Author Topic: LFC need stability more than any striker  (Read 7407 times)

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LFC need stability more than any striker
« on: September 2, 2012, 09:55:28 PM »
Nothing to be done. Liverpool supporters began the final day of this summer's transfer window with thoughts of Dempsey, Walcott and Sturridge. What started as confidence turned to hope; from hope to worry; from worry to disbelief. Apoplexy has now engulfed it all. The club's decision-making over the past 48 hours has baffled and bewildered. It would be droll to suggest it has ever been different, certainly over the past two decades. Nothing to be done. Nothing was.

The reaction to Liverpool's inability to replace Andy Carroll is justified, though the meltdown regarding dealings as a whole not so much. Such pomp and ceremony is made of the transfer window's final day that supporters lose sight of reality. So do the football clubs themselves. Players such as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar are linked in order to increase viewing figures and website hits, yet supporters still devour; clubs call other clubs' bluff, call it again and finish empty-handed. Everything is accentuated during the pre-meditated hype of final day. Liverpool sold a world class forward in Andy Carroll and missed out on a world class forward in Clint Dempsey.

That, of course, is not true. What is true is that Liverpool took a gamble on loaning Andy Carroll to West Ham. It was one that did not pay off - and Rodgers is not happy. He clearly is not a character who believes on taking uncalculated risks. Speaking after the 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal, when asked whether he would have allowed Andy Carroll to leave if no replacement was forthcoming, he replied with an honest, blunt "no".

Rodgers took calculated risks throughout the summer. He brought in Fabio Borini and Joe Allen for £25 million - two players he was familiar with during his time at Swansea. Nuri Sahin came from an endorsement of his mentor Jose Mourinho; Oussama Assaidi was heavily scouted during his time at Swansea. The interest in players he missed out on this summer; Sigurdsson, Sturridge, Tello; manifested from either working with them directly or recommendations from his most trusted lieges. It had been a good summer, but it was all forgotten as the sun began to set and nothing happened.

As a Champions League winning manager once said, here are the facts: the signing of Joe Allen is a magnificent one, imperative to implementing what Rodgers wants from the system. Borini is a worker whose best work so far has gone undetected; relentless pressing and willingly running to provide space for Suarez. Nuri Sahin, though possibly a luxury loan signing, will provide balance in the midfield and a left foot that belongs to a former Bundesliga Player of the Year. The signing of Ousamma Assaidi remains as much of a mystery as the pronunciation of his name.

The other side of the revolving door tossed aside Craig Bellamy, Maxi Rodriguez and Alberto Aquilani, three players on substantial wages who pined for returns to their homelands. Dirk Kuyt, no longer guaranteed a first-team place and with a clause in his contract, left for Fenerbache. A comparison of Jay Spearing and Charlie Adam with new central midfield pair Allen and Sahin prompts a disparity not seen since the Alamo.

It is believed the summer outgoings will save the club over £24million a year on wages alone, though the contracts of new players, as well as extensions for Suarez, Skrtel and Shelvey are not factored. Liverpool is a club that must operate within its means. Giving Joe Cole £90,000 a week was not a club doing that, nor was allowing Jamie Carragher to sign an improved contract hours from administration. Fenway Sports Group are far from blameless, with their fingerprints on the pistol. Last summer's ostentatious spending, and allowing Damien Comolli to broker those deals, certainly showed their happy trigger finger.

The club had taken a number of steps back over the past few years financially; to edge a couple forward, and not compromise the quality of the first team, could even be regarded as a success. It was the wider squad that needed work, something Rodgers alluded to when he told reporters he was one or two forwards short. Make that three. The economics behind loaning Carroll to West Ham made sense; the opportunity was presented to free up some extra money for wage for a player that could play to Rodgers' taste. That player never came. Complacency is one of football's biggest sins.

It isn't about the player, it is what it represents. Carroll scored just 11 goals in 58 games for the club and looked out of his depth for long periods of last season. They are goals that, certainly in the league, will hardly be missed - particularly given Rodgers' intentions with the football. It was the notion that the club were operating on a strict one-in, one-out policy that rankles, their ability to undermine the manager that causes rancour. Flashbacks to Hicks and Gillett, and misplaced comparisons, are inevitable. Losing Andy Carroll and not replacing him may hurt the squad, but nowhere near as much as it hurts FSG's PR.

PR clearly isn't one of their strong points. The handling of the Luis Suarez situation was catastrophic, their conduct throughout Kenny Dalglish's dismissal disrespectful. Roberto Martinez's chinos, and the Miami job interview that never was, was the froth on top of the latte. You're always fighting a losing battle when you sack a club legend from his position as manager; so too when you make claims that begin to look erroneous. In April, chairman Tom Werner said the club had resources to compete with "anybody" in football, clearly forgetting the riches of Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain amongst others. Werner flapped his gums at Rodgers' unveiling as manager as well: "There will be no requirement to sell players this summer in order to fund new purchases."

The incompetence to miss out on Dempsey to Tottenham for the sake of a few million pounds has made FSG look foolish, but more pertinently, it has made them an enemy of the state. Failure on the pitch against Arsenal on Sunday has been attributed to the failure off the pitch with Carroll and Dempsey, but it's an anger that's slightly misplaced. Though the bench was weak - and only Assaidi to make his debut and Lucas to return to fitness - the first team was strong. The presence of Carroll or Dempsey on the bench may have given another option, but it was a defeat that could have been prevented with an attacking threat. The problems were in midfield and the question of how to utilise Gerrard; the problems were with the goalkeeper and the puzzle on what's happened to the Pepe Reina of yesteryear. No battering ram or late-running forward could have solved that.

Within 48 hours, Rodgers' job at Anfield has gone from moulding a talented young squad into his own into swatting away questions about discontent with those above him in the hierarchy. That, more than any issue over the brevity of the squad, is the biggest problem. Rodgers had a tough enough task to turn the club around to begin with; if he's going to do it, he'll need support, competence and few distractions from above. No more PR disasters. That's more important than any striker.

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Offline LondonRedMan

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #1 on: September 2, 2012, 10:00:23 PM »
The good thing now is that we know what we have and Brend doesnt need to worry about awkward questions from the media baying for answers to impugn FSG with.

Now Brend canconcentrate on coaching the team


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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #2 on: September 2, 2012, 10:00:52 PM »
If I was manager and only prepared to let Carroll go out if I had a replacement in then I would make it clear he leaves AFTER the other deal is done. Seems completely logical to me.  The Carroll situation and BR's comments only a few days ago about 'would be mad to let him go without a repacement' just make the situation all the more disappointing.
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Offline rafathegaffa83

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #3 on: September 2, 2012, 10:07:10 PM »
Great OP. Last sentence neatly sums it up.

If I was manager and only prepared to let Carroll go out if I had a replacement in then I would make it clear he leaves AFTER the other deal is done. Seems completely logical to me.  The Carroll situation and BR's comments only a few days ago about 'would be mad to let him go without a repacement' just make the situation all the more disappointing.

Agreed. Something isn't right here. I'm sure within the next few days the facts will start to trickle out. Likely it is either it's poor communication and strategy, or an incompetent and depressing finish to a largely decent window. And I don't think it was helped by LFCTV staff letting fans know that Ayre and co. had packed up well before the window was about to close. It might initially have been a negotiating tactic, but given Dempsey was a Tottenham player a few hours later, it looks like they clearly knew the main target was off the table. All in all, it has made Rodgers look foolish.


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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #4 on: September 2, 2012, 10:09:10 PM »
whilst its a fairly well reasoned post there will be no stability if we don't start scoring goals. We needed to address our lack of goals last season and on paper we now seem to be worse off.

Its hard to see where goals will come from now and not winning games will not do the manager any favours or the fans views of FSG.
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Offline Mummy Spartacus (Mrs)

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #5 on: September 2, 2012, 10:10:15 PM »
And I don't think it was helped by LFCTV staff letting fans know that Ayre and co. had packed up well before the window was about to close. It might initially have been a negotiating tactic


We wondered the same, he left with hours to go so was thinking it was just 'part if the game'
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #6 on: September 2, 2012, 10:10:57 PM »
LFC & stability? I don´t know what you are talking about...
One thing does need to be said: in the post-Benitez era, there was media-led clamour (but also some politicking going on at the club) to make the club more English; the idea being that the club had lost the very essence of what it means to be ‘Liverpool’. Guillem Ballague 18/11/10

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #7 on: September 2, 2012, 10:15:45 PM »
Thanks again mate.

Offline BFM

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #8 on: September 2, 2012, 10:20:33 PM »
LFC & stability? I don´t know what you are talking about...
ha! Brendan will get the lads playing football. Give him time
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #9 on: September 2, 2012, 10:20:34 PM »
If I was manager and only prepared to let Carroll go out if I had a replacement in then I would make it clear he leaves AFTER the other deal is done. Seems completely logical to me.  The Carroll situation and BR's comments only a few days ago about 'would be mad to let him go without a repacement' just make the situation all the more disappointing.

I thought along those lines earlier, but perhaps that just wasn't an option. If West Ham don't like russian roulette and don't want to wait until the 11th hour incase they got left short upfront, they could have always walked away from the deal and targeted another player. There in is the risk for Liverpool, if they don't move him on out, we can't dream of bringing somebody in.

Really we didn't need that safeguard if the people responsible for the process of negotiation and purchasing of players did their job better on Friday.
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Offline steveeastend

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #10 on: September 2, 2012, 10:22:34 PM »
ha! Brendan will get the lads playing football. Give him time

I know ;)

I was talking about the way the club has been run from top...
One thing does need to be said: in the post-Benitez era, there was media-led clamour (but also some politicking going on at the club) to make the club more English; the idea being that the club had lost the very essence of what it means to be ‘Liverpool’. Guillem Ballague 18/11/10

Offline Adeemo

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #11 on: September 2, 2012, 10:23:48 PM »
If I was manager and only prepared to let Carroll go out if I had a replacement in then I would make it clear he leaves AFTER the other deal is done. Seems completely logical to me.  The Carroll situation and BR's comments only a few days ago about 'would be mad to let him go without a repacement' just make the situation all the more disappointing.

When Torres left, was he not left in limbo for a a few hours until Carroll was signed and only then was able to put pen to paper on his Chelsea contract? This is exactly what we should've done with Andy, I'm certain West Ham weren't in a position to say no to that.
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #12 on: September 2, 2012, 10:27:14 PM »
I thought along those lines earlier, but perhaps that just wasn't an option. If West Ham don't like russian roulette and don't want to wait until the 11th hour incase they got left short upfront, they could have always walked away from the deal and targeted another player. There in is the risk for Liverpool, if they don't move him on out, we can't dream of bringing somebody in.


I know, we've discussed many different scenarios. Just sick of feeling like we've come of worse again :-(
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #13 on: September 2, 2012, 10:30:40 PM »
I know, we've discussed many different scenarios. Just sick of feeling like we've come of worse again :-(

We just need to have faith in the people and the jobs they're doing and at the moment it's those who are working behind closed doors that seem to be holding back those who are working out on the pitch, which is a shame as FSG and the board are ruthlessly trigger happy when they perceive under achievement. Who sticks the rocket up these guys arses when they fuck up?
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #14 on: September 2, 2012, 10:32:18 PM »
What a great post. I think that FSGs PR stunts should be watched more carefully. I mean, surely they cant run the Red Sox like this? I mean our media credibility is laughable. Someone put it neatly in an other thread that in the past our own supporters would never dream about talking smack about how the club handles its business and now it seems like there is nothing else to talk about. This is of course a reaction to what happened during the H&G days but I believe they even handled the press better.

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #15 on: September 2, 2012, 10:35:21 PM »
good article again.

I'll say that LFC needs a football organisation, stability will follow
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Offline theCanadian

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #16 on: September 2, 2012, 10:42:32 PM »
Really good article dude, well balanced.
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #17 on: September 2, 2012, 11:08:22 PM »
Well written, well argued. We're only 3 games into the season now. We'll improve. For me, the important thing is that we show signs of promise, sometimes the pressing and passing is slick and controlled. It's just individual mistakes costing us. Pepe has already cost us a few goals, as have Agger and Skrtel and Gerrard. Suarez has already missed a few sitters. But mistakes are part and parcel of learning. We were never going to be flawless from the start. So if the system is working, we need to back the manager, and the owners need to back the manager. The PR thing is dead on. If FSG support Rodgers, we need to see it for us to be able to support them. We did spend decently this window, but the Carroll disaster has left us all with a bitter taste in our mouths. Things could get ugly if we don't win a game soon.
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #18 on: September 2, 2012, 11:36:15 PM »
I don't always agree with the OP but spot on sir well done brilliant piece
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #19 on: September 2, 2012, 11:39:13 PM »
I'm on a bit of a downer about it all today. Rodgers as you say, is now facing the season with his hands tied.

I think that Rodgers can turn this around and get the players that he has got at his disposal playing the way he wants successfully. He'll bring the youth players through and hopefully can figure where to fit Gerrard into the system and where to play Suarez/Borini more effectively. This will come from the team playing together more.
I just find it frustrating that a club like ours can be put in this situation by the owners, just to save a million quid here or there, when ultimately, we'll lose more by finishing lower in the league with no Cup runs.

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #20 on: September 3, 2012, 12:37:09 AM »
If I was manager and only prepared to let Carroll go out if I had a replacement in then I would make it clear he leaves AFTER the other deal is done. Seems completely logical to me.  The Carroll situation and BR's comments only a few days ago about 'would be mad to let him go without a repacement' just make the situation all the more disappointing.

In my view, the whole situation was handled awfully and I'm not even talking about Friday. We knew pretty much at the end of July that Maxi, Kuyt and Bellamy would be going. Rodgers probably also knew that Carroll doesn't fit into his plans. So, why for the love of God did we not act sooner? Why leave it to the final day of the transfer-window? We were sucessful under Rafa, because we were clever most of the time. Signing the right players and getting the right deals. That way we were able to get Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso or Pepe Reina and turned them into fabulous players (three of them having been sold for roughly 100 million in total). The Sahin-deal seems to be decent enough. If he's a flop, he'll be gone, if he's good, he might help us win games and who knows even if he then returns to Real we'll at least have a foot in the door, if he's looking for a new club in the future.

The way we've handled the situation in terms of our forwards was the opposite of that. It wasn't clever at all. We've sold them all or loaned them out and are basically left with no options. And in my view it's not only the forwards. Who do we have who can play on the wing? Borini? Assaidi? Downing, who has been played as a left-back twice before today? Joe Cole? That doesn't fill me with confidence. Some might suggest that I have forgotten Raheem Sterling, but I still think it's too early for him. Yes, he looks like a boss player, but he's still only 17 years old.

So, I cannot agree with your assessment that before Friday it was a good summer. Yes, the signings we did make were good, but we didn't manage to adress the biggest problem in the squad and that is in attack. We've let players go, but failed to replace them. I'd agree that Kuyt didn't have a good season, but still he gave us options. Something we're seriously lacking upfront at the moment...

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #21 on: September 3, 2012, 07:34:42 AM »
From the moment BR walked into Anfield he was telling the world that he didn't fancy Andy Carroll and because of that the buying clubs held all the cards, nearly everyone of his signings has a connection to him which in itself is not a bad thing but what are our scouts been looking at for the past twelve months. We have been missing a goal scorer since Torres started sulking around and if we had signed the likes of Jelavic last year we wouldn't be in this mess now. Last season we doiminated nearly every game and missed chance after chance, Rush, Owen , Fowler and Torres have been the difference between drawing and winning, we need a striker more than anything.

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #22 on: September 3, 2012, 07:54:42 AM »
Remember the days we had the choice of Fowler, Owen, Heskey, Litmanen?

Seems like a lifetime ago.
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #23 on: September 3, 2012, 08:06:40 AM »
Remember the days we had the choice of Fowler, Owen, Heskey, Litmanen?

Seems like a lifetime ago.
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Offline sidneyroughdiamond

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #24 on: September 3, 2012, 08:16:16 AM »
 "It is a learning process for the owners as well. They have come in and invested well over £100m and then they have made the change for whatever reason and one of the most iconic figures in the club's history has left. They made the change and made a big commitment to have me here for the longer term.

"I have a group of people I worked well with and the owners have been very up front and honest with me. I have no problem with that. There are obviously one or two things we need to iron out but the owners have been very honest and haven't misled me in any way whatsoever. There are operational things we need to sort out and if we do that, that will help us in the next transfer window.

"I have spoken to people back in America since Friday. They have my thoughts. We move on and will reflect on it next week. The reality is not a lot is done in January but we certainly need help."

Very telling from Rodgers.
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #25 on: September 3, 2012, 08:16:28 AM »

I'll say that LFC needs a football organisation, stability will follow
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Offline Liveforthereds67

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #26 on: September 3, 2012, 08:34:02 AM »
In my view, the whole situation was handled awfully and I'm not even talking about Friday. We knew pretty much at the end of July that Maxi, Kuyt and Bellamy would be going. Rodgers probably also knew that Carroll doesn't fit into his plans. So, why for the love of God did we not act sooner? Why leave it to the final day of the transfer-window? We were sucessful under Rafa, because we were clever most of the time. Signing the right players and getting the right deals. That way we were able to get Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso or Pepe Reina and turned them into fabulous players (three of them having been sold for roughly 100 million in total). The Sahin-deal seems to be decent enough. If he's a flop, he'll be gone, if he's good, he might help us win games and who knows even if he then returns to Real we'll at least have a foot in the door, if he's looking for a new club in the future.

The way we've handled the situation in terms of our forwards was the opposite of that. It wasn't clever at all. We've sold them all or loaned them out and are basically left with no options. And in my view it's not only the forwards. Who do we have who can play on the wing? Borini? Assaidi? Downing, who has been played as a left-back twice before today? Joe Cole? That doesn't fill me with confidence. Some might suggest that I have forgotten Raheem Sterling, but I still think it's too early for him. Yes, he looks like a boss player, but he's still only 17 years old.

So, I cannot agree with your assessment that before Friday it was a good summer. Yes, the signings we did make were good, but we didn't manage to adress the biggest problem in the squad and that is in attack. We've let players go, but failed to replace them. I'd agree that Kuyt didn't have a good season, but still he gave us options. Something we're seriously lacking upfront at the moment...

I have to agree this has possably been the worst Transfer window we have had for quite some time, we have left our selves short of options upfront. We should not be leaving it to the last day of the window to buy players thats the actions of smaller clubs or if you pick up a bad injury to a player and need to cover. Every year we seem to leave it late to start buying players when in reality it should really be done before you start the season. Other clubs do it why can't we, We never seem to learn and how long have we been saying we need options upfront. The forward line should have been sorted first not last or not at all as in the case of this window.
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #27 on: September 3, 2012, 08:53:52 AM »
Until the last 2 days, it had been a pretty solid, sensible transfer window.

Offline richiedouglas

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #28 on: September 3, 2012, 09:01:32 AM »
"There are operational things we need to sort out and if we do that, that will help us in the next transfer window"

Ayre?

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #29 on: September 3, 2012, 09:04:38 AM »
Remember the days we had the choice of Fowler, Owen, Heskey, Litmanen?

Seems like a lifetime ago.

And all the media were saying you don't need all those strikers.

Offline Kansti

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #30 on: September 3, 2012, 09:09:09 AM »
Fantastic OP. Was a pleasure to read.

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #31 on: September 3, 2012, 09:20:16 AM »
Tony Barrett's piece today had faint* echoes of Rafa and Hicks and Gillett; the cracks appearing between owners and manager. If the owners appoint a manager and acquiesce to his wish not to have a DoF, then perhaps it is risky to impose the DoF heavy hand from Boston and entrust negotiations to a man with too much to do and not much history of being an effective football administrator.
It's disingenuous to say the problems lay elsewhere on the pitch on Sunday. How much did playing Thursday (because we have a thin squad) affect Gerrard and Suarez? How would the match have turned had we had more penetration so easing Gerrard's anxiety on this front? How would it have turned had a goal been scored our end first?
 *I mean faint echoes - I'm certainly not comparing the situations, merely pointing out that as a club we carry baggage that affects trust.
« Last Edit: September 3, 2012, 09:21:59 AM by No666 »
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Offline helmboy_nige

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #32 on: September 3, 2012, 09:34:48 AM »
If I was manager and only prepared to let Carroll go out if I had a replacement in then I would make it clear he leaves AFTER the other deal is done. Seems completely logical to me.  The Carroll situation and BR's comments only a few days ago about 'would be mad to let him go without a repacement' just make the situation all the more disappointing.

I agree, but I think this is a clear case of a new manager trusting in what he was being told by his superiors.  They said they had deals to sew up and he trusted them.

I doubt he'll make that mistake again.

Oh and great OP as always.  Helps to cut through the hype you get post-match.

Offline DutchRed

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #33 on: September 3, 2012, 09:35:52 AM »
If I was manager and only prepared to let Carroll go out if I had a replacement in then I would make it clear he leaves AFTER the other deal is done. Seems completely logical to me.  The Carroll situation and BR's comments only a few days ago about 'would be mad to let him go without a repacement' just make the situation all the more disappointing.

It's not just Carroll, it's as well Maxi, Kuyt and Bellamy and Adam and Spearing gone.

In the middle those two were replaced by Sahin and Allen so the numbers were made up alright.

But replacing Carroll, Maxi, Kuyt and Bellamy by two unexperienced players from Heerenveen and Roma is utter, pure and complete madness. We've lost FOUR of the most prolific goalscorers in the squad and signed NONE who is going to score those goals in return. Sahin and Allen aren't, Assaidi doesn't look like a starter anytime soon and Borini, well, he scored a couple at Roma but you can hardly expect someone who's only 21 to bang in the goals in his first Premier League season.

To take four goalscorers out of a goal-shy squad is risky, but to bring no goalscorers in it, well, I think that beats the Kenny/Comolli-window of last year for stupidity.
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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #34 on: September 3, 2012, 09:40:54 AM »
Excellent post/article. Sums up much of what I was thinking.

In the short term, the lack of an extra striker didn’t necessarily cost us yesterday, which in itself is a concern (although probably not unsurprising at this stage). Longer term then it clearly could be an issue.
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Offline No666

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #35 on: September 3, 2012, 10:37:29 AM »
Piece from Tomkins I largely agree with.

http://tomkinstimes.com/2012/09/good-riddance-to-a-grim-week/

There’s no point in me submitting a piece to the official site this week, as I can’t think of anything good to say about the past seven days. (It takes about five times as long to delicately word a piece at a time like this, and I don’t have the energy.)

Aside from the bright sparks offered by Raheem Sterling, Joe Allen and a late cameo from Jonjo Shelvey (average age of 19.7 for that trio) against Arsenal, it’s been a quite wretched week.



I said it on this site before the game, but why the hell was Brendan Rodgers picking Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez for the Europa League game so soon after the monster clash with City, and another big test against Arsenal?

Liverpool’s two most recognisable players were dreadful against the Gunners. Absolutely awful. Gerrard kept miscontrolling the ball and passing to Arsenal players, and Suarez kept running into their central defenders with his head down.

Also, why was Kenny Dalglish sacked over cup form that impinged on league performance, only for the new man to then pick a strong team in the bloody Europa League that jeopardised the far more important fixture? Are we learning nothing? Has this not been pointed out to him?

And what the hell went on with regards to the transfer deadline day dealings? More on that in a bit.

Momentum Myth

TTT subscriber Professor Mike Begon proved on this website last season that momentum from winning games is a myth.

“So what can we conclude from all this? First, evidence for any kind of positive momentum effect at the team level is weak at best. That evidence suggests, at most, a small effect – nothing like what most people imagine to be the case.”

Until I read Mike’s piece, along with the academic research underpinning it, I had a hunch that winning a cup game could be very good for the forthcoming weekend. That said, I was also aware – as everyone in football now knows – that games played in quick succession take their toll. With Arsenal having no midweek game, by playing our two creative sparks against Hearts, in a competition few people care about, Rodgers effectively tied one hand behind his back for this fixture.

It’s proven that results dip dramatically after midweek games. [Edit: The following has been added in the comments section. "From Raymond Verheijen’s study on recovery days: After only two recovery days: 70% fewer goals scored in 60-90 mins; After only two recovery days: 75% more goals against in 60-90 mins"].

Only the teams with the biggest squads can cope, and Liverpool do not possess a big squad. That’s not Rodgers’ fault. But as of today, it is smaller than it needs to be.

It didn’t help that either he, Ian Ayre or FSG, or a combination of all three parties, messed up on Friday, tying the other hand in the process. That something went spectacularly wrong is undeniable. Rodgers was adamant in his desire to bring in a striker, as detailed by Gareth Roberts on The Anfield Wrap. Those quotes are legitimate, and alarming. After today’s game, Rodgers said that he wouldn’t have let Carroll go had he known no-one would come in.

And yet the manager must have been involved in the decision to release Andy Carroll before the replacement had been in place. Why not wait for proof? To lose Bellamy, Kuyt, Maxi and Carroll in one window, from a squad already lacking goals, and bring in only one (semi-)proven goalscorer in Borini, is unfathomable.

I’m admittedly seething after the Arsenal performance and result, and having a bit of a rant, but who will take responsibility?

The Sunday Times today reports that Rodgers turned down a £15m move for Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge, instead wanting the player on loan. If so, then he is arguably also culpable, although presumably he thought Clint Dempsey was nailed-on. In the end, the Reds got neither. They got no-one.

My main frustration with Rodgers, however, is that he put Suarez and Gerrard through 90 minutes on Thursday. Even Roy Hodgson, whose delusions were as large as his football was grim, let the medical staff talk him out of playing Fernando Torres in the largely meaningless European competition.

Had Liverpool not just played City, and were not just about to face Arsenal, I’d have cut him more slack on this. But it seems that the Reds’ chances of winning were slashed by his actions. Being 17th won’t make Rodgers’ transition any easier. And now there are six extra unwanted games across Europe to muck up the schedule.

Rodgers has come in demanding full control, and while that’s understandable, it means that more of the buck stops with him. Liverpool didn’t press from the front today, and part of that must be down to the lack of fresh legs. The attacking players, bar Sterling, just did not look fresh in any aspect of their play, even if Liverpool’s build-up wasn’t too bad at all.

Managers make mistakes, and overall, Rodgers needs to be cut a lot of slack. But it’s been a week that, as a fan, I’ve found hard to stomach, as it’s been a number of self-inflicted wounds. Defeats I can take, and remain optimistic after; but this has been unnecessary. You can’t put a gun to your toes and mess around with the trigger, and then wonder why you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

Friday evening was reminiscent of being a kid on Christmas Day, and, after great anticipation, discovering that there were no presents; forgetting, as we do in our childish state of mind, that we’d already had a lot of them – Borini, Assaidi, Sahin and especially the glorious midget that is Joe Allen – in the weeks leading up to the big day.

What stung most, though, was discovering that our parents had taken the toys we were given last year and handed them to a charity shop, and Santa had stolen the leftovers.

I still believe that FSG are trying to do the right things, but clearly they are losing the benefit of the doubt at an alarming rate. FSG inherited a club in a total financial mess, and Rodgers is trying to reshape the formation with a younger team and a reduced wage bill. It’s not easy, but the aim is to not make it harder than it needs to be.

The first XI has a strong look about it, but there’s precious little to call upon from the bench. The top scorer out of the subs got two goals last season, and there were two centre-backs but no strikers. This season in the league Liverpool have scored just twice – one from a centre-back – and conceded seven. They’ve yet to score in open play.

Stewart Downing came on and didn’t play badly as such, but just 10% of his passes went forward. This follows on from an almost equally paltry 9% against West Brom. Compare that with 37% from Borini and 35% from Sterling against Arsenal (whose pass completion was 87% to Downing’s 35%), with both starting wide-men passing forward 24% of the time against City. Maybe I’m reading too much into such figures, but Downing, who has looked good at left-back with grass ahead of him to attack, does not take any kind of risk in the final third as a winger.

It’s far too early to write Rodgers off, and everyone at the club will make mistakes (that’s life, after all). There’s no need to panic. But so much about the past week has seemed so damned avoidable. We need to be patient, but we can’t be expected (to some degree) to write off the season until the transfer window opens again in January; the whole point of not buying last winter was the time afforded in the summer. Come the summer, and it’s left right until the last 48 hours, and then results in failure.

An injury to Suarez (or too many tired games like this) and it’ll be hard to remain optimistic.

In fairness, Arsenal were excellent today. Funnily enough, they played good football with an utterly immobile big front man. They exploited the space behind the Reds’ full-backs, and met with a Pepe Reina who looks to have his gloves on the wrong hands. (Do we have a goalkeeping coach anymore?)

The one silver lining with the lack of new attacking signings is that it gives the youngsters more of a chance. Raheem Sterling is playing like I always thought he eventually would, but doing so at 17, not 19. He’s been awesome. Samed Yesil may need to be on the bench, along with Adam Morgan, simply to have a striker or two in reserve. At the very least, these kids need to be used in Europe.

(Didier Drogba as an option would be nice, but there’s a danger in breaking the wage structure, especially for someone who, though still effective, is 34. The same can be said of Nicolas Anelka. As for Michael Owen, I’ve no idea if he can still play football, it’s been that long. As he’s also a free agent, I’d probably also consider Florent Sinama-Pongolle, still only 27, simply for some kind of experience in reserve.)

As I’ve said for years, the problem with transitions is that if it gets away from a manager – if results are too bad (even if he has good ideas) – then it becomes harder to get things right, with the pressure intensifying. A lot of new projects need time, but results have to be good enough to see you through the painful teething problems. (Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if it was too vulnerable to being burned down in its early stages, it might never have succeeded.)

Having already dropped five out of six home points (admittedly against top sides), the hope of a relaxed, bouncing Anfield crowd recedes, when improving the home form – and the scoring record – was the obvious aim for 2012/13.

For this project to have the best chance of succeeding, Liverpool need to cut out the sloppy mistakes at all levels of the club. Cock-ups in the transfer market and needless Europa League selections have harmed the Reds’ chances of a better start, as have poor goalkeeping, erratic finishing and slack back-passes – but (deep breath…) it’s still early days.
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Offline soberphobia

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #36 on: September 3, 2012, 11:10:02 AM »
Good article with balance L6 red. I even like Tomkins article and i normally find him to be little more than PR or well written fanboy. At the conclusion we find....
 We need a striker. Our squad is too small to fight on many fronts so we should pick our fights well. FSG's honeymoon period is well and truly over and they need to get a bit more savvy about the football business.
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Offline Gnurglan

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #37 on: September 3, 2012, 12:17:48 PM »
Within 48 hours, Rodgers' job at Anfield has gone from moulding a talented young squad into his own into swatting away questions about discontent with those above him in the hierarchy. That, more than any issue over the brevity of the squad, is the biggest problem. Rodgers had a tough enough task to turn the club around to begin with; if he's going to do it, he'll need support, competence and few distractions from above. No more PR disasters. That's more important than any striker.

Link: http://t.co/Kay6DVZM

Good read. I chose to display the last paragraph only, because it's very important. Rodgers has a lot of work in front of him. Difficult work. And IMO the club have not helped him. That includes finding the striker, it includes our inability to sell players who shouldn't be here. Another part of it is Rodgers' relatively short CV. As soon as we get some difficulties, he's in danger of being questioned.

The effect is we place a very big burden on the manager to fix things. And with the talks about us not being willing to spend the extra million or two on Dempsey (but we were ready to pay twice the amount for Sturridge), it really sends a very strange message. We hired Rodgers to get us back on track, we hand him full responsibility, but then we veto the signings on the last day of the window. 

In short, we are in danger of leaving Rodgers on his own. Just like when we were prepared to first support Suarez, and then we (except for Kenny) left him on his own. We let him take the shit, when we should have taken things to court to clear his name. We have difficult times ahead and we need Rodgers to be able to rely on the people above him. Otherwise, he has no chance.

          * * * * *


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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2012, 03:47:48 PM »
Worth a bump this.

Offline a clueless whopper

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Re: LFC need stability more than any striker
« Reply #39 on: January 2, 2013, 03:41:50 PM »
I dunno if this is the right thread but Roy and another poster mentioned our current structure, where we have someone in charge of scouting, analytics and medical and who have a meeting with Rodgers regularly. Do we have a place where these people are discussed and names?