About Me

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.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Case For The Defence?

Errrr no, there is no case since we don't have one..... There is more rigidity in a wet paper bag in a monsoon! In the month since I last blogged we have managed to win just 1 League game, a ridiculous 14-13 pen win in the League Cup to see off mighty Middlesborough and dodgy injury time pen to see off Ludogarets. 

While our general play has been poor, lacking tempo, intelligence anything nearing a cutting edge. A blunt butter knife is more incisive. I don't think this is an excuse for a complete lack of defensive organisation. In the 6 games we have played since Villa we have conceded 9. In total we have conceded 14 in 10 games. If you want to get in the top 4 you cant concede that many goals. Especially when the team isn't firing at the other end.

This porousness has been feature of Brendan Rodgers management career to date. I understand that his 'philosophy' isn't overly concerned with the defensive side of things ala Wenger. How else do you explain the 1.18, 1.28 goals conceded per game in the last 2 season under him and now an alarming 1.4 goals conceded per game so far this season. You cannot keep having to score 2 or 3 goals every week to win games. That is a football fact. It doesn't work in the end. 

The wheels came off at the end of last season and I think the players are still suffering from falling short and we haven't really done anything to address the issues. That sits firmly with the manager and coaching staff. Gianfranco Zola was in the studio for SKY during the West Ham debacle and he said Liverpool do not practice how to 'behave' without the ball. Absolutely amazing insight....

We dominate the ball in almost every game yet we panic as soon as the other team dares to have more than 8 touches and gets within 30 yards of our goal. Fullbacks have absconded because of our attacking tactics or don't bother to block crosses when they are there. Stevie G is too old and slow to be that defensive cover we need. Centre backs make terrible decisions, lunging in for tackles instead of shepherding and jockeying. As for Minging-o-let in goals he charges out when he should stay then vice versa and I have noticed he has developed the Reina syndrome. Flat-footed, going to ground too soon and generally spreading panic. Everyone makes mistakes but we do not seem to learn from them.
We have paid a lot of money for some of these defenders and that you expect a lot more quality. We are not getting it, there is a complete lack of leadership from the keeper and the 2 centre backs. Our approach to defending set-up pieces is abysmal. Our decision-making in possessional transition is atrocious. We have generally over committed to attack and don't wait until possession is secure before going gung-ho.
I accept that Moreno and Manquillo are talented youngsters and if our other fullbacks were fit might not have played as much.I think on the whole they are doing a good job and can see why they have been bought. They have pace and can deliver decent crosses and Moreno in particular looks like he doesn't mind a tackle or 20. Skrtel,Lovren,Sakho and Toure are all very experienced players at domestic and international level yet seem dazed and confused most weeks. How Sakho plays for France is beyond me. I would rather play a man short. Yet another Rodgers transfer dud. Where are the leaders??? 

Minging-o-let in goals is 6'6" yet is completely useless dealing with crosses and corners. Compare his 'presence' with 2 keepers of a similar height, Courtois and Krul. You rarely see those guys flapping and rooted to their lines when the ball is in the air. Victor Valdes rumours abound not sure he is any better to be honest. Not mentally strong enough for the Premier League.

Skrtel and Lovren are our best pairing at centreback but their communication is poor with each other and their fellow defenders. This needs to get sorted. Also the 2 of them seem obsessed with wrestling with the man they are marking at set pieces. If you aren't looking at the ball how do you expect to win it? Jamie Carragher said on SKY after the Basel defeat the other night that that is how Skrtel has defended since he joined the club. So we have had 5 managers since and NOT one of them has sorted it out!! Unbelievable Jeff! Might explain is random droppings from the starting 11

Corners are defended in the following way - Know who you are marking and where he is usual arms length away is sufficient and you attack the ball if its coming you way. If he out jumps you, so be it. If the ball is dropping anywhere in the 6 yard box between the sticks your Keeper must come and collect it! Simple. We do none of these things. The goals against West Ham, Middlesborough and Basel being cases in point.

If Brendan Rodgers doesn't understand defending (He spent a long time at the West London bus depot with Moan-inho!) he must bring someone in who does and soon.

From a general play perspective, we look like we did in the early part of Rodgers reign and the latter part of Roy Hodgson's. Lightweight, bereft of ideas and belief. Sure we are missing Sturridge but we have £30mill of striker between Balotelli,Lambert and Borini.Yet 2 of them look hopeless (Lambert and Stupid Mario) and 1 doesn't seem to be allowed to play (Borini).

Dropping Sterling for the Villa game has severely backfired beyond that particular 90mins. He has gone from our best player to now being error strewn and panicky on the ball. Lallana is getting there from a sharpness perspective and it was great to see him get off the mark against West Brom. 

I suppose this Jeckyll and Hyde team will continue over the rest of the season. With injuries and the fact that we only seem to sign players under the age of 24 you are going to lack consistency. While that might benefit the club long term we cant really afford to only be a top 4 team every other season. We have an opportunity this season to truly keep Arsenal or the Scum out of the top 4. The Scum may have signed some impressive attacking weapons but I wouldn't take any of their defence over our sad lot!

Our fixtures this season are relatively gentle. We don't have too many top 7 clashes back to back. Arsenal and the Scum this season and some tricky away double headers later in the season. We need to put our house in order and make sure it is built from bricks and cement rather than the current twigs and wet paper we have at the moment,

Hopefully the return of Sturridge and possibly Can will provide a bit more backbone and dynamism to our team. On the plus side we have seen Jordan Rossiter scored on his debut for us in the League Cup and Glen Johnson still hasn't played! God knows how many we would  have shipped with that Muppet in the back 4!

Let hope we don't have too many broken players after the International fixtures.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Why Always Me???

So the transfer window is closed and we were successful in adding an additional striker. The surprise is obviously who it was. Mario Balotelli. My initial reaction was one of rage. I mean this guy carries more baggage than Rhianna on tour! Why sign him???

Dodgy temperament, off field weirdness, disruptiveness in the dressing room. On field displays of petulance and non-interest. His footballing ability for me is questionable. I don't think I can count 3 games I have ever seen him produce a World Class performance. I similarly cant count more that 5 that he has out in a good performance but can count loads more where he is completely useless.

So why has Brendan Rodgers plumped for him? I think it comes down to 4 things. Price,Potential and Previous Experience in the Premier League and Availability. He certainly tick those boxes. We were obviously scrambling around in the last few weeks after Remy deal fell through. Like everything if clubs know you are looking the price goes up.

Fortunately for us AC Milan have no money and were having a fire sale this summer. So £16Mill for Balotelli is probably decent value in the last few days of the transfer market. So what does he bring to the table? I am not really sure. He doesn't run in behind, he doesn't really hold the ball up. He can do the sublime but is more prone to the ridiculous. If Sturridge is out long term at any point, is this guy really going to produce? Time will tell and I will be the first to praise the manager if it works out. Its a big gamble but for Mario this is probably his last chance and a decent club....

We certainly cant rely on Rickie Lambert who now looks completely awestruck and out of his depth at Liverpool. It started with a penalty miss in pre-season and he hasn't looked anything like the player who displayed such poise and quality at Southampton. He is indecisive, leaden footed and has even forgotten how to header. He will be the League Cup guy and no more...

Fabio Borini refusing to go to Sunderland might actually prove a good decision. He is still raw but can score and he proved at Sunderland he can do it at this level either coming on off the flanks or through the middle. I like the kid. He really tries and is always looking to get involved.

Brendan Rodgers was asked by Ed Chamberlain on Monday Night Football before the Man City game what Balotelli brought to the team. The 1st word out of his mouth with that cheeky little grin of his was 'Trouble' . Fair play to him totally defused any follow up questions.Rodgers is backing himself to be able to deal with Mario's ego and idiocyncracies. He has previous in this working with the various lads at Chelsea and sort Raheem Sterling out. So we have to back his judgement and give it time. As you can above our alternatives are not great.

Our Summer spending left us with a net spend of around £58million. The 3rd highest in the Premier League. An investment we sorely needed as we were fortunate last year that with our limited squad we didn't suffer too many injuries to key players. With the added Champions League commitments we certainly needed more quantity as well as quality. For the most part we have done that. Have added enough to challenge again for the title, I think not. Top 4 is a more realistic target but will still be a stretch for this squad. I like the way Rodgers does his business, generally early and well.

It will take time for them all to settle and to be fair to Brendan Rodgers he has introduced them sparingly. Lovren, Manquillo and Moreno obviously straight into the team to attempt to fix a porous defence and provide more quality from out wide. The jury is still out at this early stage. As you saw yesterday, Villa were able to cause and force more Keystone Cop defending. Sakho is useless at this level and Moreno has shown in the 3 games that he can be brilliant (Spurs) or rubbish (City and Villa). We really need to field a solid regular back 4. Someone always seems to be injured or out of form.

Think Rodgers hand was forced to some extent against Villa yesterday with Sturridge being injured. Markovic,Balotelli and Lallana were chucked in with re-called Coutinho and you could see the 4 of them haven't played  together. Additionally Villa  under Paul Lambert deployed the exact same tactic they have used on the previous 2 visits to Anfield and unsurprisingly won the game. Brendan Rodgers pre-match comments about having a game plan and explaining his reasons for resting Sterling just didn't wash for me.

Clearly there was no game plan for Villa. We played 4-2-3-1, they pressed us in midfield kept a solid, tight midfield 3 and played on the break. There was no space for Coutinho to work in, Markovic vanished after a bright 10 minutes of so in the middle of the 1st half. Lallana clearly not fully fit and looked a yard short. Balotelli never made a single run in behind. Similarly almost no link-up play with any of the front 4.  

Resting Sterling was stupid. He has been our best and most consistent player so far. Yes he played twice for England but that was Monday night. If we had a tough Champions League draw or fixture, I would have understood  the decision. But we are playing some donkeys from Bulgaria at Anfield on Tuesday. Surely that was the game to change so much in the team? 

Play Sterling get a couple ahead and take him off. Not bring him on and put that extra pressure on. He got absolutely clattered by Alan Hutton and we are lucky he didn't get injured. Villa completely out fought us and yet again their Champions League winner of a coach got the tactics spot on..... again. While ours was flummoxed. Any manager with half a brain will be using this as a blue-print for any games against us home or away.

Rodgers deserves a huge amount of credit for what he has done and is doing at Liverpool. We were going nowhere fast when he arrived. We play some of the most amazing flowing and devastating football in Europe when we are on song. He changes formations very subtly at times. Using midfield diamond, changing who as at the attacking point, 2-3 formation in  midfield or 4-3-3. Its good and shows great grasp of whats going on.

However there doesn't seem to be a plan B when the way we play isn't working. Arsenal have been getting accused of this for years. We are similarly guilty of being a one trick pony at times. We start fast and if we don't score we play on the break and kill the opposition with the speed of our attacks. When faced with team that sit in. Hull, Southampton twice, Villa 3 years running and infamously Chelsea, we are devoid of options.

Perhaps that's part of the thinking behind bringing in Balotelli. That X factor the unknown. Sure last season we had Suarez who quite frankly, was unplayable and could probably have unlocked Fort Knox with his thinking and quick feet never mind an obdurate defence. They are different animals but we need Balotelli to produce those eureka moments when we aren't being allowed to dominate.

Yesterday was horrible day at the office. Brad Guzan didn't have save to make all match. Coutinho's curler that hit the post was the only scare they had. We had 18 shots but most of them were from long range and were blocked before they travelled 5 yards or were wayward. Our defending in general was poor and set pieces we were particularly woeful. Too busy wrestling with their players instead of watching the ball and attacking it.

We really need to sort out the defending as we have already conceded 5 goals in our 4 games so far. Mostly down to abject defending rather than any particular brilliance from our opponents.

I was confident we could claim 3rd this year but I am thinking that will probably go to Arsenal. If they can get Sanchez,Wellbeck and Walcott fit and playing together for any length of time they will destroy teams because they have the pace and weapons to get in behind. We will be a in battle for 4th with Everton and Man United. I cant see Spurs featuring, tehy lack big match temperament and character. They were woeful against us.

Here is a victorious return to Champions League on Tuesday against Ludogorets Razgrad.  My starting 11:


No Stevie G for this one, he cant do 3 games in a week. Hell he can barely do one.
Coutinho needs space and I cant imagine the Bulgarians will do anything but park the bus, so we must use the pace we have. Changing both fullbacks will give the new boys a rest and use our more experienced players. 
Markovic showed flashes of what he can do. Needs to take players on more. He will also be one of the most experienced players on the pitch from a European games perspective  after his exploits with Benfica last season. A potential goal fest against minnows will do him the world of good.

Yes I have left out Lallana for the simple reason he isn't match fit. If we are cruising at halftime, take off Sterling and bring him on. That way he isn't under pressure. Similarly Balotelli and Lambert. Mario needs to get off the mark.

The CL draw has been kind to us and other than the Real Madrid games we should win the other 4 although Basel away will be tricky.

Lets hope for a reaction and a barnstorming performance from the lads


Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Ball is Rolling

Well what a summer. A great World Cup where the only negatives were, Pepe,Suarez,Cameroon falling out with each other, and KP-B and Muntari being sent home early. All probably to be expected!! The freedom with which the 'teams' played was joy to behold. By 'teams' I means those who the sum of the parts was greater than the whole. USA,Mexico,Columbia,Chile and Costa Coffee! 

Tellingly not a European team in there, Holland over-performed under Van Gaal but other than Robben and RVP they are a pretty average side. His reward, another job with another bunch of over hyped never-wases, RVP,Mata and Shrek aside. After they got humped by Swansea yesterday he clearly has his work cut out. He only changed formation and tactics 5 times all with the same result. If he want to stick to 3 at the back and a midfield that doesn't press, good luck with that in the Premier League!

Germany fully deserved the trophy their team ethos under Jochi Loew was amazing. Playing without a striker mostly and using Manny Neuer as a bludgeoning tool for any ball over the top in behind! Their dismantling of Brazil is probably the 2nd greatest football moment of the last decade. Obviously nothing will ever beat our win in Istanbul. Even Rafa would agree that's a FACT!

So firstly lets deal with Suarez. In hindsight I think it has worked out well for all concerned. We no longer have to have our Club's name tarnished further by this degenerate and £75mill is pretty decent return on £20mill layout. We are moving up the food chain but we are not at the top table financially and doubt we ever will be. We can't match City,PSG,Monaco or Chelski or the dodgy debt driven finances of ManUre,Barca and Real. Arsenal could become the 1st proper superpower  financially if the  'Financial Fairplay' is enforced correctly going forward. They have bought players for £40mill plus in 2 consecutive seasons now... 

So with the funds we have received for Suarez we have sought to strengthen the squad, adding some sadly lacking depth. Although if you believe Brendan Rodgers, most of what we have spent was already allocated and the Suarez money is as yet untouched. That is just as well as we have not really replaced him with our signings so far.

Lallana and Markovic will give us extra craft and guile in midfield, either wide or centrally. At the moment that role is solely being filled by Coutinho. We have addressed our defensive issues to a degree. Lovren is an astute signing. A two footed Centre-half with a years PL experience under his belt. In the 2 matches he has played so far he looks like leader who reads the game well. Our defensive line is generally higher in our final 3rd which needed to be addressed.

Manquillo and Moreno add options at right back and at last we have a proper left-back. I would expect Enrique to be moved on now and possibly Glen Johnson and Flanagan covering at LB. Personally I would get rid of Johnson. He adds almost nothing defensively and is equally useless going forward these days. I have to admit was sorry to see Martin Kelly go, but with the new signings and 6 centre-backs was he really going to get a look in?

On the CB front I would keep Skrtel,Agger and Sakho and get rid of Coates and Toure not good enough.

Emre Can looks like a proper player. He was used in a few different positions on our US tour and looks accomplished in every one of them, He played out wide on the left, holding, as well as in the hole. With his size and deceptive pace, I cant believe he didn't start today against Southampton. 

Lucas and Gerrard were about as useful as chocolate fireguard in front of our back 4 today. Gerrard is too old now. He is fine when we have the ball and are setting up attacks with his raking passes but I don't think he won a single tackle today. Much like the World Cup and some of his displays towards the end of last season he is struggling, his pace has gone. As for Lucas he could have sat in the stands for all the use he was.

Brendan Rodgers confirmed that there are a 'few more' to come in. Hopefully another quality striker to add competition and adequate cover for Sturridge. I was excited about Remy but perhaps its for the best. As things stand we keep Borini and can use Sterling or Ibe centrally if needs must. The names we are being linked with at the moment are a bit far fetched I think, Lavezzi,Cavani and Falcao! The 1st two I would gladly take either of them. The latter who knows if he is 29 or 45! LOL.

I am going to commit a heinous crime here. What about Javier Hernandez? He has explosive pace is a proper poacher and the Manc Scum don't want him, so he has a point to prove..... I know we haven't sold a player to each other since the 1960's but that would be an awesome signing.

So whats missing from our jigsaw, if Lucas isn't the answer as holding cover then we need one more there. Check Tiote at Newcastle perhaps? Up front we have discussed a little I would like Lavezzi as that give us a similar player to Sturridge but also someone who can play wide in front 3. Divock Origi has been bought and loaned back out for another season, so that's one for the future. him, Sterling and Ibe togther could be the most destructive things to hit the pitch in years to come.

There are rumours that Marco Reus might be on his way and the Shaqiri thing doesn't seem to be going away either. I would welcome Reus but if Shaquiri cant get in the AC Milan team that finished 11th in an Old man's League like Serie A what chance does he have in the PL??

An interesting 2 weeks ahead with games against Man City and Spurs away. Not an ideal start but probably not a bad idea to get some of these games against the top 6 done early. If we get the points then that's a big bonus. City weren't very convincing today although they appeared more awake than we were, so will need to up our game next Monday.

I would start with almost the same team as today against City. Just replace Lucas with Can, simples. City showed today against Newcastle they are vulnerable against the counter attack and if the game get stretched at high tempo they do give the ball away a lot. Right up our street...

So my bin list  before the transfer window closes:

Glen Johnson, Enrique,Coates,Toure,Assaidi, Lucas.

Coming in Check Tiote,Marco Reus and Ezikiel Lavezzi or Hernandez. Sorted, show us the trophies! 


Sunday, 1 June 2014

End of Season 2013/14 Review

Wow what a roller coaster ride we have been given as Liverpool fans this season.Rather than diving straight in as soon as the last game was over I have taken some time to reflect on what was and what could have been before spouting forth in the Net. I know an unusual approach for me.

So lets look at the stats first:

We finished 2nd with 84 points, our largest Premier League haul.
We missed out on being Champions by 3 points.
We scored over 100 League Goals! Amazing.
We scored 3 or more goals in a total of 21 of our League matches. Unbelievable.
Sturridge and Suarez scored more than 50 goals in the League together not done since Toshack and St John!
Suarez won the Golden Boot,Premier League Player of the Year and Football Writer's award.
Suarez,Sturridge and Gerrard were all picked in the Premier League Team of the year.

Based on the above we have clearly been amazing and over achieved. We have a relatively small squad which in relation to our peers has been 'cheaply' assembled.

6 Defenders used with 15 or more appearances.
6 Midfielders used with 20 or more appearances (4 of those with over 30).
Just the SAS up front.

Its really not a lot. The other amazing factor Brendan Rogers consistently tinkered with the formation without really changing the personnel. Most weeks it was really only who was playing with Skrtel that was up for grabs otherwise it was Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Flanagan, Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Countinho,Sturridge Suarez. Towards the end of the season Lucas' return and Joe Allen got a bit more game time but really consistent selection.

A lot was made of our not playing in Europe being an assisting factor in us being able to recover and have 4 or 5 days every week to prepare for the next match. That being said the the players still have to focus and produce. For that they deserve a lot of credit, especially as other than Johnson, Suarez and Sturridge none of them have been involved in a title race in a Major European League before.

I have been ultimately amazed by what we have done this season. Yes we didn't win anything and in the end came up short and were naive at times but wow if this is what we are in for under Rogers then long may it continue, shredded nerves and all.

On the negative side, we really need to sort out our woeful defending. 50 League goals conceded, that is bottom half of the table defending. Only 10 clean sheets. We conceded 2 or more goals 16 times. Worryingly, 4 of those in the last 5 matches as we pushed to win it and ultimately what cost us.

Last season was the same but we lacked the cutting edge. We can't continue to have to score 3 or 4 goals every week to win this is not a console game. We will not have the same impressive run of results against the other top 7 sides. We beat all comers except Chelski and lost to Arsenal and City at their grounds. That was amazing, can we do it again surely not..

Our defensive frailty is down to several factors which Brendan Rogers must address. Last season was the same but we lacked the cutting edge up front resulting in a poor overall finish. We cant go back there.

Consistent back 4 - We haven't had one. This was down to several factors, injury (Agger and Sakho),lack of form (Toure,Agger,Cisskho and Sakho). No other options - Glen Johnson - we play him every week even though he is completely useless. Bizarrely Skrtel, who in the last week of the transfer window in August looked to be on the way out, has become a defensive stalwart.

Individual Errors - Far too many individual errors at the back. Toure,Johnson,Sakho,Mignolet and even Skrtel make too many poor decisions and errors. Week in week out.

Positioning - The way we play demands the fullbacks push on, fair enough. Glen Johnson however does it all the time, regardless of where the ball is or if possession is secure or not. That's not right. Flanagan on the other side only goes once he knows we have secure possession and he is 19 and playing on the wrong side as he is right footed.....
When is Johnson is 'defending' he doesn't jockey, show player the line, stay goal side, tackle with his right foot, block crosses, mark space, cover, anticipate danger etc. Basically he cant defend. In the centre we are equally as poor.

Defensive Line - We defend too deep in and around our box. The 18 yard line is your Alamo as a defender. The penalty spot is your last stand in the Armoury. All defenders at every level of the game know this but we don't seem to grasp it. We don't push out and pressure space.

Lack of Leadership - None of our defenders is a talker or a leader and I include Mignolet in that. If the centrebacks aren't talkers then the Keeper must be. End of.

Lets hope the lessons of falling short will stand them in good stead for next season. Not that I think we will be mounting a title tilt again. I think we should be sticking to the 5 year plan which is Top 4 for a couple and then have dart at it. 

I know that appears pessimistic but I would say its realistic. City will buy heavily as always both in financial and quality terms.Chelski with have a Moaninho clear out and will actually sign a striker. Martin Skrtel and Jordan Henderson scored more League goals between them than all 3 of Chelski's misfiring miscreants.

So for me that leaves us on the next tier with Arsenal who must surely start spending now that their Stadium is paid for. In this era of 'Financial Fairplay' they must surely be financial heavyweights. Their unwillingness to loosen the purse strings cant go on for much longer, even under Wenger.

ManUre will come again but even under Van Gaal I cant see them being a Top 4 team next season. Their whole defence is poor, their central midfield is mediocre at best (Carrick and Cleverly will not win you a bean or get in the Fulham team). In attack they have impressive weapons in Shrek,RVP, Janouzai and Mata but harnessing them in co-ordinated way is the challenge. Big changes required and will take more than 1 summer to fix especially with a World Cup and the over inflated transfer market.

Everton, like us, have punched above their weight under Martinez. He has basically taken Moyes squad made a few shrewd additions and they have been excellent. Lukaku,Barry and Delafeau are 3 of the best loan signings of the season. Can they repeat it next season dont think so. Spurs have underperformed but that always seems to be their issue. Buying 6 players almost exactly the same with Gareth Bale money was insane. Most of them haven't turned up and don't look likely to thankfully.

So to individual performances and my traditional scores on the doors.

Mignolet - 6/10 - Started well with a pen save against Stoke and 4 clean-sheets. A great shot stopper but atrocious with his feet. A vampire at crosses. Doesn't dominate his 6 yard box which for someone his height that is shocking. Doesn't talk. He must work on these. I still think he is a better option than Reina. If Vorm is coming I would say his position is under threat.
Glen Johnson - 2/10. I have said more than enough about this over-rated clown. If he was providing assists and scoring you might give him a break but he hasn't delivered there either. He has been rinsed by the likes of Gouffran, Bolasie, Dejegah. England's best right back... REALLY?? He gets 2/10 because he seems to wear the right kit every week and his boots tend to match and look like they are on the right feet! Transfer list for me. Bacary Sagna is available.. just saying.....
Martin Skrtel - 6/10. A warrior who always puts his body on the line but not a leader. Not great with the ball at his feet and likes to dive in. He needs to sort that out. He would have scored higher as with 6 goals he has been awesome at set-pieces but he has scored almost as many O-G's.
Dan Agger - 5/10. Constantly injured, weak in the air against physically strong opponents. Doesn't lead when he plays which is Vice Club Captain he should at the back. Not sure if he will be here next season. No great loss.
Jon Flanagan - 7/10. Just 19 playing as a right footed left back, rarely out of position, rarely gets skinned, loves a tackle and scored a rasper against Spurs! Well done young man, great 1st full season. next season's 1st choice right back for me.
Mamadu Sakho - 4/10. £18 million defender, French International. REALLY??? He looks like a more awkward than Djimi Traore if that is even possible. Looks completely out of his depth with the pace of the English game. Doesn't look great on the ball, drops too deep. Only positive he has pace. Hopefully he will be better next season otherwise this goes down as another Rogers/Ayre transfer disaster.
Ally Cissokho - 1/10. Thankfully only on loan.Makes Glen Johnson look good. As unco-ordinated as Sakho if that's possible. USELESS!
Kolo Toure - 3/10. Brought in as emergency cover played reasonably well in the early games and was taking responsibility.  Once he lost his place he never looked the same. Fulham away and West Brom clangers were his legacy for the season.

Stevie G - 7/10. Adapted to his new role really well. His crosses from wide free-kicks were awesome and he has even improved his corners which have been woeful for years, hence we have scored more goals from corners than most this season. At 34, can he give us 1 more season? With Champions League commitments we need proper cover here.Not sure Lucas is the answer.
Jordan Henderson - 7/10. I have and am still eating humble pie on this one. Finally starting to deliver on the promise he showed at Sunderland. He has added goals, killer passes and channelling his headless chicken running into intelligent closing down. Hopefully more to come for the lad.
Joe Allen - 5/10. Still not convinced that this is an £18Mill player or indeed a 1.8Mill player. A late season flurry showed some of what he can do but don't see him as a regular starter. Needs to do more or transfer list for me.
Phillippe Coutinho - 7/10. Not as spectacular as his half season last year but still effective. Probably needs more goals for the chances and shoots he has. Still 5 goals and 7 assists is pretty decent for the pint-sized player.
Raheem Sterling - 8.5/10. Breakthrough season for Raheem. After being over used last season and having too many off field distractions he has certainly blossomed. 9 goals and 7 assists is a good return, like Coutinho could probably get a few more goals. I have scored him higher because he has sometimes single-handedly destroyed teams. For me he should be a starter for England's World Cup games. Dont think the Itailians or Uraguayians want to see this guy running at them.
Lucas Lieva - 6/10. Ronseal player, does what it says on the tin. Lacks pace and goals but does a good job.Not sure if he will be at Anfield next season.
Victor Moses - 0/10. Another completely useless loanee. £10Mill to Chelsea, not making it there, get a chance with another big club and proceeds to do absolutely nothing. Needs to look himself in the mirror and across the training ground at Lukaku. Thats how a loanee should play....

Daniel Sturridge - 9/10. What a player. I have always been a fan since he burst on to the scene at Man City. Together with Suarez they are not far off the deadliest duo in Europe. Long may it continue.
Luiz Suarez - 9.999/10. Well you have to leave some room for improvement! What can you say. I donty like or agree with a lot of his behaviour on or off the pitch but what a player. Ronaldo,Messi,Suarez, That's where he is for me. We are very lucky to have him. If we don't win League or Champs League next season (both unlikely) he will be off. But £200 million will be a nice transfer fee!

All in all an amazing season for a relatively young and inexperienced squad. Brendan Rogers has said he wants to add quality IE players who will improve/contribute to starting 11. That seems to have started with the addition of Rickie Lambert ( not convinced other than as cover). Fabio Borini had a great loan season at Sunderland and certainly deserves more game time.

£25Mill bid on the table for Adam Lallana. A bit steep but that's what you pay for English players. A possible bids for Sevilla left back Moreno also looks promising.

I will post soon re transfers etc and my ins and out for the squad.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Destiny's Child?

Last time I posted was before the F.A. Cup game against Arsenal and I think were unlucky to go out. Mr Webb was his usual helpful self. I fully expect him to join Mike Riley with as season ticket at Old Shiteford when he retires from reffing. Bizarrely though he is still one of the better ones in the League. He just seems to have a mare when he refs us.

So as I write today we have won 9 League games on the bounce since then and more importantly 15 games since we actually lost in the League with the festive double header against Chelski and City. Its slightly ironic that that is actually what stands between us and an amazing achievement.

Last summer I HOPED we would finish 4th. At Xmas I had FAITH we would finish in the Top 4. Now I am daring to dream. As of today I now BELIEVE we can win the League

We are playing some ridiculous football. 4-0 vs Everton, 5-1 vs Arsenal, 4-3 vs Swansea, 3-0 at St Mary's, 3-0 @ the theatre of delusions when we could have had 5 pens, 6-3 away at Cardiff, 4-0 vs Spurs and of course today's 3-2 heart-stopper against City.

It reads like something out of Roy of the Rovers or indeed our halcyon days of the 70's and 80's. When you came to Anfield you got whooped. Anything other than a 4-0 drubbing was a result. We seem to be back to that level of performance and belief.

Today I think it is also the 1st time the players truly believed. Their reaction at the end said it all. A post game huddle with Stevie G crying. Its a little ironic that he may finally get his medal in the twilight of his career and I don't think anyone can begrudge him that, if it happens. He has now scored more goals for the club than Kenny Dalglish and has GOD in his sights, amazing for a midfield player.

I am in awe of what we are doing and yes it could all still end with us being 3rd but how can you now not believe??? I still think defensively we are shocking. Glen Johnson especially and whoever partners Skrtel are useless.  2-0 up today and with 10 minutes pressure and we crumble. We stopped pressing the ball and stopped tracking runners. Johnson's limp leg to block Silva's cross for the 2nd was exactly that, limp. A proper defender would have put a firm foot in which would have garnered a corner at worst. If we have to pay Pompey a Million if we win the League I suggest we return Glen with the funds,,,,

While we have largely eliminated the individual errors which have peppered the majority of our season we do not seem to grasp the concept of jockeying someone, showing them the line and blocking crosses. Paul Merson said yesterday that City and us suffer from the same thing, with such emphasis on attack its hard to keep the back door closed. At the end of the day that is what the fans pay to see, entertainment.

I certainly wasn't expecting a boring 1-0 today (that's for the Chelski game) and 3-2 is exactly what I did expect but it was the manner of it which ultimately frustrated me and amazed me at the same time. We again were blitzkrieg in the 1st half. Raheem Sterling took the most expensively assembled squad in the League to pieces on his own in the 1st half. Ably supported by the rest of the team. Only Mignolet didn't burst into the City box, thankfully ;-)

The 2nd half we sat off and literally got torn to pieces by Silva and Milner... We also got some breaks Suarez was lucky not to walk after his theatrical dive after Demichealis completely missed him and but for an eagle eyed Sky camera man no-one would have known Skrtel punched one clear. possibly some karma for West Ham's dodgy equaliser yesterday. It was also ironic that the very player City were worried about non being able to play actually gave us a gift of a winner. Thank you Vincent.

We are clearly still a work in progress and nowhere near the finished article but we have not had a better chance to break our Premier League duck and close within 1 title of ManUre. Additionally I don't think we will have better chance in the next 5 years. We cannot compete with City and Chelski financially and ultimately that will take its toll.

Chelski will actually buy a striker and City must surely get someone who can play centre-back with Kompany? Lets hope not.....

I am living on my nerves and the Jeckyll and Hyde nature of our team continues to amaze me. Their attacking verve and never say die attitude is outstanding they do not know when they are beaten. Here is a bizarre stat.We have conceded 3 goals 5 times in the League this season but have lost only 1 of those! Yet have conceded 2 goals on 8 occasions and won only 2! Bonkers.

Here is to  the last 4 games. Norwich defenders do not sleep when Liverpool are in town especially when Suarez is around.3 hat-tricks in 4 matches says it all. Chelski will be hard but we no longer need to win. Yes, mathematically we do but I cant see City winning all their remaining games. Palace away is looking very tough, we don't play well against Mr Pulis' teams and they will still be in relegation battle. Newcastle at home on the last day sounds like the perfect fixture to lift the Premier League title for the 1st time!


P.S. Obviously no post from me this weekend would be complete without reference to the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. I think almost everyone in football now grasps the wrongs that were were committed at the time and the pain it has caused the victims families. The only thing that irked me was the clapping for a minute at Wembley yesterday before the Arsenal vs Wigan game.

Sorry not on. Hillsborough,Heysel,Ibrox,Munich and Ellis Park football disasters are not something to show your appreciation for by applauding. They are sombre events that require reflection.

Clapping to celebrate a deceased player etc I have no problem with but for a disaster where 96 people were crushed and trampled to death, I don't  think so.

Walking on clouds, for the 96.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Dare we Dream?

Firstly I must eat some humble pie. I cant believe that as I type this we are only 4 points off top spot, have put 4 and 5 past Everton and the previously unbeatable Gunners.We are also [playing some of the best football in the League with only Pellagrini's Man City outscoring us. I have always thought we would struggle to finish 4th.

How wrong can I be. Brendan Rodgers is rightly talking down title talk at the moment with 12 games left anything can happen. We might even win it. With Chelski,City and Spurs still to visit Anfield we certainly can influence directly where we finish and possibly who win the League. Our remaining fixtures outside of this game are mostly winnable, A tricky trip  to St Mary's aside. Yes I know we have to still visit the Scum but lets be honest the Theatre of Delusions is hardly a fortress these days with most Premier League team winning there for the 1st time in 8000 years. Long may it continue. ;-)

Don't get me wrong we are in with a shout but have still huge we defensive shortcomings which we claim to be working on. But every game there is at least 1 if not 2 clangers. Especially away from home. Our last 6 away games we have shipped 12 goals. So in order to win we are having to score 3.

Our last gasp win at Fulham illustrated that perfectly. While they probably deserved to be 1 up. Toure's gaff is symptomatic of our general defensive mode. Blind Panic. After that we pretty much controlled the game but yet again we go sleep from a throw in, allow a cross and with no-one in the box our 6"6' Goalkeeper remains rooted to the spot while Flanno and Skrtel got in each other way and the ball dropped to Richardson. Sure it shows great desire and strength to get back into the game and go on and win. We endured a similar comeback against Villa. Who if I am being honest were unlucky not to win the game. Sterling handballed in the build up and went down under the faintest contact to get us a pen.

So we have defensive fragility. This is what cost us last season and I am not really seeing an improvement this season. We still split the Centrebacks too much so the Fullbacks push on to almost the wing position. So any loss of possession or stray pass means there are acres of space either side of our Centrebacks and that means any team playing on the break with a good pressing will pose us problems.

Yet against Everton and Arsenal our approach was slightly different. The fullback didn't push on quite as much when we are have possession in deep areas or indeed just over the halfway line. Additionally Gerrard covering while Lucas is injured has at least added some pace and a bit of extra steel to cover. Plus he is better at the Hollywood pass than the ticcy-taccy stuff in the final 3rd anyway. Hit set piece delivery has also improved and we are even scoring from HIS corners! LOL

Part of our defensive frailty is the tactical issues mentioned above the other is a lack of a settled back 4. This has been caused by injuries, under-performance and lack of understanding of who our  best 4 defenders are. For me with everyone fit  its Flanagan-Skrtel-Agger-Enrique. Yes, no Sakho or Glen Johnson. Sakho is struggling to adapt in his 1st season in England so perhaps one for next season and at £18million there had better be an improvement. He has pace height and a needs to work on his positional sense and distribution.

Glen Johnson has never been a good right fullback. FACT. He should have been made a winger years ago. At least there his lack of positional awareness, poor touches don't result in goals, free crosses and general buffoonery in your own box. If England take this muppet to Brazil just watch how many goals come down his side of the pitch and how many times he is out of position, playing people onside and generally being a nuisance to his teammates. Rumours are he is off in the summer anyway. Thanks Glen make sure the door doesn't hit you on the way out!

Our other defenders on the fringes also aren't really doing much. Cissokho bless him isn't a footballers arse. He is big, gangly and that's about it. He is slow, have no 1st,2nd or 3rd touch cant pass for toffee and defends like a startled giraffe. 

Martin Kelly is being used sparingly despite being back for some time. I don't think he will be a right back in the modern game. He has, pace, height but doesn't like it when his winger cuts inside and get squared up too easily. He is good going forward but think he will ultimately slot back onto where he played most of his youth football. Centreback.

Might solve a problem for us as who partners Skrtel. Ironic that the player who looked out the door in the last week of the transfer window has been our best defensive player by a mile and if it wasn't for the other 3 S's in the team he would be a shoe in for our player of the season.

Leftback is another concern its a mark if how stuck we are that we are looking forward to Enrique coming back who is a bit cavalier there to say the least. Carragher during one of his early Sky Sports Punditry sessions this season stated 'it doesn't matter how much you speak to him, he doesn't listen'. LOL enough said.

Thankfully we have an embarrassment of riches from an attacking perspective. The Triple S's have been outstanding. While you expect it from Suarez, Sturridge is finally showing the form and potential he showed when he 1st burst onto the scene as a Man City player. I have always been a fan and glad he is at a club where he is one of the main men and can just do his thing. If they stay fit they may be untouchable to win us the whole thing.

As for young Raheem Sterling he has really blossomed. I think he was over used last season because we didn't have any options. He also has lots of off field issues which seem to have been solved. As for Coutinho and Henderson they are actually the key in the team. Hendo is not just running around aimlessly anymore. He closes with intelligence, passes well is adding goals and starting look like we might have actually bought a player.

Rodgers is not rotating the team and some would say rightly. I would say that our lacklustre performances against West Brom and Fulham were as a result of lack of changes, the effort we put in against Everton and Arsenal took lots out of some of the players. Coutinho especially. Not calling for wholesale changes but with Arsenal looking for revenge tomorrow we might need to rest 1 or 2 with it being our 3rd game in 8 days.

I think that is still a weakness for us. Options. Moses on loan has done very little to make us want to make that a permanent move. That was probably the reason went for the Dnipro player and Salah from Basel. Not because Sterling was on his was as was madly reported but for the lack of input from Moses. Rodgers quite rightly said that unless we can sign someone who improves the 1st 11 we wont waste the money. For this transfer window that is a great plan. Not sure if we are in the Champions League again next year we might not need more bodies.

We have 2 very good attacking option but they are unfortunately playing at Stoke (Assaidi) and Sunderland (Borini) who are both playing well and scoring. Conor Coady also doing a great job at Sheffield United, and Jack Robinson. We have David Suso to come back from Spain too. That certainly bodes well for next season. It does make the signing of Aspas look strange. Both against Everton and Arsenal when we were well ahead he still didn't get on to give one of our main men a run. If he isn't coming on when the game is won, when does he? 

So our bench is mostly Moses,Kelly,Allen,Aspas,Ibe,Smith,Alberto and an other. Its not great bench and perhaps the lack of European football will help but you can feel that if we have a major injury to a creative player we will struggle.

It does mean we have to recruit quite majorly in the summer. We need leftback, we need to decide what we do with Toure and Agger. We need another player like Coutinho. We need another winger and do we sell Aspas or is he like Borini going to be used as rotation for one of the other 2 next season?

Youngsters coming through we have the ones mentioned here and young Texiera, Micheal Ngoo but can we really use these player if we are in the Champions League? I don't think so. We need 16 top players. We currently have 8.

I am really looking forward to the run in and hope that we can tighten up a bit at the back and continue with the exhilarating entertaining football we have played so far.

Anfield is a fortress again, ManUre are rubbish and Barry Manilow is touring the UK later this year. Are the 80's back?????


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Leaky Liverpool

What a 6 days from a supporter perspective we have had. 2-0 up against Stoke and cruising  only to be pegged back to 2-2 before halftime. Then for me the turning point of the game we press the ball Sterling handballs it and runs into the box where the slightest contact from Stoke defender and we get a pen. That sort of took the wind out of Stoke's sails. We then extend it to 4-2. Only for us to commit defensive hari-kari again. On the plus side great to see Daniel Sturridge back getting an assist and scoring himself. we had Mignolet to thank for a couple of late saves and a post for another uncontested header. 

Roll forward 6 days and we have a home game against Villa, who had shown some fight to give Arsenal an uncomfortable 2nd half at Villa Park the week before. So what did we do well nothing, same back 5 changed to 4-4-2 when we knew they would play 3 in the middle. The result was utterly disastrous. Villa dominated from the 1st second and we were all at sea at the back. Toure and Cissokho in particular. Naturally we couldn't work out how to fix it and were doing everything in hurried manner at the back while being ponderous when we happened to have the ball for more than 5 touches.

Fair play to Paul Lambert for tactical acumen and his players for the way they executed it. What did the do, simple, The same team every team that has beaten Liverpool has done this season. Press us high up the pitch, when you win the ball exploit the space where the fullbacks have absconded, cross the ball and get bodies in the box. Result they were 2-0 up and cruising.....  and it could have been more. Ciaran Clark had a free header hit the post from yet more Glen Johnson non-marking at set pieces. Why he is marking centre-half from the opposition? He was marking Lukaku as well in the Merseyside Derby. Clearly we don't have enough players of sufficient height in the squad.

Thankfully our 1st bit of quality play got us a goal in 1st half injury time nice interchange with our SAS partnership and a delightful back heel from Henderson and a delicate dink from Sturridge got us back in it. Rodgers thankfully had the foresight to change personnel and formation at halftime.

Lucas on and back to 4-3-3 with Gerrard more advanced. It worked a treat and we got an equaliser through yet another debatable penalty. Guzan couldn't have done much more to get out the way and Suarez couldn't have done much less to avoid the minimal contact. You see these penalties given a lot when a bigger team played a smaller team. Are they pens, I don't think  so..

We were probably just the better team in the 2nd half and a draw was all we deserved. This brings me to my point. We are far to open at the back. Our tactics are one  track and no matter what the formation or personnel we slavishly stick to it. Sometimes you have to realise the other team has your number and adapt during the game.

It was as clear on the nose on your face after 20 minutes that we weren't getting the space in midfield so logically the fullbacks should have been more circumspect in their forward forays. Clearly they don't have the ability to make these decisions for themselves and have to wait for the manager to change things.

The problem is simple when the other team are pressing us high up the pitch we cant keep playing ticcy taccy and have the fullbacks as far forward as they are. Invariably on of our midfield players loses the ball either in or just outside our half facing his own goal, allowing the other team to exploit the wide areas and draw centre backs out the middle. The results are always the same we concede time and time again.

Even when we were organised at the back we never seem to really try and stop the crosses. I am not sure that is because we aren't the tallest and don't want to defend loads of corners. This is the Premier League not pressuring crosses will result in at least one or 2 quality ones finding their mark. I saw Martin Jol employ the same tactic at Fulham, result they conceded shed loads of goals late in games to crosses.

You only have to look at Chelski and City to see the effective use of fullback out wide to augment your attacking options. Zabaleta,Kolorov,Ivanovic,Cole, Azpelaqueta et al. They only really come forward once they have possession in the other teams half and their own player in possession is actually facing forward. Result they don't get caught short at the back.

I also don't understand our slavish adherence to ticcy tacky. Bayern Munich have proved it is beatable 7-0 on aggregate over Barcelona is more than enough evidence you need more than 1 option. I am equally flabbergasted that the manager cant see that with the pace of Sterling,Suarez and Sturridge that we can move the ball forward quicker when pressed. The occasional longball into a channel will ensure the opposing back 4 cant maintain a consistent high line.

It all starts with the keeper. Mignolet is not the best with the ball at his feet and on several occasions he took poorly thought out and ill advised short goal kicks. Result giving away possession deep in our own half, it caused the 1st goal and well the 2nd was laughable as he did a very bad superman impression coming for the ball. 

His panic and nervousness spreads to the back 4 who change almost every week. Is it any wonder he is struggling with his other skills that are normally sound. Skrtel is carrying the other 3 every week. Toure was terrible yesterday and looked like what he is, getting too old for this. Cissikho makes Riise look quick.

We are playing some awesome football and it does hark back to the Eighties when we used score 4 goals regularly 10 or more time times season after season. The difference was that we didn't concede many when doing that. At the moment and we have our destiny in our own hands especially with almost all of the teams above and around us coming to Anfield in the 2nd half of the season. But Rodgers does not have a good record beating teams of their ilk. Draws we have plenty, wins few.

We need to be less cavalier at home when on possession deep in our own half. Our next 3 league matches are not easy. Everton,West Brom and Arsenal. If we get 7 points out of these 3 then we are starting to look good for a Top4 place. Anything less will see us slide away toward ManUre and Newcastle

A top 4 place is not beyond us but we need to be beating those around us and not letting every team we play score twice which is where we are at the moment.1 clean sheet in 5 is not what we need. Long balls aren't the Antichrist then can relieve pressure and turn the other team around which surely is another weapon for us.

FA Cup away at Bournemouth. I am sure Eddie Howe's team will be well prepared. hopefully we can see Suarez and Sterling get a rest and go with Coutinho,Moses,Aspas and Sturridge as our attacking 4.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

''Tis the Season to be Jolly???

So I haven't blogged since the season started. That has been two-fold.Some of my friends who are Reds think I have been too negative and also we don't really have that difficult a start so wanted to see where were once we had played some of the better teams.

We started really well with 3 1-0 wins although lived dangerously against Stoke having to rely on a late pen save from Mignolet. Villa was similar in that we dominated the 1st half and had to suffer a barrage from Benteke late on, again Mignolet to the rescue. The 1-0 win over ManUre was comfortable.

Then we had Swansea and Jon-Jo did come back to haunt us. Scoring one and assisting in 3 goals, thankfully 2 of them were poorly played passes. He deservedly got Man of the Match. I still think he will outscore and outperform Henderson and Allen put together.I understand that the player wanted 1st team football. what I still don't understand is why we didn't loan him for the season to Swansea. I still think that was a poor decision. He was the natural replacement for Geriatric Gerrard. Now we have to buy a new one with all the talk with about young Will Hughes being on our shopping list. again I question our transfer policy which seems to be more miss than hit.

On that front we saw a change in formation for the next few games with us going to a Back 5 with 3 centrebacks to accommodate the £18million Sakho and on loan Cissoko! Bizarrely we used 4 Centrebacks against Southampton due to injury and obviously the height issue. Unfortunately it didn't work. As usual a large powerful team with a high pressing game seems to be enough to beat us. See Chelski and Hull defeats this season for the same thing. Seems to be we have no answer or indeed the players to adapt to this sort of opponent.

Suarez returned at the end of September and Manager again changed things to accommodate the new S&S. Thankfully this worked for the most part until Sturridge got injured and since then Suarez has been irresistible. Even donning the Captains armband for a couple of games while Gerrard was injured and Agger out of favour.while our scoring form is impressive and indeed is only being matched and bettered by Man City.

So we reach the halfway point in the league and we are 4th and only 5 points off the top. This has been down to a few factors:
1) we are generally dispatching the rubbish. IE not dropping points to the lesser teams.
2) Lack of consistency from the other teams near the top (Arsenal aside).

that 2nd point is qualified as Chelski and City are starting to build up a head of steam as shown in their wins over us. I don't think we can complain too much as losing away to the 2 richest clubs in the land by the odd goal is not a disgrace. Chelski thoroughly outplayed us in all aspects of the game and their bench vs ours showed us the difference between us. The City game we were unlucky and considering they have put bucket loads past some of the other big clubs this season not the end of the world.

Would we have taken this situation at the start of the season, absolutely. Pre-verbial hand being bitten off vigourously!

We have many positives;
1) Consistency - We have lost only 8 League games this calendar year and 4 of those are away to the 'traditional Top4 'over the last 4 seasons.We have amassed 72 points in the calender year, clearly sufficient for a Top 4 place.
2) Suarez - He seems to be over his petulant spoilt child behaviour. Yet another contract signed, I am still not convinced he will stay beyond the summer even if we do secure a top 4 finish.
3) Coutinho,Sterling & Henderson - Coutinho has continued where he left off and I still prefer out wide coming in. when he plays centrally he gets picked up by one of the holding players from the other team.Sterling seems to have matured and is starting to play like we know he can.As for Henderson, well I have been one of his heaviest critics but in the last month or so he has really stepped up.
4) Anfield - It is starting to become a fortress again and considering we have played almost everyone in the top half away from home this is going to be key to where we finish.
5) Skrtel - Out of favour and heading out the door, he is now 1st on the team sheet at the back.

As always there are some negative points:
1) Defensive Frailty - we constantly tinkered with the Back 4 or  all season. Some of this enforced through injury. Some I dont really understand. Clearly spending £1millon a Centreback means he has to play.I am not overly convinced so far by Sakho. he does look like a clumsier version of Djimi Traore.... if thats possible! I still think Skrtel and Agger are our best centreback pairing although Toure has been outstanding when he has played. If anything he has helped Skrtel.
2) Leftback - Our 'problem' position again. Still not really fixed since Riise left. Enrique looks like the answer, but is injury prone and if you listen to Jamie Carragher doesn't really listen on the pitch. Flanagan has been an able substitute but has now got injured. Cissokho is even more awkward than Sakho so hopefully we will terminate his loan and send him back to Spain.
3) Depth - Our bench against Chelski summed it up. While they had Torres and Matta we has a couple of unblooded teenagers.
4) Stevie G - He is clearly getting past his sell-by date. The  Arsenal game proved that.The game passed him by. He lost about 6 or 7 tackles with Tomas Rosicky of all people. Other than his wide free-kicks and the odd corner not sure he is contributing like he used to or should be able to. It makes the Shelvey departure more galling as he could easily takeover. We will now have to buy someone to take that role. How much is that going to cost???
6) Transfer policy - I include our loan policy. I really don't understand why we loaned out Assaidi and brought Moses in from Chelski. Sure Moses maybe has more pace and experience. Assaidi has never been given a chance. At Stoke he seems to be coming on but surely he could be doing that with us? Rather than us developing a Chelski talent. I do find some of Rodgers signing and decisions odd. Assaidi is contributing more to Stoke than Moses is to us.....FACT. Cissokho is not a Premier League player and isnt better than Enrique,Flanno or Agger at Left back....

I don't expect us to being doing much business in this window. maybe Wisdom going on loan with a '1st dibs' on Will Hughes. We only have the Cup and 18 league games left. We could always recall some of our loanee's if needed.

Lets hope we can continue to perform in the 2nd half of the season and with Sturridge coming back soon hopefully the S&S can resume their destruction of the Premier League defences.