So after the performance versus Chelsea hopes were raised of Liverpool fans after a dominant display versus the champions. The hope that there would be some form of consistent attacking football to ensure that Liverpool would continue to pick up the points that are needed to keep climbing up the table. However we had two away games on the bounce and this had lead to a draw at Wigan and a defeat at Stoke. It seemed that an over cautious defensive approach had held us back and continues to do so especially when we play away from home.
This was followed by an international break which saw captain Gerrard ruled out for 3 weeks starting with the victory over West ham on Saturday after a hamstring strain sustained while playing for England. Liverpool where furious that Gerrard was on the pitch for longer than the agreed hour when Barry and Ferdinand were taken off as injury precautions both of which returned to play this weekend. Only thing that I took from this is the importance of the Liverpool skipper to both club and country.
So the game on Saturday allowed the Reds fans to see their team play in dominant fashion against a West Ham team who failed to turn up in the first half and where barely able to string two passes together.
However credit where it’s due, the team played well and stuck to their task of ripping part West Ham in the first 45 minutes with good performances all over the pitch. Even the much criticised Christian Poulsen had a good game which forced a save from Green just after moments earlier Fernando Torres rattled the cross bar in the second half.
However in terms of Poulsen, I think the opposition helped him there as West Ham did nothing in terms of creating chances and it was more like watching a training session at times attack versus defence, Green pulled off some good saves to ensure they didn’t lose by more. You can only beat what’s in front of you and Liverpool did that and although the opposition wasn’t great Liverpool can take positives but the worrying thing is that we don’t seem to be scoring many goals in the second half.
Now I see this as worrying as if we are in a loosing position and we are not scoring in the second half then we won’t pick up points where we may be able to nick a draw or even later go for the win, a good example of this is Manchester United coming back against Aston Villa to draw 2-2. Another thing we need to look at is sometimes another goal helps to seal the win. A good example of this would be Arsenal’s capitulation on the weekend versus Tottenham, has they scored one more goal I doubt Spurs would have gone on to beat the Gunners.
Back on to Liverpool much has been made of the worrying statistics about Roy Hodgson’s form as a manager away from home, as a manager in the Premier League. Roy Hodgson has been manager for 105 away games in English football. He has only won 13 of those games.
This is a particularly worrying statistic as throughout his whole managerial career in English football what it boils down to is this Hodgson has won the same amount as Liverpool won in just 19 games in 2008/09? 13 games, this is a shocking statistic and it is not real wonder to see why we struggle away from home.
So looking at some other facts about the current Liverpool manager is another one that is truly shocking prior to Liverpool, 713 career games, 311 wins. 43.6% win rate. So these statistics don’t lie about the manager. It shows that he does adopt a defensive approach and goes for draws in certain circumstances rather than wins the game against Manchester United shows that.
Hodgson has also not been happy with the lack of creativity in the squad, it’s plain to see that he got rid of two of our most creative players last season now out on loan. Aquilani was top assist-maker in the Premier League in first half of 2010. Insua was top assist-making full-back for the period between Aug-March and these are two players who he has let go on loan. He replaced these players with the likes of Konchesky, Poulsen and Miereles.
We do have a solid defence none of which are really confident on the ball and our midfield is very narrow too, also there’s not much support for Torres at the top end of pitch for many games this season he has been subjected to chase down hopeful long balls. After watching him play it’s clear for the fans to see that this isn’t the service he thrives off. So how the manager doesn’t understand this it’s not really clear.
It’s clear to see that the club doesn’t really have a vision in where it’s going and the style of football that they should be playing. The club firstly needs to establish a style of play before signing players. All teams have a style a philosophy of how football should be played. Two good examples of this would be looking Arsenal and Barcelona who look for players with certain characteristics within players to put in to their team.
This is what Liverpool need to find again a sense of direction and individual style to their play and the best way to do that is by finding that style with the current players at the squad, It’s is clear that they need a new model that will be adaptable for senior players as well as the youth and reserve teams.
I feel that doing this will give Liverpool a solid base then they will be able to get the right staff in order to get the team playing in the way they are expected to play. Once this footballing philosophy has been set up then it would be appropriate to find a manager who will implement this as Arsene Wenger has done at Arsenal.
For much of the season fans have been critical of Hodgson even though I am one of those people i do feel that some of the criticism has be brought on to the manager by himself. I think from comments around the squad that Benitez left to bemoaning the lack of creativity as mention earlier he has not helped him self.
Now things was never so bad under Rafa and it was actually evident that we improved under Rafa but under Hodgson it looks like we will be stuck in mid table obscurity, it’s strange that we find ourselves in the situation we do, Hodgson record to date isn’t even as good as Rafa’s at his worst and it doesn’t even match up to his own record at Fulham.
It is clear to see that we need a manager who has the ability to adapt ot different situation and a forward thinking approach because it seems that even though we took a step forward versus Chelsea overall we are going in a backward motion at the moment and it could take time to build the forward momentum again.