How far away are we? - From a title winning squad

Liverpool Football Club - General Discussion

Postby Rafa D » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:43 pm

A lot of people thought that this year might just be Liverpool's year at the start of the season. Since Rafa came to the club we have progressively got better and better and a lot more consistent. We had broken all sorts of records and went on our most consistent winning run in the Premiership since its formation. Our points tally was the best we had ever acheived and the F.A Cup win was the icing on the cake of a brilliant season for Liverpool Football Club and all of its fans. Stevie G was in terrifying form, Carra and Co were a rock at the back, Kewell was finally showing why he is picking up £65,000 a week and we unearthed a gem of a player in Momo Sissoko.

  Rafa it seemed was building his armada for a serious attack on Chelsea's Premiership Crown. He got rid of a lot of the dead wood and brought in 2 strikers that we were crying out for the season before. Both Bellamy and Kuyt had great seasons and some thought they might of been the final pieces in Rafa's jixsaw. Aurelio, Pennant and Gonzo came in to beef the squad up but the core base of the squad was sound already.

  The opening match of the season against Chelsea in the Community Shield only fanned the flames for those who believed Rafa had finally cracked what the Premiership was all about. Even me sitting in the upper tiers at Cardiff, thought finally, my dreams could be coming true. The dreams though never materialized.

  Our season, league wise was over by September. The English League is the strongest league in the world at the moment and its vital to get a good start. We didn't. I never told myself or my friends that the season was over, I kept a strong front, often venting my anger at individuals on here who pointed out the hard cold truth. Our title challenge was over. For me, I refused to accept it, however I think in my heart or hearts, the season was over the day we lost at the Reebok. I was sitting there, flabbergasted that we had lost so resoundingly to a long ball team and the lads haven't even put up a fight. Forget the 6-3 mauling by Arsenal, the inept display at Old Trafford, the last minute goal by O'shea the other week, my lowest moment this year was sitting in the Reebok at 2pm on a Saturday, knowing our season was down the pan. In September.

People go on about our poor record against the big 3, that doesn't matter to me, these matches can go either way because of the talent on the field, its the Bolton (a) and Pompy (h) that we should be concerned about. Thats how teams win titles. We can never expect to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season when we cannot break down a mid table team in our own backyard. Look at Chelsea and United, they go there, take the piss and come back with the 3 points, these are the games that matter.


Some people will point to Rafa's selection policy, some to the injuries. Maybe to the fact we had such a big influx of new players, possibly the world cup?

However I am not looking to place blame or point to factors that may have contributed to our poor start to the season. We were not good enough. End  of.

However I am looking to see what we can do to put it right in time for next season. Any thoughts? First and foremost, I along with the majority of Liverpool fans see the need for a new striker at Anfield. GOD has lost his sparkle and we are in need of a top class finisher if we want to get closer to united and Chelsea. Voronin has already sealed a deal to play for us next year, and although it has been met with a mixed response by most Liverpool fans, I am willing to wait and see what the lad can do before condemning him to the scrap heap. I don't think Rafa has signed him to be the answer to our striker problems , more as a squad player. At the moment we have 4 strikers, I see Voronin as a like for like swap as I fully expect Robbie to be shown the door in the summer. I fully expect Rafa to make that 5 in the summer with a big purchase to show the Americans financial muscle and to get the fans what they want, a 20 goal a season man. Eto'o has been mentioned, I would love it but to be honest, it would be the worst piece of business by Barcelona in the history of football if they let him go. He is that good. Villa and Torres have also been banded about, but on Villa I am not so sure we have the £40m being quoted and on Torres - don't believe the hype. I do know for sure though, that it is a area that will be strengthened in the summer.

  Looking at the rest of the squad, there is not that many holes to fill:

Goalkeepers - Sorted, Reina is a top,top keeper and Carson in reserve?

Defense - No major problems, although the LB slot is being picked at by a few. However I fully expect Aurelio to be a lot better next season and Riise is a good player.

Midfield - The centre of the midfield is probably one of the strongest in the world with the options that we have got there. Gerrard and Alonso are already in the world class bracket, Sissoko is proving to be a cult hit and the hype is being realised. His passing and decision making when he is in possesion of the ball is poor but he is still only 21. Give the lad time, I fully expect him to be a stalwart in our midfield next year and for many years to come, and although we have not seen enough of Maschereno in a red shirt, his performances for Argentina and his international record shows us the lad has real quality. Because of the strength in depth there, I expect, whether people like it or not, that Gerrard will occupy the right wing position more often than not next year, so with Pennant as cover, I think we are sorted there. The left wing however, is a little more problematic. Gonzo has not lived up to the hype and it spoke volumes that Gerrard was farmed out to the left earlier on in the season. Kewell blows hot and cold with his form and his injuries have been awful. I like Harry and thought he was getting back to his best but with him entering the last year of his contract this summer and the constant rumours thrown round because of his dumb wife, I have a feeling we may have seen the last of him in the red shirt so for me another winger is a necessity. I don't know whether Rafa will go for a right winger like Alves or a left one because he is not afraid to move Stevie out there and Pennant has done a job there as well.


In conclusion, I am very happy with the core of our squad but a new winger and a new striker, preferrably top end ones, would make us a lot better equipped for next year, I hope.


How do you feel?
Sammy Lee wears Liverpool undies
User avatar
Rafa D
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 2888
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:17 pm
Location: Merseyside - Birkenhead

Postby stmichael » Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:02 pm

Both the players and manager have got some heavy criticism at times this season. Well, I for one don't agree that we suddenly have a sh#t team and a sh#t manager after some poor results, especially away from home. The Barcelona result and the quarter final draw should be extra motivation for the players from now until the end of the season.

However; as many have pointed out: We have a lack of pace in the team compared to Arsenal and Manure, and this must be a priority for Rafa to sort out when he buy new players.

I have divided the senior players into three categories:

A. The excellent players. The ones who would make the spine of any great team:

Reina, Agger, Carragher, Gerrard, Alonso, Sissoko, Kuyt, Bellamy

Some will argue about Bellamy, but he has the right attitude on the field and has lately begun to show his capacity.

B. Good squad players. Solid Premiership standard:

Finnan, Riise, Kewell, Crouch, Pennant.

The way many fans slag off Riise is very disappointing. OK, he has had a dip in form, but he is without a doubt one of the three best left backs in the league.

Pennant has been this year`s scapegoat, and some moan about him after a loss even if he wasn't in the squad. The lad proved his worth as a premiership player with Birmingham. He needed some time to settle in this great club and needed to get his confidence up after a difficult start (which obviously wasn`t helped by booing from the stands). He is now finding his form and will prove to be a very valuable addition to the squad.

C. The ones who hasn`t proved this season that they belong in category A or B.

Hyypia, Zenden, Gonzalez, Aurelio, Garcia, Fowler.

I have been a fan and defender of Garcia, but he still hasn't reached the stability that is needed. Glimpses of genius, yes, but sadly not enough to weigh up for his lack of overall contribution.

I still think Gonzalez will make it. I reckon he just need a good run of games and some luck and confidence.

All in all, a very decent squad, but it needs a better balance between strength, skills and pace, especially more pace. Investment followed by two/three word class players and nr 19 will be on its way very soon!

It is also worth mentioning that 6 of the 8 players in category A was brought in by Rafa.

The academy is also doing a decent job imo. I always think it's a little bit funny when I hear people harking back to how it was so much easier for English lads to get a game years ago and how it's a bad thing that they can't now. Guess what, the World got smaller and more open so now you actually have to be really f#cking good to get a game because there's a lad in Ghana, Romania or Argentina that wants to play too and he is pretty damn tasty. It's a good thing. People who bitch about the quality of English players, which I'm frankly not that bothered about, should check out the players they currenty have to pick from; give them a decent manager and they'd be the match of anyone. That's because to get a game reguarly for a big team you have to be pretty good.

I think the point I was trying to make (but which didn't come across that way at all!) was that having a successful youth policy like Arsenal's isn't just about spending a lot of money on the players - it's about being able to identify them and then move quickly enough to bring them into the club ahead of all the other hundreds of clubs worldwide who are going to want to do the same.

That's what Wenger is so good at - and he's been allowed to by a board who, as far I know, handed the academy over to him lock, stock and barrel and who back his judgement when he wants to bring a player in.

From what I know, I don't think either of those things necessarily applies to Rafa's situation here.
Last edited by stmichael on Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
User avatar
stmichael
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 22643
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:06 pm
Location: Middlesbrough

Postby Santa » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:06 pm

I think we need a player or two who can provide some thrust going forward. So far we only have Stevie doing this regularly and a quick out and out winger or two might be what we need together with a top class finisher like what every league winner does.

I can definately see a much more solid team being formed this season by Rafa. A couple of positions are still not being filled (lack of funding) but overall a much more solid team performance. It's unfortunate that we had a very tough away fixtures at the beginning of the season and our league season was effectively over before we managed to catch a breath. The 2 losses to manure aside (the Arsenal games I have a feeling we didn't placed too much importance on both these games compared to our CL games) we have been extremely solid, both home and away. We will definately be much closer next season catching on the momentum of our 6 European Cup win :p
Never try to teach a pig to sing...

...it only waste your time, and annoys the pig
User avatar
Santa
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 4463
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 6:07 pm

Postby metalhead » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:16 pm

I think we need a couple of quality players, mixed with consistancy to make a championship winning side. I agree we need a flamboyant or explosive winger who can dribble, cross, pass and shoot. We need a +20 goalscorer striker, but he must be a hardworker and plays with passion for football.

I agree with st.mich we have good squad players who can be used as backup for our injured key players. These players are good enough to cover our injured key players in the short term and long term. I would love to see us buy a defencive left back who should be an excellent tackler, shows strength, fast and a good game reader. Arbeloe isn't a left back, so lets keep that in mind.
ImageImageImage
User avatar
metalhead
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 17460
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:15 pm
Location: Milan, Italy

Postby metalhead » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:21 pm

I have been a fan and defender of Garcia, but he still hasn't reached the stability that is needed. Glimpses of genius, yes, but sadly not enough to weigh up for his lack of overall contribution.


He is a very good squad player! I think his best position is a second striker, I really don't believe he is a good enough winger because he is lazy going back to help finnan (maybe because he is a 5 foot 7 and lightweight) and loses the ball. I really want to see him more in the second striker role where he can exploit the huge space. Sometimes in games you can see a gap between the midfield and defence (even when the opposition team plays with an anchorman). There we can use Garcia who can really cause damage to the opposition. We all know how crucial he can be when he is given space.
Last edited by metalhead on Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ImageImageImage
User avatar
metalhead
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 17460
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:15 pm
Location: Milan, Italy

Postby DAV » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:27 pm

good post
Not sure that putting Sissoko as excellent is the right choice.
He is excellent at some aspects of his game but a hindrance at others. I don't feel at the moment he should be a regular starter for us. Hopefully he will learn from what everyone see's as his weeks points.
Gerrard on the right is a total waste of 1 of our world class players, and the sooner we sign Alves the better.
Up front, David Villa looks the right man for me, he has already stated he has friends at Liverpool and would love to play in premiership.
We have been bort out, we have been told we have money available, so lets use it on these to players and a quality left winger. Instead if buying 6 average squad players.
The problem I see with Liverpool is that we have more squad players, (by that i mean players u would be happy to see come of the bench) than first team starters.
I dont think we have a title winning starting eleven, more 8 and 10 subs.
Be honest before kick off, its a guessing game of who will play on the left and right hand sides of midfield and up front.
Thats not how it should be
User avatar
DAV
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 847
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 11:21 am

Postby metalhead » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:33 pm

DAV wrote:good post
Not sure that putting Sissoko as excellent is the right choice.
He is excellent at some aspects of his game but a hindrance at others. I don't feel at the moment he should be a regular starter for us. Hopefully he will learn from what everyone see's as his weeks points.
Gerrard on the right is a total waste of 1 of our world class players, and the sooner we sign Alves the better.
Up front, David Villa looks the right man for me, he has already stated he has friends at Liverpool and would love to play in premiership.
We have been bort out, we have been told we have money available, so lets use it on these to players and a quality left winger. Instead if buying 6 average squad players.
The problem I see with Liverpool is that we have more squad players, (by that i mean players u would be happy to see come of the bench) than first team starters.
I dont think we have a title winning starting eleven, more 8 and 10 subs.
Be honest before kick off, its a guessing game of who will play on the left and right hand sides of midfield and up front.
Thats not how it should be

Alves isn't a right midfielder, he is a right back, playing on the right midfield will be also a waste.

Sissoko is still 22... ill judge him as a player when he becomes 25 or 26 because he has the potential to improve.. his passing will get better and he will have more composure.. im confident
ImageImageImage
User avatar
metalhead
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 17460
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:15 pm
Location: Milan, Italy

Postby DAV » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:38 pm

think he misunderstood what i said about sissoko
All i said was i dont think as of now he should be a first choice in a starting line up.
and i dont, with time i hope he becomes an excellent player.
But he isnt their yet, thats all.
as for alves i no he isnt a out an out right sided midfielder, but have u seen him play?
User avatar
DAV
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 847
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 11:21 am

Postby Sabre » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:58 pm

Good question and goodpost.

IMHO we are as far as Manure was last year. Meaning it could happen the next season. Few could expect that with the comfortable difference of points that Chavski got last year and the reinforcements they brought Manchester United would win this year's EPL.

But it may happen, and that's because the differences between the top teams are small.

I think we have the right man in the bench to achieve that. It would help a lot not playing the preliminary rounds of the CL to make a preseason at our will and not dictated by the official matches. I think that's one of the reason we have started slowly. Details like that, or not having harmony in the dressroom like Chavski, can make you lose a competition.

We're as close as <----> this. A *few* but good signings, make a proper season start, and we'll be there.
Image
SOS member #1499

Drummerphil, never forgotten.
User avatar
Sabre
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 13177
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:10 am
Location: San Sebastian (Spain)

Postby Bad Bob » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:20 pm

I think we basically need the same thing we needed last year: two pacy, skilled wingers and a top striker.  That's not to slag on either Kuyt or Bellamy, who I think do an excellent job for the team.  But I would like to see someone up top who can change a game, make a goal out of nothing, etc....a la Robbie or Owen in their pomp.

On the wing I don't think we've advanced much from where we were last year.  That'll sound harsh on Pennant and Gonzales but both have needed some time to bed in and both are still well short of the required standard as Liverpool starters (Pennant's closer than Gonzales, though).  The other factor is the loss of Kewell, who was really doing a job for us during the second half of last season.  We have not achieved the same midfield balance since he's been out and this has been exacerbated by a failure of players to step up (further exacerbated by over-rotation on Rafa's part, esp. at LM, which hasn't given players like Gonzo a chance to settle).  While the likes of Riise and Garcia can "do a job" in these positions, we really do need a first-rate winger to occupy the berth that Kewell will, IMO, officially vacate this summer.

On the right, the need is slightly less urgent given Gerrard's ability to operate on the flank.  But, I would love to see someone come in who could give us another solid option on the right.  Pennant, as of yet, is not up to the Barca's of the footballing world and the debate continues to rage over Stevie's viability out there.  Another option out there is on the wish list but I think the left side is the more urgent gap that needs filling this summer.

Beyond the personnel additions, it comes down to intangibles when assessing how close we are to a true title challenge.  Will we get out of the blocks well for once or stutter through the opening weeks?  Will there be injuries to key personnel at key times?  Will the fixture list permit us to build some momentum early?  Will Rafa tamp down on the rotation at the start of the campaign in order to give the team a chance to settle in?  Will United, Chelsea and/or Arsenal get off to a flyer and put the pressure on?  I'd like to think we have a title challenge in us next season but, after the frustrations of this past August/September, I'll not count on it until it's well and truly under way.
Image
User avatar
Bad Bob
LFC Guru Member
 
Posts: 11269
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:03 pm
Location: Canada

Postby woof woof ! » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:14 pm

Bad Bob wrote:I think we basically need the same thing we needed last year: two pacy, skilled wingers and a top striker.

Considering the thread title (How far away are we ? ) thats bl'oody depressing AND although we love him it's something Rafa has failed to sort out, and I don't believe it's as simple as "we don't/didn't have the money"

I agree btw , we STILL need a top striker and two skilled pacey  wingers/Left & Right midfielders .
Image

Image
User avatar
woof woof !
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 20571
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:22 am
Location: Here There and Everywhere

Postby account deleted by request » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:54 pm

I think people are putting too much of the blame on our forwards and not looking at how little we create in some matches. Yes we have X number of shots in a game, but most of them are from outside the area and aren't even half chances. I think the team is crying out for a creative attacking player whether that be Kaka or a left or right winger.

The number of games where once we go a goal down the match is over, only emphasises my belief that its the creation of genuine chances that is needed if we are to bridge the gap. We also need to start showing a bit more composure when we are up against top teams, keep possession better, and stop the hit and hope long balls. As an option the long ball is great, as the main focus of attack at times its dire.

Bottom line we need a creative attacking player and an out and out striker. Kaka and Villa may be an impossible dream, but its players of this quality that we should be looking for.
account deleted by request
 
Posts: 20690
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:11 am

Postby ivor_the_injun » Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:06 pm

I do have a feeling that a World Cup-free summer will help us a huge amount. All the top sides obviously had players involved last summer, but to be honest some of our players looked knackered in the first few weeks of this season.

I'd say that slow-starters - and here I'm particularly pointing the finger at Alonso who was absolutely terrible for the first month of the season - should work extra hard this coming summer. We need to explode out of the blocks if there's a title challenge to be made, I don't want to hear things like "Sheff Utd away is always going to be a difficult game". Even if we go to grounds like that and stink the place out, we need to get results in those games. Unfortunately, no matter what the budget is for the coming window, that's a knack you can't necessarily buy.
ivor_the_injun
 
Posts: 2677
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 12:02 am

Postby metalhead » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:17 pm

DAV wrote:as for alves i no he isnt a out an out right sided midfielder, but have u seen him play?

I do actually watch alves alot, and I have seen many of his wonderful assists he did against the opposition, especially against athletico madrid and Barcelona. Believe me he is a right full back, he is very good defencively, excellent crosser and fast! if you play him on the right you will ruin his defencive options, maybe it can work, i mean he has good crossing, passes and he is fast, but he is a natural right back and he plays his best in his position.
ImageImageImage
User avatar
metalhead
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 17460
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:15 pm
Location: Milan, Italy

Postby metalhead » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:19 pm

s@int wrote:I think people are putting too much of the blame on our forwards and not looking at how little we create in some matches. Yes we have X number of shots in a game, but most of them are from outside the area and aren't even half chances. I think the team is crying out for a creative attacking player whether that be Kaka or a left or right winger.

The number of games where once we go a goal down the match is over, only emphasises my belief that its the creation of genuine chances that is needed if we are to bridge the gap. We also need to start showing a bit more composure when we are up against top teams, keep possession better, and stop the hit and hope long balls. As an option the long ball is great, as the main focus of attack at times its dire.

Bottom line we need a creative attacking player and an out and out striker. Kaka and Villa may be an impossible dream, but its players of this quality that we should be looking for.

I don't think creativity is only the problem, there is lack of composure in front of goal, which the strikers really need to work on, but i agree we need a really creative winger.
ImageImageImage
User avatar
metalhead
>> LFC Elite Member <<
 
Posts: 17460
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:15 pm
Location: Milan, Italy

Next

Return to Liverpool FC - General Discussion

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 23 guests

  • Advertisement
Online Shop Builder Sell online and/or ePOS Till System sell in-store ShopTill-e provides you everything you need... With ShopTill-e you can sell everywhere it's a true Multichannel Retailing system!