Well another disappointing season behind us despite not losing in our last 8 games.
The stats don't lie unfortunately.
While we scored 71 League goals one of our best returns in the last decade we managed to concede 43. Shocking really. While conceding just over 1 goal per game may not sound that bad to win the League or finish in the Top 4, you generally only concede around 0.8-.06 per game. To put our Gorgonzola defending into context here are few more facts about our defending.
We managed to concede 2 goals or more 17 times - That almost half our games.....
Of the times we conceded 2 goals 10 were against the 6 teams who finished above us , is it any wonder we only won game all season against teams above us.Bizarrely that was against Spurs when we scored 3! Only 5 of those games resulted in defeat!
I have spoken before of our over-commitment of fullbacks and Glen Johnson's general lack of positional awareness when playing at right-back, cant jockey cant tackle cant cover, always playing people onside etc..... The Manager's decision to discard Martin Sktrel in favour of Carra didn't really bear any fruit. Upon his return to the back 4 we surrendered a 2 goal lead at Arsenal in 7 minutes. Committed Hari-Kari while winning at City (Thanks Pepe - again) and after clubbing West Brom at home let 2 in, in the last 10 minutes. So we conceded 6 in 3 no different to what we were doing before and that sequences of results probably cost us our last faint hope of a Top 4 finish.
The addition of Daniel Sturridge to the squad has definitely resulted in a slight shift of tactics from Brendan Rodgers. We seem to be allowed/willing to play a ball into the channel earlier. Result - we have scored more and are starting to pick teams off on the break. This seems to be working better and more productive use of the pace we have in the squad. This change in tactic has seen the abandonment of Joe Allen as a useless continuity Hobbit in front of the back 4. This has been coupled with some form from Stuart Downing. Jordan Henderson has similarly grown into a more central role which he seems to be more productive and not the usual headless chicken displays we have seen from him before.
Philippe Coutinho has like Sturridge has hit the ground running which is surprising considering he has hardly played any football in the last year or so before joining us from Inter. So a big plus for Brendan Rodgers January signings.
I gave Brendan Rodgers a D- before Xmas as he seems to be hamstrung by his blinkered approach tactically and slavish reliance on Joe Allen. the latter has proved thoroughly out of his depth at Anfield. another £15 mill wasted.Yes its his 1st season but he came as someone who Rodgers had worked with before. So he should have adapted better. He hasn't.
I would say that we have been better in the 2nd half although still dropping too many points at home. Only 33 points at home all season. Anfield used to be a fortress at the moment its like a country retreat for visiting teams. They all seem to leave with something and a smile on their face!
If we want to push for the Top 4 you have to be winning 16+ home games. Winning 9,6 and 12 like we have done in the last 3 seasons isn't good enough.Its a huge factor in us not qualifying for Europe at all next season. That needs to be addressed. Its no use to dominate matches and not score. You only have to look at ManUre this last season. Some games they only had 3 or 4 shots but won 2 or 3 nil. That is down to quality and composure. We still don't have it.
I would say that Rodgers deserves a C for his performance as Manager in his 1st season. He has probably tried to change too much, been hamstrung by the mad decision to let Carroll go on loan last August without having a suitable replacement.
Fabio Borini getting injured in one of his 1st matches further reduced our options. But most damningly it took us 6 League games to win a match. That was not good enough.
I notice we have a far more serious pre-season this year with 7 games lined up. That should ensure we hit the ground running. We also seem to be getting our transfer business done early this years with several signings already in place. Also Rodgers' transfer policy has been hit and miss.Unfortunately mostly miss so far. That needs to improve. He is suppose to have 180 page dossier lets hope he uses it....
On the plus side we have seen Sterling,Wisdom,Suso,Shelvey and Conor Coady make1st team appearances which shows that the Academy can produce decent players lest just hope we don't continue to sell them all!
Joe Allen - £15 mill for a guy who sits in front of the back 4 and passes it sideways and backwards.Eventually binned by Manager after the Oldham Cup exit. Will probably get another season but I would cut my losses now. Sorry waste of time and money - 3/10.
Nuri Sahin - Showed some glimpses but throwing him in against Arsenal in his 1st game probably knocked what little confidence he had. Still he ended up up playing in the Champions League Final.... 1/10
Mo Assiadi - AKA Splinter -always on the bench Yet to trouble the 1st team or the Reserves in the League. So not if he isn't the player the manager thought he was. 0/10????
Samit Yesil - doing a good job in the U21's hopefully gets some more experience there and is ready to step up at some point this season.6/10.
Fabio Borini - £10 mill - Unfortunately injured early doors had a decent couple of cameos at the end of the season and has had a good U21's with Italy. The Chelski reject may yet prove useful next season and qualifies as 'homegrown'.
Daniel Sturridge - £12mill. Greta move The fact that we should have had hm for free a year before we signed him rankles but he has shown that with or without Suarez we have a quality goalscorer. 9/10
Phillipe Couthinho - £10mill as mentioned is proving an astute signing and is king of the assist at the moment. Hopefully more to come from him next season.9/10
The New Boys
I have to be honest I dont know much about these players but its sign of the times while ManUre, City and Arsenal are chasing household names we are looking relative unknowns.
I am looking forward to the newspaper headlines for Aspas. Comedic value alone will be worth it, what a name!
Simon Mignolet - A keeper with a growing reputation and I expect him to be in the 1st Team sooner rather than later. I expect Reina to return to Spain over the summer.lets be honest he has been poor for the last 2 and bit seasons.
Luis Alberto - Promising young Spaniard. Some places quote him being a midfielder others a forward. Main thing is he is from Barcelona so should be technically good, and he had a season on loan so has played some competitive football.
Glad the Andy Carroll situation has been resolved but I would still have liked to have kept him as plan B and for games against the more physical teams in the League. Still the manager clearly doesn't fancy him or his style.
The Elephant in the Room
Luis Suarez - I have said enough about this 'human being' on Facebook in the last few months. The biting of Ivanovic was the final straw that should have broke the camels back but the Club still seem to want to keep him. Hopefully this is just posturing to ensure we get a decent transfer fee from Madrid or whatever other team want a cheating diving scumbag.....
His statements during Confederations Cup about the club and colleague not supporting him went too far. He racially abused another player and the club stood behind him. His colleagues all wore T-Shirts with his image on it away at Wigan before his hearing. Clearly a lack of support!!!! He was found guilty (because he is a liar) and by the usual FA bumbling his 1st game back was against ManUre. He had assured everyone he would shake hands with Evra, yet he didnt and caused Kenny Dalglish to look stupid and caused club to issue apology.
Every transfer window he has had a wage increase, another 'lack of support' from the Club. All the while he besmirches the Clubs name and makes us fans feel embarrassed to support Liverpool......
Hopefully he will not disgrace us next season by still being a Liverpool player. Take £30 mill and be rid of him.
- I have been a Red since I was about 6 or 7. My boyhood hero was Kenny Dalglish and I have an autograph from him while he was still at Celtic. Thanks Gran! As such I gravitated towards the team he played for. So I have been Scottish-South African- Scoucer for about 30 years now! I am extremely passionate about our club, and have felt the need to start this blog in the face of the abject nature of our performaces under Benitez and the Hicks/Gillett ownership.