Author Topic: This season’s Defence – an Attack  (Read 39437 times)

Offline Degs

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #160 on: July 1, 2009, 12:22:48 PM »
Skrtel is far better on the ball than Carra.
Yep, I think he's playing within' himself though in regards to attacking, he brought the ball out alot towards the end of the season when we were playing better but seemed to bottle it and get a nosebleed when he got past the halfway line.

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #161 on: July 1, 2009, 01:30:54 PM »
Yep, I think he's playing within' himself though in regards to attacking, he brought the ball out alot towards the end of the season when we were playing better but seemed to bottle it and get a nosebleed when he got past the halfway line.

ditto.  he's not in the agger class but then pique is the only player who currently springs to mind that is.

Offline Yorkykopite

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #162 on: July 1, 2009, 02:42:35 PM »
We'll only really find out how good Skrtel is with the ball when, at last, he's paired with Agger. I'd say he's got unlocked potential. People look at his skull and scowling face and imagine he's just a hacker. He's much more than that.
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Offline abhred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #163 on: July 1, 2009, 06:38:03 PM »
We'll only really find out how good Skrtel is with the ball when, at last, he's paired with Agger. I'd say he's got unlocked potential. People look at his skull and scowling face and imagine he's just a hacker. He's much more than that.

Much more than, I hope Skrtel manages to score some goals from set pieces, as he has for his national team. We could really do with someone who could just score 3-4 goals a season, from set pieces. Can't count the no. of times United have got a result thanks to Vidic heading it home.
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Offline hesbighesred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #164 on: July 1, 2009, 06:41:38 PM »
We'll only really find out how good Skrtel is with the ball when, at last, he's paired with Agger. I'd say he's got unlocked potential. People look at his skull and scowling face and imagine he's just a hacker. He's much more than that.
Yup, absolutely.

You know who Skrtel actually reminds me of (though admittedly not as good yet)? *chokes* Rio Ferdinand *coughcough*.

He's not exactly incisive, but he carries it forward at pace, and actually has superb balance for a player of his build and height - more than capable of beating a man if the opportunity is there. His passing is also very good, and hugely under-rated in my view. He doesn't dwell on the ball, keeps it safe without slowing things to a crawl (Carra I'm looking at you here...) and actually very accurate in his long passing. Less creative but just possibly even more consistently accurate than Agger in that specific respect.

I bloody well love Skrtel, and it's essential that next season sees a genuine transition towards a future Skragger pairing. Their ability on the ball, the high line they could keep with Reina behind them and the recovery pace they have (and you can include JOhnson and Insua into that equation too) would be a massive asset when it comes to breaking teams down, and also a massive advantage against possession teams like Barca - their unwillingness to hit long coupled with how important it is to compress their space in midfield could make a team like ours (potentially) their absolute bete noir.

Bizarre that someone honestly thinks Carra looks good on the ball...I honestly found it quite hard to watch him in that respect at times last season - especially when played at RB (not wanting to see Carra there again being a major reason why I hope we keep Arbeloa).

Offline hesbighesred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #165 on: July 1, 2009, 06:46:56 PM »
Much more than, I hope Skrtel manages to score some goals from set pieces, as he has for his national team. We could really do with someone who could just score 3-4 goals a season, from set pieces. Can't count the no. of times United have got a result thanks to Vidic heading it home.
I'd forgotten about that - spot on. Like Hyppia, he isn't afraid to shoot if it comes to him from a set-piece either. I'm very much hoping it's a confidence thing. Indeed I'm hoping that with Agger too (who should have scored more from his chances last season IMO, though he obviously didn't get as many games as we'd like there were a few where he missed a number of chances he'd have buried 2 seasons before). A set-piece goal for the pair of them and I hope they'll be away - certainly between them they are more than capable of, say, 8-15 goals a season, which would be a massive improvement on what is currently a non-scoring area, and a type of situation (goal from set-piece/defender coming forward) that seems to me to be disproportionately likely to be a very important goal/goal out of no-where when it's really needed (IE where guile has struggled, how often have we seen a brute header from Sami's blond locks do the job instead? Arsenal in the CL being a great  and memorable example...) - it also forces opponents to think twice before fouling/giving corners away, which I've felt has long been an all too easy 'get out clause' for teams defending against us.

Offline abhred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #166 on: July 1, 2009, 07:12:34 PM »
I'd forgotten about that - spot on. Like Hyppia, he isn't afraid to shoot if it comes to him from a set-piece either. I'm very much hoping it's a confidence thing. Indeed I'm hoping that with Agger too (who should have scored more from his chances last season IMO, though he obviously didn't get as many games as we'd like there were a few where he missed a number of chances he'd have buried 2 seasons before). A set-piece goal for the pair of them and I hope they'll be away - certainly between them they are more than capable of, say, 8-15 goals a season, which would be a massive improvement on what is currently a non-scoring area, and a type of situation (goal from set-piece/defender coming forward) that seems to me to be disproportionately likely to be a very important goal/goal out of no-where when it's really needed (IE where guile has struggled, how often have we seen a brute header from Sami's blond locks do the job instead? Arsenal in the CL being a great  and memorable example...) - it also forces opponents to think twice before fouling/giving corners away, which I've felt has long been an all too easy 'get out clause' for teams defending against us.

Absolutely agree. Even more positive is that Aurelio managed to score a few goals last season from set pieces, and the signing of Johnson, who's scored a few himself, and is very good in the air. Between Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, and Aurelio (our first choice defense IMO), if they play to their potential, are good for 15 goals combined next season, and that could be very important. How good is it that we have an entire defensive line capable of not only holding a high line, and carrying the ball forward, but also scoring goals.
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Offline hesbighesred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #167 on: July 1, 2009, 07:21:20 PM »
Absolutely agree. Even more positive is that Aurelio managed to score a few goals last season from set pieces, and the signing of Johnson, who's scored a few himself, and is very good in the air. Between Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, and Aurelio (our first choice defense IMO), if they play to their potential, are good for 15 goals combined next season, and that could be very important. How good is it that we have an entire defensive line capable of not only holding a high line, and carrying the ball forward, but also scoring goals.

Very good point. Now that Aurelio's confidence on set-pieces is 'bedded in' again, so to speak, you'd have to assume he'll score a couple next season - plus he does have a very capable shot. Johnson I'm convinced can score a few. 15 is certainly possible, perhaps even probable. Insua certainly isn't scared to have a pop either - though his accuracy has been pretty poor thus far.

Offline abhred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #168 on: July 1, 2009, 07:33:57 PM »
Very good point. Now that Aurelio's confidence on set-pieces is 'bedded in' again, so to speak, you'd have to assume he'll score a couple next season - plus he does have a very capable shot. Johnson I'm convinced can score a few. 15 is certainly possible, perhaps even probable. Insua certainly isn't scared to have a pop either - though his accuracy has been pretty poor thus far.

Agree about Insua. While watching him in reserves what was most impressive was how he was able to link with Nemeth and then get into goal scoring positions. Could improve his accuracy, but I think it's great we're going for the right type of defenders, for the type of football Rafa wants to play.

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Offline fowlermagic

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #169 on: July 1, 2009, 08:21:06 PM »
15 combined goals next season? Sorry lads but you do know Johnson, Agger, Skrtel & Insua or Aurelio have about 15 goals combined over their whole Liverpool / Portsmouth career. That is one thing last season when Sami or Agger was not playing, our lads were very poor in threatening the opposing goal. Things may change but if our back normal back 4 even score 6 - 8 league goals I would be thrilled.

Also Jamie will play in about 30 plus league games next season as center back so its up to Skrtel (who is a left sided central defender...its why we bought him to fill in for Agger) or Agger to play alongside him. I know who I want.


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Offline abhred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #170 on: July 1, 2009, 08:25:50 PM »
15 combined goals next season? Sorry lads but you do know Johnson, Agger, Skrtel & Insua or Aurelio have about 15 goals combined over their whole Liverpool / Portsmouth career. That is one thing last season when Sami or Agger was not playing, our lads were very poor in threatening the opposing goal. Things may change but if our back normal back 4 even score 6 - 8 league goals I would be thrilled.

Also Jamie will play in about 30 plus league games next season as center back so its up to Skrtel (who is a left sided central defender...its why we bought him to fill in for Agger) or Agger to play alongside him. I know who I want.




Merely speculating, that if they play to their potential, they're worth that.

And Skrtel is a left sided central defender. First time I've ever heard that.
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Offline liverbnz

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #171 on: July 1, 2009, 09:01:51 PM »

And Skrtel is a left sided central defender. First time I've ever heard that.

Ditto. Usually Carra that has to play LCB isn't it not?
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Offline Varmenni

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #172 on: July 2, 2009, 01:28:24 AM »
ditto.  he's not in the agger class but then pique is the only player who currently springs to mind that is.
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Offline fowlermagic

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #173 on: July 2, 2009, 04:35:19 AM »
http://www.martinskrtel.net/

Martin Skrtel, a professional footballer, was born on December 15, 1984 in Handlová, Slovakia. Nicknamed as Squirtle in the professional circuit, Martin Skrtel was a proficient ice hockey player before he chose to pursue his career in football, following the footsteps of his father.

Martin Skrtel was selected for the Slovakia national team in 2004, subsequent to his experience with the youth teams. He was awarded as the Youth champion of Slovakia in 2001 and Slovak Footballer of the Year in 2007. As of May 2008, he has appeared in 25 matches for the national team, contributing four goals.

Martin Skrtel kicked off his football career at a tender age of six by joining as a youth player in Prievidza Football Club. After playing in different positions, he opted to play the role of a defender at the age of sixteen. In 2001, he entered the professional football arena by signing for FK AS Tren?ín, a Slovak football club, and represented it in 45 matches during his tenure of three years.

Martin Skrtel switched to Zenit Saint Petersburg, a Russian football club, in 2004, and made his debut in a Russian Cup match in July of the same year. The presence of players from his homeland helped him get acquainted to his new team. He was ranked third as a left-central defender in the 2006 Russian Premier League’s list of 33 best players. Martin Skrtel also made his mark in the same league the following year. Totally, he made 113 appearances for the team, scoring five goals.

Despite the interest of various other clubs that wanted his services, Martin Skrtel signed a four and a half year contract for Liverpool in January 2008 for a whopping £6.5 million. He won the confidence of the club’s manager, Rafael Benítez, who hopes that Martin Skrtel would be a great asset for the club owing to his good mentality and competitive attitude. Martin Skrtel made his league debut for the club against Aston Villa by sporting the number 37 shirt. In the fourth round of the Football Association (FA) Cup in January 2008, he made it to the starting eleven and represented the club in the match against Havant & Waterlooville, a non-league English club. He was voted as the Man of the Match by his Liverpool supporters on their official website, subsequent to a concrete performance in the league game against Chelsea. Martin Skrtel has become a fan favorite and proved to be a significant player for Liverpool by his excellent play at centre-half in both the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Champions League quarter-final legs against Arsenal F.C.

Martin Skrtel made his first appearance in a Merseyside derby match in Liverpool’s victory against Everton in March 2008. His brilliant display in the match made the Liverpool supporters vote him as Man of the Match on Liverpoolfc.TV.

Here is an interesting tidbit that says Skrtel actually played on the left wing or up front until 16

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/alansmith/5024198/Martin-Skrtel-proving-to-be-another-fine-Rafael-Benitez-signing.html

The players, for instance, had come in earlier than usual to undergo a few tests with the medical staff. Gauging body fat was one, which was never likely to trouble the club's Slovakian centre-half, Martin Skrtel, who comes around the corner looking super-fit.
"It has been one of the best weeks in my career," Skrtel says straight away, his close-cropped hair topping a powerful 6ft 4in frame. "They were fantastic results for everyone. Before the game at Old Trafford the manager and all the players said this was our last chance to stay in the title race. We knew we had to win and I think we were better than them."
In the wake of those stirring results, much has been said – and rightly so – about the indispensable influence of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. Skrtel, however, has also played a key part by forging a strong bond with Jamie Carragher.
In fact, with Daniel Agger injured and Sami Hyypia used more sparingly these days, the 24-year-old has impressively answered the call since returning from a bad knee injury at the end of December. Strong, aggressive, good in the air, the lad looks excellent value for the £6.5 million Benitez paid Zenit St Petersburg in January 2008. Not surprisingly, Skrtel is pleased his manager has committed to a new contract.
"Rafa signing is perfect for us, perfect for the club," he says. "It's good for everyone that we know he's staying for a long time now. He brought me here and he has improved me as a player. When I arrived I hadn't been playing because it was the winter break in Russia, but Rafa gave me a chance straight away and since then he has brought my level up a lot."
Yet Skrtel rolls his eyes and smiles when I mention his full debut, a topsy-turvy FA Cup tie against Havant and Waterlooville. The new boy, in truth, had a bit of a nightmare.
"No, it wasn't a good game for me. It was my first game at Anfield and I was a little nervous. But Rafa kept with me for the next game against Sunderland and from then on it got better and better."
Skrtel was brought up in Raztocno, a small village two hours outside the Slovakian capital, Bratislava. Useful at ice hockey as a boy, he concentrated on football from the age of 10, though he took a few years to settle down in defence.
"I always played left wing or as a striker. But when I was 16 and playing for the Slovakia youth team our centre-backs were injured and suspended, so the manager asked if I could play there. I said I would try but I'd never done it before."
He was obviously pretty good because after a spell at Trencin, Skrtel left home at 19 to join Zenit. "That was very hard," he confirms. "Going from a small club and small city like Trencin to a big city like St Petersburg where five million people live – everything was new for me. I had to learn a lot of new things – a new language, a new style of football. Everything was totally different to Slovakia."
After falling out with his first manager, Dick Advocaat arrived to lend some belief and the youngster's performances soon started turning heads. Eventually, a host of clubs were keen on a player seemingly ready-made for the tough environs of the Premier League.
"I'm a centre-back so I have to be strong – win every header and tackle if I can. That's how I like it. When I was younger I'd pick up a lot of yellow cards but in our first meeting Rafa told me to be careful in England because it is easy to get booked. Now I try to play strong but without the fouls."
It is a successful approach that is going to be crucial over the next few weeks, seeing as Aston Villa's visit tomorrow kicks off a decisive run encompassing yet another Champions League clash with Chelsea.
Next Saturday, what's more, Skrtel lines up against England in a Wembley friendly, though the serious stuff starts the following Wednesday for a country topping its World Cup qualifying group.
"We play the Czech Republic," he explains. "That is a huge game. It's like Liverpool v Everton – a real derby. A lot of Czech people think they are better than us Slovaks. Before Czechoslovakia was broken up, there were 10 million Czechs in the country and only five million of us. Because of that they thought they were better

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #174 on: July 2, 2009, 05:21:22 AM »
15 goals from the back line is very optimistic.  If we get anywhere near double figures we will have done well.  Without looking at the stats I would hazard a guess that we got perhaps 5 from the back line - 2 Aurelio, 1 Arbeloa, 1 Agger and maybe one more.  I refuse to count Carra's goal against Boro at home which deflected off some poor bugger's backside.

Nevertheless, the point is a valid one.  We should look to more consistent attacking play from our back line and more of a threat in the box on set pieces.  Any actual goals will be a nice bonus.

Offline Hank Scorpio

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #175 on: July 2, 2009, 08:48:00 AM »
We'll only really find out how good Skrtel is with the ball when, at last, he's paired with Agger. I'd say he's got unlocked potential. People look at his skull and scowling face and imagine he's just a hacker. He's much more than that.
I don't think being paired with JC week in, week out, has helped Skrtel develop his role as a ball player. 

JC will generally play 'safe' passes and when he does look to play to his partner the passes are underhit and sometimes 2-3 yards behind the receiver (another 'safe' pass).  I think Skrtel has actually got worse on the ball the longer he has been with us.  Let's hope that improves when he is paired with Agger, although there is no guarantee of that.

Offline No666

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #176 on: July 2, 2009, 06:07:16 PM »
Skrtel looked worse after that disastrous international when his confidence was shot. Not sure it's JC leaking his attributes into the cells of another player, Hank!

Offline hesbighesred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #177 on: July 2, 2009, 06:23:36 PM »
15 goals from the back line is very optimistic.  If we get anywhere near double figures we will have done well.  Without looking at the stats I would hazard a guess that we got perhaps 5 from the back line - 2 Aurelio, 1 Arbeloa, 1 Agger and maybe one more.  I refuse to count Carra's goal against Boro at home which deflected off some poor bugger's backside.

Nevertheless, the point is a valid one.  We should look to more consistent attacking play from our back line and more of a threat in the box on set pieces.  Any actual goals will be a nice bonus.

If they only manage that I'll personally feel they've let themselves down badly.

Personally, I would expect:

Aurelio at least 2 league goals

Agger at least 2 league goals

Skrtel at least 2 league goals

Johnson at least 2 league goals

I personally think that's a pretty low expectation given what each player is capable of, the amount of chances they should get to attack, and how they've performed in general (EG Skrtel scores his share for Slovakia, Agger is well capable of becoming a genuine scoring defender, Aurelio is quality from set-pieces and showed that last season, Johnson scored, what, 4 last season? For Portsmouth too, who will have hardly spent much time on the front foot and has always looked confident when shooting, I'd be amazed if he didn't bag at least 2 next season).

There's other reasons to expect more goals from our defenders next season:

1) Carra possibly getting less games. Not only does he not score himself (indeed, he scores more goals for opponents than he does for us) but when he plays we can't push the defence up quite as high as we could with Skrtel/Agger, plus more importantly he himself is so poor on the ball that it becomes that tiny bit easier for poor opponents to deal with us, IE if someone parks the bus playing Carra means 9 (outfield) players who can attack rather than the 10 we could have on the pitch.

2) Benitez has always been clear about his plans for us: Sort defence first, then attack. Now, I actually think for the first time that our attack's pretty much sorted, and Rafa was making plenty of noises last season to the effect that he sees us as nearly complete - comparing us to his Valencia etc. If he's happy with the big stuff, happy that we largely defend and attack as he'd like, then I suspect that would also mean he has more time to work on details, and one of the biggest details left would be our attacking set-pieces, which are awful. It's by no means guaranteed, but I'm hoping that we are now good enough that Rafa will turn his mind to things like that, and if we do get better from set-pieces that would almost certainly mean more goals from at least 3 of our defenders: Agger, Skrtel and Johnson are all a significant threat in the air if the delivery's right.


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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #178 on: August 9, 2009, 10:34:50 AM »
Looks like the defence is something we are going to have to sort out and fast.

With losing Hyypia and Arbeloa, as well as Aurelio getting injured again, we are thin on the ground with experienced defenders. With the loss of Alonso as well who protected the back 4 well, I think there is much scope to bring in another centre back.

Kelly has done well but maybe keeping him as backup right back and giving him  games at centre back in the league cup would be the best option. With Johnson and Insua, we have added to the attacking side but they do tend to get caught out at the back.

Maybe there is also the possibility of bringing in an experienced holding midfielder as well, along with an experienced centre back?

Offline BazC

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #179 on: August 9, 2009, 12:38:10 PM »
Looks like the defence is something we are going to have to sort out and fast.

With losing Hyypia and Arbeloa, as well as Aurelio getting injured again, we are thin on the ground with experienced defenders. With the loss of Alonso as well who protected the back 4 well, I think there is much scope to bring in another centre back.

Kelly has done well but maybe keeping him as backup right back and giving him  games at centre back in the league cup would be the best option. With Johnson and Insua, we have added to the attacking side but they do tend to get caught out at the back.

Maybe there is also the possibility of bringing in an experienced holding midfielder as well, along with an experienced centre back?

This season's Attack- a Defence?

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Offline hesbighesred

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #180 on: January 10, 2020, 07:49:17 AM »
Just wanted to bump this given its appearance in Roy's new level 3 thread. It reads rather prophetically looking back, doesn't it? Fast forward a decade and we have the most progressive full back in the world, and a defense which not only plays a line so high it would have given Carra altitude sickness, but also where the weakest on the ball (Lovren) is capable of assisting two fine goals in successive games through pinpoint long balls behind an opposition back 4.

More pertinently, I'm struck by Yorky's point on dawdling. There are no more dawdlers in our back line, with the three 'baller' CBs in particular being very quick to release or move and 'change the picture'. Note also that they pass it at pace, too - long or short there's a lot of zip on the ball, passes which give an attacker options, to dummy, to kill or to control into space to run onto.

And that's without mentioning Alisson. Firstly, his speed, aggression and sheer presence off the line closes the gap behind that defensive line. A gap we sometimes forget exists until Adrian plays (and that's no slight on him, he's been excellent this season). Even more so when, in Gomez and VvD, we have real elite pace there too. But Alisson is about so much more than stopping goals - his distribution from hand and foot, aerially or on the ground is accurate and often breathtakingly incisive and above all, again, quick. He often takes out the first line of the press as they're scratching their heads trying to work out just how he saved it and - boom a throw, a crossfield pass a good run and a throughball later it's in the back of the net.

No doubt about it - this season's defensive is as attacking as it gets, yet concedes fewer goals than ever. Down in no small part, of course, to our attackers having the humility and fitness to form a formidable first line of defence.

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Re: This season’s Defence – an Attack
« Reply #181 on: January 17, 2020, 05:33:37 PM »
Looks like the defence is something we are going to have to sort out and fast.

With losing Hyypia and Arbeloa, as well as Aurelio getting injured again, we are thin on the ground with experienced defenders. With the loss of Alonso as well who protected the back 4 well, I think there is much scope to bring in another centre back.

Kelly has done well but maybe keeping him as backup right back and giving him  games at centre back in the league cup would be the best option. With Johnson and Insua, we have added to the attacking side but they do tend to get caught out at the back.

Maybe there is also the possibility of bringing in an experienced holding midfielder as well, along with an experienced centre back?

Nothing like a little time jump post, I think we have thoroughly sorted out our defence now! Time is a great healer and builder of magnificent football teams. In 2009 we could not even dream of a Virgil Van D. :)
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