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.
- 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.