by Shei Moin (@sheimo)
No not a crazy new formation! It refers to 5 games in which LFC have conceded 3 goals in each and one player has been Man of the Match in 4 of them.
Well we’ve let in 3 goals in all our pre season games now. Obviously this highlights a need to strengthen the defence. Whether that means putting in extra hours in training, working on more tactics or investing in the squad – there needs to be an improvement. I guess its easy to discount the Galatasaray game as that was a reserve team but that is still LFC and it shows our lack of in depth quality. If we had an injury crisis and these players needed to play we wouldn’t be saying its only a reserve team.
It looks increasingly likely LFC will sign Jose Enrique. Whether he is the best option or not he is better then what we have at the moment and as there aren’t many quality left backs available I would be glad to see him sign.
Another area of concern is centre back. Carragher is magic and should/will be 1st choice but we should expect him to be (slightly) less effective than in the past as he is 33. Hopefully he still has many more years to come. Agger is class but as we all know is injury prone. I like Skrtel but think he should only be a squad player as his tactical awareness has often let him down. Kyrgiakos has been a no nonsense, non complaining 4th choice but surely this is his last season.
We need another quality CB who can step in immediately. My choice would be Gary Cahill. Not because he’s English or anything like that but as he has vast premiership experience, has proven quality and will improve further with a top club. Also he would only play if Carra or Agger were unavailable. Sure he’d cost a lot of money for a 3rd choice but that is the going rate these days. Henderson and Downing are not going to play in every game and they cost a similar amount. It’s all about building a quality squad. Besides if we brought in a cheaper alternative from abroad and they only stepped in when needed it would take them longer to adjust as they may not get a good run of games. Cahill shouldn’t have that much of a problem as he is an experienced premiership player.
Then we come to the midfield. Overcrowded? Yes. Room for improvement? Definitely. With Gerrard increasingly likely to play less and less games we need to ensure we have a strong midfield even without him. That must be one of the reasons Henderson was signed – as a long term (indirect) replacement who can be developed into a proper LFC player. Adam will be a fantastic acquisition as has shown in pre season. Lucas has to be in the starting 11 due to his overall quality and will only get better.
This brings us to Aquilani. Does he want to go to Italy? Probably – but likely because he has been unwanted. He has been man of the match in 4 out of 5 pre season games and I don’t think he played (much?) against Hull. Sure you can only beat who is in front of you but the other LFC players have under performed against the same opponents. I’m almost certain he will leave. However from my point of view it feels like a waste to let such a talent go – especially for much less then what we paid. It comes down to a fight between Aquaman and Raul to play when Gerrard isn’t fit as Adam and Lucas will slot in somewhere. I think and hope we keep him at least until January as this will give us a chance to see if can in fact be a LFC player with the new regime. At that point we can offload either him or Meireles – another player I am a big fan of – if we need to. In January players fetch a premium, especially if they’re not cup tied for Europe as neither will be. Plus teams are more desperate to buy.
In summary Aquilani, if he is willing to fight for his place, should be given a chance considering Raul and Stevie are not yet ready to play. It’s certainly better then loaning him out again. Obviously if we get a really good price for him we should sell to strengthen other areas and hope Meireles doesn’t get 2nd season blues. Even without Gerrard Aquilani/Meireles, Adam & Lucas will make a strong central midfield.