Suso has signed a 3 year contract more…
Glen Johnson is happy with his return to form more…
According to Goal.com Glen told friends that he wants to move to Inter more…
King Kenny talks about the kids in the academy more…
(Some gems there)
Roy claims that Liverpool can manage without Gerrard more…
(To beat West Ham yes)
Raul Meireles talks about settling in more…
(After Saturday’s performance I would say that he is settled)
Roy salutes Poulsen more…
(Good game Saturday hopefully he keeps improving)
The Gaffer was also spotted at Lille scouting Gervinho more…
Martin Broughton talks about his time as LFC chairman more…
And according to Inside Futbol we are linked with Mamadou Sakho more…
(Is he good?)
Emre is also being linked more…
(I think he is too old for NESV)
And according to the Telegraph we ridiculed Avram Grant more…
(In good nature however good luck to Avram after all he did something Jose Mourinho and any Chelsea manager has failed to do is lead them to a European Cup Final.)
Rafa in the meantime seems to be in trouble at Inter and even Mourinho chimes in with “Why did you lose again?” more…
Follow on Twitter @empireofthekop
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.
Bayer Leverkusen’s defender Sami Hyypia has returned to full match fitness after the ankle injury which ruled him out for several weeks. Last Sunday he started against Bayern Munich after attending only three training sessions and the German tabloids are praising the Finn for his quality performance.
In today’s press they write:
“Sami’s performance was as solid as usual, and you couldn’t even note he was injured for such a long time, which is quite something regarding his age. He performed faultlessly today and was excellent in the air. We missed him and his strength and experience in the defence and are now more than glad he’s back.”
I feel SO proud of our Legend. :-)
by Bhaskar Upadhyay
Mr. Hodgson has been the manager of our beloved club for one third of the season now. It’s been a strange season with the highs and lows we have experienced. Mr. Hodgson, in his time as the LFC gaffer, has not impressed many fans and their have been PR gaffes almost every week since the start of the season. I will try and focus on some of mr. Hodgson’s transfers and youth policies that i have observed in the one third season gone by.
The first thing that strikes me is a decidedly more english approach to squad consolidation. Bringing in more english players while this has been partially done to meet the home grown players requirement but there is a definate leaning towards more british players. In this more british approach some of the better foreign players have been given the short stick by Mr. Hodgson. Take the interesting case of Alberto Aquilani, who has been loaned out to Juve when he was ready and fit again to give his best for LFC. There has been till date no logical explanation given by Mr. Hodgson on sending Aquilani on loan to Juve, on top of that juve have an option to purchase him in the summer transfer window at a very cheap price which will most definitely result in a loss to LFC. From whatever i have been able to gather from AA’s interviews he was prepared to stay at LFC till the penultimate day of his loan and after featuring regularly for Juve AA doesn’t want to come back to LFC. was there any logical reason for making such a loan or was it just Mr. Hodgson’s bias towards foreign players.
Another example of Mr. Hodgson’s bias towards foreign player was the virtual freezing out of Emiliano Insua from the squad before being sent on loan to Galatasary, again there was no logical reasoning to the loan move and his replacement is Paul Konchesky an englishman. Other such instances have been the continuous promotion of Jonjo, jay spearing and nathan ecclestone to the first time over one of our most talented youngster Dani Pacheco. In fact he has been asked to play on the right side of the midfield so that he can be accommodated in the first team. To make matters worse he has not seen much action at all in the europa league also. Again yes jonjo is a good player but that still does not justify dani nat being given even one opportunity to prove himself. The other such instances are not giving ryan babel proper opportunities after promising him so and his reportedly fragile relationship with peep rein.
So what do you fellow reds think, does Hodgson have an English bias and is it good or bad for the club?
The game against the Hammers was, for all intents and purposes, a must win and a time to recuperate on a horrendously looking goal difference. Win we did and although visibly happy after the final whistle, it was an insatiable emotion that took over a few seconds later leading to anti-climax conclusion that left me riling that our goal difference read -1, and, moreover, Stoke City were still ahead due to the afore mentioned parameter. Goal difference should never be overlooked and such an importance can only be emphasized in a season which is turning out to be one of the most competitive campaigns in the splendid history of top flight English football.
West Ham offered little in all areas. Slow to react, playing a lone and lost striker, a complete lack of cohesion between departments meant that Green was in for a torrid evening against a wounded Liverpool side missing the drive and status of Steven Gerrard. Green produced some World class saves in a struggle for damage limitation, but it was a Liverpool side that genuinely failed to deliver the goods in the second half after a splendid first forty-five, in which, most notably, El Nino failed to get on the score sheet. True to say, Liverpool should have scored one or two more but there is still reason to be satisfied. This was not your typical six nil thrashing where one player shines above the rest and scores a hat-trick. Liverpool’s win was a collective effort, the team bound as a working unit wanting to impress the home crowd and more importantly to bounce back after the Stoke reversal. If only the players can use this performance as an example of how best to approach games, especially away from home, then I’m sure we can hope for better days ahead. Hodgson himself seemed visibly agitated towards the end of the game and must have been unhappy that the scoreline only read three nil.
Tottenham host the Reds next this coming Sunday and this promises to be an entertaining game of football. Tottenham have only lost once at home this season, and this was back in August against Wigan. Since then Spurs have won three and have drawn three. Last Saturday’s triumph over arch-rivals Arsenal will be a much required boost for Harry Redknapp’s team having rediscovered winning ways against Blackburn the previous week. The North London derby continues to expose how Tottenham can turn things round after the break. The matches against Arsenal and Internazionale away from home are just two examples. The London club seems to kick start after half-time. On average, the first goal is scored around the 50th minute and half-time scores at White Hart Lane have typically been square at 0-0 or 1-1.
Tottenham are good value when coming back from behind but take time to settle in. It is not typical for Spurs to start with a high tempo. Liverpool must not be complacent. Defending the flanks will be key. We’ve seen Roy introduce the double, triple marking concept which is reminiscent of the “catenaccio” method used to devastating effect by Italian clubs such as Juventus and even the Italian national side. In this sense, Konchesky will be needing support as his defensive performances have been average to say the least. Back-up is a must. Doubling up on an opponent has a weak point in that position recovery needs to be swift. The usual positional discipline must be adhered to at all times especially against teams which can hurt if given the slightest of opportunities and Tottenham will have studied the weak characters in our side and the full backs will be number one targets.
An important factor is that Tottenham have leaked goals consistently. Seven goals conceded at home or an average of one goal let in per game played means Liverpool must ask questions of Totteham’s defense from the first minute. Defending deep is a certain recipe for disaster. Joe Cole may be fit for the first team but I would suggest against throwing the ex-Chelsea man in the thick of it all from the start. It is important not to disturb the delicate balance in the team and to deploy Maxi and Kuyt as forward suppliers to Torres. Lucas back in the team means we will have more of a tackling and inventive menace in midfield. Hodgson can opt to revert to the usual 4-3-2-1 formation playing Miereles, Lucas and Poulsen in the middle with Maxi, Kuyt just behind Torres. Lucas will be roaming in between Poulsen and Miereles hopefully mopping anything that gets through the middle. Kuyt and Maxi’s secondary function will be thwarting attacks going down the flanks – useless trying to defend determined attacks so stopping the menace up-field is important.
Liverpool have ample time to prepare for the big match. Spurs will be playing Werder Bremen in the Champions League on Wednesday and this will undoubtedly be a distraction for Sunday’s clash. Whatever the result on Wednesday, it will take a good 24 hours to get it out of the system which gives Redknapp little time to prime his players for the match against Liverpool. Hodgson and company will be studying the CL game in an effort to spot any deficiencies. Buoyed by the result at the Emirates, Spurs will expect a victory against Bremen inevitably increasing confidence levels which many times results in the unwanted effect of underestimating next opponents. Defending must be top notch on Sunday. Both teams will be up for it and both will want to consolidate positions near the top four. Tottenham is not an insurmountable hurdle – what Liverpool fans don’t want is another Stoke repeat, and, consequently a well deserved defeat. Good luck Roy, Liverpool.