Archive for September, 2011
Friday Sep 30Posted by: Guest Writer Comments Off
The biggest game of the season so far for Liverpool takes place on Saturday with Liverpool heading to Goodison Park to take on Everton, the knowledge that Everton can go above Liverpool with a win despite still having a game in hand will bring about extra tension and makes it a must win game really for Liverpool and the bookies make Liverpool the favourites to take all three points.
It looks a very open match though, by offering 6/4 on the favourites Liverpool, the bookies are clearly suggesting that this is one of the hardest games to call all season. Fans who like to back Liverpool on a regular basis will be very pleased to see those odds, Liverpool were just 2/5 to beat Wolves last week so the opportunity to watch Liverpool win and back a 6/4 winner will tempt many in. An Everton victory is just about deemed the second most likely outcome at 21/10 with the draw only slightly bigger odds at 23/10 at the time of writing.
Neither side has enjoyed a huge advantage over the other in recent years at Goodison, out of the last eight matches between the two teams at Goodison Park Liverpool have had most success with four wins, Everton have won three and there has been just one draw. Backers of under 2.5 goals at 8/11 may point to the fact that the last four derbies at Goodison Park have had under 2.5 goals but it is worth noting that Liverpool’s last six league visits to Goodison Park have all had at least two goals in so you’d expect there to be at least a couple of goals. Both teams have also kept just one clean sheet in all competitions so far this season so again at least two goals looks likely making over 2.5 goals look good value at 11/10.
The 2-0 scoreline could be popular with the last three league games between these teams at Goodison all being won by that scoreline, a 2-0 win for Liverpool can be backed at 11/1 whilst a 2-0 win for Everton is 14/1. With both teams struggling for clean sheets the 2-1 win might actually represent a better bet, Liverpool look good value at 8/1 to win by that scoreline whilst anyone who thinks the draw is the best bet will surely be tempted by the 16/1 on a 2-2 scoreline.
Luis Suraez’s goal against Wolves last week meant he has now scored in three of the four league games Liverpool have scored in this season, you’d certainly expect Liverpool to score this weekend so Suarez should once again be amongst the goals, 6/4 on Suarez to score at anytime looks a good bet whilst anyone wanting a bet at bigger odds should look to back Suarez to score the first goal at 11/2.
Are Liverpool a good bet at 6/4 to win this game? Will Suarez score once again in this match? Let us know your thoughts and best bets on this crucial game.
For the latest tips on Liverpool v Everton , visit the highlighted link.
The youngsters beat Molde 3-0 yesterday more…
Glen Johnson has been ruled out of the derby more…
(Which means he will most likely face United)
However Daniel Agger is back in training more…
(Don’t think he will make Sunday however)
Kenny says that the new boys are ready for the derby more…
(Bring on the bitters)
Here is the King’s press conference in full
(They are always great)
Dirk Kuyt believes that Suarez can get better more…
(Just can’t get enough)
Steve Clarke gives a little training insight more…
Jordan Henderson talks about all the young talented English players more…
Distin compares Suarez to Aguero more…
(No, Suarez is better)
Talk on Jonjo going to Blackpool on loan more…
(We are going to loan them a player after they tore our hearts out over Adam last January?)
And finally Roy Hodgson chimes in on the Tevez saga more…
(Hey now that is a good idea. Tevez can play under Roy and try to catch all the hoof balls)
On Twitter @empireofthekop
Saturday will see the Reds play the first of two of the most important fixtures of the season: away to Everton at Goodison.
The above game plan is how I would initiate the first battle skirmishes, because battle it shall be! Kenny will most probably go for his favoured 4-4-2 set up but I would like to think we can play some mind-games with the Blues and present ourselves with a set-up that sends the right message to the Evertonians: ‘We’re going for the jugular!’
4-2-3-1 would be my pick, and this would be the starting line up! Please allow me to make some clarifications and considerations. Why 4-2-3-1? Well, this is a very attack-prone set-up which however allows you to revert to 4-5-1, 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 in the blink of an eye (or with a simple gesture from the Manager). Why these players? Well, let’s say that deep down I would have preferred Coates to Skrtel, as for the rest, that would be my starting eleven for the derby. Lucas would be asked to do his usual (front of back four) patrol and interdiction shift, while Gerrard would hover over the halfway line to dictate the tempo and initiate most of our attacking forays with his vision and legendary distribution (something we have been lacking). Bellamy and Downing would scour the flanks giving us width plus depth, and keep their full-backs anchored in their positions, providing rapid movement and providing ammunition for Carroll and Suarez, who have liberty of movement along the full width of the attacking front.
There is no Kuyt or Adam in this line-up because the scope here is to have speed of execution, added scoring options and the possibility to switch Bellamy and Downing from left to right and vice-versa giving their defense no fixed reference points, because both Bellamy and Downing are brilliant and as effective on either flank. Carroll can grasp the attentions of the centre-backs in a brut power struggle leaving openings for Suarez and the occasional stealthy incursion by Gerrard.
It is probable that Kenny & Co will go for a more prudent approach, possible the usual 4-4-2. We have to see if Gerrard will be given a start and if Bellamy will be given faith to inflict damage. We need to be audacious here. We need to show Everton we are going for the win. We need to be tactically more polyvalent and flexible, morphing our strategies according to the run of play. We also need to send a clear message to Man Utd that we are going to give them more than a run for their money, come their turn.
We just can’t keep a clean-sheet at the minute, can we?
Daniel Agger’s latest injury certainly won’t help and neither will Martin Skrtel causing the fans to have their hearts in their collective mouth every time the ball comes near him. At half-time on Saturday, a win against Wolves looked a formality. Liverpool were 2 goals up and deservedly cruising. Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez were starting to click and all was well. Not for long. A Steven Fletcher goal in the 49th minute made for a nervy second-half for Liverpool. We did manage to get the win, but on another day we might not have.
So, what could Kenny do to tighten it up at the back? Steve Clarke is one of the best coaches around and was part of Mourinho’s Chelsea who were known for their rigid unit, so the training methods are unlikely to be the root of the problem. It must be something else. Now, this is just a shot in the dark but I think there might be something in this: The likes of Skrtel are not good enough to play the amount of games they do.
Controversial? No, I didn’t think so.
“But what about Jamie Carragher?” I see you tweet. “He’s too old, too slow and just hoofs it” What would you do? Drop him and play Skrtel and Seba Coates together for a month? Disaster waiting to happen. Carragher has forgotten more about defending than Skrtel has ever known. He is the leader in that defence, he hates conceding and demands concentration at all times from whoever else plays alongside him, you only have to watch his reaction to Spearing after his mistake lead to the penalty in Brighton. That was a Carling Cup match that we looked to have wrapped up. The man HATES deficiency in his back-line, so much so that his anger warrants capital letters.
Lets imagine Agger is out injured until the end of the season, because as classy a defender as he is, he can’t string 10 matches together without breaking, tearing, bruising or stretching something. Is Carragher alongside Skrtel, Coates or Danny Wilson going to be enough? No.
In my humble opinion, Kenny needs to invest in January. Skrtel just isn’t good enough and should be sold. We need another leader in that defence to keep some authority at the back when Carragher does eventually start to get phased out. I know this name gets banded around a lot but I genuinely believe he would be perfect for the situation, and that man is: Christopher Samba. He’s a leader; he’s 27 so he is at a good age and hardly long term so he won’t halt Coates and Wilson’s progression.
I don’t think Coates is ready to be thrown in as a regular starter yet. He’s in a similar situation to Lucas, coming straight from South America having made a bit of a name for himself as one of the brightest talents in that that part of the world. Seba’s performances in the Copa America earned him rave reviews; one journalist went as far as saying he is “twice the player of Phil Jones”. High praise indeed. But I think he needs to be eased in to European and more specifically, English football. Next season he may well be a regular starter, and a darn good one at that. But it’s only early days for him yet.
Danny Wilson is in more or less the same boat albeit with more experience of European football. Arriving from Rangers last season with a pedigree as one of the brightest talents in the UK, he seems to have slipped under the radar. I personally think he will be a very good player but he just doesn’t get any games. Bit of a funny one, Danny Wilson.
Anyway. That’s about enough of me playing Football Manager. Over to you; what do you think? IS Carragher too old? Should Kenny persist with Skrtel? Let me know in the comments or Twit me @DanRobinson23.
By Daniel Robinson http://releasethekrakenlfc.blogspot.com/
30 years ago today the Great Bill Shankly passed away
Karen Gill (Shankly’s grand-daughter) talks on how her grandpa would have backed Kenny 100% more…
Ronnie Moran has thanked fans more…
(Get well soon Ronnie)
Steve Clarke has defending our start of the season more…
The date of the Carling Cup tie has been confirmed – Oct 26th more…
(7:45PM kickoff, it is a Wednesday and we are away to Stoke)
Souness has called Carlos Tevez a disgrace more…
Charlie Adam is relishing to play in the derby more…
(Go get ‘em Charlie)
Dirk Kuyt wants to continue his derby goalscoring record more…
(Yes you can)
However this is not stopping the rumour-mill from linking him with other clubs more…
The Kuytmeiser talks on how Voronin made him a hero more…
And Malaga after Reina? more…
(Pepe will not go to Malaga)
Collymore believes that Bellamy’s arrival is bad news for Carroll more…
(I disagree, I think it will raise his level like we saw against Wolves)
Joe Cole believes that his new team mate Eden Hazard is a class act more…
(We know that)
Enrique is loving life at LFC more…
He admits to watching Ashley Cole videos more…
(Hopefully they are football ones ;-) )
Tim Cahill is expected to feature in the derby more…
(Bring him on)
The club is working closely with the City for a good cause more…
Martin Kelly, Jonjo Shelvey & Jordan Henderson are in the England U-21 squad more…
(Good luck, stay safe)
And finally Titus Bramble has been arrested on drug and rape charges more…
(Tevez called to thank him for taking the heat from him)
On Twitter @empireofthekop
Stewart Downing came to Liverpool with many fans feeling that we had settled for second best after United had signed Ashley Young. Some even intimated that, in replacing Downing with N’Zogbia, Villa had improved their first team for a fraction of the price. Dalglish has always insisted that Downing was his first choice, and a look at his first six games for Liverpool helps to show why this was the case.
Downing made his debut against Sunderland on the opening game of the season. He played the first half on the left. A look at his heat map from the first half shows that he was regularly getting down the wing to the touchline, where he is at his most dangerous:
He played many penetrating balls into the danger area in the first half and linked up well with Enrique down the left hand side.
A turning point for his performance was when he switched to the right for one move in the first half, cutting inside in the 33rd minute and sending a thundering drive onto the crossbar. Had this move led to the debut goal his effort deserved, Liverpool would have gone in at half time 2-0 up, well on the way to a comfortable win.
This one successful move led to an experiment, with Downing playing on the right for the rest of the game. From this side of the pitch, he was much less effective, getting less of the ball and failing to make as many penetrating runs to the touchline. His second half heat map shows this clearly:
Against Arsenal, this experiment of switching Downing to the right continued. It was an extremely positive performance by him, with 55% of his possession taking place in Arsenal’s final third. His heat map shows that he spent almost as much time on the right hand side as he did on the left.
Henderson was again much more effective down the left hand side, and his partnership with fellow new boy Jose Enrique continued to flourish. Arsenal’s young full back, Jenkinson, was left chasing shadows as the two passed the ball around him down the left flank:
The partnership between Downing and Enrique has been one of the highlights of the season so far. Both players are naturally left footed, very attack minded and they both possess the ability to pass and move quickly and accurately. Much of our good work so far this season has come from their link up play.
The importance of playing Downing on the left hand side is evident when looking at the heat map for the away defeat against Stoke. For the first time, he actually played more of the match on the right than he did on the left:
His partnership with Martin Skrtel did not bear fruit. Skrtel does not have Enrique’s ability to drive into the final third on the overlap, and Downing does not have the ability with his right foot to get penetrating crosses into the box. This led to a situation where the interplay between Skrtel and Downing was completely ineffective. It personified the performance: Liverpool dominated possession but could not find a way through the Stoke defence.
The Tottenham game again exposed Downing’s ineffectiveness on the right, although he is in no way to blame for the 4-0 defeat.
Based on the heat map in his sixth game against Wolves, the experiment of “Downing on the Right” is over:
For the first time this season, Downing did not get a touch of the ball on the right hand side of the pitch. He spent an astonishing 60% of his time in the left hand corner of Wolves’ half, where he is at his most dangerous. At times, he and Enrique were playing keep ball down the left so effectively that even their Liverpool team mates must have felt left out. The following chalkboard shows just how well this partnership is developing:
Looking at the above chalkboard in more detail, it is also clear that Suarez and Carroll were benefiting from Downing’s dominance down the left, with each of them collecting the ball from him on the edge of the six yard box twice. Given the finishing ability of both strikers, if Downing is able to provide an average of four balls into this area each game we are in for some very high score lines.
Overall, Downing’s start to the season has been very consistent. The highlight has been the partnership with Enrique whilst the low light has been the largely unsuccessful experiment down the right. He has been a great asset to the team and is an early contender to be runner-up to Suarez for player of the season.
Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Joescouse_lfc
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