Author Topic: A Right Kick Up The Arse  (Read 11307 times)

Offline Paul Tomkins

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A Right Kick Up The Arse
« on: November 13, 2006, 08:58:18 AM »
I've finally stopped kicking the cat, and only now it occurs to me that I don't actually have one. So now I'm depressed, and my distraught neighbour will have the RSPCA on my case. Great...

I think that just about does it for the title this season. Others may have called it quits long before now, but this defeat makes the situation almost impossible to claw back, especially with the top two in such fine fettle. There's still time for them to hit a poor patch, and along with Arsenal they still have to come to Anfield. But it's an increasingly difficult task for the Reds.

It was a game I never felt we would win, even on the back of five straight victories, but my hopes were raised by the good start, and the home crowd's frustration. That only made the eventual 3-0 scoreline all the harder to take. By the end Arsenal undeniably deserved the points, but as with the 4-1 home defeat to Chelsea last season, the scoreline was not a true reflection. While I wasn't confident of victory, I knew that if the Reds could grab one, even if undeservedly so, it would be such a massive boost for the rest of the season. It felt make-or-break.

The season feels over, and yet there's still so much to play for. It just doesn't seem like that right now. I'd gladly settle for the "consolation" of another European Cup; it may be a longer shot than a Xabi Alonso goal, but it's looking far more realistic than the league at present, with the Reds already qualified for the knock-out phase. And as with two seasons ago, our best away results have been in Europe. So who knows? It's something to cling to, at least.

I think in another season we could quite feasibly have won the league with defeats away at Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton. But normally those games would be spread out over the full ten months, not crammed into the first three; you might lose those games but win the eight in between, an no one really notices them too much. What playing all the games so soon has done is leave absolutely no margin for error in the remaining 26 games, and that's not a workable situation.

The timing of these tricky fixtures has just not allowed any early momentum to be built up. That may be an excuse, but it's also a fact of an unkind fixture list. I felt this could very well be the Reds' year, but it needed things to go well from the start and for belief to build as a result. New players, a dip in the form of key men, and difficult away games have combined to end those ideas.

Of course, the away performances have been hugely erratic, although as with the visit to Chelsea earlier this season, the Reds' performance was better than the result suggested. At least, that is, until the second goal went in, when the heads finally dropped and the display grew ragged and, at times towards the end, embarrassing. Whereas the confidence went at 1-0 at Old Trafford, it lasted until 2-0 this time.

The league season could yet prove impressive, if unlikely to provide no.19, but it needs an away victory as quickly as possible to break the hoodoo. Arsenal were the same in the league last season: terrible away. It didn't mean they weren't still close to becoming a class act; clearly they were.

Although both teams benefited from some poor decisions yesterday, it was the Reds who were hit the hardest. To me, Flamini looked marginally ahead of Carragher, in an almost identical goal to the one Peter Crouch (who was admittedly a full yard offside) had earlier seen ruled out. Bellamy's strike with ten minutes to go would probably have been a mere consolation, but my point is that it was the only onside goal of the three; and as Flamini's was the opening goal it was the most crucial.

Carragher should have seen a second yellow card at 2-0, so that was some recompense, but in these away games getting the first goal is paramount, especially with the Reds' confidence low away from Anfield. The first goal shapes the game. "Liverpool played well but the first goal was very important," said Wenger.

Also, in chalking off Bellamy's late goal the linesman denied the player a much-needed confidence boost after coming back from injury with a nightmare in front of goal at Birmingham, and stopped the Reds scoring an away goal in the league after what now seems like several thousand hours. The damage there will be more psychological than in terms of yesterday's result.

It's hard to pinpoint where it's going wrong, as there are so many little things that aren't quite working rather than the two or three big issues, like Steven Gerrard's position, rotation or zonal marking, that people will automatically focus on. It's easy to lay all the blame on one or two things, but there are so many small factors in a number of areas that are contributing to the away struggles.

There have been little slip-ups here and there, such as Zenden switching off for a fraction of a second for the first goal; yet more individual mistakes costing goals.

Then there's the inconsistent form of nearly all of the new boys, and that includes the impressive Kuyt, whose inconsistency so far is down to the fact that he's been sublime at home but has yet to have too many meaningful efforts on goal away. But that will come. He doesn't need much of a sniff at goal, and came close at Chelsea and United, but he'll need better service.

I'd be surprised if Bolo Zenden plays too many games in the centre in place of Gerrard during Sissoko's lay-off, but away at Arsenal, where Thierry Henry drifts to the left wing and Clichy and van Persie can be dangerous, there was some logic there.

Going away with two strikers limits the options for midfield balance, too – also play with two wingers and an attacking central midfielder who bombs forward a lot and you can be easily exposed. Although of course there'd be different kinds of criticisms if Gerrard was playing centrally behind only one striker, even if it allowed Benítez to play two wingers in the way he did in Spain, in a 4-2-3-1 formation. But is it the formation, or the form of individuals that's the problem?

Gerrard on the right is such a huge issue again, but most of the time he's allowed to drift from there, in the way the three best players of recent years – Ronaldinho, Zidane and Figo – all lined up on the flank merely as a starting point. Why is it good enough for them, but not Gerrard? With Sissoko in the middle it made perfect sense, although how things change from now on remains to be seen.

Gerrard was anonymous yesterday, but he's good enough to do a great job there, as he did last season. This year his own form has been far less impressive, wherever he's played. Is his position the problem, or simply his form? And if being stationed at the former led to the latter, why didn't it affect him last season, when he was shifted all over the place and still scored and created plenty of goals wherever he played?

It does have to be said at this point that the potential for this young Arsenal side is immense. They have so much pace in their line-up it's frightening. And that was without Theo Walcott, the fastest man at the club. It's an interesting comparison to make with Liverpool.

Pace isn't everything, but it's such a handy weapon to have. They must have the quickest back line I've ever seen. Eboue, Toure, Gallas and Clichy are all lightning-quick. Indeed, in losing Ashley Cole, with a ready-made replacement in Clichy waiting in the wings, they managed to procure Gallas, to add yet more pace alongside the mercurial Toure. Crucially, both are good natural defenders, and not merely quick ones.

Benítez brought three quick players of his own this summer: Bellamy, Gonzalez and Pennant. The problem has been getting them into the line-up together. Gonzalez still needs time to settle and adjust, and with his confidence in pieces has looked a mere shadow of the player who lit up La Liga, while Pennant has shown his ability in fits and starts.

All three also have to cope with not being one of the first names on the teamsheet, as they were at their previous clubs. I have no problem with any of the new signings in principle, and still think the majority of them will come good, but at present too many of them lack confidence.

The blend and balance is not right at present. With the new players struggling in one form or another, and key men off colour, it's hard to get eleven fit and confident players out there in a suitable formation.

Then there's the loss of Momo Sissoko, a one-man Malian running machine, and one of the quickest players at the club. The timing was terrible, ahead of such a crucial match. The loss of Didi Hamann now looks a big blow, but the German wasn't prepared to sit around at his age in case Sissoko got injured. There's not a lot else the club could have done in the situation.

It now needs something positive to happen away from home, and preferably next weekend at Boro – a distinctly winnable game. Indeed, the next eleven league games are all distinctly winnable; but it needs a break in the pattern away from Anfield to engender the necessary confidence, otherwise there could be yet more dropped points.

A great performance is unlikely, with confidence so low, but a dogged win could be the thing to change all that. Having played well in patches away and lost, it's now about winning ugly. And if the Reds do use next week as a springboard to go on and win all eleven games, in the kind of run they put together this time last year, it could yet make things interesting, with Chelsea visiting Anfield in the 12th game. But there really is no margin for error anymore.

© Paul Tomkins 2006

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Offline C@mry

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2006, 09:06:13 AM »

A great performance is unlikely, with confidence so low, but a dogged win could be the thing to change all that. Having played well in patches away and lost, it's now about winning ugly. And if the Reds do use next week as a springboard to go on and win all eleven games, in the kind of run they put together this time last year, it could yet make things interesting, with Chelsea visiting Anfield in the 12th game. But there really is no margin for error anymore.


Totally agree there. Can't wait to see how we will fare 2 months from now.

Offline Fred Madison

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2006, 09:11:42 AM »
Great and realistic article yet once again.

But, don't you think Paul, Liverpool as a European topclub, shouldn't adapt itself to its opponent?
Rafa has been doin' this for 2 seasons, and it won us the Champions League and last year 3rd spot in the league and the FA Cup, but we don't seem to have an own style of play, like Arsenal, Chelsea and Man USA have. I don't think rotation is the issue here, but merely one style of play: 2 wingers - 2 central midfielders should be the way to go from now on, and not 1 winger - 2 central midfielders - a central midfielder on the right who cuts inside or a polyvalent player on the left who cuts inside (not his best position) - 2 central midfielders - a winger. There has to be a recognizable pattern for the lads, I think.
And clearly, changing patterns every week is doin' our confidence in.

Now, I know I will get lots of criticism concerning my attack on Rafa's tactics, but I thought he was doin' this the last couple of seasons to improve us, to help us searching to a more attacking-minded style of play?
We have one of the best midfields in the country and sometimes, it looks like shit because the wrong players are chosen for the wrong positions (and not only Gerrard).

Offline Dick Winters

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2006, 09:53:52 AM »
I think your post Paul says what I have been thinking.  There is a problem running through all the players and I don't know why.  Maybe confidence is the reason.

Why has Reina looked more error prone this year?  Why has Carra and Sami suddenly look like they have never been introduced?  Where has the sublime Alonso gone?  Where has the 23 goal midfield dynamo of Gerrard gone? 

Add to this we have all the new players who look nervous and afraid to make mistakes.  It's like as if they have been looking to the established players for leadership and not seeing it have now lost their own confidence. 

Maybe, the early injuries cost us and things have developed from there or maybe it's a result of having all our really tough away games at once and not getting results that has created this away malaise. 

Anyway, I feel the league has gone.  Like Hansen said last night, I really felt we would crack on this year and challenge Chelsea but we seem farther away than ever.  Maybe, like Arsenal, we just haven't gelled yet but it's hard to watch.

Also, hard to watch are players arguing with one another during games - this doesn't help build confidence.

There are so many questions on form and team spirit that need answering.  Only Rafa, the coaching staff and the players know what's going on but Jesus it's not pretty to watch at the minute.  We are suffering and I don't know why!

We desperately need a scrappy, ugly win next week against Boro.  I don't care if the ball deflects of Gibson's ass in the stand and goes in as long as we get 3 points. 

Offline Paul Tomkins

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2006, 09:55:40 AM »
Fred - I don't know if it's a bad idea to change to try and negate the opposition simply because we're Liverpool. Rafa used those methods to win the league in Spain, and while Valencia weren't as big as Liverpool, they were still a big enough club. Liverpool may be a massive club, but we don't have the resources of the current top two. We've had to make more changes this summer, and that's taking a while to prove effective.

Is changing the team affecting confidence, or is the team having to be changed because of low confidence? For instance, is Carragher playing well below his usual standards because of a changing team? Well, it's no different to the last two seasons.

Frankly, there are too many issues like this that make it impossible for me to say *exactly* what the problem is, and how to rectify it.

Rafa and his assistants, as the experts, and as the men who have the inside day-to-day view, surely have to have a better idea on all of this than we can get a handle on. And we have to trust they'll get it right. I don't mean that in a blind 'in Rafa we trust', but as far as I'm concerned I'm totally confused by the whole number of issues at work here. When confidence is low, and the problems become as much psychological as anything, it affects all areas of the team's play, and confuses matters. Had the Reds taken the lead yesterday, it might have been Arsenal's fragile home confidence that crumbled. Instead, it was our fragile away confidence that fell apart, albeit after the killer second goal. When Arsenal don't get the first goal at home they struggle; when they do get it, they know they tend to go on to win comfortably.

Maybe Rafa could change 100 things, but without that break in front of goal, and a bit of luck, it could make not a blind bit of difference. We could be appalling next week but fluke a goal, and then the whole picture changes. The main thing is to work fucking hard, and to do the utmost to earn that bit of luck.

Offline Dick Winters

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2006, 10:00:06 AM »

Maybe Rafa could change 100 things, but without that break in front of goal, and a bit of luck, it could make not a blind bit of difference. We could be appalling next week but fluke a goal, and then the whole picture changes. The main thing is to work fucking hard, and to do the utmost to earn that bit of luck.

Yes, exactly as that tired cliché from golf says the harder you train the luckier you get.  I think it's now becoming a vicious circle though - players heads are going down after conceding goals and the likelihood of working hard and getting that goal goes.

Offline Fred Madison

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2006, 10:01:24 AM »
You're kind of generalizing this to 'football is all about luck (and confidence)' here, I think.
We should rely on Rafa, true that. But the man has failed to give us an away win to a top side now in every season he's been in charge. If we played this sort of gung-ho-style of football, like the Mancs, we would definitely be creating more chances and we wouldn't be waiting on that one effort on goal from our captain or dreadful Zenden to get in.

It's quite obvious we aren't as defensively stable as we were last season, with Carra havin' a dreadful form and Sami not bein' in it anymore.
If we were to somehow rely on our defense, like we could last season, we could've played like we did yesterday, on the break.
Now, I'm thinkin', we should really have a got at our opponents like we do at home.
It has given us 3-1, 4-3, 3-2, 3-0, 2-0 (Newcastle, not Reading)-victories, but at least we know we can score more than we did last year (1-0-victories probably the most).
« Last Edit: November 13, 2006, 10:05:10 AM by Fred Madison »

Offline Fred Madison

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2006, 10:09:27 AM »
I was really astonished by the way Carra didn't seem to care to put off Adebayor makin' 4-0 too, yesterday.
Not so much astonished even, SHOCKED.

Offline todda

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2006, 10:10:23 AM »
Good Article!

Did anyone else notice who had to watch the game on Tele that Andy Gray's comments throuout the game were bordering on that of a man who'd have rather shot himself than see Liverpool score?
I wonder why he doesn't like us.....hmmm!
Then he just revels in the Zonal Marking, Gerrard in the middle.  I really hate that man
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Offline Fred Madison

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2006, 10:16:07 AM »
;D

Seriously though
It is a bit early, but if there's one world class striker still at a club in a 'lower' league, available to us, it surely is Fred.
If we could get him in summer and a world class offensive midfielder (once again, like that Anderson fella from Porto ;D), and get them to blend in, we're really challenging.

That, and Lucas Neill off course. ;D

Offline Paul Tomkins

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2006, 10:18:08 AM »
You're kind of generalizing this to 'football is all about luck (and confidence)' here, I think.


I'm not - I'm just saying that it plays such a huge part, and makes everything else harder to judge. Is Gerrard struggling as he's on the right, or are the team struggling because Gerrard is below par? I could name a dozen other chicken-and-egg scenarios with the team at present. Are the key players struggling because there are so many new players, or are the new players struggling even more because the senior figures are off colour?

We've played well in some away games under Rafa at the big clubs - Chelsea this season, United last season, but not "got the breaks". Other times we've been limp and insipid. Clearly the results at the big teams need to improve, but had Cisse and Kuyt scored with easy headers at Old Trafford this year and last it all becomes so very different. It's "ifs" perhaps, but it's not down to tactics if strikers miss good chances.

So there are a whole number of factors at work, and things that need looking at and addressing. But by the same token, things that were working fine in the past two seasons are now not working as well, albeit exclusively away from home, and so much of that is phsychological. If we can lift the negativity surrounding the away games with a flukey win, then that should at least break that cycle; if things still don't pick up after that, at least we'll have a clearer picture of what is wrong.

Offline Fred Madison

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2006, 10:22:27 AM »
If we can lift the negativity surrounding the away games with a flukey win, then that should at least break that cycle; if things still don't pick up after that, at least we'll have a clearer picture of what is wrong.
Definitely agree on that.
Let's see what Boro gives us next saturday.

Offline harrytrow

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2006, 10:25:02 AM »
There is a total lack of self belief imo going forward.
As pacy as Arsenal are in defence to attack, I thought there defence was there to attack.
As so often happened when Gerrard wanders from the wing, Finnan looks terribly exposed and if recieving the ball will almost certainly return it back to the defence. The option to drive it forward requires someone to fill in behind. The whole defence should swing around to the right in these instances but you can be sure if Finnan loses the ball there is acres of space on their right to exploit.
While you are right, the mistakes of Zenden switching off, Sami standing off with no pace for the second and the worse case of zonal non marking ever, I still believe we are too in awe of the big three to really have a go of them.
We believe we aren't there yet and therefore accept the result without the ......(won't use the word passion, but can't find the word to describe the fight and self belief needed to get the results)
How come pointed questions recieve blunt answers

Offline jwill2127

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2006, 10:35:18 AM »
A believe luck accounts for alot of things.  For 40minutes yesterday it was going to be a nil nil. Than again we conceed just before half time. If you lool at the stats??, its not very often a top 4 side loses at home having taken the lead. The first goal is crucial.  If the goal had been given offside or Henry two tackes in the 37 & 38th had both been bookings(Like they should have been) who knows.   There is such a fine margin between winning and losing.  I have said all along that if we can be within 8 points at christmas, who knows..
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Offline Robbo1980

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2006, 10:39:49 AM »
I think we are a shambles from top to bottom at the moment and until the top of the club is sorted the team will be inconsistent season to season.

The top, being the takeover of the club, thats been a shambles and seems to have been going on for years, it needs sorting asap as it will give the club some stability and direction, i know we need the right men in charge but we need to get this moving.
The stadium, thats been a shambles, i know we have spent a lot money on players but with the money men always having an eye on saving moeny for this its hardly ideal.
The fact that the academy is being run almost as a seperate club is a joke, if the board trust in our manager which im sure they do then give him control of the academy and let him employ his staff to run and develope it, if they beleve he is here for the long haul let him develope the future LFC players his way, the academy is more of a burden at this moment than a positive.
The press, whilst results on the road continue to be shite, with our rotation and marking we are giving the shit press a stick to beat us with and its adding un needed pressures on the players. The issues with Gerrard playing wide right, IMO his best position when Sissoko is fit, it all adds pressures on the players some of which are young, inexperienced etc

All this IMO is playing a huge part in a very inconsistent season, in 2 articles in the aftermath of Noel whites comments, Chris Bascome, a journo which some like and some dont, made interesting comments that there are deep rooted problems that are hampering the manager but the fans dont need to know, what was he talking about?

Why for the last 10 years have we not been able to take the final step, what is it, Evans couldnt do it, Houllier couldnt do it and now Rafa is strugling to do it.

As for yesterdays game, i really dont like playing Arsenal away as they have too much pace for us in all areas, we need to be looking at this as a problem in our team, we have some top players but in the modern game pace is almost essential in the defensive areas, Look at ManUTD, Rio and Evra are both very quick, Arsenal as Paul has mentioned have the quickest defense (i would say team) in world football, Even Chelsea have some pace as Terry is no slouch, Cole is very quick, we have nobody really, Agger can move but thats it.
I think for half an hour yesterday we played some good stuff but we lost concentration and it was 1-0, i disagree that Flamini was offside as im sure the ball was played sideways or even backwards by Fabregas.
2nd half was a joke, Toures goal was comical, why was there so much space behind our midfield and why were there not more people trying to get back, it was too easy, after that it was game over, the 3rd goal was comical again, a case of Gerrard thinking he was man marking and Riise marking a zone, where was the communication?

Just very dispaointed and dejected right now, the team is struggling but i think we need to look deeper than just on the pitch as to our problems (and i dont just mean this season)


Offline Robbo1980

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2006, 10:42:37 AM »
I will just add the point that we seem to be having too many long raneg shots, most of our chances yesterday were from distance, i have noticed this in most away games this season, why is this? is it confidence to try and get behind the opp? is it a lack of ability?
you can not expect to score goals regularly if all your chances are from 25 yards

Offline JP-65

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2006, 10:54:44 AM »
We seem to be unable to shield/hold the ball very well, especially without Sissoko in the team, we are dispossessed very easily, and conversely, this season, we are not very good at pressing up high and taking the ball away from the opposition.

Ball retention, speed of passing, moving the ball forward, pressing the opposition and getting our shots on target.....we're just not doing any of this well.

Early last season, even when not getting the results, our performances were much superior.

Offline NickoH

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2006, 10:56:03 AM »
I think that just about does it for the title this season. Others may have called it quits long before now, but this defeat makes the situation almost impossible to claw back, especially with the top two in such fine fettle.
Agreed I am afraid........
Gerrard on the right is such a huge issue again, but most of the time he's allowed to drift from there, in the way the three best players of recent years – Ronaldinho, Zidane and Figo – all lined up on the flank merely as a starting point. Why is it good enough for them, but not Gerrard?
Maybe because Ronaldinho and Zidane are/was much better players than Gerrard and Figo is a natural wide man anyway.
Benítez brought three quick players of his own this summer: Bellamy, Gonzalez and Pennant. The problem has been getting them into the line-up together. Gonzalez still needs time to settle and adjust, and with his confidence in pieces has looked a mere shadow of the player who lit up La Liga, while Pennant has shown his ability in fits and starts.

All three also have to cope with not being one of the first names on the teamsheet, as they were at their previous clubs.
All 3 are also at their 1st big club - the weight of expectation, coupled with a disappointing start to the season hits confidence.
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Offline TipTopKop

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2006, 10:58:29 AM »
It comes back to the same thing, after each one of our away defeats I have come out saying the very same thing, we need investment, badly, we are planets away from the top 3, and until that changes, doesn't matter what we do, we're going nowhere.

Offline KOTP

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2006, 11:00:48 AM »
yesterdays result was totally expected never though we would get anythin out of the game before the start but after we went a goal down the ref might as well have blown the final whistle then as we where never gonna get back into the game.

personally i think rafa has bought badly this season especially with pennant and bellamy, who i think cost us about £6million each! meaning that we basically got ripped off for both.

Bellamy isnt a goalscorer and therefor isnt the player that we need we already had players who can support a main striker and get about 8-10 goals a season, what we needed in the summer was a out and out goal scorer and that is still what we need. whilst kuyt will turn out to be a very good player again i dont think he is the out and out scorer that we need he likes to drop deep and pick up the ball outside of the box. What we needed in august and still need now is striker.

Until we stop wasting money on players like bellamy and start splashin some proper money on a player that we need we will continue to struggle especially away from home.

As for the gerrard situation, who could blame him for being so pissed off that he will go soon, fair enough when momo is in the team maybe gerrard should be on the right when we are playing 4 in the midfield but putting gerrard on the right and playing zenden is a disgrace. Zenden is a poor player and god knows why rafa picked him in the middle ahead of gerrard, if rafa doesnt sort that out soon i fear gerrard will be off to sunny spain.

Offline Dick Winters

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2006, 11:02:25 AM »
Robbo - have to say I am feeling what you are feeling today too.  I am not sure if it's just a reaction to what happened yesterday or this season away but I am very dejected and wonder what's going on behind the scenes.  I think I am allowed to feel bad this morning though.

By the way Paul, great article again and let me say that when I see you have started a post I always read it as I know it starts an interesting and insightful debate. 

Offline todda

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2006, 11:03:25 AM »
Well Said Mushy
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Offline Red-juvenated

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2006, 11:12:02 AM »
Arsenal are a good side, and have themselves got some catching up to do to keep up with the pace-setters. There's no way that they would give up without a fight on their own patch, and had their game plan well and truly laid out. That first goal changed everything, until then we were coping well with everything they could throw at us, and it was a well worked goal. In the second half, with their tails up, they knew that every team fears their rapid counter attacks, and we were no different.

This game showed our true inadequacies. We lack incisive attacks because our interlinking play is not fluid as the players have not got a good understanding with each other. There was no RHYTHM in our play, and that resulted in our attacks looking disjointed. Arsenal showed us just how to do it (though on their own patch) and showed how effective a team that gels can be, and the strength of playing with fluidity & rhythm.

A loss is a loss, whether its 1-0 or 3-0, and there was always the possibility of that outcome, even the bookies had Arsenal as odds on favourites to win. I wont read too much into the performances of certain individuals, the team in the second half just lacked confidence, understanding and rhythm.
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Offline bloodrush

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2006, 11:14:42 AM »
A lot has been said about the positioning of Gerrard on the right, and to be honest if you listen to players like carragher, they reckon he could play any where on the field and look comfortable, but are we not all agreed that he is at his best and most comfortable in the centre.  Surely the introduction of wide players like Gonzalez, Pennant, and Kromkamp before was done amongst other things to avoid having to play Gerrard wide.
And yet even when we lose a key midfielder like Sissoko, we still prefer to see Gerrard on the wing....confused???  Ideal time i thought to bring him inside.

Also I wonder in a similar way to certain foreign players not finding form in the prem, I think managers tactics that worked in foreign fields may also prove fallible.  squad rotation, zonal etc.  Whilst i'll always listen to anyone who brings the European cup home, Rafa doesn't appear to be learning from past mistakes! Its great that we have 2 good players for every position, something we've been lacking in recent years, but we surely dont have to play a different team every week like some bizarre employee relations excercise.  Would it not be better to find a 'best case' solution that works and then change individuals when necessary due to lack of fitness, tiredness etc.  (A bit like Arsenals team of 2/3 seasons ago). 

The other point is that whilst people are mentioning that we need a couple of good results to get out of this rut we're in, shall we not forget that we ended last season on a high with our league form and a cup win, and really we shouldn't be in a rut at all at the beginning of this season.  Why do we always get off to a bad start?
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Offline The Cobbler

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2006, 11:15:49 AM »
To PT : Keep writing what you feel and ignore the brainless idiots who have nothing worthwhile to contribute. Your articles & books are always worth reading and amongst LFC supporters who can actually think, they are valued. I don't always agree with you but hey that's my opinion. As for the  source of our problems this season they are many and in isolation, you struggle to identify them individually.

The best defence in the Prem last season (Reina + SF, SH, JC & JAR) now look like total strangers - why? The midfield last season  XA, MS, SG + 1 that bossed games and with SG mostly on the right (23 goals et al) has no pace, incision or penetration.

We all moaned about how useless Cisse & Morientes were and not really up to the mark, they have gone and replaced by Kuyt a player who looks made for the hustle & bustle of the Premiership & Bellamy, who scored 17 goals in 26 prem games for Blackburn last year.

What's the answer - no idea ( if I knew I'd be telling Rafa), but I do know that certain key players are just generally off form, Gerrard, Carragher, Alonso - they all went to the World cup and suffered disappointment - co-incidence?.

I have been to EVERY game this season, home and away, Europe too and have yet to see a thoroughly convincing 90 minutes, Good spells in some games ( at home, mostly), but away it has been excruciating at times!

I will be at Middlesbrough this Saturday - am I looking forward to it - NO, Will it be entertaining, probably not, but a stuffy 1-0 win for us will do me ( own goal , dodgy pen - don't care!)

Being a real fan makes keeping the faith and that has to get you through the tough times, if you are a regular away fan at the moment, it is bizarre, but you still go & support OUR team.

As for you Mr T, don't rise to the bait and allow those with nothing valuable to say to deflect you from what you think is right. The silent majority are with you as they are with the team!

Offline Hank Scorpio

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2006, 11:21:37 AM »
Agree with much of your post.

We have played Chelsea, Man UTD and Arsenal away from home already.  Furthermore, we have had away fixtures against Everton (Merseyside Derby) and Bolton (One of the toughest away fixtures outside top 4).

These games are out of the way now, only 12 games into the season, although we should have picked up more points.

Our league season can begin now.

If we cannot win some of the next few away fixtures then we have some real problems.

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2006, 11:24:28 AM »
Oh  for the days of losing to the Southamptons of the world. I rememebr when Ged was beating the likes of Everton and Man Utd and Chelsea, too. Arsenal sometimes..

All of the "if only we could beat the lower sides" debates.

Now it's the "if only we could beat the top sides" debates.

One of these days that hurdle will be leaped over....

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Offline koppy

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2006, 11:26:28 AM »
Its such a shame to see us really struggle with the top teams again this season. I really thought we would challange a bit more. All over the pitch we look second best, even Gerrard was struggling with Arsenals fluent football. It so reminded me of the late 80's and some of the fantastic football we used to play. Arsenal are a good team thats be fair, but this is the benchmark this year for Champions league qualification, and by the looks of things we are well short of this.

Rafa has to stand up and be counted. Tactics are not working and Gerrard on the right is way past its sell by date. Its time to to get Pennant playing regular and pushing Kewell to regain his fitness, Agger has to start getting games. This bloke looks a rare talent, somthing the  team seems to be lacking at the moment!!

Offline bloodrush

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2006, 11:27:37 AM »
Lets hope it doesn't turn into ''if only we could win away'' debates
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Offline bloodrush

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2006, 11:43:52 AM »
Another issue is the quality of passing.  Looking back at re-runs of the game, Liverpool could make 15 short, sloppy passes and move the ball 5 yards wheras Arsenal could go from defence to a chance on goal in 4 moves.  And when Toure (I think) recieved that cross field ball right on the touch line and managed to keep it in play, to the crowd and commentators amazement, it just highlighted the difference between the two sides!

Every time Liverpool play a pass, its either behind the target, causing the recieving player to track back, or its played so hard at their feet that they cant control it.  Off-ball players weren't making the angles, hence the ball goes no-where.  We shouldn't be impressed by the fact that 3 defenders can play the ball to each other 8 times without interception whilst standing 3 feet from each other.  This i'm sure can be improved by trying to gel a consistent 'team' as opposed to a collection of individuals that only share the fact that they all signed to Liverpool football club!
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Offline FinnMacCool

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2006, 11:47:46 AM »
Some great editing in this thread.

Offline Robbo1980

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2006, 11:50:19 AM »
Arsenal are what we should be aspiring to, dont often go out and break the bank but produce good quality and very atheltic players for next to nothing

I cant beleve i am saying Liverpool should be aspiring to another team but they are the best footballing team i have seen in a long long time

Offline GBF

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2006, 11:51:44 AM »
Good analysis once again PT

I think we aint doing the  basic stuff...i accept when you come to a new team you need to adapt to the system of play of that team and also the league...however they still cross, pass, shoot and dribble the same everywhere in the world!

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Offline ALPH1217

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2006, 12:03:34 PM »
Said it yesterday and I feel as if it should be said again now: what this club needs more than anything else is money  .  .  and lots of it.

Offline athenry

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2006, 12:07:50 PM »
Paul.I agree with everything you say and as usual it's logical and reasoned and for the first time I detect a hint of critiscism.However for me the time for logic has gone.I'm angry at the stupid (imho)selections and the daft tactics.Rafa is a master at over-complicating a simple game and should (and I hate to say this) look at Ferguson's teams.Get the ball wide from midfield beat your man and cross to your forwards.

Offline KingKolo

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2006, 12:13:47 PM »
To me, Flamini looked marginally ahead of Carragher

Flamini was behind the ball when Fabregas cut it back, so he couldn't be offside.

3-0 might have flattered the Gunners slightly, since we did have a perfectly even share of the play in the 1st half, but from 2-0 down there was only one team in it.

Come on Paul, I don't think there's much we can say about yesterday other than; we were beaten fair and square, because we couldn't create clear-cut chances and because we made defensive errors.
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Offline bloodrush

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2006, 12:19:40 PM »
Flamini was behind the ball when Fabregas cut it back, so he couldn't be offside.

3-0 might have flattered the Gunners slightly, since we did have a perfectly even share of the play in the 1st half, but from 2-0 down there was only one team in it.

Come on Paul, I don't think there's much we can say about yesterday other than; we were beaten fair and square, because we couldn't create clear-cut chances and because we made defensive errors.

Agreed and in addition do you not think that maybe Clichy (right at the bottom of the picture) might have been playing Bellamy on-side for his goal!
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Offline NickoH

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2006, 12:21:03 PM »
Flamini was behind the ball when Fabregas cut it back, so he couldn't be offside.
100% agree
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Offline KingKolo

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2006, 12:24:57 PM »
I totally agree that we missed Hamann.
It's a shame he felt the need to move in search of more games, especially since we've lost Momo long-term.

We also missed Alves.

Because with him in the squad, we could have moved Stevie inside.

Pennant had just completed 2 full games, Benitez will always rest a player if he sees it as necessary, no matter how big the game.
Garcia had only just recovered from some sort of minor injury, and must have been deemed unfit.
And we don't have any other players capable of playing at right-mid.

But in any case, Gerrard was poor, and playing slightly out of position is no excuse.
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Offline KingKolo

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Re: A Right Kick Up The Arse
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2006, 12:26:43 PM »
Agreed and in addition do you not think that maybe Clichy (right at the bottom of the picture) might have been playing Bellamy on-side for his goal!

I don't remember, but the game was over by then.

And Gerrard wasn't trying to pass to Bellamy, he was having a shot, so it would have been a lucky goal anyway.

We were well beaten, let's face it.
If you’ve got three Scots in your side, you’ve got a chance of winning something. If you’ve got any more, you’re in trouble. - Bill Shankly