31 Dec 2013

[Guest Post] Perspective: It's all doom, gloom & panic for LFC at the moment...right?

GUEST POST: After a blistering start to the 2013/14 campaign, Liverpool FC has now lost back-to-back games against Man City side and Chelsea, and browsing through several LFC forums, the doom and gloom/anti-Rodgers sentiment is palpable. I just want to put things into perspective a little - maybe this will cheer you up. It sure cheered me up a little just writing about it.


During the second half of last season, Coutinho quickly adapted to the Premier League, Daniel Sturridge was a revelation, and the team performed brilliantly overall. Consequently, expectation for this season skyrocketed.

Like most Liverpool fans, I did not expect a title challenge this season, but I did expect a challenge for top four, and so far, LFC are performing better than anticipated. Being top of the league at Christmas took everyone by surprise, and it’s fair to say that the team is definitely on track. The ultimate goal for the season remains the same: a top four place, and the club is bang on target for achieving this.


* Liverpool’s current injury list makes grim reading:
* Joe Allen (groin/pelvis)
* Jordan Henderson (muscle)
* Mamadou Sakho (hamstring)
* Steven Gerrard (hamstring)
* Daniel Sturridge (ankle/foot)
* Jose Enrique (knee)
* John Flanagan (hamstring)
* Sebastian “the forgotten” Coates (ACL knee injury)

Considering the widely mentioned “lack of depth” at Liverpool right now, this clearly constitutes an injury crisis! Overplaying Gerrard aside, Rodgers is not at fault for the injuries, but he certainly needs to accept a measure of responsibility for the lack of squad depth. He bought Aspas and Alberto, yet they seldom play. And don’t get me started about Moses.

The good news is that three of the club’s senior players are due to return this month, with Sturridge and Gerrard back next week and Enrique the week after. This will be a timely boost for the club, and say what you want about Enrique but he is still the best left back at the club, and his experience is valuable.

The bad news? Their fitness and match sharpness. Bring Sturridge and Gerrard in too quickly and they could have an injury relapse, so Rodgers needs to handle the situation in a responsible manner. One thing’s for sure - these three players will make a huge difference to Liverpool’s top four ambitions in the second half of the season.

Player Improvements

Three players considered average a few games ago have really improved, thus improving our results too. Allen, Henderson and Sterling are performing well, and this has shown in our performances, especially against City.

Hendo is improving with each game and has proved a useful player for LFC. With Gerrard out, he excelled, and a couple of goals/assists have really improved his confidence. Now, he must continue his good form, and there’s still has a lot of room for further improvement.

Allen is also playing well, and compared to performances last season, he seems to be improving. He is getting into scoring positions and taking more risks, which is great to see. He’s stepped up this season, but he can improve more when he returns from injury.

Many fans – myself included - slated Sterling earlier this season, but he has really upped his game. Confidence is a big thing in football and it really shows. His performance against City shows how far he has come, if it wasn’t for the terrible offside decision, things would possibly look a lot rosier right now. Areas to improve: Final ball, finishing and decision-making.

Home Games

Anfield is a fortress again, and Arsenal, Tottenham, Man City, Chelsea, Everton, Newcastle still have to visit before the end of the season. Having already beaten top four contenders Tottenham and Man United at home, Liverpool should be confident of getting positive results.

By the time these games come around, Gerrard, Enrique, Sturridge will all be back, and depending on the seriousness of their injuries, Allen, Flanagan and Sakho may also be available, which will give Rodgers much needed options.

January Transfer Window

There’s no doubt that Rodgers will spend in January; in fact, I am expecting 3 signings, and reports suggest that ‘Egyptian Messi’ Mohamed Salah may be on his away to Anfield. Could he have the same impact as Coutinho? Let’s hope so - he certainly seems a more exciting prospect than the Brazilian when we signed him.

Will Hughes also continues to be linked with a move to Liverpool though Rodgers has specifically denied that he's interested in the young midfielder. And what about Ivan Rakitic? Will he come to Anfield? Whatever happens, new signings are essential as the games against City and Chelsea brutally exposed Liverpool’s lack of depth. Let’s compare benches:

City: Pantilimon, Clichy, Boyata, Garcia, Milner, Dzeko, Nastasic.
LFC: Jones, Toure, Agger, Alberto, Aspas, Moses, Smith

Chelsea: Schwarzer, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Schurrle, Mata, Torres
LFC: Jones, Toure, Alberto, Aspas, Cissokho, Rossiter, Smith

I rest my case. IMO we need:

* 1 x defensive mid
* 1 x attacking mid
* 1 x left/right winger
* 1 x full-back
* 1 x striker

I suspect we will probably buy a DM and LW/RW for now.

Loss of Form

Coutinho’s form has definitely dipped. He lost the ball several times against Chelsea, and got outmuscled quite a lot. His shooting needs a ton of work. Is he low on confidence? Is he fatigued? What’s his best position?
The Brazilian has shown flashes of brilliance this season, but maybe it’s time to rest him and give Luis Alberto a chance?

Glen Johnson is (arguably) a liability at the moment. He is going to be 30 soon, earning a reported 80-100K a week. His performances have not been the best: going forward, his decision-making is suspect, and he’s shaky defensively. Is it time for LFC to start looking for a new right-back?


Talk of the title is foolish at the moment. If LFC is six points away from top place in the last 10 games then maybe it’s worth discussing, but for now, top four is the priority, and Liverpool are right on target to achieve that goal.

LFC’s league position may fluctuate between 3rd -7th in the upcoming months, but with the unpredictability of the league this year, there will be further shock results from the so-called ‘smaller teams’, so that shouldn’t be a cause for concern. United, Tottenham and Newcastle remain a threat to the Reds’ top four hopes, but injured players returning and new players coming in, I have the confidence that Liverpool will finish in the top four.

Next 5 fixtures: Hull (H), Oldham (H), Stoke (A), Villa (H), Everton (H).

Can LFC build momentum again? I think so. It's absolutely vital to bounce back against Hull. Three points will be expected, but I doubt Steve Bruce's team will be brushed aside as easily as the likes of Norwich and West Ham. Three defeats in a row would be a cause for concern, especially since all the teams around LFC are picking up points, but I can't see that happening.

Reason to panic? No, of course not. Onwards and upwards!


NOTE: Guest posts are always welcome, especially those that take a different POV and/or directly disagree with me. If you'd like to submit an article, please contact JK.


  1. Good piece from a good site contributor. Good job Will!

    Plenty of reasons to be positive but it's very frustrating that BR's transfer market failures hindered our progression at a critical point during the season. I wanted to write something about that and Brad Smith, but decided against it.

    I've only seen two guest posts on here but the fact that people are willing to send stuff in highlights this sites community and success.

    Less than 2 hours to go, happy new year everyone :)

  2. Agree with you re BR's transfer business hindering the club. Hopefully, it's just teething problems, and he'll get it more right than wrong from now on.

    Happy new year :-)

  3. Thanks Pete, I appreciate it mate.

    Brad Smith was thrown in the deep I feel. He's a natural left back, not a left winger.

    We had Alberto on the bench so I don't know why throw an untested youngster against an experienced Chelsea side.

    PS I love this site, I 1st joined the site in the heat of KD sacking, the forum I was a member of banned me because I very politely backed FSG's decision to sack him. I was called every foul name under the sun and they branded me as a WUM. Wind up merchant lol!

    Good times haha!

  4. Guest post time :D

  5. I look at the points total thus far which is very good indeed, we are well in touch with the top 4 places, 23 pts better off this calendar year than last year. We knew injuries would hurt us but we also have just had 2 terrible sets of officials over xmas, really appalling decisions, not being biased just saying what I saw.
    Now we see Mohamed Salah is apparently done and maybe Tello too?, they would be good additions to the team. Add to that the injured players about to return and we are strong, as well as having played all of our hard away games. Don't allow the 2 defeats to cloud a very good job done by FSG and BR!!!........................................patience is key!!!

  6. I'm excited, we have a few good home games coming up wheere we really can put these defeats behind us.

    Tello and Salah would be really good. I am a fan of Tello, I hope there's an option to buy!

  7. The buzz suggests Tello will sign permanently in the summer, with a written clause inserted into the loan. I would like to see Montoya arrive too as well as a CM but maybe that is not realistic just yet. I am disappointed to see Oussama Assaidi playing well at Stoke and Suso at Almeria.....................they should be at Anfield now!!!

  8. That would be awesome!

    I think at the moment Suso is really relishing playing 1st team football, he would come in handy now though.

  9. The squad is actually doing very well with the injuries, the performances have not really dropped too much and had we seen better decisions over xmas, we could have got results in both games............very encouraging I believe.

  10. CNN sports journalist Tancredi Palmeri has just tweeted some info on Tello, Barca have confirmed to him that he is joining Liverpool....... :-)

  11. 4 home games out of five what great way to get back a winning streak. Handling the injury list is the big key in our chances of finishing in the top four places. Rodgers really needs a good transfer window as the two summer windows since he has being in charge have been very poor. Someone mentioned yesterday about Rodgers handling of the Spanish players, The List of foreign Premier League players shows how the trend of players bought from different countries has shifted. Comparing the French players to the Spanish or the Italian players shows that the french players are more likely to stay into league longer. So far Rodgers has invested 1st team squad money in an Italian and two Spanish players for the future, which none of them are getting picked at the moment. It seems like it would better option to go for the Will Hugues and Tom Ince's ( but not throwing money like away like the Carroll deal) of this world and try to compete for the top foreign players. My favorite country for premier league players is Colombia, star strikers only....Hamilton Ricard take a bow son.


  12. I think we will always be in trouble as long as we dont have a top class bench and as long as we dont have greedy owners, they are using the same strategy as when they took over red sox years ago but they dont realize that in football doesnt and wont work, where is the new stadium or the rebuilded anfield? Everyones been promising us still nothing, we are very unfortunate to be runned by people of full ignorance of football, we had the chance to do big things until suarez is here but same sht different season, thats how all our best players left, for not being able to challenge or win things, its not all about these two games weve lost but in general weve got a very poor squad comparing to other top teams, we can never challenge with them, a change is a must starting from the owners, they should go, we need owners like reals, citys, chelseas, psg etc.

  13. A field is being expanded in the summer when there are no matches so it is very harsh to say people are promising things and not delivering, it all takes time. FSG are doing what they can to improve the club. And we don't have a great bench because FSG are planning for the future and don't want to waste money now. And trust me you don't want a rich sheik as the owner of the club because they all have short term success and once they leave the club is back to square 1.
    FSG are taking us in the right direction, towards top 4 and with good reinforcement in jan we could exceed expectations. Salah and Tello are close to joining and as long as BR gets a mid and back up striker, we are set for the near future and we can build on that.

  14. Everton are better than us but nobody mentions them.

  15. Look man we are trying to be positive and back the owners for 23years now, building for the future and building for the future, this is the word thats been mentioned more during these painful 23 years, but where and when is that future? In 2100? Probably. Im afraid people wont eat that any longer, do you know most of the fans still didnt see their team lifting the epl trophy including myself ( 14 years fan ) whats more tragic than that tell me? I just wont eat it anymore until I see something concrete happening here, weve just turned into an average side, forgot to play CL or winning the title, the old days must be returned, when we were a ruthless club beating almost everyone and winning big things, you say salah and tello? Really you think they top class players? No man they just as average as the rest of this squad, you need to understad nowadays its either spend big and class or you cant do sht, this is proven already.

  16. Lol? Fair enough. Shows what type of "fan" you are!

  17. Glen J is last years Enrique. Needs a kick up the backside and sit him a bit. Need to find the fire in him again as he looks off for whatever reason. I hope it is just mental fatigue.

  18. Well done, Will.

    Our problem was that we happened to get Man City and Chelsea away within four days of each other at the halfway point of the season.

    The expectation is a loss to both away (at least for me). It looks worse than it actually is.

    We are in a good position, and as you astutely pointed out, we have our toughest competition coming to Anfield except for the one game against Man U. It's a huge opportunity for us to take advantage, especially if we get healthy and some reinforcements.

    If we can take advantage of the January window, especially with teams knocked out of Champions League which will hopefully entice some players to come here, we can not only push for Top 4, but we can maintain a position to challenge for the league.

    That's not to say we're winning the league this year... but if we are hanging in the race, it can't hurt.

  19. Everton did better business in the summer transfer window than Liverpool did. Everton is certainly performing at a whole different level. Roberto Martinez deserves a lot of credit. Their newest recruits are making more of an impact to their team than anyone that was brought in last summer by Liverpool. Gerrard Deulofeu, Gareth Barry, and Romelu Lukaku have all put their stamp on the team this season. Still can't say the same for anyone brought in by Rodgers last summer other than maybe Mamadou Sakho defensively.

  20. good read YNWA LFC TIA

  21. ive a feeling our midfield could be in for a torrid time against hull

  22. So far Liverpool has done nothing to get excited about.Yeah the team did the impossible and it deared to get to second place in the league by Christmas. The excitement of that achievement was short lived and has now fizzled out. Liverpool has done nothing in my opinion to prove to me so far that they are a far different team than they were last season.

    Liverpool has always been an ambitious team. We have tried to make breaking into the top four a serious priority every season. For one reason or another we have failed to accomplish this goal. Allow me to outline the serious problems facing Liverpool why a top four finish has some how seemed to elude us.

    (1) wrong decisions in the transfer market.

    Brendan Rodgers has not always gotten things right in the transfer market. He brought in seven people: Aspas, Alberto,llori, Moses, Toure, Cissokho and Sakho during the summer. Of the seven mentioned only one player appears to be getting steady playing time and that player is Mamadou Sakho whose performance had recently subjugated Daniel Agger to the bench. None of the summer signings have made an impact on the first team by their performance. Most of them are nothing more than squad players used to give first teamers a rest. Rogers only transfer market success so far has been Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Countinho. It was the case before the summer and still remains the case today. If Liverpool are to raise their game up to that next level in a bid for a serious push for a top four finish Rodgers needs to bring in players who are ready to go straight into the first team. Real competition for places has to take place.

    (2) Too much reliance on Suarez

    Better production from other players. I don't want to call Liverpool a one man team but i am going to have to. Luis Suarez is central to anything that happens to Liverpool. He and not Steven Gerrard in my opinion is the real the heart and soul of the team( Gerrard was comparable to Saurez a couple of seasons ago but not anymore). Yeah you can say for a period of five games when we didn't have his (Suarez) services Liverpool actually beat teams. You would be right you can't deny that there is a lift in the level of play when he is involved in our games. No one other player on the roster can bring the same amount of offence that Luis Suarez can game after game. He is very special indeed. It is this reason the management fought so hard to keep him during the summer.

    If we are to push for that elusive top four finish we need to have other squad players / dead wood players step up their game. We are going to need more goal scoring contributions from players other than Suarez, and Sturridge on a regular basis. The good showing of late from Henderson has been encouraging but we need better performance in the final third from the other squad players on the team.

    (3) failure to beat the big boys.

    Beating up on "relegation fodder" teams like Norwich and Fulham is no measure of how good a team we are. Those games really just provide an opportunity for us to improve our overall goal difference.We need to dominate big teams like we do the small teams. I don't personally think Liverpool fans would have been too upset if a foul against Louis Suarez had been missed by the referee during the 5-1 beat down we administered to Norwich. We created so many chances that game that a no call won't have meant the same thing it did against Chelsea and Man City. In our last two games we clearly did not enjoy the lion share of possession and we did not create enough chances. This made the bad officiating a huge issue indeed. Bottom line here is that we need better tactics against the big boys.

    To summarize my three steps to securing a top four finish they are :
    (1) "quality over quantity," Better quality signings are needed end of story.

    (2) More goals from other players.

    (3) Better tactics against the leagues better teams.

  23. I do not think they are better than us in that sense, we have just been hit by injuries. A full LFC is much much better than a full Everton. But to be honest about our blue brothers, if Roberto can get a better good striker to pair with Lukaku, they can be a real top 3 threat in the 2nd half of the season.

  24. This is just my opinion.I agree with your points 2 and 3 but not so much about 1, here is why:

    Good Investments.

    Mignolet - is a really good keeper as long as he has a good defense to help him out. Our defense constantly lets him down.

    Alberto - Maybe, but we need to see more of what he is all about, not just bringing him in with 10 minutes left in a game we are winning in anyway.

    llori - I think he is a future CB investment, he should be in lineup in about 2 years. He is only 20.

    Toure - We need his experience in the back, also as a backup CB. He is also really good at motivating players in tight games.

    Sakho - The guy is a beast, he just needs a bit of work in ball control and decisions when passing, but he is a good investment.

    Bad Investments.

    Aspas - Should leave asap, he has had some games to prove himself but he always becomes the invisible player on the pitch. At 26 he should be approaching the prime of his career, but he is nowhere near that. I read somewhere Swansea are eyeing him, they can take him.

    Cissokho - It is a good thing he is only there on loan, he needs to leave ASAP. He is slow and very predictable since he is purely left footed he cannot cut in from the wings.

    Moses - Another Adebayor; full of skill abd quality but very little work-rate. No need to sign him permanently, we can release his ASAP.

    So in my opinion, BR only made one bad buy in Aspas, the other were just on loan and can be easily disposed off.

  25. I don't know why everyone is disappointed with the Man C and Chelsea results. It was always on the cards. What worries me is the results earlier against the likes of Newcastle Swansea Hull etc. The failure to take max points from these games is what's hurting us. You can even throw in the Everton game and Southampton. These games are defining the season not a couple of losses to 2 of the best teams in the EPL away from home.

  26. He will be sold while he has still some value end of season. We already have his replacement in Flanno. I think Enrique probably gone end of season too and probably Agger.

  27. Spanish players became the flavour as the national team was dominating everything. If you're interested in flavours I would be buying German players now as the are surely on course to dominating Europe in the coming years.

  28. Have to remember BR is not the finished product yet. He's very young as far as top managers go. I really believe he will become a top manager in time. Just hope for LFC's sake it's sooner rather than later.

  29. You don't have the slightest inkling of how to apply common sense do you? How exactly do you propose we return to the old days? Magic wand? Just remove the multi billionaire owners of Chelsea and City, buy all Arsenal's top players after conjuring up our own billionaire backer ?
    Of course, all the top players will come here in Jan without CL football because we have a rich owner won't they? Just pay min £250k per week- non of them would be mercenaries.
    Switch your Xbox off and try looking at the real world for once.

  30. Good article. However, as much as I agree with most of your points, I would disagree with your assessment of Allen.

    Against both City and Chelsea he was exposed as light-weight, unable to exert control and generally have the game pass him by. Hendo and Lucas were over-run because Allen did not help out.

    I would like someone to explain to me what role Allen perfoms: defensive mid, attacking mid, side-way passer????

  31. Nice effort well written and pretty much agree with the lot i hope to see more of this on the site in the near future and happy new year to all.

  32. Well typed.'Reality(as in tv)' confused with REALITY.