defend properly as a team, whether your winning, drawing or losing. 

    Without Suarez & Sturridge, we barely have any goalscoring threat. And those two work hard to be a goal threat. Their team mates don't always put it on a plate for them. Simply not good enough, the depth of threat and creativity. I've never rated his accuracy in front of goal but boy does he work hard for his chances. 

  12. Suarez has been one of the most wasteful scorers in the league since he came here.

    As in his conversion rate on shots is so low, mainly because he gets so many shots.  Still, I'd take him on my team any day of the week.  

    Sure, we want the shots to become goals, but he puts himself (and subsequently the team) in positions to win consistently.  He just needs the support from the rest of the squad.  This year, I feel like Stevie and Sturridge are the only other consistent scorers.  And "Own Goals" :)

  13. Luis has done amazing this season for us and I can't imagine what a nightmare of a season this could have been without his goals, but we could be in the driving seat of this Europa tie if he had done his job. RVP would never have missed a couple of those and Suarez needs to add that to his game. I love the man, he's incredible, but his poor finishing cost us that game pure and simple. It's a lot easier to score goals once one is in and if he had put on in, Zenit would have been a little deflated considering our possession and we might have been here talking about possible Europa glory instead of being pessimistic about salvaging anything from this season

  14. He cant do any worse then what kenny done

  15. Suarez needs someone prolific next to him or it doesn't work. Think we rely on him far too much and like someone else said, why do we NEVER have anyone else in the opponents box? 

  16. Liverpool 3rd top joint scorer in the league is Sturridge.

  17. I think you're right JK, Suarez is streaky- he gets a glut and then goes quiet for a while. I don't think this is a particular problem, since I see him as more of a second striker than a 9, but that is why we need other people to step up. There was a period earlier this season, when RVP went about 4 league games without scoring and no-one noticed. Why? Because his team-mates stepped up and carried the weight.

    Hopefully this is where Sturridge steps in. Even then, we need goals from at least one of our midfield players. Downing has proven he isn't up to it, it is never going to be Lucas (or Allen if we play him where Lucas is) and Gerrard will get the odd goal, but doesn't seem as comfortable shooting nowadays (though he has been doing a bit better lately) as when he was in his pomp. I think we need to drop Hendo (as much as I like his effort and his dynamism and generally respect his commitment to improvement) in favour of Coutinho (when he is fit) and see if he can provide more of a threat.

  18. Our depth in the squad is a joke you cannot blame Suarez. He has played so many games like one or two of our other players not just for LFC but their respective international teams and haven't had much time to have a game or two to relax. At this level you do need a break and for someone else to step in. FSG are unfortunately not going to hand out big funds due to past hiccups and as much as I believe in youth policy it has to be mixed with established players. Blaming Suarez to SG or any player who is obviously commuted to the game 110% is simply wrong

  19. I don't think this is as big an issue as you make out JK..

    It's quite common for a few players at a club to shoulder the clubs goal scoring fortunes..

    You mention Saurez, Gerrard and Danny, our top 3 goal scorers .. between them they have scored 59%(26/44) of our league goals this season

    But take Man Utd, who are running away with the league at the moment.. their top 3 goal scorers are RVP ,Rooney and Hernandez and guess what.. between them they too have score 59%(37/62)of their goals.

    If you can win the league with those stats I don't think it's an issue to become overly concerned with other's lack of goals contribution .. although it would obviously be nice to address it

  20. For me, being without Sturridge has shown we have far less options... the truth seems the rebuilding may take longer then had hoped! As it stands we have two very good goal scorers, when only one is playing, we seem less fluid, less ambition, score less and win less.
    My point being; we are not a team ready for CL football, we are growing in that direction but still lacking in all departments.
    Some players will come good but change is still very much needed and that can only happen twice a year thus time will tell... through gritted teeth i accept time is needed but I hoped for more guts. I wonder if BR now realises more players aren't up for the challenge then first thought, and he'll need to moved them on and also find a replacement, until then we can't get much better, unless the attitude of the team changes.

    Oh well, Swansea next and I do believe we can get a result, followed by another and then things seem that little bit better :-)

  21. hed waste 60m if he was given it

  22. It appears to me that, already, Sturridge is an integral part of the team and perhaps is giving Suarez an outlet when he is off form. Personally, I have preferred seeing Suarez more wide or even just behind the striker than as our main striker.
    I know it's been highlighted but we haven't really had enough goals coming from set pieces. There's not really been that aerial threat since Hyypia left (maybe Torres). Our centre halves just don't chip in enough.

  23. Easy to blame Suarez, he carried the team for goals in the first half of the season. The defence are leaking goals for fun but the attitude is if Suarez had scored more we would have won. Barren spell it might be but 1 goal scored and the defence keeping a clean sheet will win games every bit as well as scoring 4 and conceding 3.

  24. To be fair, the past 6yrs we've had Gerrard and A NOTHER as our regular scorers (Torres/Saurez) we still haven't learnt?!? Our scouting is atrocious, I'm not even sure if we encourage flair, certainly didn't see that way when Benitez was there!
    I also agree that Sturridge being so integral to the team at such an early stage is evidence of the systemic failure at LFC. I think we need a director of football (no ex LFC players as they've been clueless abt new players coming in.) as I worry how BR spends the transfer kitty.

  25. It was an off day, they'd just flown to St Petersburg and were playing on a crap pitch in ridiculously cold conditions. The whole team looked sluggish but, the west brom game aside, recently we've been improving right throughout the side. As long as they've got the guts and mental strength not to crumble after the last 2 games, I think we'll continue getting better.

  26. Goal scoring is only one component of winning a game, there consistency throughout the rest of the team means that that's all they need, 2 or 3 regular scorers.
    Us, we epitomise inconsistency so even if we have regular scorers it will be diluted by incompetence in midfield & defence! I'm afraid you're comparing a BMW to a Ford Cortina.

  27. We can talk/discuss/debate Suarez till the cow's come home, the bottom line is that he is untouchable.

    Put simply, he will never be blamed for his "barren spells"...he should be because they have been

    A) Untimely....(usually when we have gained some momentum and desperately need to push on..)

    B) Costly...VERY costly indeed in terms of very important points dropped and Cup games lost...

    C) Amateur, because when he misses he REALLY misses...almost a complete contrast to his moments of real class....

    D) Baffling, re-read the above.

    Add to that little list how awful his link up play can be when these "barren spells" occur, factor in his at times unsporting antics...& you have a true new look Liverpool legend in the making....

    Suarez IS & will continue to be bigger than the Club, this is a major issue for me this season & last season.....the waY the fan base idolises this guy makes me cringe, are we really so desperate that we have to continue to pander to the Ego's of some of supposed better players out of fear that we might end up one day god forbid losing them....? What message does that send out to those players....? Its small Club mentality at its best, Brendan gets criticised for it but IMO the small Club mentality was here before he got here.....long before he got here.....

    Is it really too much to ask from some of these ridiculously well paid individuals to do what they are paid to do...? How long is this Club going to keep rewarding players like this by keeping them at the Club...? 

    And is it also too much to ask for them to behave in a manner befitting the Club & its history? 

    IMO the popularity and appeal of this Club was built upon the Liverpool Way.... take that away & you have no foundations left.... 

    In this respect & in my eye's Suarez will never be a true Liverpool legend, when the chip's are down you need your top players to stand up and be counted but so far he has failed to do that, we are in decline and he is def contributing to that....

    Can he be blamed for us losing against Zenit? 

    I guess its true to say that he more than played his part in the loss..

  28. I'd rather focus on defending. All season we have made so many mistakes which have lead to goals. There isn't much evidence of pressing high and effectively winning the ball back either. We should be able to score 1 goal and win a match. 

  29. Good point but the defence and attack are directly linked in terms of gaining momentum during the game, as you say yourself IF our defence are dropping deep and not keeping a high line then we're inviting the opposition to attack but IF the attack are constantly losing posession and squandering chances this puts our defence under more pressure and they will be at times forced to play deep....

    We are failing in both those area's of the field simultaneously....that's why we are getting beat by teams WE should have beaten....

  30. Em that was kind of the point of my post ..

    I said it wasn't overly concerned with us having nearly 60% of our goals scored by 3 players as it happens at united ..

    By reason of logic and deduction that means the more serious problem's for our current position lies elsewhere 

  31. I think as you stated, in general it is the other players who have massively let us down in terms of goal.

    In that game, its true Suarez not scoring meant we didn`t win, but it didn`t mean we should lose. The defence was at fault for the loss.

  32. Yes, but it should be us who is controlling the match, we should be pegging other teams back, making them drop deep, making them feel under pressure, creating chances for ourselves etc...
    The reality of the situation is that the game Rodgers talks is no where to be seen, and the odd 5-0 performance against Norwich for example does not justify inconsistency. 

    I know I'm going a bit off topic here in terms of attacking and goal scoring but...Zenit are a good team with a good manager and away from home I expected defeat. However a home loss of 0-2 to WBA is a perfect example of LFC showing no forward progress and the team not playing to Rodgers tactics. Additionally Rodgers has signed the players he wanted and also plays the players he wants so he has no excuses. 

    Suarez can be our only goal scorer and it wouldn't matter if the basic things aren't being done. Recently we haven't even been able to pick up opposition players in our own box. There are bigger problems than some of our midfielders and out of favour or inexperienced forwards such as Borini not being able to score. 

  33. we had the EXACT SAME PLAYERS in defense last season when we had the 3rd best defense record in the league behind man U and Man City ....SO WHATS CHANGED .... BR and his Coaching staff thats what .......U cannot take a sows ear and make it a silk purse ...and u cannot take BR and make him a top class Manager .......9 goals leaked in 4 matches ....PROGRESS they say ...... pls dont let us progress like this .........

  34. Cant believe people are pointing the finger at suarez for the defeat. Even if he doesnt score his work rate is as good if not better than anyone else. It bothers me that, after more than 40 games in charge BR still has not got the balance right. 
    Our midfield seemed poor and never seemed to support the back 4 or LS  Sterling wont run at a fullback anymore and seems to be playing the pass completion game rather than taking a chance, I respect Downing for at least attempting to get beyond the fullbacks something which he  has clearly been working onI have supported this Club all my life and until recently we have always been blessed with great midfielders,  I cannot see anyone there who is going to carry the team forward. There is not a young player who you could build a side around. Dont get me wrong, there are some promising young players coming thru but not a special playerJose enrique whom i like immensely seems to take 3-4 games to get up to match speed after each injury. Joe Allen is struggling at the moment. BR seems to be trying to wedge him into a space where theres no room for another player of that type. (Lucas does the same job) Allen is trying more aggressive passes probably trying to impress to get back in the team but is now giving the ball away more often. lots of my friends are of the same opinion that we should have signed another striker as a supporting role to the SAS someone with experience. Someone who can hold the ball up, waste some time to give the defence a breather. Run the ball into the corners, and chip in with some goals. Surely there must be someone out there who can occupy a centre backs thoughts enough to allow LS or Sturridge  to do his magic. For the life of me i cant understand why no one was signed. I think BR is a good manager but naive. We have suffered from some poor decisions he has made (Oldham- Jamie Carragher)  but i have to accept he is young and still on a massive learning curve. I hope Mr Henry supports him with one or two elite signings to inject some confidence and belief into what is appearing to be  a young and naive squad.

  35. Suarez has to shoulder some of the blame since his job is to score and create. He's not the only one to blame though since the likes of Sterling can't score either, while BR signs players like Borini and plays them out of position. Clearly can't inspire/motivate the players either.
    As for Suarez, could be having his mind on leaving in the summer already, thus his sudden loss of sharpness. Who knows, he might start getting back to his regular diving routine too in order to 'get ahead' of defences. ;P

  36. I still not satisfied with performance Downing,Henderson and Lucas. NOT GOOD ENOUGH

  37. if ? i fear its a question of when

  38.  thats irrelavant rogers is now the manager not roy rafa or kenny....and if rogers leaves the next manager can say well i cant do any worse than...........

  39. While I agree that we don't have many players on the same wavelength as Suarez I don't think we can use that as an excuse for some of his finishing. At 0.0 the other night he somehow managed to miss the target from 5 yards out when I'm sure it would of been easier to score. Scoring the first goal in that game and the West Brom game was vital. It would of forced West Brom to come out at us more, Zenit would of had to press us more because we would of had an away goal and it would of taken a little pressure off a very shaky back four. I'm a massive fan of Suarez, I really am but his finishing in the last two games has been pathetic. For someone of his ability he really should of done better.

  40. Similar percentages, yes, but they still got a lot more goals as a team. 18 goals more, if your stats are accurate. That is aplenty. They are still a bigger goal threat,by quite a distance, whether it from the start or the bench.Percentages only illustrate so much, especially in such a isolated way. That is not even taking into consideration their winning mentality, that they will find goalscoring threat from even the unlikeliest of players to try and get a win, even if it takes the last kick of the game. We simply do not have the mentality & creativity to pose a constant goal threat like they do. We rarely look like coming from behind or scoring in the dying minutes of the game, which can be down to a few things but one of those things is surely the lack of goalscoring threat as a team and as individuals. Apart from the Suarez chance in that 2nd half against Zenit, we didn't even look like cutting them open in the second half, whereas you know when United get in the last third, they pose a threat, always, regardless of how bad/mediocre they look like they are playing. That 59% won't show that. Their goalscoring threat at set pieces this season has been seriously potent too. When our second highest league goalscorer has only 6 goals in 26 league starts, whilst their second highest league scorer has 10 goals in a mere 15 league starts, it again shows a different story/spin to that of the 59% percentage. Even their 3rd top scorer trumps that, with barely any starts. Yes, Stevie plays in midfield but just goes to show our second highest goalscorer is still a central midfielder who doesn't play even that forward in a lot of games, no different from one of his other CMs. He is not playing attacking-mid role of old, he is playing deeper. A player who is in a standard central midfield role shouldn't be second highest league goalscorer, regardless of the 59% percentage. The onus should be on the others but obviously they aren't good enough as a goalscoring threat. When a player, Sturridge, who barely been here 5 minutes is suddenly top 3 with a mere 3 league goals, its a concern, regardless of the 59% percentage. Lot of variables that question heavily the conclusiveness of the 59% percentage.  I'm sure some of the variables could be interpreted either way but there is enough doubt there to question the spin of the 59% percentage. So personally I wouldn't read too much into that percentage when the total goals is vastly different, the ratio of goalscoring between the top 3 in each side is different, circumstances, etc. It is damning when a player who has barely been here 5 minutes is in the top 3 already by just scoring 3 league goals and we already heavily miss him when he doesn't play (see the last two games). To make that sort of difference already shows the lack of goalscoring threat.

    Yep, not the sole reason why we are where we are as we leak goals badly but we aren't good enough goalscoring-wise. So, imo, its a concern, quite a big one. Maybe not as big as the team's defending but still a considerably big one.

  41. Our midfielders looked in disarray and invisible at times and sometimes are slow to close down in the area just in front of the central defender. Although Suarez could have scored a couple but for a player who has given a lot since the season began, we can't really fault him entirely. 

    As in the last season, our players must be alert and attack the box, something we often fail to do. 

  42. Original Chan, you broke it down like a lawyer. What you said is spot on %s hide goal to game ratios, goals per player. Most importantly if you convert the extra 18goals scored into games won/points gained it tells a different story.

  43. You know what I mean though. Sturridge only one better in his last three but is seen as prolific.