The season so far- Is it all doom and gloom?

Played 4, Won 2, lost 2. Not the record of Champions, not the record of title contenders. The pre season hype is long gone now among the Anfield faithful, the doors of reality that have beckoned upon us; we lose anymore and this season could all be over. You can’t win the title this early on, but you can certainly lose it.

 

So where are things going wrong? Is this really the team that did the double over United and Chelsea last year?

 

The number one reason for the poor start was the departure of Xabi Alonso. A likeable figure in the dressing room, his loss affected team morale and on the pitch it was further noticeable. Against Tottenham Huddlestone and Palacios controlled the midfield like no one has before against Liverpool, Lucas at his best looked inept, and Mascherano showed a desire which had ‘I want to play for Barcelona’ written all over it. Against Aston Villa, it was the same, Lucas and Mascherano weren’t able to seize the game and push up, and they were playing too deep, with the attack becoming isolated.

 

It hasn’t helped that we have to wait upto 2 months for Aquilani to be match fit, but while we await ‘the little prince’, Gerrard should play a deeper role and gain control of the game, something that Lucas struggles to do so and push Benayoun in just behind Torres. We played this way in the second half of the Villa game, and it was effective.

 

Adding to Alonso’s departure Kuyt could not hit water even if he fell off a boat and Gerrard has looked lacklustre, no more so than in the Aston Villa match after which  Benitez deservedly criticised him for his poor performances, giving Gerrard a reality check.

 

The defence looks shaky, Skrtel hasn’t recovered from the blow he got from Carragher in the Spurs game. Were playing with 2 new wing backs, and against Tottenham I lost count the amount of times Johnson was caught out of position. It forced Carragher out wide to the right, and created space within the middle.

 

Zonal v man to man marking, the old debate. Aston Villa used zonal against us, and it was effective. So it is naive to lament an effective system, but Liverpool genuinely have trouble defending with it. Rafa needs to sort this out, because when Liverpool are at their best, set pieces are the only way they can be attacked

 

The lack of fire power upfront is worrying. So far Voronin has been coming off the bench, but personally I’ll drive him back to Berlin myself if I could. Babel hasn’t been used since his shocker at the Lane. After the Spurs game Glen Hoddle pointed out how weak Liverpool’s bench looks compared to Totenham’s, and he had a point. The first eleven is strong, but were a couple of injuries away from really struggling.

 

So now the positives to cheer you guys up. The number one positive is that Fernando Torres looks on form. He has scored 3 goals already, and his overall game looks really strong.

 

Glen Johnson is looking strong going forward, and is really adding an extra dimension to the attack. He is another option for scoring goals, something that Liverpool have been lacking after overly relying on Torres and Gerrard. He has 2 already this season, with his predecessor Arbeloa only managing 1 all last season.

 

The 3A’s are still all out. Agger, Aurelio and Aquilani will all have a place in the first 11. Agger will help bring the ball out from the back, someithng Liverpool are lacking since (you guessed it) Alonso’s departure. Aquilani, when fit will show why we spent 20 million on him. The team will only look stronger with these three.

 

Man utd aren’t looking that good either. They have been very average so far, their play is predictable, and lacking potency. Ronaldo’s loss is bigger to them than Alonso’s is to Liverpool. Nani looks no where near a Ronaldo replacement, despite the hype he is getting every time he does a stupid flick or step over. Ferguson doesn’t know his strongest 11, Carrick and Anderson don’t know whether they are coming or going. Ben Foster looks like he needs a double vodka and coke to calm his nerves.

 

Chelsea by far look the strongest team, playing good football with a settled team. However, it may have been a different story if Burnley or Sunderland had taken their chances. But like most teams they will face adversity, they will get injuries to their big players, and then it shall be seen if they pass the test.

 

This season looks fascinatingly exciting because there will be a lot of shock defeats. Going away to Fulham or at Turfmoor is no longer an easy trip. The quality this year has improved, Man city and Tottenham are a lot stronger. Arsenal look like they will be challenging this year.

 

At Anfield the international break will be timely for Benitez to sort out a few tactics, and allow the players to recover from the injuries. Benitez is adamant that this is the year, so write Liverpool off at your peril, there is still life in this old dog.

2 Responses to “The season so far- Is it all doom and gloom?”

  1. jacko_dale Says:

    I think once Aquilani is fit and setlled you’ll look a lot more solid in the centre of the park. I’ve said it to many Liverpool fans and been immediately shot down, but I honestly don’t think Lucas is, or ever will be good enough for a team of your stature. I’m often shouted down by arguments like “he’s not an attacking player”, “he’s not an alonso type player” and this maybe so, but whatever he’s been signed to do he isn’t very good at in my eyes.

  2. Anfield 19 Liverpool Says:

    Now that you’ve mentioned it, and very perceptive since you made the observation at the start, perhaps the ‘poor form’ that so many of the players have is simply a lack of will to play for the team. Mascherano certainly looks that way since the very start. Torres appears to be evolving into a Thierry Henry v2 with his tendency to sulk when he doesn’t score or gets frustrated. Gerrard looks to have given up hope since the start (despite his verbal proclamations to the contrary). I really hope Rafa can find a way to motivate the players or they could even lose out on the most important of all – Champions League qualification.

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