What is the solution to Liverpool's woes?
Liverpool played out yet another draw at the Liberty Stadium with the Reds missing some glorious opportunities to snatch three points, and Reds fans are already asking Santa Claus for a January characterised by a spending spree. Surely eleventh or thirteenth in the Premier League doesn’t augur well for a team once who used to wow the football world.
Yes, there have been talks that Brendan Rodgers and his philosophy of playing the tiki taka will take time to settle down and his faith in youngsters from the Youth Academy will pay rich dividends but one question still remains.
There was a lot of positivity around Anfield on the day Rodgers was appointed the herculean task of managing Liverpool FC, but will his style and flair give returns in the excruciating Barclays Premier League, where even earning a point now-a-days has become extremely tough is the quandary on many people’s lips.
Much has been talked about Joe Allen who until now hasn’t justified even half of his price tag, a hefty £15m. Being described as the Welsh Xavi in one of the Being Liverpool episodes there is not even a glimpse of Xavi’s technique in this young man’s game. What more could you expect of someone who has rarely passed the ball forward from the start of the season? At times, it seems as if he is only satisfied in passing the ball six yards to players alongside him. Maybe he is more interested in maintaining his stats.
It is quite evident in games this season, where build up play has been hampered due to too many sideways passes. What’s worse is that he gives away too many fouls and there have been no forward passes from him. Steve McMahon even went to the extent of calling him a negative player which is fair enough.
With Steven Gerrard not getting any younger, there will be a dearth of assists in this Liverpool team, especially when players like Stewart Downing and Joe Cole are only there to make up the numbers. With Henderson running like a headless chicken and Nuri Sahin not being his usual self, (but you can forgive him as this is his first season in the EPL) Liverpool will have problems this season. Too much dependence on Luis Suarez will make things easy for the opposition.
Take for example the Swansea game where Michael Laudrup used two men to cover Suarez to cut out Liverpool’s attacking prowess.
It is perhaps time for the gaffer in charge to understand that tiki taka doesn’t work in the EPL. There have been innumerable times where Liverpool have played about ten to fifteen passes that have failed to produce any end product. What’s worse is that they remained in their own box. At times, there has been an utter lack of creativity and teams have been able to counter and take the game by the scruff of the neck, the glaring examples being the games against Manchester City, Newcastle and Stoke, who have managed to take away a point each from Anfield this season when it should have been a full three points for the home team.
However, whenever the Anfield outfit have played long balls and looked to attack through the wings, they have looked sharper and have attacked with venom. It would only take a brave man to forget how effective the pass and move philosophy was for the Reds in the eighties when they almost won every title they contested. That team is now beset by a plethora of problems, despite being a major force in the Champions League four to five years ago.
Moreover the departure of players like Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano and frequent injuries to Lucas (their most improved player in the past four to five years) hasn’t helped the cause. Steven Gerrard this season has looked a shadow of his former self and the shine is missing from his game.
There is also no centre forward who can bang in the goals at a constant rate up front and players like Raheem Sterling and Suso will take time to develop, given their enormous potential. The £12m Italian, Fabio Borini hasn’t impressed much and thanks to a broken leg he is out for a long time. What remains to be seen is who does Rodgers opt for in the transfer market. Players like Edinson Cavani, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Loic Remy and recently Darren Bent are proven goalscorers and have been linked constantly with the Reds, and surely January cant come faster for a team in transition.
But the question remains for how long will they be in transition?
Does Champions League football beckon for the Reds any time soon? Many feel that time will provide an apt answer. My question is why not make now our time?