9 Nov 2014

"The plan was to...": BR explains why he dropped Lucas for £10m star vs. Chelsea. Fail?

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers made six changes for Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea, and despite the likes of Fabio Borini and Kilo Toure impressing against Madrid, Emre Can was the only player from that game to keep his place. In his post-Chelsea press conference, Rodgers outlined his thinking for that decision, and explained why he believes Can is becoming an important player for LFC?

Speaking to reporters after the game, Rodgers hailed Can for doing 'very very well' against Chelsea, and praised his application in training. On the subject of why the German midfielder started against the Blues, Rodgers noted:

"The plan was to play Emre because of the physicality of Chelsea. They're a big team and they have a physical presence. He looked strong, took his goal very well.

"I think him coming into the team as a young player, he is getting to grips with the experience of the Premier League and he's looking very good in training and in the games."

Can started well, but seemed to fade away as the game went on. To be honest, I still don't see what Can specifically brings to the team; yes, he scored a (deflected) goal, but did he really provide an effective 'physical' presence in front of the back four, to the extent that he's a superior option to Lucas, or Allen?

Can's stats against Chelsea:

* Tackles Won: 1 (out of 2)
* Interceptions/Clearances: 0
* Duels Won: 55%
* Aerial Duels Won: 50%
* Passing Accuracy: 85%
* Shot Assists: 2

For a player brought into the team to battle the physical might of Chelsea, Can made only two tackles for the entire game (successfully completing only one), and failed to record a single interception, clearance, or block. Perhaps I'm being harsh here, but an effective defensive-minded midfielder should have better defensive stats that this...right?

How is Can faring this season in comparison to Joe Allen (JA) and Lucas Leiva (LL)?

* Appearances: 5 | JA: 7 | LL: 3
* Tackles Won: 60% | JA: 76% | LL: 60%
* Interceptions/Clearances/Blocks: 5 | JA: 5 | LL: 7
* Duels Won: 48% | JA: 44% | LL: 40%
* Aerial Duels Won: 44% | JA: 0 | LL: 25%
* Passing Accuracy: 86% | JA: 87% | LL: 86%
* Passing Accuracy in Opp Half: 72%% | JA: 83% | LL: 83%
* Chances Created: 4 | JA: 4 | LL: 1

Stats: OPTA

For me the (admittedly rudimentary) stats show that Liverpool are desperately in need of a more effective defensive-minded midfielder in the squad. When it comes to defensive contribution, Can, Lucas, and Allen are clearly not (IMO) cutting it, and the team is in urgent need of a dominant holding midfielder.

Bottom line: Liverpool *lost* the Chelsea game, and the Reds have lost four of Can's seven games - including the last two - so I personally don't see how he's making a difference on the field.



  1. Nevergonnacrackthecode4:28 pm, November 09, 2014

    Can got in some very good positions he created some nice openings but henderson who had an off day kept losing the ball

    i think a cdm if overrated look at real madrid they dont have one neither do bayern munich

    btw i dont think can is a cdm, i thought he played in front of gerrard and henderson in this game and in front of lucas and allen vs rela madrid

    and at leverkusen bedner was the dedicated cdm

    can is a player with good mobility that can cover large distance link up attack go past people

  2. Nevergonnacrackthecode4:32 pm, November 09, 2014

    What is exciting is which striker are we going to buy in January?

    1) Martinez
    2) Doumbia
    3) Bony
    4) Higuain

    Martinez is the natural goalscorer in this list while bony has experience in pl
    doumbia is the most like suarez in that he can link up play and take men on
    while higuain is the player with the highest reputation

    our goal scoring record is terrible so we might need two
    martinez and doumbia for me

  3. Can and Coutinho were the only players to talk about after the match. Can has shown that he is a powerful runner with the ball. Would like him to start from now on.

  4. Nevergonnacrackthecode4:42 pm, November 09, 2014

    i want lallana,markovic,can and manquillo to get same chances balotelli is getting give them a run of 11 games then we can really judge them


    start this team every game except fr the big ones hendo can come in for coutinho
    rodgesr should try and turn sterling into a striker liek pepe guardiola turned messi into a striker

  5. I quite like Can but agree he faded off. As for his defensive duties he was playing furthest forward of the mids so clearances and that will be rare. Duels and things perhaps shows the superiority of Matic et al.

  6. We will get none of them

  7. Nevergonnacrackthecode4:49 pm, November 09, 2014

    I can really see us bid for this doumbia
    he seems to fit the same profile as salah and mkhitaryan
    good in cl , from a weaker league technically brilliant
    its just his age of 27 which might be a stopping point

    i really hate buying young players all the time because none of them can come in straight away in most cases and make an impact

  8. There was no plan... There is no plan...

  9. My team when the International break is over

    Manquillo Toure Sako Moreno

  10. It may be unfair to expect better defensive stats from Can. Whilst, according to Rodgers, he was brought in for his physicality, it seems like he was actually played in an advanced midfield role. The bottom line is, both Henderson and Gerrard were poor on the day, not helping Can who, on the day, was our best performer along with Coutinho.

    Unless we invest properly in the defensive midfield position, we will struggle at the highest level because we will continue to concede goal after goal.

  11. Nevergonnacrackthecode4:54 pm, November 09, 2014

    i really like markovic,lallana,lovren and can
    and want to see them get games and succeed in an lfc shirt
    i am not big fans of balotelli and sakho for whatever reason they are not likable players

  12. Can over Lucas any day, Lucas gives away so many free kicks , always gets booked, and has zero pace

  13. And we clearly need some adept CB's too.

  14. Nevergonnacrackthecode4:58 pm, November 09, 2014

    Yes but as we proved last season you do not need a cdm if you improve your forward line
    fact is if gerard never slipped no body would ahve talked about liverpools defense the 50 goals
    it mainly became important because of the goal difference

    if we buy 2 strikers who can put the ball in the net like martinez and higuain and one creative midfielder like cabaye

    we will most likely score more than our opponents

    idk if anyone else noticed but we ahve most expensive defence in the league city and chelsea dont buy much attention to it as dont barca and real they strengthen their attack

    which is best form of defense

  15. Well Skrtel was manhandled by Costa, always ends up second best with these powerful dtrikers and Lovren shite as usual too. Both were in no mans land. They need to be dropped end of the story. Our defence is worst than last season.

    Sakho yet another scapegoat.

  16. Nevergonnacrackthecode5:02 pm, November 09, 2014

    Since i am a guest i was thinking of changing my name if it is alright with jaimie
    i get too many code jokes and the names too long

    i am asking permission so i don't get accused of making an alias
    From now on i want to be called " Liverpool Lite"

  17. Nevergonnacrackthecode5:03 pm, November 09, 2014

    Why can't we see Lovren and sakho ?
    they doen well vs spurs

  18. Why would you want permission to change your name and why not just create a discuss account?

  19. Can did fade away, but then the whole team did. He, Coutinho, Balotelli all started brightly until Chelsea began to really impose themselves in the second quarter of the match.

  20. Nevergonnacrackthecode5:08 pm, November 09, 2014

    i forgot my password

  21. Nevergonnacrackthecode5:12 pm, November 09, 2014

    The problem is who we buy
    skrtel,agger,sakho,lovren have all been made to look adept by rodgers

    alderweild and betrand who are doing so well at southampton were rejected by most of us fans as we thought of them of rejects

    so maybe we look at players who are not getting games at big teams like nastasic and maybe coentrao

  22. Nevergonnacrackthecode5:13 pm, November 09, 2014

    Oh yeah !
    i want to apologies to you
    i got really frustrated with your pressing argument and took out on you
    I am sorry

  23. Emlyn hughes died 10 years ago this weekend.so many memories of being a kid and he was captain of lfc.loved lfc to his dying day .better days then. Not overpaid overhyped manchild.if this squad had a tenth of emlyns desire these forums would not be needed.rip crazy horse.

  24. Everyone will have a different opinion on this. You're absolutely right in suggesting that outscoring the opposition is one way to go. However, I'm one of those that in the same way that the best way to build a house is with a strong foundation, the best way to construct an efficient team is to start with a strong defence.

    If you look at some of the great Brazil squads of the past, they were adept at outscoring their opposition, but how long could it last? Even if we won the EPL last term and kept Suarez, the chances of repeating would be slim without addressing that defensive midfield position.

    I wouldn't agree that Chelsea don't pay much attention to their defence. Look at their squad: Courtois, one of the best young goalkeepers in the world, and he's keepng Cech another top keeper out of the squad. Terry, one of the best CBs in England (and I'm not a fan). Whether or not you trust Carragher and Neville, they rate Azpilicueta as the best defender in the EPL. Cahill and Ivanovic are also decent.

    In midfield, the already had Ramirez (plus Essien in the past). They still went out and bought Matic and have been linked with William Carvalho.

    Man City spent £32M on Mangala, £12M on Fernando, but already have players like Kompany. In any case, it's not just about the amount spent, it's also about buying the right players. Looking at what you have already and improving on it. Those squads already have a very strong base, we don't.

  25. Can is like a tank when he runs. Not much is going to stop him plus has an eye for a pass. Hopefully he starts from now on.

  26. You really do not need to apologies. This is a site where people are open to give their opinions after all.

  27. That is some very harsh judgement JK. Having a physical presence doesn't neccesarily mean Defense. And some aspects of the game cannot be captured with statistics.

    And that rubbish about us losing four of his 7 games, most of them were as sub appearances and he rarely made mistakes. The one thing that Can can bring to the team that NOBODY else can in our current squad, is that he almost never makes ANY major mistakes which is very hard to do playing in his box to box position.

  28. Problems is, how much more do you spend on CBs? It's early days, but it seems like Lovren was not the player BR expected him to be. I hope he improves. I still feel the most important purchase for that part of our squad is a defensive coach. Dalglish got more out of our defence when they weren't such an expensive unit.

    Rodger's teams are notorious for conceding. So I'm not sure which CBs we can acquire to improve things with our current approach to coaching and organisation. Furthermore, Mignolet is a worry, he seems obviously deficient in certain areas. Not sure how this wasn't obvious in the scouting process.

  29. Mignolet has actually been really good recently. If it was not for him we would have conceded many more than we have.

    Skrtel and Lovren clearly lack communication. They are not on the same page. We had the same issue with Skrtel and Sakho last season.

    For me Skrtel needs to be dropped ASAP along with Lovren. Lovren is still young fortunately so there is still hope for him. FSG will not be offering Skrtel a new contract and rightfully so.

  30. B Rodgers needs to spend £25m on these two DM in January:

    Y M'Villa(24) Of Rubin Kazan ( On loan at I Milan) for £10-£14M
    C Tiote(28) Of Newcastle for £7-£11M

    Whilst shipping out these two midfielders in January for : £16-£20M

    DM: L Leiva(27) should be sold for £8-£11M
    CM: J Allen(24) should be sold for £8-£10M

    B Rodgers should bring in Y Cabaye(28) of PSG for £15-£18M to bring some real class creativity goals from centre midfielder.

  31. I was more appalled with the Kolo Toure snub. He's was arguably our best player against Madrid and deserved to continue playing.

  32. I think Rodgers did not do himself any favours with some of the player he dropped for the Chelsea match. Even Borini deserved a start alongside Balotelli.

    It is called cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  33. Skrtel has been our best defender by far, for the past 18months, IMO.

  34. I beg to differ but everyone is entitled to their opinion ;-)

  35. If you could buy 1 or 2 CBs, who would you buy?

  36. If I look at things now I would have rather kept Agger and Ilori and got rid of Skrtel.

    Leaving us with Toure, Ilori, Agger and Sakho.

    Lovren has been nowhere near the same level as what we got with Agger. Agger lacked pace but I would rather have him than :Lovren right now.

    The money we spent on Lovren could have gone to try secure a player like Sanchez by flashing cash in his face.

  37. Totally agree... I think it was a terrible decision to drop Toure

  38. Are u giving up sugar?

  39. Kompany would be my choice but that is nothing but a pipe dream.

  40. here we are now that he scored 2 goals against city doumbia is becoming the flavor of the year...
    before that match i ve never see him mentionned as a potiential target.

  41. Wotshisface was offering him cars and his Hollywood home to use when he chose if he would sign for Arse- Piers Morgan

  42. I agree Adam.
    What I don't understand is the 'defensive midfielder' tag being pegged to him? I think he looks really useful when he travels with the ball and he clearly has a decent shot on him. I would say the pigeon hole he is being placed in here is simplistic and yet another example of judgements being made about a player who has yet to have any kind of consistent run. In fact, when did it become the norm to not give a player a couple of seasons to show what they can do - unless they are completely out of their depth?
    Patience needed.

  43. According to someone I heard today we tried to sign Sniederlin (don't know spelling) who for me should have been the first player from Soto we chased.

  44. Yep we are lucky MC , Arse , Spurs are not doing well at the moment and we are not losing touch with top four ..... those three places after Chelski are going to be tight this year . A big wake up call for BR this week . Let's use the break to regroup and with Danny boy back start stringing some wins together .

  45. Stats back that up but I an with Logan. What the stats don't show is the reason he is making last ditch challenges etc ate generally his fault dropping deep and widening the gap between midfield and defence. He also focuses far too much on players and is tactically not that good. He can be easily bullied too at times. Gge has some great attributes and that you see in those blocks and tackles but he just won't learn and he loves passing sideways fat too much.

  46. Skrtel does not understand the definition of a high defensive line.

  47. We will buy the one that's about BR height, scores less goals and has no EPL experience. So, it has to be Doumbia and we will need about 3 seasons to see him "settle" and eventually to scores some cup goals and do well in training and all that BR's BS.

  48. Gerard is the problem - we created a non existant role just to suit him - and how B R chooses Johnson beggars belief - 90 per cent of fans want him out. Mari and Sturidge wont work

  49. No, it isn't. Shut it, Logan!

  50. I agree. Even Wanyama could have been prioritised. I'd go as far as saying that neither Lovren, Lambert nor Lallana should have been under consideration at all. I don't think that any of them improve us.

  51. It is madness to offer Stevie G another 2 years - let him go to City and perhaps win the title he so richly deserves - our results/ performance are better without him - FACT

  52. looks like *you're* never gonna crack the code. (Forgive me...it had to be said. That will be the last time I crack a joke about your name.)

  53. I am just trying to help :-o

  54. I agree with most of that. Lovren on many occasions has seemed short of pace anyway.

  55. He actually looks overweight and short of pace at the moment, compounding his lack of tactical awareness.

  56. I also do not see FSG offering Gerrard anymore than a 1 year extension.

    Stevie has been one of the best players this club has ever seen but his time is slowly but surely coming to an end.

    Seriously do not think he will go the route of Lampard and end up at one of of rivals. he is a true red through and through. Could have left us many years ago but stuck with us.

  57. Emre Can wasn't playing as a DM so these stats are irrelevant.

  58. Until you successfully break the code, you are not allowed to change your name.

  59. Manquillo-Skrtel-Lovren-Moreno

  60. Sturridge will be fit for selection after the International break and no more Skrtel and Lovren please.

  61. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for the guy, but you need a strong manager to handle this situation correctly and sensitively. A fantastic servant, but Gerrard is no longer able to consistently produce a level of play to take Liverpool forward. Surely this was the reason why Agger and Reina were jettisoned. If Liverpool are going to be shrewd about success, Gerrard's days unfortunately will be numbered.

    The next step is then to acquire a replacement who is/potentially is better than his predecessor. That is to say, Liverpool will have to go against their transfer policy of acquiring average players.

  62. But who is that replacement. We have signed Lovren from Southampton who was one of the best defenders in the League last season, made our defenders look like amateurs and looked like a beast in preseason so who is to say Schneiderlin will not suffer the same fate?

    Playing for Southampton compared to LFC and with a massive transfer fee on your shoulders. We have been warned.

  63. Been saying about gerrard for 12 months.nobody would listen and the penny has dropped with others.having him so bulletproof is hindering the urgent need for a replacement.rogers wont do it though.wonderfull player that he was.thats it. Move on .and for him to go to press about contract left me with no respect for him.trying to back lfc into corner over contract. Was fantastic player.who was on fantastic contracts while here.trying to eek another 10 -15 out of club is disgusting.let him go .lets see him get a game at a top 4 or 5 club.no chance. Get shut.

  64. Emlyn hughes died 10 ago this weekend.thats what you call a player

  65. Yes mate still can't believe it

  66. With the absence of a real striker in the game...Balotelli sleep-walked thru the entire match, then Hendo and Coutinho should have been shooting when they had the chance...like Çan. It should be their first thought when they were in or around the 18. They continually looked for a pass instead of letting fly.

  67. No Balotelli...he's just not good enough. He has no pace and speed kills. Hendo to the other side, Markovic on the left, Coutinho as the #10 and Sterling with Sturridge.

  68. The word legend is used so easily now.only when you actually sit down and think of the players like emlyn who would and did give everything for lfc.almost feel a fool to actually defend and cheer the shower we have now.different time i guess.doesnt mean better though

  69. Wont be posting anymore.dared to suggest gerrard might actually be not that good now.and was a bit sly going to press over contract.anyway whats the point if the truth gets blocked

  70. Don't worry about it mate most of em never saw Steve Heighway either

  71. Shame really.love a bit of constructive banter.still .see ya mate

  72. Nevergonnacrackthecode7:46 pm, November 09, 2014

    actually twistadee mentioned him and ahmed musa

  73. No scatch Hendo and start Lallana instead.

  74. bayern munich have a cdm....javi martinez

  75. Nevergonnacrackthecode8:11 pm, November 09, 2014

    whos been injured for 8 months

  76. I agree, DM will stifle Can's natural attacking instincts. Still cheesed off that we didn't buy a designated DM. One in the mould of Fernandinho, athletic & tough. Allen lacks the physical presence to stifle any attack & Lucas has lost his legs. We are very soft in the middle & at the back, Toure & Sahko will toughen our defence as Lovren seems to have lost the stomach for the battle!

  77. You really read stats like the devil reads the bible: Yes, lost four of his 7 games but most of them were as sub. And he started against Real Madrid and Chelsea, two off the best clubs in the world right now. But that dosn't count does it? Stats should be used fairly.

  78. The problem also is, as soon as Lovren walked through the door, BR hailed him as our saviour. Talk about pressure! But I still think the defensive coaching and organisation is deficient. Improve this and all the defenders improve.

    I did use the word 'replacement' with respect to Gerrard, but in Can and Henderson, we have two decent, developing box-to-box midfielders, so may be we have to look at the immediate need. In my opinion, that would be a defensive midfielder.

  79. Perhaps we need to start Lucas, Can and Lallana/Allen in midfield more. Sadly Gerrard is looking more and more like his age and Hendo seems to be running on fumes out there.