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Only Time Will Tell……

Roy Hodgson has been in is job for little over a month now and at the time of his appointment I wrote ‘Mixed Feelings’ (see previous blog) which explained my views and emotions at that time. I tried to explain about how I wasn’t as excited as I should be by his appointment but as Liverpool manager I would be giving him my full support as I would do with any manager. I have to admit so far I have been impressed with the way he has conducted himself with the players and media and following our first competitive game this season, the way he has backed our youngsters by giving them a chance to prove themselves in the first team. He has also made some good positive signings with Joe Cole on a free being the stand out one. After a conversation I had on Twitter recently I wanted however to raise with Liverpool fans what true expectations we all have for the forth coming season. One particular fan confirmed to me that he was expecting Liverpool to be challenging for the title and maybe win the FA Cup and that the Europa league wasn’t important. This was in response to me highlighting that the Europa League was a trophy (even though a somewhat annoying distraction) that Liverpool were capable of winning with their current squad, but prior to the game I was concerned about where the goals would come from and if in fact we were capable of winning that particular game with the team Roy Hodgson had available. (Of course my fears were short lived and we went on to win the game.) However the response I had on Twitter got me thinking about whether winning the Premier League this season is a realistic expectation and if not what is? Those of you that read my blogs on a regular basis know that I try to have a balanced and realistic view on events surrounding our club be it on or off the pitch, however winning the Premier League this coming season is in my opinion is one thing sadly I don’t think will happen. Some fans will jump on that statement and say that I am being too negative and that I am not fully supporting the club. Those of you that know me know that is just not the case. One thing being a Liverpool supporter for over 30 years has taught me is to be passionate yes but also the need to be realistic too. So why don’t I believe we can win the league this year? The main reasons for this are in my opinion quite obvious – we lack quality and depth to our squad and that together with the obvious lack of money available in the transfer market, is there for all to see. Last season we saw that when we had injuries to key players such as Gerrard, Torres, Agger, Johnson we didn’t have similar quality to come in. The lack of striker cover was an issue (and still is) with no direct replacement for Torres. So when Torres was injured for large parts of last season it fell to David Ngog to take on the responsibility of scoring the goals. In fairness to Ngog this was always going to be too much of a responsibility for him but as main cover  and the second ‘preferred’ striker to Torres he was and in my opinion still is never going to be good enough. I am not trying to solely pick Ngog as the main reason but am merely trying to highlight the above point. As things stand we cannot compete with the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and now Spurs who all seem to  have at least 2 quality players for each position. This is a luxury that Liverpool at present cannot afford but you don’t need me to point that out. So is it then realistic for Liverpool fans to expect the team to be challenging for the league title knowing all of this? Yes we can dream and hope that come May 2011 we are challenging for the title but surely we also have to be realistic don’t we? With the news today that a Chinese consortium have put a serious offer in to buy the club this may change everything but until (if) that happens then the best I am hoping for this season is a good solid run in the Europa League and a 4th spot finish in the Premier League. But with almost everything only time will tell………. YNWA

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A Little Concerned…….

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC, You'll Never Walk Alone | Posted on 13-09-2010

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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

Comments (3)

I believe Mascherano making himself unavailable for the Citeh game had a massive negative effect on the team, meaning Roy had to shuffle his pack. Had he been available I’m pretty sure Roy would have played the same shape as against Arsenal. Mascherano let himself and LFC down badly there.
I too was impressed with Meireles and given time looks like he could be a very handy player for us. I’d like to see him and Steve Gerrard play in the middle together with Joe Cole behind Torres and Babel/Jovanovic on the left. On paper that looks like a fairly creative side! So keep the faith the goals will come!!!

Again thanks for reading and your comments – i agree that Roy should give Babel a chance now otherwise we might as well sell him! I hope you are right mate and that the goals start coming – hopefully Thursday night! I wish the press would lay off Torres though!!

The press need something to fill their papers with! He didn’t look disinterested and diobolical the other week when he volleyed a shot past Scott Carson did he? One bad game and everybody wants to critisize him looking for any signs he wants out. (form, body language etc etc). Bit boring now isn’t it!
Great blog by the way.

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