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A Little Concerned…….

We are now 4 games into the Premier League and already there is a familiar pattern and feel to how we are playing, predictable, slow and lacking of any imagination in the final third. After the first game against Arsenal where the team showed passion and commitment there has been a complete lack of the same since then. In my previous blog ‘Return of the Mojo’ I praised the team and in particular Mascherano so before I go on and following the events of the Argentine midfielder moving to Barcelona I want to make it clear that I want to retract the ‘legend’ status I attributed to him and in my eyes will only be known as a someone who used to play for Liverpool. So since the Arsenal game what has gone wrong? The senior players have come out and said they are enjoying what Roy Hodgson is bringing to the club so is it the players not performing or is it the tactical awareness of our new manager? I have written previously that I had ‘mixed feelings’ about Hodgsons appointment and wasn’t sure if he was the ‘right’ person to manage our club but with some good signings during pre-season and how we played during the Arsenal game he had started to win me round. However since then the signs have been less than encouraging with a heavy defeat to Man City (where no substitutions were made until the last 10 minutes and even though the system clearly wasn’t working the shape was never changed), an unconvincing win in Europe, a very unconvincing win at home  to West Brom and a grateful draw away to Birmingham on Sunday. We have only scored 2 goals in 4 games and have conceded 4 which again is a worrying sign and the way the team played on Sunday we only ever looked liked adding to the conceded column. Is this the fruits of Hodgsons tactics or simply players off form? Well for England Gerrard has been in great form but in a Liverpool shirt he hasn’t been able to recreate that form so far. So therefore is it the tactics? The game against Manchester City concerned me, yes because of the result and poor performance, but more so because even though it was clear to everyone watching that the tactics were not right and City were controlling the midfield the management did not feel (even after 2 nil down) the need to change it or bring on substitutions. It felt to me that after going 2 nil down the management conceded there was no chance in coming back and that a defeat was the only outcome of the game. Something on the same lines that Fulham would accept…. Since that game the team has been set up with 2 holding midfield players who between them seem to struggle to find a forward pass and therefore limit any creativity through the midfield area. Don’t get me wrong I think that Lucas and Poulsen as players do a good job but in my opinion should never play in the same team together. Admittedly Hodgson has been without Joe Cole who if had been available may have meant only one holding midfielder being played. We will find out in the next game at home on Thursday in the Europa League if that theory becomes reality. The lack of goals is also a concern – Torres is becoming increasingly isolated and because there is a lack of urgency and creativity in our play he is also becoming frustrated. If Torres (or Gerrard) isn’t scoring then the team struggles. There is a distinct lack of goals from the rest of the team and I don’t see that changing any day soon. However I was impressed with Miereles when he came on against Birmingham – he maybe the player who will get into the positions to score goals but can only be accommodated if we stop playing with 2 holding players As a passionate Liverpool fan I want Hodgson and more importantly the team to succeed but I am worried that we are becoming a a clone of Fulham and comments such as ‘I am very pleased with a point at Birmingham’ is not what I want to hear or expect from a Liverpool manager. We are Liverpool Football club not Fulham FC. Being realistic I am not expecting us to be challenging for the title come May but I do expect us to be and perfom better than a mid table team so for the moment and even at this early stage of the season I am a little concerned…… YNWA

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Return of the Mojo…..

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC, You'll Never Walk Alone | Posted on 16-08-2010

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The new campaign has finally started! Since the departure of Rafa Benitez and appointment of Roy Hodgson this has been one of the most anticipated starts to a season in a very long time.

When the fixture list was announced in July and we knew Arsenal were going to be the visitors we all wondered what kind of Liverpool team would run out on to the Anfield turf on the 15th August, which players would still be at the club and who (if any) would be our new signings? At the end of last season I felt depressed and was frightened for the well being of our club and even more so when Rafa left us after what I would describe as a successful time at the club. I was also frightened that the club would also lose the spine of the team such as Gerrard and Torres and I wasn’t overly excited by the appointment of Roy Hodgson. The club in my opinion had lost its ‘mojo’.

However events over the last few weeks seem to have sparked optimism amongst the club, fans and even media alike with the signings of Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen and most importantly Gerrard and Torres committing themselves to the club they love. Even though I was a strong supporter of Rafa Benitez and had mixed feelings about Roy Hodgson, the new manager has in fact been a breath of fresh air, his approach to the players, media and fans has been impressive and this has gone a long way in starting to win me over.

The change was there to see under the first 2 ‘competitive’ games in the Europa League – two solid wins and signs of a more fluent attacking approach especially during the second leg at Anfield. But the true test was always going to be the first Premier League game at home against Arsenal.

After a pretty even first half with Arsenal having plenty of possession the game suddenly came to life with the somewhat harsh sending off of Joe Cole on the stroke of half time. My first thoughts were that we were going to struggle to get a draw and that surely Arsenal would punish us with their quick passing game especially against our 10 men. What followed in the second half was a team reignited with passion and commitment throughout and a complete desire not to be beaten which in all honesty wasn’t there last season. This was a game we would have gone on to lose in similar fashion to the game at Fulham where there was a distinct lack of passion.

All 14 players used yesterday gave there heart and soul to the cause and aside from another freakish incident similar to those seen last season Liverpool would have secured all 3 points. Although Mascherano has clearly stated he wants to leave the club (for family reasons) he showed what a true professional he is by giving a man of the match performance in the heart of midfield. After that performance alone for me he has cemented his place as a ‘true red’. Many other players wouldn’t have given their all but I believe that out of true respect for our club and fans he felt that he couldn’t give anything less. Another player showing true passion and commitment was Daniel Agger.  After receiving a direct blow to the face it was clear to see that he was seeing three of everything and was clearly struggling. But knowing that all the substitutions had been made he insisted on continuing even though it could have been a serious risk to his health. Again last season for whatever reason I am not sure he would have done that.

So is this new found passion and never say die attitude the results of the management style under Roy Hodgson? I sincerely hope so and I hope that this attitude stays with the players all season long. I still think we are short of challenging for the title as described in ‘Only Time Will Tell’ but after the events of yesterday I am increasingly becoming more optimistic for a good season.

If the team continue to show the passion and commitment shown yesterday then there is one thing we can all ascertain, that the ‘mojo’ has returned…..

YNWA

Comments (2)

Couldn’t agree more with every sentence! Great write up.

Thanks for your comments Paul. Really appreciate the read. Let’s hope we continue to show the same passion!

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