15 Jun 2014

[Guest Post] Anfield Alert: Why Spain's 5-1 thrashing is a wake-up call for LFC

GUEST POST: Can one defeat signal the end of an era? Over the years, Spain have repeatedly torn teams apart with their singular brand of football, and although it may be premature to discount the reigning World/European champions, the champ is on the ropes, taking body shots and bleeding profusely. Holland will deservedly receive adulation for their victory, but one-paced Spain were devoid of ideas, and the manner of the defeat is arguably a warning to Liverpool FC.

Brendan Rodgers also has a preference for offensive, passing football, and having ball-playing midfielders is great to watch, but this needs to tempered with genuine forward-thinking goal-threats.

‘But we scored 102 league goals last season!’, some will say.

True, but who actually scored those goals? Aspas? Moses? Alberto? Allen? Lucas? Liverpool are in the Champions League next season and the calibre of the club’s secondary players needs to improve.

Next season, teams will inevitably try and suppress Liverpool in much say way Holland put the blockers on Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso and Busquets. The Reds will no longer be an unknown quantity, and ;ast season’s games against Southampton, Hull, and Chelsea are indicative of how teams area already figuring out how to frustrate LFC.

Holland lined up with a midfield comprising of de Guzmán, de Jong, and Sneijder, which is far from formidable, yet it worked, and Once Van Gaal’s men took control of the game, Spain’s obvious lack of a ‘Plan B’ became a problem.

Del Bosque seemed reluctant to change things, and placed too much faith in his players to turn it around. Holland responded with a classic counter-attacking game, and capitalised on Spain’s defensive frailties and their inability to recycle the ball fast enough.

In the coming games, Cazola and Mata will probably into the rotation, with David Villa possibly taking over from Diego Costa. Unlike Spain, however, Liverpool do not have the luxury of a world class bench, and when the Reds go behind, LFC tend to stick to the manager’s passing philosophy. Rodgers has addressed this somewhat with the signing of Rickie Lambert, but more reinforcements are required, and game-changers are a must.

As I see it, Liverpool’s main dilemma is how to add midfield steel whilst still trying to take the game to the opposition. On that front, Alex Song and/or Lars Bender – both of whom offer strength, athleticism, and excellent ball-playing capability - would be great additions to the squad, and if rumours are to be believed both are available this summer.

Unlike many, I don’t believe the Holland result signifies the beginning of the end for Spain, but it is a brutal wake up call. Teams see them coming now, and Rodgers will need to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to Liverpool next season.



  1. Mr. Point Of View2:57 pm, June 15, 2014

    every tactic will had good and bad/ strong and weak...so ????
    d only prob is we need to sign some1 whom had calibre to deliver tat task given....
    simple as tat

  2. I disagree i think holland play like us
    if you watched games vs everton and arsernal at anfield they actually had more ball possession then us
    but we broke with pace and power and we thrashed both teams

  3. i really hope we sign both lallana and sanchez
    then our attack will always be unstoppable

  4. moan moan moan

  5. liverpool are nothing like spain that was brendan initial plan
    but liverpool have players like suarez and sterling who are very direct
    while hendo,sturridge and gerrard are not suited for that type of play
    only coutinho and allen can operate that way (ticki taka)

    the warning is more for bayern , arsernal,swansea and everton

    liverpool and city alongside real madrid and city have a unique style of football were they can thrash teams without the ball

  6. Nicolas Chamberlain3:05 pm, June 15, 2014

    We play just like the Netherlands.
    High intensity with a lot of penetrating attacking passing.
    Spain plays like Barca. This is not a wake up call but more a confirmation of our style of play. Gerrard plays almost like a CB, so that would make our formation a 5-3-2. Let's see how the Netherlands will play against teams who will park the bus.

  7. does any team i international football park buses ?
    i honestly can't think of any

  8. I think france will win the world cup and surprise everyone

  9. Nicolas Chamberlain3:08 pm, June 15, 2014

    Italy, England during the previous WC. Not a typical style of parking the bus, but without any intention to attack more to control and prevent goals. After the trashing of Spain other countries will give the initiative to the Netherlands and I'm not sure if they can handle that.

  10. i think holland were lucky and will not go far
    van persie and robben are old and
    any team that has de guzman in can't be a good team
    van gaal is not a winner
    do you agree that was a lucky win?

  11. Nicolas Chamberlain3:11 pm, June 15, 2014

    I saw them against Jamaica and they were brilliant. I know it was just a friendly and Jamaica are a poor team but they have a lot of quality and pace in their squad. They could suprise us all, but first let's wait and see how the other favorites will perform. Argentina and Germany for example.

  12. Brendan - I increasingly get the feeling that you are a banned user trolling under a different username. No one but a troll would claim that an emphatic 5-1 victory is a 'lucky win'. I think I know who you are, and if I confirm it, you will be banned again.

  13. maybe that is a good reason not to sign moreno he is a ticki taka merchant
    ben davies is a better option

  14. Argentina Germany in finals. Croatia Holland for 3th place..

  15. lucky
    in the sense it rarely happen
    cassilas had his worst ever game i never seen him play so bad
    the third goal should not have counted as well
    if de gea played the result would be different

  16. Nicolas Chamberlain3:15 pm, June 15, 2014

    Not lucky. The Netherlands were just better and physically in better shape. Robben and RvP are in their prime now and they know this its their last chance. Every country need some players that are willing to do the dirty job and I think de Guzman is more than capable. Van Gaal is actually quite a brilliant manager especially with younger players. I know he will be managing Utd, but that doesn't mean he can't be quality manager. His cv says it all.

  17. van gaal is good but he is no mourinho is he?

  18. germany without reus i do not fancy not one recognized striker
    i dont think fifa would want arger=ntina to win in brzil
    could cause chaos

  19. Where England can learn from Spain is to drop your "Golden Boy." I see parallels with Rooney & Torres. Drop Rooney!

  20. Not sure what Marcus is saying here. Is he saying we play like Spain? Which we don't (we are more Dortmund or Munich circa 2012/13 than Barca). Is he saying we have to have more than one way of playing? Which we do, playing high pressing, countering and possession football at some points last season playing in several different systems. Is he saying we need better players? True but that didn't help Spain.

    Part of the article seems to suggest we should be wary of teams parking the bus and countering us. I would like to think those lessons are learned as we had to face that many times last season. Teams may know what we want and can do now but that doesn't mean they can stop us.

    I would have Bender but not 100% convinced by Song. Perhaps he can reclaim the form that took him to Barca but there are no guarantees.

  21. Nicolas Chamberlain3:20 pm, June 15, 2014

    No, he is van Gaal. He can not be compaired. He is from the Dutch school so he's always thinking in an attacking way. I think the Netherlands will play 4-3-3 against Australia. They will use the formation 5-3-2 against the stronger sides.

  22. As great as the dutch were he Bren has a point. The keeper and defenders made Liverpools look like champions, not one Spain player made me sit up and that hasn't happened for a while. The Netherlands must take some credit for making it hard ad just wanting it more all game as well as Van Gaal's tactics but I can't remember Spain playing so badly. So that can be seen as a bit lucky.

  23. Spain have won every game of the previous world cup by 1-0.(they even lost their opening match against Switzerland)
    Except the Euro final against Italy if my memories are right the same goes for both Euros they've won, so they've hardly "torn team aparts".
    Just like Barca they've controlled the possession in every game and they were stronger defensively.

    their team is based on Barça/real players with some of atletico, Real have played every single game that they could this season (they won copa del rey and CL) Barça are not the team they used to be (aging team?) and their defense is their weak point.

    It's not an excuse because Holland were much better but Spain were exhausted and it was 2013 Barça-Bayern in the style of play, so it is not that much of a surprise that they lost, only the margin is.

    Again let's not get carried away on 1 game, Germany have a habit of trashing every team before losing (euros against Spain/italy and world cup against Spain) So Holland could follow he same pattern (i don't expect them to win to be honest cause the have so inexperienced players in important position (defense) tha could cost them)

  24. I have to agree with everything Greg has said.

    What it seems to me is that Marcus is saying Rodgers has made LFC a predictable team? I do not agree with that at all.

    Barcelona and Spain follow a rule of passing the ball into the back of oppositions net. We saw lots of that when Rodgers first joined the club but I am assuming that was to get the team used to the TikiTaka system. Last season it was a mix of TikiTaka plus direct and counter attacking football.

    I have posted a link to a very good article called 'Countera-TikiTaka The New Liverpool Way'. Hopefully Jaimie will let it go through.

  25. http://anfieldindex.com/8195/countera-tikitaka-new-liverpool-way.html

  26. I certainly concur with the general sentiments here - that Liverpool are no longer an unknown quantity, the need for quality in depth and the need for us to sometimes find another way to beat the teams (like the dullards at Chelsea) who will sit back and not let us counter attack. The signing of Lambert goes to show that Rodgers is thinking about this too and wants to diversify the forward line a tad, but I don't see any real need to dramatically change our approach.

    I disagree with any major comparison in playing style between ourselves and Spain's national team. Thankfully Rodger's abandoned his obsession with the 'tiki-taka' approach long ago for a speedier, more direct and infinitely more exciting style that is not over-reliant on short-range passing and oodles of possession. Frankly Spain have bored the cr@p out of me for far too long now, and I was glad to see them get taken apart by a team that, not unlike ourselves, goes for the jugular.

  27. that was a good read that and basically said in an intelligent way something I was thinking. Cheers.

  28. Spain's biggest problem is figuring out how to inter grate a striker into their style of play. They tried to play to Costas strengths by playing early balls forward for him and more often than not gave possession away; something which their defence can't cope with. Should they decide to return to the possession based game of past tournaments, I feel that they will be a far tougher opponent.

  29. Anyone still want Shaqiri?

  30. He showed some quick footwork and tidy passing, but some woeful crossing and corner taking. Probably a bit unfair to judge him on one game mind. The Swiss team were pretty poor in general, though they've still managed to come out on top.

  31. Shaqiri in our system of play, without a doubt I will sign him tomorrow.

  32. Fair points though he also made some poor decisions and lost the ball too many times. Still we've got a couple more matches to see him in before we pull the plug

  33. i don't think a Brenan Rodgers team will park the bus.

  34. I'm sorry but I don't know why we are being compared to Spain? We're not a tiki taka team. We're actually more comparable to Holland. I can't remember the last time we seriously tried to win a game through trying to play like Barcelona.