Could Forgotten Man Be Key To Liverpool’s Finishing?

22 Sep

It has been well documented in the last few days that Liverpool are lacking a killer touch in front of goal, with recent games against Sevilla, Burnley and Leicester City providing frustrating spectacles for Reds’ supporters.

Failure to win any of the aforementioned games was hard to take as Liverpool dominated for long spells before conceding against the run of play, and supporters are hoping their team can end this frustrating spell away to Leicester tomorrow.

Liverpool have been playing some great football this season but their failure to finish teams off is killing them at the moment.

With games in the balance the pressure is always on Liverpool’s defence to stay tight, and apart from the wins over Crystal Palace and Arsenal, the defence hasn’t been reliable at all.

It has been highlighted by many about Liverpool’s defensive problems but if Liverpool could be more clinical with their finishing then it would ease the pressure on the defence.

Liverpool have been extremely wasteful in front of goal despite the amount of chances created and although they have some great attacking players like Coutinho, Mane, Salah, Lallana, Sturridge and Firmino, they don’t have a poacher to finish the chances off.

Sturridge is the nearest they have of the names mentioned, but he is not the player he used to be and doesn’t seem to get in the box as much these days when given the chance to play by manager Jurgen Klopp.

Firmino is Klopp’s preferred choice as striker, but although he is a terrific striker, he is not a natural finisher and this is what Liverpool need.

Could Liverpool’s forgotten man be the answer?

Danny Ings has endured a nightmare time regarding injuries since he joined Liverpool, but he is back and it was a highlight for Liverpool fans in an otherwise disappointing night on Tuesday when he returned to first team action as a second half substitute in the 2-0 loss at Leicester City.

Ings is the type of player that gets in the penalty box and is always looking for chances, he is a goal-poacher and he might just be what Liverpool need.

It looks really difficult for Ings to get much game time with the attacking players that Klopp has in his squad, but maybe the German should find a place for him in his team because he might just be the man to that finds Liverpool’s killer touch.

 

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Why I Want Coutinho, Robertson And Milner To Start

16 Sep

Liverpool face Burnley at Anfield today after a difficult week that included a disappointing 5-0 defeat against Manchester City before Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla.

Once again Liverpool’s defence has been heavily criticised after two poor performances in a week and Burnley will provide another tough test for Klopp’s rearguard with their threat at set-pieces.

Klopp is forced into making one change for the Burnley game after Mane’s sending off last weekend against City, but I would like to see him make a couple more changes.

I would like Andy Robertson to play at left back instead of Alberto Moreno, the Scot impressed me in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace a few weeks ago and Moreno’s defensive work is still causing concern despite his effectiveness going forward.

With Nathaniel Clyne still out injured, the right back responsibilities have fallen on youngsters’ Trent Alexander Arnold and Joe Gomez.

Alexander Arnold had a tough time at Manchester last weekend before Gomez was sent off against Sevilla.

After two tough experiences for Liverpool’s youngsters, I’m hoping Klopp selects the experienced and reliable James Milner to play right back today because I also think his experience and influence will help Liverpool’s defence.

Finally, I’m hoping to See Coutinho replace the suspended Mane because his ability to create something could be vital against a well organised Burnley defence that will make things very tough regarding scoring opportunities.

It will be interesting to see what team Klopp selects because it is vital that Liverpool get back to winning ways today.

Moreno Better But Still Rivals Traore

14 Sep

Liverpool’s defensive problems cost them dearly once again last night as they started their Champions League campaign with a 2-2 draw against Sevilla at Anfield last night.

After falling behind to a Wissam Ben Yedder strike Liverpool turned the game around in a frenetic first half courtesy of goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, Firmino’s missed penalty proved costly as Sevilla equalised through Joaquin Correa to earn the Spanish side a valuable point.

Most of the post-match criticism was aimed at Dejan Lovren after the big Croatian endured a horrible night topped off with a disastrous missed clearance at the near post that gave Ben Yedder the opportunity to give Sevilla the early lead.

Lovren is far from convincing but I’d like to talk about Alberto Moreno, because he does not help Lovren with the way he plays and this could be having an effect on his own game as he has to cover Moreno on numerous occasions because the Spaniard likes to get forward so much.

You would imagine that this is how Klopp wants Moreno to play but as a left back, surely defending is the first thing on your mind.

Moreno has surprisingly played regularly since the start of the season, and in fairness to him, he has played better than usual, his attacking play has improved but his defending is still not good enough.

I read some players’ ratings from some websites after the game last night and I was amazed how highly Moreno was rated in some of them.

Yes, Moreno played well going forward last night, and was the architect in Liverpool’s equalising goal, but he is still not good enough defending and was caught sleeping at the back post as Ben Yedder peeled off him to score after Lovren’s mistake.

Moreno twice went in recklessly for challenges in the second half when on a yellow card and he really should have been sent off.

James Milner has fell out of favour this season after doing a decent job at left back for most of last season and he certainly defended better than Moreno.

Andy Robertson looks the pick of the left back options for Klopp, but strangely he’s only played one game in which he was arguably Liverpool’s best player.

Personally I cringe every time I see Moreno selected for Liverpool and I’m sorry to say this, but I’d put him the same category as Djimi Traore as Liverpool’s worst left back.

I honestly hope Moreno improves but I think he’s had plenty of opportunities, and I think he has all the attributes to be a great left back, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the brains.

Is Klopp Taking A Risk With Keeper Rotation?

13 Sep

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Loris Karius will start in goal against Sevilla tonight in the Champions League.

The decision to select the German is a bit of a surprise considering Mignolet has hardly put a foot wrong since his return to the team last season, despite him conceding 5 goals against Manchester City last Saturday.

In fairness to the Belgian, he could hardly be blamed for the goals conceded and actually did very well to keep the score down.

Reports suggested last week that Klopp wants to use Karius as his goalkeeper for Champions League games despite naming Mignolet as his number 1.

Barcelona have used a goalkeeper rotation system to great effect in recent seasons and it looks like Klopp wants to do the same.

But is it the right thing to do at Liverpool?

Personally I don’t agree with it, and I certainly don’t feel the time is right to introduce it with Liverpool’s worrying problem of conceding far too many goals since the start of this season.

Both Mignolet and Karius are struggling to convince people that they are good enough to keep goal at a club like Liverpool, although, as I said earlier that Mignolet hasn’t done much wrong since returning to the side last season.

But Karius has looked far from convincing since his arrival on Merseyside after producing a string of nervy performances between the sticks last season that resulted in Mignolet’s return to the team.

Klopp made a surprising selection by selecting Karius for Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal earlier this season, but although the German had very little to do, he did looked far from confident and was almost dispossessed with the ball at his feet on numerous occasions.

Karius doesn’t fill me with confidence at the moment, although after being a Klopp signing he could still prove to be a great keeper.

But with Liverpool’s defensive problems I think Klopp needs to select a settled defence, and especially a regular goalkeeper, and I don’t think chopping and changing his keeper is a good thing.

Liverpool supporters love being back in the Champions League and want the team to do well and I think I’m not alone in thinking that Klopp’s decision to select Karius is too big a risk to take for such a big game.

 

Mane’s Red Card Ends 50/50 Challenges In Football

12 Sep

Football is becoming less and less of a contact sport, and in my opinion the decision by referee Jon Moss to send off Sade Mane in Liverpool’s 5-0 loss to Manchester City on Saturday was the wrong decision.

The red card has caused a very big debate with opinions divided, but I was incensed and enraged at the time by the referee’s decision to show Mane a red card resulting in me throwing my TV remote control and smashing it into pieces in a fit of rage.

I couldn’t believe it and I still think its a ridiculous decision despite all the debates I’ve listened to.

I can understand that in theory by the letter of the law, Jon Moss made the correct decision, but a referee has to look at the incident and not just make a decision based on his book of law or every time a player raises their foot they will be sent off.

The overhead kick could be a thing of the past.

Mane’s sending off sparked a need for consistency in football after a series of similar incidents in one weekend alone that resulted in players not being punished as severely as the Liverpool player.

Winston Reid’s last night, Matt Ritchie’s challenge on Swansea’s Alfie Mawson were two incidents highlighted, and just two minutes before Mane’s sending off, he was also the victim of a high challenge, when Jesus appeared to kick him in the head as he tried to head the ball clear resulting in Jon Moss giving Liverpool a free-kick without showing a card for the incident.

Mane’s challenge on Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson was a 50/50 challenge with the City goalkeeper getting to the ball a fraction before Mane unfortunately resulting in a nasty injury for the keeper.

But the ball was there to go for and be won, many people are saying Mane was going in dangerously with his feet high, but wasn’t Ederson going in dangerously too? Racing out from his goal at great pace head first, recklessly? Personally I’d say he was being very brave to come and challenge, resulting in the keeper sustaining a sore one was just an unfortunate collision that can happen in a contact sport when two players are going for a ball.

You know by the reaction of a crowd and players if they feel a sending off should occur after a serious incident, and in Mane’s case nobody was expecting to see a red, but after all the slow-motions replays and stills of the incident more people have decided to back the referee’s decision to send off Mane, but you can make most challenges look nasty if you analyse them in the same way.

You can analyse every challenge to death but a referee gets one look at an incident and has to make a decision and although I respect the decision made by Jon Moss I still think it was wrong and I reckon 9 times out of 10 a similar challenge escapes a red card.

Anyway, on to more serious matters, I’ve had no way of switching on my TV after smashing my remote on Saturday so I’m off to the shops to get a new one before Wednesday’s match with Seville.

But I will be putting my remote well out of reach just in case there’s another dodgy refereeing decision.

 

 

Not Many Teams Will Go To Anfield And Play Like Hoffenheim

25 Aug

Liverpool stormed into the group stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night after blitzing Hoffenheim at Anfield in the first twenty minutes to take an unassailable 3-0 lead before eventually running out 4-2 winners on the night and an aggregate 6-3 win.

It was an impressive start by Liverpool that overwhelmed the Germans, a high tempo pressing game combined with some superb passing and movement put the tie to bed inside the first twenty minutes.

But Hoffenheim helped Liverpool with their tactics, they continued to play with a high defensive line at Anfield, tactical suicide against a Liverpool side with so much pace in attack.

Mane, Salah and Firmino enjoyed the space given to get behind the German’s defence on numerous occasions, Hoffenheim’s tactics certainly helped the game become an entertaining spectacle with their own intentions of attack that caused Liverpool more than a few problems.

But how many teams are going to come to Anfield this season and play with the tactics Hoffenhiem deployed ?

Not many, it doesn’t matter if Liverpool are playing in Europe or in the Premier League, not many teams are going to make the game as open as Hoffenheim did the other night.

Teams will come to Anfield and sit deep like Crystal Palace did last Saturday and try to frustrate Liverpool’s attack and try and hit on the break like we saw many times last season, and apart from Liverpool counter-attacking, Mane and Salah’s pace will be nullified with little space to work in.

Can, Wijnaldum and even Henderson were all pushing forward against Hoffenheim but Liverpool were still vulnerable when they lost possession with too many men forward and it didn’t help with Moreno ignorant to the fact that he is a left-back.

It is a totally different game when teams come and park the bus and Liverpool’s midfield of Can, Wijnaldum and Henderson don’t have the creativity to unlock well disciplined, deep-lying defences.

This is why Liverpool must hold on to Coutinho now because it is too late in the transfer window to find a replacement, he is the only player that can open up packed defences with his ability.

Liverpool will destroy teams that come to Anfield with the same approach as Hoffenheim but don’t expect to see too many being brave enough.

FSG’s Most Important 2 Weeks 

19 Aug

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are heading into arguably their most important 2 weeks in charge of the Anfield club.

With only a League Cup win to celebrate during their reign of one of Europe’s most successful clubs, the pressure is on Liverpool’s American owners to take the club to the next level.

Supporters are losing patience despite the club’s improvement both on and off the park.

Anfield’s impressive new main stand is an excellent addition to Liverpool’s famous ground allowing more speactators to support the team as well as providing extra revenue.

On the field, FSG made an excellent signing by capturing Jurgen Klopp to take charge of the team, when many clubs in Europe were showing an interest in the German.

Klopp led Liverpool to a top 4 place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification.

But Liverpool supporters have been left frustrated this summer with few additions to Klopp’s threadbare squad and with the return of European football to Anfield this season, the worry is that the squad will struggle with the extra games.

The improvements in the last season raised expectations that FSG would take Liverpool to the next level this summer and make them genuine challengers both in the Premier League and in Europe.

But apart from the few signings made at this time of writing, the most important issue for FSG looks like maintaining the sevices of their star player Philippe Coutinho.

Liverpool’s owners seem intent on keeping Coutinho but whether he stays or goes, it pains me to say that there are more important issues needing resolved that will require FSG spending money and bringing in quality players.

Another centre back remains a priority for Liverpool’s defence and a holding midfielder but with time running out this transfer window, it is looking less likely of happening.

If Coutinho finally leaves for Barcelona, then Liverpool will need a player similar to his style too, so it will be interesting to see how the next 2 weeks pan-out regarding Liverpool’s transfer window, but if Coutinho leaves and nobody is signed then FSG will need to answer a lot of questions from the fans because they have been starved of success for too long.

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