Author Topic: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.  (Read 26711 times)

Online Yorkykopite

  • Misses Danny Boy with a passion. Beck or Irving? We're not sure but we like his tweed smoking jacket.
  • RAWK Writer
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15,220
  • The first five yards........
What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« on: January 1, 2009, 08:40:01 PM »
Probably like a lot of us, when Lucas Leiva and Ryan Babel joined Liverpool I scanned websites of both Gremio and Ajax to see what the two sets of divested fans felt about losing their starlets to the Reds.

The Gremio site was marked by fatalism, pride and a certain amount of anguish. But whatever the individual response to losing Lucas it was plain to see that the young lad commanded the complete confidence of his former club’s supporters. In fact it was clear they loved him. There were comparisons there between Lucas and Falcao, Lucas and Cerezo, even Lucas and Gerrard. Here, apparently, was a player of the authentic southern Brazilian style – a box-to-box midfielder who played football with the high technique we expect of players from that part of the world and the sense of urgent purpose that sometimes seems lacking. People talked about his one touch play, his imaginative running off the ball, his tireless desire to close down the opposition. They talked about his combativeness and his quick thinking. And they talked about how irreplaceable he would be and how they would miss him. No Red could scan those pages without experiencing a surge of joy (and because we are football romantics here at Anfield a tinge of pity for the Gremio lads too). This was a 19-year-old they were talking about! But probably most Reds reading those fantastic enconiums also felt a blast of disbelief that it was wind-swept Liverpool - not Real, not Barca, not Benfica, not Milan (sun-kissed, the lot of ‘em) - who were going to land the best young Brazilian to emerge since Kaka.

The Ajax site was different. Babel divided opinion in Amsterdam. For every fan who talked up his staggering pace on the ball, there was a tired Dutch shrug at his erratic decision-making. For every supporter who mentioned his hammer shot there was another who bemoaned his shot selection and complained of his naivety. Maybe the idea of raw talent doesn’t impress in a country where even school footballers are expected to show something that’s been cooked. Or perhaps there’s simply more sour grapes at a prestigious club which is perennially and – for them - boringly stripped of its best young players. But even allowing for that there was a strata of genuine disbelief on the Ajax sites that Liverpool had thrown such a lot of money at such a misfiring talent.   

I liked both Lucas and Babel as soon as I saw them. I also liked the idea of them because both acquisitions seemed to signal that Rafa was thinking beyond the functional to the decorative. I don’t mean that in a bad sense. But compared to what we had at Anfield, and certainly to what we’d been used to under Houllier, both Lucas and Babel promised excitement and adventure and a readiness to take a huge punt on precocious talent. They indicated very strongly that we hoped soon to meet the best teams in Europe on level terms when it came to flair and technique. I still think that the two signings carried a colossal symbolic value which was every bit as important as the signing of Torres – and  something which probably wouldn’t have happened were it not for Istanbul.

* * *

Eighteen months on, what are we to think? Well here’s a cautionary note. To ask that question even three weeks ago would have been to provoke an avalanche of derision at one of the young players. Lucas Leiva, we were told, was not Liverpool quality. He couldn’t pass, couldn’t tackle, couldn’t run and probably couldn’t piss without asking his mum first. He was a fraud, a waste of money, the worst Brazilian footballer of all time and he was, in fact, keeping far superior local talent out of the team. Against Fulham he was booed by the know-nothings and then his house was burgled. Jesus, you had to feel for him even if you didn’t rate him as a footballer. You also had to feel embarrassed that Anfield, which Lucas had honoured in several interviews to foreign journalists, had paraded such a public thumbs down to a solitary young player when no one in a Red shirt that day, not even the experienced players, seemed capable of lifting their game.   

Whoever had a private word with him at that point and said “please stick it out lad, you’re a great player, this is a great town, things will get better” deserves the Shankly Cross or whatever honorific we give to these local heroes. If that conversation took place it might end up ranking as one of the great turning points in Liverpool’s modern history. It’s possible of course that no one said anything out of the ordinary to Lucas. He might have just knuckled down, drawn on his own resolve and decided to come up fighting. Some young footballers have huge reserves of inner belief and ambition. That’s why they are where they are. This must be especially true of Lucas who showed the balls of a young Liverpool merchant seaman setting out on his maiden voyage by uprooting himself from home to come to a country where he understood no one and no one understood him.

So what does he bring to the eleven? It’s obvious now of course. But there were clues from the first time he appeared in the Red. Lucas brings the traditional Liverpool qualities of pass and move to a team that is slowly re-learning something that used to be its birthright. Lucas knows that the best pass in football is usually the five yard pass, followed instantly by a move into space. Occasionally it’s necessary to throw something longer into the game, and Lucas can do this too, but his regulation pass is a five to ten-yard stab into the opposition’s ribcage. A couple of those in quick succession and it begins to fucking hurt. A couple more and the other lot are struggling for breath and space is opening up in nasty areas all over the pitch. And that’s what Lucas does. He asphyxiates them and fills us with thunderous air. I’m not a spiritual bloke but in these past few games I swear it’s been possible to squint at the field and see the ghost of young Ronnie Whelan on the lad’s shoulder.   

I also believe he was making these rapier passes and these ingenious runs from his very first game. For sure he sometimes appeared to lack the physique (or technique) to hold off physical challenges and make his neat collection of the ball really count. Probably no one in Brazil had ploughed into his shoulder with as much industrial force (and with the ref’s permission) as Michael Essien continually did at Stamford Bridge. But part of the problem was that no teammate was reading him, or they didn’t have true confidence in him, and much of his good running was being squandered. The story’s different now. There’s a swelling in both Lucas’s confidence and the esteem in which he’s clearly now regarded by Gerrard and the others. Players are starting to look for Lucas. And he really wants the ball. I hope, I pray, that he doesn’t become cloistered when he next treads the turf at Anfield. It would be a great thing if he could feel the Kop’s new confidence in him right from the start.     

But, jeez, did you see the way he was using his chest against Arsenal to control and take command of loose balls in crowded areas? Magnifico, no? Three or four times he did this and it was sublime. He looked lightning quick to seize on these loose balls but this was probably a trick of the eye because to Lucas the balls  weren’t there to be contested at all. In other words they weren’t ‘loose’. He’d anticipated the evolution of play perfectly, even when that evolution was full of accidents. This is top class football. It’s like Xabi Alonso – the same accelerated brain pattern, the same enhanced ability to compute movement, the same  intuition that defies rational analysis. The result was gorgeous. The normal player would have been involved in a series of 50-50 tackles to grab hold of the ball. Lucas was half a second quicker and already emerging from the pack with the ball falling off his chest into the empty space he was running into.  Yes, that’s football.

I’d play Lucas with Alonso, Mascherano and Gerrard. All four of them in the same team – especially against the bus-parkers when it makes as much sense to go through them as around them. That quartet would mean ownership of the pitch as well as sufficient dynamism to capitalise on that ownership. It would help us turn the little pockets of space that exist between the lines of densely packed opponents into relative chasms. Remember Valencia?

* * *

What about Ryan Babel then? Were those Ajax supporters right when they qualified their praise for the young Dutchman?

Well so far he’s had a miserable season really, despite destroying Man United at Anfield and showing Olympique Marseilles (again) that wonderful combination of dainty feet and surging body strength. But the promise he showed at the back end of last season, when he was terrorising Arsenal and Chelsea, has not been translated into regular form or a regular slot. That’s been the biggest disappointment of our season to date. It has meant an extreme over-reliance on the far inferior, though arguably more dependable, qualities of Dirk Kuyt and has led to a crisis of confidence in Babel himself. Why, he must be asking himself, have I not got within sniffing distance of a regular slot in the team – especially with Torres unavailable for so long and especially with the boys shedding home points to such unfancied clubs as Stoke, Hull, Fulham and West Ham?  It’s worth reminding ourselves that Babel started none of those matches (notching up a paltry 39 minutes as a sub across all 4 games) and that Kuyt started all of them - and finished all but one. Such is the lack of confidence that Rafa has in Babel.

Of course all was not rosy with Babel even when he was terrorising those Arsenal and Chelsea defences in last season’s Champions League matches.  His greatest moment last season – possibly Liverpool’s greatest moment - was when he came on in the quarters at Anfield and tore the heart out of Arsenal. Power, pace, trickery, and intelligence allied in one individual will always propel a team a long way towards victory and Babel, momentarily, combined all those elements in that game – and again, when he came on at Stamford Bridge in the semis. And yet, the lad had been wretched at the Emirates in the first leg when he’d found himself in the starting line up and suddenly bereft of the ability to trap a ball - and not much better when he’d started in the Anfield leg against Chelsea.

Consequently a theory emerged last season that Babel was most effective coming into games as a sub when the opposition was tiring. The idea was that a sudden injection of a turbo-charged Babel was bound to be too much for a tiring opposition team that had been rope-a-doping for the best part of the game. I never believed that – and certainly don’t believe it this season when he’s been a relatively ineffective substitute. But I did think there was a bigger problem, which was psychological. At 0-0 in a virgin game Babel often seemed to be a bag of nerves, the first few touches hesitant at best, clumsy at worst. But as a sub coming on to a pitch in relative disarray (compared with the first minute of the game), often with a specific and ambitious objective (overturning an impending defeat) Babel looked primed and almost superciliously confident. It was as if once the rulebook was thrown away and there was no need for caution he was a liberated footballer. In other words he performed far better coming into a game that needed a dramatic solution rather than starting one where the emphasis was on not creating a self-inflicted problem.

This might explain why he has been relatively ineffective when he’s been used as a substitute against Stoke City, Fulham, West Ham, and Hull. In all of those games Liverpool had something to lose when he came on as well as something to win. Maybe it was only a measly point each time but it was possibly enough to intimidate Babel. And therefore what we got each time (which we didn’t get in the desperation of the Champions League) was the familiar Babel - a player who seems afraid to make mistakes.

But is it Babel who is intimidated? Or is it his coach? Is it a temperament problem he has or is he simply burdened with too many defensive instructions? Does he respond better to the request to “cut the full back to ribbons lad” or “whatever else you do, make sure their full back doesn’t get beyond you with the ball”? We can only speculate. But many people will remember one of his first interviews with the media after joining the Reds in which he said that after several weeks coaching Rafa had never once mentioned what he should do with the ball. Everything had been about how to defend. Babel wasn’t complaining. Indeed he said he was learning valuable things. But, still, there was a tinge of amazement – the same sort of amazement, perhaps, that Quaresma apparently expressed when he declined a move to Liverpool because he didn’t want to turn into an auxiliary defender.

Perhaps Babel will soon leave us. I'd be sad if he did because he would make a fine player somewhere else. He may even be a great one if he finds a coach willing to wager on his fragile genius and not be over-concerned about the natural lack of caution in his play. Ironically, his best chance of succeeding at Liverpool is if we find ourselves five or six points off the pace near the end of the season with absolutely nothing to be gained by cautious football. Chasing the leading pack you’d want Babel in the team. But, obviously I hope it doesn’t come to that. It’s a shame though because with the staggering amount of killing possession we are now getting thanks to Alonso we ought to be in a position to exploit Babel's gifts and make his incredible cameos against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd a regular feature of our football.

« Last Edit: January 2, 2009, 10:10:18 AM by yorkykopite »

Offline killer_heels

  • Hates everyone and everything. Including YOU!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,122
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #1 on: January 1, 2009, 11:01:51 PM »
Good read and I liked that bit earlier about Lucas and Babel at Gremio and Ajax respectively.

I am not sure about a couple of things though. Firstly, im not sure whether on that you should look to predict who will stay and who will go, as youve stated with Babel. Maybe continue to describe what he has done for us as alot of people may challenge you what you say about Babel leaving.

Also, that bit about Alonso, Masch, Gerrard and Lucas all playing will certainly cause debate and people will pick that out and focus on it, rather than the rest of the post. For what its worth, they cant all play together (too many cooks and all that).

Apart from that, a good article.

I like Lucas and I really think that our lack of movement from attacking players was the reason he was having difficulty. He always looks up and looks to play 1-2's, but the lack of movement usually means that he has very few options and as a result, ends up dwelling on the ball.

Ive said before how I like Babel and im still convinced that Benitez made a mistake not giving him more matches after the Utd and Marseille games. He was high in confidence and effective, only to be thrown on the bench for the next 5 or so matches. We need 1 more match winner in this team and Babel is the closest player we have that can join Torres and Gerrard in that regard

Offline royhendo

  • Would like dumplings with his stew.
  • RAWK Staff
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,598
  • RIP Ray Osbourne
    • www.theanfieldwrap.com
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #2 on: January 2, 2009, 07:12:43 AM »
Brilliant stuff again mate.

I also think Lucas has defensive quality that matches his offensive quality - away v Atletico for example he was up there with Carra with his matador-style 'tackling without making a tackle'.

On Babel... I just know I'll end up arguing the toss with you, but it's probably the most enjoyable debate to be had in these thar forums. I'd happily sacrifice Babel for a Maxi Rodriguez-type player for example.

Regardless... a pleasure to read as always.
« Last Edit: January 2, 2009, 11:48:41 AM by royhendo »
Sid Lowe: "Has the environment around the game changed?"
Juanma Lillo: "Yes, the garnish has eaten the steak."

Offline Veinticinco de Mayo

  • Almost as nice as Hellmans and cheaper too! Feedback tourist #57. President of ZATAA.
  • RAWK Staff.
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,291
  • In an aeroplane over RAWK
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #3 on: January 2, 2009, 10:10:15 AM »
Excellent and informative read that Yorky. 

I totally agree on Lucas.  I've maintained all along that you could tell that the lad is a footballer, the problem was whether he would be able to adapt to the physical nature of the English game. This was always likely as it generally requires little more than some hours in the gym and a realisation that players are going to barrel into you at full pelt and the ref is just going to smile and run off. 

It seemed to be taking an age to happen though, strangely perhaps the shameful booing at Fulham was the turning point, it could have broken him but it seems that, fortunately for us, as he trudged from the field he resolved to "fuckin' show 'em". The key to that is perhaps more a refusal to be overawed by playing alongside Gerrard, Alonso and Mascherano as to no longer being intimidated by the Prems midfield enforcers (that test is still to come). That is what we've seen in the last couple of games, a new confidence that he deserves to play alongside these icons, that he can demand the ball from them and that they will pass to him.

You'll doubtless be less than surprised that I disagree on Babel.  What I see there is a great athlete, a lad with pace, power and flashes of marvellous technique.  I don't think that I've really seen a footballer though. He seems to lack that inate understanding of the game that all the great players have; where to stand, where to run, when to pass, when to dribble and most of all that anticipation that you so eloquently describe in Lucas. 

I've mentioned before that perhaps he has difficulty implementing Rafa's instructions, this may be the case, but unfortunately that just seems to another sympton of the lack of game intelligence that I've mentioned above.  I don't think that it is fair to blame his poor performances on his team instructions though.  Whenever El Zhar comes on as substitute he makes the most of his, more limited, physical attributes and attacks his full backs with brio and panache. There seems little evidence of a player who has been given instructions stressing his defensive obligations at the expense of any attacking verve. I don't see why that should be any different from the instructions that Babel receives.

 

Tweeting shit about LFC @kevhowson Tweeting shit about music @GigMonkey2
Bill Shankly - 'The socialism I believe in is not really politics; it is humanity, a way of living and sharing the rewards'

Online Yorkykopite

  • Misses Danny Boy with a passion. Beck or Irving? We're not sure but we like his tweed smoking jacket.
  • RAWK Writer
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15,220
  • The first five yards........
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #4 on: January 2, 2009, 10:32:27 AM »
Thanks Killer, Roy, Kev. I've softened the point about Babel leaving us. You're right, it was pure guesswork. But I'm sticking with Mash-Xab-Gerrard-Lucas as a quartet. Two reasons. First, it's already happened (albeit very briefly on Saturday). Second, remember AC Milan (Kaka, Gattuso, Seedorf, Pirlo). That quartet was perhaps even narrower but in its most fluent moments it was incredibley difficult to oppose. I'm not saying that this would represent our regular midfield (is there such a thing anyway?) but that it would be a superb arrow to have in our quiver when teams sat back and doubled up in wide areas.

A Maxi Rodriquez-type Roy. Of course. A Kily Gonzalez-type too. But we all know what happened to him at Valencia. Your tackling point is spot on. I was surprised at the number of fouls Lucas was making at the Emirates because I had Lucas down as one of the cleanest tacklers we have - a player that seems adept at nicking the ball away from an opponent by superb timing rather than a hefty challenge. Hence the (admittedly optimistic) Whelan comparison - possibly the best tackler I've ever seen in Red. 

Kev - you're persuasive, as ever, about Babel's current limitations. Blackburn was awful! The El Zhar point's well made too. But does Babel really lack game intelligence? That's the question. I don't think he's dim-witted like Cisse and Bellamy but, yes, you could make the accusation that he often looks like he's not weighed his options until he's actually got the ball at his feet. Too late by then. I continue to hope though and certainly I'll continue to bemoan the fact that there's so little evidence to go on either way.

Offline Veinticinco de Mayo

  • Almost as nice as Hellmans and cheaper too! Feedback tourist #57. President of ZATAA.
  • RAWK Staff.
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,291
  • In an aeroplane over RAWK
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #5 on: January 2, 2009, 11:14:10 AM »
Kev - you're persuasive, as ever, about Babel's current limitations. Blackburn was awful! The El Zhar point's well made too. But does Babel really lack game intelligence? That's the question. I don't think he's dim-witted like Cisse and Bellamy but, yes, you could make the accusation that he often looks like he's not weighed his options until he's actually got the ball at his feet. Too late by then. I continue to hope though and certainly I'll continue to bemoan the fact that there's so little evidence to go on either way.

The last sentence is the clincher I guess. And I do hope that one day soon something just "clicks" for Babel and he starts to impose himself on games.
Tweeting shit about LFC @kevhowson Tweeting shit about music @GigMonkey2
Bill Shankly - 'The socialism I believe in is not really politics; it is humanity, a way of living and sharing the rewards'

Offline lachesis

  • RAWK Scribe
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,823
  • МАРКСИСТ
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #6 on: January 2, 2009, 11:20:38 AM »
Good post mate, what's strange is that we're sitting top of the league and we have the largest number of players I've known with divided opinions on. Lucas, Babel, Keane, Kuyt, Arbeloa, Benayoun, etc.

I liked the intro part, as Roy says (with hindsight it's always good), to get a few quotes form the Ajax/Gremio fans but that doesn't really affect the article quality.

Lucas was always appreciated by those who understood that we were undergoing transition from direct passing to a more intricate style. It took Gerrard best part of 28 months to stop running round per Benitez' orders, trust his team mates and ocncentrate on his own strengths. Both we, and him have become better for it, with the added quality of players like Mascher.

Babel, I think has all the league assets he need, I was critical of him at first given the hype people had built up; however there comes a point when you have to say no more criticism will do the lad any good - just get behind him fully and give him support for everything he does, and don't groan when he gives it away, just shout 'unlucky lad'.

We lack a true position for Babel, he hasn't shown he will be a world beater on the other hand. I would say both Lucas and Babel suffered with the pace of the game, which led to many back passes and square passes. Lucas has adapted to this and is now starting to shine. Because Babel's game is all about pace, he needs a good run in the team to refine the more technical things like tight control etc. However, he is not adapting or developing as he should be and that's worrying. Patience with this type of player has cost us in the past.

I have no doubts Lucas will make it, just he may get bored being a squad player for the next two years I envisage. Babel, could potentially cut his losses with us and Rafa. I think using Dirk Kuyt as his position is slightly wrong though as Babel usually plays left or goes up front.

Offline Crackerjack Sam

  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,900
    • http://ticket-for-one.com/
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #7 on: January 2, 2009, 11:21:46 AM »
Good post and thread yorky.
PSN ID - hajme1   
Sticking to RAWK I am.  Real forum, real mods, real fans, fair and unbiased opinions etc..etc.. 8)

Offline new-red

  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,442
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #8 on: January 2, 2009, 11:29:37 AM »
When i first saw Babel play i was genuinely excited because i thought he would add such a huge dimension to our game. He has the ability to be the best footballer on the planet. Yet it doesn't seem like he has even improved in the last 11/2 years.

It is very possible that Babel goes down in history as one of the biggest waste of talents ever.

IMHO, He could be one of the very best to play for Liverpool but he has never exhibited any sort of game intelligence at all. He never consistently makes the right decision and he doesn't even use his raw talents well enough.

He is the most frustrating player on the team. A player who can deliver the most excitement and yet at the same time, the most frustration.
http://redsacrossthepond.blogspot.com/

My LFC blog. If you read it, please leave me any feedback regardless of whether it is critical or complimentary.

Offline spider-neil

  • Can watch 30 games in a day. He's not Spidey - he's Sway!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,397
  • does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #9 on: January 2, 2009, 11:40:08 AM »
babel is a strange one, the higher the stakes the better he seems to perform. easily babel's best performances of the season was manu and chelsea, perticually in the chelsea game I thought he was fantastic. again talking about high stakes against SL second leg on the verge of going to penalties (an absolute lottery) he digs out an absolute magnificent cross which was converted by kuyt.

I think what is stopping babel getting a regular first team spot is you have absolutely no idea whatsoever which babel is going to turn up, from what I've seen from babel when he brings his 'a' game he can destroy practically any team but sometimes (and this may be purely his style of play) he seems like he isn't interested.

I have no idea what is the best course to get the best out of ryan, an arm around the shoulder or a kick up the arse. the problem (which isn't a problem at all) is we are top of the league and the stakes are far too high to give babel a run of games to see if he has what it takes to be a liverpool player.

I will end by saying we are a mere three points clear with 18 games left to play and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that ryan has a massive part to play in the run we all know it.
« Last Edit: January 2, 2009, 11:42:11 AM by spider-neil »

Offline fudge

  • RAWK Gaylord
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15,328
  • "I'm a swine, its my nature"
    • Fat man dancing
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #10 on: January 2, 2009, 11:41:13 AM »
Thats a great read and i agree and hope you're right about Lucas, but like VDM for Babel i just dont think he's got a footballing brain.

That PSV game though he scored was full of him making bad decision after bad decision when choosing to lay off the ball. Obviously its one game but to me its summed up his career with us so far but its still early days.
Rubber Dinghy Rapids....

Offline Crackerjack Sam

  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,900
    • http://ticket-for-one.com/
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #11 on: January 2, 2009, 11:45:11 AM »
When i first saw Babel play i was genuinely excited because i thought he would add such a huge dimension to our game. He has the ability to be the best footballer on the planet. Yet it doesn't seem like he has even improved in the last 11/2 years.

It is very possible that Babel goes down in history as one of the biggest waste of talents ever.

IMHO, He could be one of the very best to play for Liverpool but he has never exhibited any sort of game intelligence at all. He never consistently makes the right decision and he doesn't even use his raw talents well enough.

He is the most frustrating player on the team. A player who can deliver the most excitement and yet at the same time, the most frustration.
Nail on head. I jumped for joy when we signed him and to be fair he had a decent first season. But now is the time for him to show that he's more than a one trick pony. He strong and he has pace...great. But he needs to exercise those qualities more often. Always cutting in and taking a shot...too preditable. There has to be more to his game than that and he needs to show it.

He may improve he may not, but one thing I know for sure is that, Rafa will not hang onto somebody who always gets the crowd going, but doesn't deliver.
It comes to a point when potential needs to come into reality, so people can see who you really are.
PSN ID - hajme1   
Sticking to RAWK I am.  Real forum, real mods, real fans, fair and unbiased opinions etc..etc.. 8)

Offline Xabier Alonso Olano

  • Kopite
  • ****
  • Posts: 971
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #12 on: January 2, 2009, 11:45:26 AM »
Good read. Just to throw my weight into the Babel argument. I always feel that his use of the bench is when the game is stretched as opposed to teams "tiring". Babel against Newcastle at St James last season was the classic example of this. When he came on, them being goals down, he had space and time to run and pick his options, Arsenal in the Cl was the same imo, and PSV away was the same too. For me, Babel has been at his best for us when he has isolated his FB and had the beating of him, with time to decide what to do with the ball. His performance against Bolton where Steinsson was subbed off pretty sharpish illustrates how dangerous Babel can be in certain situations and how much potential he could go on to fulfill. Like you say, maybe its decision making and slight slowness of thought prevent him from offering something different at Anfield in the games against the teams that sit and defend in numbers. With no space or time, his short passes can be sometimes misplaced, or he can pick the wrong option and drift out of games. Especially on the wings in a more traditional 4-4-2. I don't see it working for him there at all. In a 4-2-3-1, h has more freedom to get into the box and get on the end of moves in a similar way that Pires used to, or how Ronaldo does now. That is a key strength to his game that I think he does better than both Kuyt does and Riera does. Against Newcastle when Stevie was one on one with Given and went with his right instead of smashing it with his left; Babel was just to his left and was totally free and would have had a tap in. His ability to drift in when we are attacking from his opposite flank demonstrates that he has game intelligence and good movement: Its just his ability in possession that is his biggest weakness currently.

For me, he should be used as a striker, but not ahead of Keane or Torres. And herein lies the problem. At the moment, Babel hasn't got a claim to be in our first team, as good as he is, and I truly believe that he is one of the best in his age group of world players; Kuyt's tenacity and Riera's consistency means that Babel isn't looking like getting a run of 10 games which I think we would all love to see; just out of curiosity more than us pining for him to start due to his ability. Even Yossi has stepped up his performances at the moment, looking as dangerous and astute on and off the ball as he has ever done in a red shirt IMO. And still most Liverpool supporters talk about the need for a new RW, a Simao or a Maxi, despite having four different options for the right if El Zhar is added to Babel, Yossi and Kuyt.

Personally I am not sure what will or should become of Babel. I would have loved to see him deployed as a striker a dozen more times, just to see if it works with him there (and I am guessing it doesn't as Rafa would have used him if it had), short of that, it is a straight debate of whether he should be sold to invest in a new winger. Because currently it looks as if Babel is as far away from reaching 25 Prem starts a season as he ever has in a Red shirt... And for me, it is starting to get very frustrating.

Offline spider-neil

  • Can watch 30 games in a day. He's not Spidey - he's Sway!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,397
  • does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #13 on: January 2, 2009, 11:47:13 AM »
Thats a great read and i agree and hope you're right about Lucas, but like VDM for Babel i just dont think he's got a footballing brain.

That PSV game though he scored was full of him making bad decision after bad decision when choosing to lay off the ball. Obviously its one game but to me its summed up his career with us so far but its still early days.

making good passing decisions can be taught (or gained through experience) there are some things however that's can't be taught like the attempted shot v OM (away) where he touches the ball a few yards ahead of him which dummies the entire back line and then the shot which narrowly goes over, that's talent.

Offline spider-neil

  • Can watch 30 games in a day. He's not Spidey - he's Sway!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,397
  • does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #14 on: January 2, 2009, 11:47:51 AM »
btw that was a fantasic read  :)

Offline Welshred

  • "You! Yellow Warning!"
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,143
  • JFT96
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #15 on: January 2, 2009, 11:50:39 AM »
Fantastic read Yorky and I completely agree with Lucas. To me, as Kev has said, is that it's never been about his footballing abilities and we've always known that if we were to sell then he'd go on to be a star in Italy or Spain. It's always been about how he was going to be able to adapt to the physical nature of the English game and I think he's starting to do that. I've seen a real progression from him, from his shying away from a tackle, to him attempting to make a tackle but fouling, to him being one step ahead of everyone else in his tackles and he's come on leaps and bounds so far this year.

Babel though, now there's an enigma! He finished last season so well that everyone thought he'd challenge for a first team place, yet for me he's gone backwards this season. In essence he's been awful, and a complete contrast to Lucas. One being the most improved player in the team, the other being the least! His decision making, his control, his running on the ball all seem to have been lost and only glimpses have been shown. You can certainly see why he's not in the starting eleven more often but he needs to knuckle down and get back to basics I feel.

The main crux of the matter though is expectation. Babel was expected to come on this season, and hasn't, so maybe he's buckled under the pressure of expectation? Who knows! Lucas was not, and has not, been expected to start regularly in the centre of midfield with the mass of talent we have there and he's thriving in a less pressurised environment so to speak. With his induction to the English game now being over, and he's experienced the pressure from opposition players, will he be able to cope with the pressure of expectation when it comes round to him? That we won't know until it comes, but I hope that he can because we'll be losing a real talent if not.
Earn cashback on all your purchases with Quidco!

http://www.quidco.com/user/3878046/1870622/

Offline nocturnalvin

  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,627
  • Justice For The 96.
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #16 on: January 2, 2009, 11:51:34 AM »
Brilliant brilliant post Yorky, and top replies too.

There's nothing much to disagree on Lucas except on the tackling part.   My earlier impressions of him is that he is too soft, partly judged by the fact he rarely go down sliding. You coined it "nicking". However, I still fail to see the "nicking" part, or rather, his bad timing in "nicking" is alot more apparent.

Another observation i had was that he didnt "move enough" in the pass-and-move lingo. Many a time, he passed and stood still, whereas Xabi is almost always available. Add that to a seemingly fear of demanding for the ball, or even a fear of asking for it from Stevie. Some of the cameos he had when Stevie wasn't playing, he was more assertive on the game, and vice versa.

He has clearly come into his own against Newcastle. I thought he was absolutely top class. It also seemed that he should continue to make more impact and give Rafa a selection headache.

Now comes the controversial discussion on playing the 4 of them together. To debate on the suitability of their play, whether there are too many cooks, depends on the setup in the other positions.  Yorky brought up the Milan midfield 4. And it could work. BUT i would think we require full backs who would overlap very frequently. Is Arbeloa up to that in an attacking sense. Perhaps not.  Clearly now, we have so many permutations. And that has got to be good.

***
Ryan Babel. I think Mayo said it all and said it best.

Offline spider-neil

  • Can watch 30 games in a day. He's not Spidey - he's Sway!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,397
  • does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #17 on: January 2, 2009, 11:53:47 AM »
Fantastic read Yorky and I completely agree with Lucas. To me, as Kev has said, is that it's never been about his footballing abilities and we've always known that if we were to sell then he'd go on to be a star in Italy or Spain. It's always been about how he was going to be able to adapt to the physical nature of the English game and I think he's starting to do that. I've seen a real progression from him, from his shying away from a tackle, to him attempting to make a tackle but fouling, to him being one step ahead of everyone else in his tackles and he's come on leaps and bounds so far this year.

Babel though, now there's an enigma! He finished last season so well that everyone thought he'd challenge for a first team place, yet for me he's gone backwards this season. In essence he's been awful, and a complete contrast to Lucas. One being the most improved player in the team, the other being the least! His decision making, his control, his running on the ball all seem to have been lost and only glimpses have been shown. You can certainly see why he's not in the starting eleven more often but he needs to knuckle down and get back to basics I feel.

The main crux of the matter though is expectation. Babel was expected to come on this season, and hasn't, so maybe he's buckled under the pressure of expectation? Who knows! Lucas was not, and has not, been expected to start regularly in the centre of midfield with the mass of talent we have there and he's thriving in a less pressurised environment so to speak. With his induction to the English game now being over, and he's experienced the pressure from opposition players, will he be able to cope with the pressure of expectation when it comes round to him? That we won't know until it comes, but I hope that he can because we'll be losing a real talent if not.

I think its unfair to say babel has been 'awful' his return is 3 goals and 3 assists how many players in the liverpool squad have a better return and when you also consider he has only started 5 games this season...well, 'awful' is a lttle strong.

Offline Welshred

  • "You! Yellow Warning!"
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,143
  • JFT96
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #18 on: January 2, 2009, 12:01:02 PM »
I think its unfair to say babel has been 'awful' his return is 3 goals and 3 assists how many players in the liverpool squad have a better return and when you also consider he has only started 5 games this season...well, 'awful' is a lttle strong.

You think so? The only consistent thing about his performances so far this season have been his ability to lose the ball. Don't get me wrong I think the lad is a good player and can destroy anyone on his today, but compared to last season he's been awful.
Earn cashback on all your purchases with Quidco!

http://www.quidco.com/user/3878046/1870622/

Offline azer

  • Misanthrope who thinks we were battered by Sunderland.
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,063
  • do i not like orange?
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #19 on: January 2, 2009, 12:04:50 PM »
I think the reaction to lucas is a bit knee jerk really. We all remember bruno cheyrou having a fantastic january a few years ago scoring against newcastle and chelsea and what happened after that. I didnt rate lucas, but his last 2 performances have been pretty good. Like the team, the next game is always his most important. If he keeps it up, the supporters of his will be proved correct and i will (gladly) eat pie. Remember, he had two chances against newcastle that he really should have scored from.


babel is a bit of a mystery to me. i like him, but dont think he warrants a starting place. he is great as an impact player where the defence has to deal with a player with a one track mind. However, the term game-intelligence is the catcher here. Needs a wenger to sort him out. Can Rafa do that?
Something quaint and witty.

Offline spider-neil

  • Can watch 30 games in a day. He's not Spidey - he's Sway!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,397
  • does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #20 on: January 2, 2009, 12:05:39 PM »
You think so? The only consistent thing about his performances so far this season have been his ability to lose the ball. Don't get me wrong I think the lad is a good player and can destroy anyone on his today, but compared to last season he's been awful.

well to open a can of worms I think its unfair to give players bags and bags of time influence a game where they produce precisely nothing and then bring babel off the bench for 10 minutes and expect him to produce more. as the original poster said 4 home 0-0 draws where babel from the bench was given barely more than half an hour, you could argue more time or starts would have turned those games he'd be hard pressed to do worse.

Offline Ron

  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,165
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #21 on: January 2, 2009, 12:07:42 PM »

It has meant an extreme over-reliance on the far inferior, though arguably more dependable, qualities of Dirk Kuyt and has led to a crisis of confidence in Babel himself.

Kuyt's far inferior qualities compared to Babel ?
I don't think so.
What are the actual qualities of Babel ?
# 19 !

Offline spider-neil

  • Can watch 30 games in a day. He's not Spidey - he's Sway!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,397
  • does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #22 on: January 2, 2009, 12:10:00 PM »
Kuyt's far inferior qualities compared to Babel ?
I don't think so.
What are the actual qualities of Babel ?


I think he meant physical qualities.

Offline fudge

  • RAWK Gaylord
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15,328
  • "I'm a swine, its my nature"
    • Fat man dancing
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #23 on: January 2, 2009, 12:14:10 PM »
making good passing decisions can be taught (or gained through experience) there are some things however that's can't be taught like the attempted shot v OM (away) where he touches the ball a few yards ahead of him which dummies the entire back line and then the shot which narrowly goes over, that's talent.

Yeah i know where you're coming from and i hope he gets that experience quickly but on another point first touch isn't something that can be easily taught and at times he looks like he's kicking a hacky sack
Rubber Dinghy Rapids....

Offline Welshred

  • "You! Yellow Warning!"
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,143
  • JFT96
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #24 on: January 2, 2009, 12:14:16 PM »
well to open a can of worms I think its unfair to give players bags and bags of time influence a game where they produce precisely nothing and then bring babel off the bench for 10 minutes and expect him to produce more. as the original poster said 4 home 0-0 draws where babel from the bench was given barely more than half an hour, you could argue more time or starts would have turned those games he'd be hard pressed to do worse.

Yes, you could argue that he may have turned those games but you can say the same for Benayoun, Torres (if he was fit) and also Kuyt if he hadn't started those games and we'd drawn. Babel didn't start those games because of his poor performances throughout the season so far. He's being given those 'snipets' of time in the match to prove that's he's capable and good enough to start games but he's just not taking the opportunities.
Earn cashback on all your purchases with Quidco!

http://www.quidco.com/user/3878046/1870622/

Offline The Jackal

  • GENESIS 1:1
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,534
  • Form is temporary, class is permanent...
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #25 on: January 2, 2009, 12:17:57 PM »
Great read that Yorky, especially the Lucas parts. I always though with him that it was just a matter of time and adjustment.
 
Babel is more of an enigma. I think you may be right in that it's mostly in the head with him. I really would like to se him succeed as I think he has immense potential, however until he finds some level of consistency I don't think Rafa is going to pick him on a regular basis, and it's going to be difficult to get that consistency without game time. A bit chicken and egg really - hopefully he will get a start against PNE.
 
I’d play Lucas with Alonso, Mascherano and Gerrard. All four of them in the same team – especially against the bus-parkers when it makes as much sense to go through them as around them. That quartet would mean ownership of the pitch as well as sufficient dynamism to capitalise on that ownership. It would help us turn the little pockets of space that exist between the lines of densely packed opponents into relative chasms. Remember Valencia?

In what kind of formation? I've though about this possibility recently, and imagined it something like this:
 
----------GK----------
------CB-----CB-------
FB-------Xabi-------FB
----Masch-Lucas------
-------Gerrard--------
------CF----CF-------
 
 
Blanco y en botella. Es leche, no?

Offline leroy

  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,093
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #26 on: January 2, 2009, 12:22:23 PM »
Good read mate.

The main thing I found strange about the Fulham reaction was that after half-time, you could see that Lucas actually had picked up his game where Mascherano hadn't, and thats why he was left out there and Masch was yanked.  I just couldn't, and still cant under-stand why Lucas was singled out when Masch actually had a worse match.

But then I cant understand the polarised opinions that people form instantly about players.


Offline RedHandGang

  • Kopite
  • ****
  • Posts: 810
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #27 on: January 2, 2009, 12:28:38 PM »
It is difficult not to agree with some of the arguements and observations here concerning the two players in question. However I would say that in the case of Babel, perhaps more so than in Lucas's case that we ought to revisit this at the end of the season.

It does seem though that he is trusted with the ball with Gerrard/Alonso playing him in and slowly but surely his decision making has been less erratic, perhaps the penny really is finally dropping.

Rafa will give him more chances like Newcastle where he seemed to get better as the game went on and this second half of the season will define his red future.

The adapting style of our play will benefit the two as it will help Keane. Playing a high tempo pressing game supplemented by continual passing and intelligent movement will give them the extra yard to exploit time and space. Newcastle was a taster and I beleive there is better to come, and we will only know how good these lads will become within this system at the end of the season.

I would like to see Lucas taking some corners though or even trying free kicks. The boy has very good delivery and is criminally not utilised to change things around.
"One defends when his strength is inadaquate, he attacks when it is abundant."

Offline spider-neil

  • Can watch 30 games in a day. He's not Spidey - he's Sway!
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,397
  • does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #28 on: January 2, 2009, 12:32:00 PM »
Yes, you could argue that he may have turned those games but you can say the same for Benayoun, Torres (if he was fit) and also Kuyt if he hadn't started those games and we'd drawn. Babel didn't start those games because of his poor performances throughout the season so far. He's being given those 'snipets' of time in the match to prove that's he's capable and good enough to start games but he's just not taking the opportunities.

babel not starting those games has bugger all to do with poor performances because when he has given excellent performances he has still found himself on the bench. rafa picks people he feels are best equiped to win the game hense keane being on the bench after scoring a brace.

you can't argue with rafa we are top of the league but from a personal point of view I would take the chance on talent rather than the 'gimme' of consistancy because talent can be so much more if natured. look at ronaldo, three average seasons and then BANG, yet he was played week in week out despite loss of form and lack of consistancy. I liken it to have a bar of gold and a lump of coal, you know exactly what you have with gold but with a lump of coal you have to clean away the excess and maybe you might find a diamond, time badly wasted if its just a lump of coal but if its a diamond its value far outstrips the bar of gold. juve weren't prepared to devote time to the lump of coal (henry) but wenger picked him up and natured him into the best striker in world football.
« Last Edit: January 2, 2009, 12:33:33 PM by spider-neil »

Offline ALANM

  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,968
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #29 on: January 2, 2009, 12:35:03 PM »
I will admit to not being impressed by Lucas early on, but his performances recently have been excellent. He ran the show away at PSV and was also excellent at Newcastle. I've said before that only he can win the doubters over, and he is certainly beginning to do so. Well done to him. I will be more than happy to eat humble pie.

Regarding Babel, there is no doubt he has talent. It's probably fair to say though that we haven't seen anywhere near the best of him this season. The reason Babel has had so few starts is that his attitude has often been poor when he's been bought on as a sub. It's down to him to show Rafa that he deserves to play regularly, something he has not been doing. He has the talent to be a success at Anfield. The big question is does he have the desire? The jury is out on that one.

Offline B9

  • Official Mandy Moore Stalker
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,278
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #30 on: January 2, 2009, 12:37:06 PM »
I don't think he's dim-witted like Cisse and Bellamy

When did Bellamy become a dimwitted footballer. His football brain, offsides aside, was never an issue. If Babel could play like him, he would be a terrific player.

I think/hope talk of babel exit is premature. He's going through a bad patch at the moment, but if he can pull through, I think he will bounce back a much better player, hopefully one who is good enough to start.

Offline gerromiah

  • Anny Roader
  • ***
  • Posts: 261
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #31 on: January 2, 2009, 12:41:20 PM »
Good post Yorky. I do think Lucas needs a few more games before we start raving about him though.

Also, I like the idea of this 'quartet' if Lucas can prove himself as we would have some real quality through the centre but then what would we do with riera n kuyt? and the system that's working so well for us ?

Apart from that, a really good read.

Offline royhendo

  • Would like dumplings with his stew.
  • RAWK Staff
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,598
  • RIP Ray Osbourne
    • www.theanfieldwrap.com
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #32 on: January 2, 2009, 12:49:43 PM »
It's Harry Wong's "magic box" midfield... Tele Santana-tastic!
Sid Lowe: "Has the environment around the game changed?"
Juanma Lillo: "Yes, the garnish has eaten the steak."

Offline McmanaMark

  • Anny Roader
  • ***
  • Posts: 419
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #33 on: January 2, 2009, 12:59:05 PM »
Good read, that.

Rafa does seem to have an issue integrating thoroughbread flair players into his teams, doesn't he.

It's almost like he doesn't trust the more adventurous, less disciplined and reasonably lightweight types like Babel, Benayoun and even (despite his phenomenol workrate) Keane. And sometimes, that feels like the difference between a draw and a win.

While I dislike the generalisation of Benitez being negative, I can concede there is some grounds to the accusation. His two most gifted footballers are also two of his most robust, but outside of Gerrard and Torres, we've lacked invention for a few years.

It's often the tradeoff that players like Babel bring pace, trickery and unpreditcability at the expense of tracking back (see Barcelona's 2006 Champion's League winning team as a prime example; Ronaldinho, Messi and Deco playing just off Etoo? Not a whole lot of defensive mindedness there). Benitez seems to prefer players that combine both - which is a rare thing indeed. Where he can't find that, he opts for functionality over raw ability; organisation in place of inspiration.

Even Riera, agile and silky of touch, is tall, strong and exhibits exceptional workrate, but can be found wanting when we need that extra spark - a stepover and dribble with end product; a cross to find a striker; a mazy high-pace run that leaves his full back trailing.

Not that I'm complaining too hard; we're top of the league, and the contributions of the much-maligned Kuyt (still by far and away our most infuriatingly minute-to-minute marmite player - exceptional movement and important goals matched by oft-woeful touch and poor vision) are there for all to see. But in the second half of the season, I hope Benitez takes the shackles off and uses players like Babel and Keane more freely. A front three incorporating both, and Torres, with Gerrard just behind, would be truly frightening for anyone.

It all does make me wonder though - what would Benitez do if he had United's squad, full of flair players and built around a philosophy of free-flowing football? It's an interesting thought, even if the notion of us blowing teams away in a similar fashion is a touch over-romantic.
« Last Edit: January 2, 2009, 01:01:22 PM by McmanaMark »
...Henderson...Gerrard
....Coutinho/Lallana
Sterling..........Markovic
.........Sturridge

Online Hazell

  • Hyzenthlay. The 5th Benitle's sex couch.
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 39,043
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #34 on: January 2, 2009, 01:02:46 PM »
Excellent and informative read that Yorky. 

I totally agree on Lucas.  I've maintained all along that you could tell that the lad is a footballer, the problem was whether he would be able to adapt to the physical nature of the English game. This was always likely as it generally requires little more than some hours in the gym and a realisation that players are going to barrel into you at full pelt and the ref is just going to smile and run off. 

That's the thing, anyone who watches him can see his qualities, and though it's still early in his Liverpool career, I'm hoping he stays for years. If he doesn't, he'll become a fantastic player elsewhere.

Great read Yorky.
I did not have a long speech prepared for the players. My notes from the game show there was one message I wanted to drill into them. It is written in Spanish. Lucharlo. Fight for it.

Offline Veinticinco de Mayo

  • Almost as nice as Hellmans and cheaper too! Feedback tourist #57. President of ZATAA.
  • RAWK Staff.
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,291
  • In an aeroplane over RAWK
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #35 on: January 2, 2009, 01:03:52 PM »
It's Harry Wong's "magic box" midfield... Tele Santana-tastic!

I like it....  but... I have two reservations.

1.  Do we have the full backs for it?  Kaka, Pirlo, Gattuso, Seedorf was superb but they were flanked by Maldini and Cafu, probably the best fullback pairing in the world at the time.  Now I'm not knocking our current incumbents but they aren't THAT (sorry Roy ;) ) good.

2.  Would it work in the Prem?  This is a new concern and I have to concede that it is based entirely on Scolari's Chelsea who are already, I believe, playing a similar system to the one that Yorky would like to see. Yet, if anything they are finding it even harder than us to break teams down at home. And again in Cole and Bosingwa they have probably the best attacking full back pairing in the Premier League. 
« Last Edit: January 2, 2009, 01:05:54 PM by Veinticinco de Mayo »
Tweeting shit about LFC @kevhowson Tweeting shit about music @GigMonkey2
Bill Shankly - 'The socialism I believe in is not really politics; it is humanity, a way of living and sharing the rewards'

Offline richiedouglas

  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,609
  • You feed beefburgers to swans!
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #36 on: January 2, 2009, 01:18:13 PM »
You can always rely on a yorkie - well done mate its a crackin post.

Babel is still very much an enigma and isn't quite suited to the way we play in as much as - our wingers need defensive qualities to fit into the team model and he isn't up to kuyt / riera / bena standards. He's not quite physical enough for the loan striker and he's a country mile behind gerrard for the "in the whole" position.

I doubt being overlooked for Ngog has shaken his belief a lot.

Offline Stan.

  • drinks warm piss, and come back to him when Owen actually joins utd. Until then leeeeeave Micky aloooone!
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,118
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #37 on: January 2, 2009, 01:19:23 PM »
You'll doubtless be less than surprised that I disagree on Babel.  What I see there is a great athlete, a lad with pace, power and flashes of marvellous technique.  I don't think that I've really seen a footballer though. He seems to lack that inate understanding of the game that all the great players have; where to stand, where to run, when to pass, when to dribble and most of all that anticipation that you so eloquently describe in Lucas. 

I've mentioned before that perhaps he has difficulty implementing Rafa's instructions, this may be the case, but unfortunately that just seems to another sympton of the lack of game intelligence that I've mentioned above.  I don't think that it is fair to blame his poor performances on his team instructions though.  Whenever El Zhar comes on as substitute he makes the most of his, more limited, physical attributes and attacks his full backs with brio and panache. There seems little evidence of a player who has been given instructions stressing his defensive obligations at the expense of any attacking verve. I don't see why that should be any different from the instructions that Babel receives.

Pretty-much sums Babel up really.  What we have noticed of course is how devastating he can be in and around the area.  Perhaps stating the obvious - he's a striker playing as a winger, or to put it a different way; an explosive goalscorer being asked to create chances and get crosses in from wide positions and on his weaker foot.  Maybe it's just not his natural game?

He can be effective from wide areas, cutting inside on his stronger foot, but that alone can't guarantee a regular start if the rest of his 'wideman credentials' are not really up to scratch.

To me he's a player with talent, perhaps lacking in confidence at the moment but not a good enough winger creatively, and way down the pecking order as a striker to warrant a regular start.
Someday soon everyone will know the truth.  96 never forgotten.

Offline liverpool_21

  • Main Stander
  • **
  • Posts: 243
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #38 on: January 2, 2009, 01:28:35 PM »
Does nobody think that his inability to shine is because he's being played on the left?

Wouldn't that be the reason why he has got to cut in and take a shot as his right foot is the stronger one...

All comes down to why isn't he allowed to frustrate ( or tantalise ) us on the right wing for a couple of games... This would give him the option of a proper cross from the right or a screamer...

Offline b_joseph

  • Unloyal gloryhunter who was probably Kelly Osbourne in another life.
  • Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 17,218
Re: What Lucas brings to the team. What Babel might bring.
« Reply #39 on: January 2, 2009, 01:30:05 PM »
IMO, its a lot easier to flourish or be adequate in the middle than it is to be an impact player in wide areas.

It was always going to be more difficult for Ryan to find his flow than it was for Lucas. Even when it seemed like it would be the other way around after watching some of their performances on the back end of last season.

The main difference between to 2 players is confidence. Lucas got booed and jeered against Fulham, only to respond with excellent performances.
Babel isnt of that personality trait. He is much more likely to go into a shell and/or sulk when things are not going his way.

What Lucas' recent play has taught us all is that you should never give up on or doubt talent. Even in the darkest of days, we have to stay behind a player because there is a reason why some of the biggest clubs in the world wanted them and would want them if they were to become available again.

Lucas - Brain and technique
Babel - Size, power, explosion.
In the Premier League of all places, I thought Babel would settle in far easier. Strange.
« Last Edit: January 2, 2009, 01:31:55 PM by b_joseph »
Dry sheets, ice cream, jelly beans....3 of my favorite things.