A Blessing In Disguise

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In a previous article I had warned not to get complacent after the well deserved win against Blackburn at Anfield and even suggested the game at Bolton would result in a boring draw or worse still another defeat. Thats the price paid whilst weathering the seesaw scenario brought about by regime change and which is only natural and part-and-parcel of a re-structuring process.

Well, how close to being spot on I was. Signs of improvement at containing a willing Bolton side but poor touches and finishing saw us create minimal danger going forward. In particular, Stevie was out of sorts with a particular shot way off target in the first half and which a few months ago would have been blasted goalwards leaving the goalie rooted to the spot. Miereles was the usual hard working character but still not decisive with his last touch. Patience is a virtue and right now Liverpool won’t have none of this and are resorting to precipitous passing and finishing. This is a result of huge expectations put on a club which has been through turmoil from top to bottom in the last few months.

The turning point in the match against Bolton was when Joe Cole was forced to leave the field after sustaining what seemed to be a hamstring pull. On came Ngog and now Liverpool had a player much more in tune with his Liverpool team mates. Joe Cole has been uncharacteristic so far (put back, one must say, by the three match ban earlier on in the season) and has failed to provide a satisfactory link-up with Torres bar one or two occasions. I’m sure that given more games, this aspect will be rectified.

Ngog has been the unsung hero so far this season. He is Liverpool’s top scorer in all competitions and is starting to improve his overall game, in particular ball control. It is then no mystery why Liverpool showed a step improvement with Ngog on the pitch. I have always been a fan of the 4-5-1 or 4-3-2-1 mode of play as it beefs up the midfield considerably well and provides for a reasonable attacking force. The focal point of such a formation is the area occupied by the two providers just behind Torres, namely Cole and Kuyt/Maxi as of late. If these two fail to provide the necessary link up, the three behind them – Gerrard – Lucas – Miereles – (the latter two are also keen to attack play) are left exposed and having to intercept attacking surges by the opponent. Cole and Maxi failed to reproduce the same intent shown against Blackburn and many times Liverpool’s attacking attempts were easily foiled.

Reverting to a conventional 4-4-2 system caught Bolton by surprise. Torres again took center stage during Liverpool’s goal setup, first by luring three Bolton players and then feeding the ball towards Maxi with a classy back heel. The Argentine’s finish was superb and was fully deserved after failing to grab a goal against Blackburn the previous week inspite of his excellent performance. The issue is now what setup to adopt for the game against Chelsea. Given the home advantage, the usual 4-3-2-1 formation looks like the ideal candidate, although Hodgson needs to sort out who to play instead of Cole now that news from medical quarters suggests the ex-Chelsea man will be out for two weeks. Given Cole’s below par form I was never convinced he would have given Chelsea a hard time. Ancelloti will know too well how to counter Cole’s influence so the injury, although never a good thing, will come as a blessing.

The safest bet in terms of formation is to use the same 4-4-2 system which paid dividends against Bolton towards the end of the game. Focus will again be on Torres as the Spaniard is now showing signs of a revival and Chelsea will want to ensure he’s well looked after but this may leave Ngog with more room to operate. Maxi will retain his place most notably because he is up for it at the moment and a classical four in midfield alleviates the pressure off the full backs when going forward. So although a 4-5-1 is ideal it’s not feasible given the injury concerns.

The Chelsea game is an ever more important encounter now that we’ve won two on the trot. Defeat at Anfield can send us spiraling out of control again heading towards the hectic Christmas period. So defeat must be avoided. A draw would be a good result against a high-flying team. In the mean-time focus will be on the events on Thursday evening when Liverpool host Napoli in a much anticipated encounter. The Italians have had a good start to the season and will want to build on the win at Brescia after a few draws and defeat at AC Milan. The atmosphere at Anfield will surely be electrifying and the crowd will play a part in helping the Reds overcome another Italian hurdle. What’s certain is that the home advantage must be made to count on Thursday but more importantly against the Blues on Sunday.

See you next time.

More Stories 4-5-1 Anfield Blackburn Bolton Chelsea Cole Maxi Napoli Ngog


  1. Shows haw far Hodgson has dragged our ambition and expectations down to his levels. A rather disjointed victory against fellow strugglers Bolton is good news, follwed by the hope of a home draw against Chelsea so we don’t ‘sprial out of control’.
    I have had enough of this joker destroying the ambition we’ve had since Shankly decided to turn us into “a bastion of invincibility”. Hodgson’s excuse that he’s in a ‘rebuilding’ job is paper thin. The team wasn’t in need of rebuilding until he arrived. If he thinks rebuilding involves players of the ‘quality’ of Konchesky and Poulsen, then he’s rebuilding Fulham. NESV use your eyes and ears, and rid of this imposter.

    1. It was the previous ownership that dragged our ambition and expectations down the drain. We all agree that some tactical decisions Hodgson has taken have been poor to say the least (including bringing Poulsen) but let us not forget that the damage done during the ownership crisis transcended down to the players and this takes time and patience to mend. Not to defend Roy, but most certainly all this criticism of Liverpool’s manager is not doing any good and is what our rivals love most.

  2. Bruno = Tit

    Another dis jointed liverpool fan that couldnt fight his way out of a paper bag, its fans like you dragging the club down to where it is.

    Stop moaning or find another club you moron

  3. Gaz,

    If you think Hodgson is doing a good job at LFC right now, you’re a joke. The man doesn’t seem to have any idea as to how to manage the club. The best he can do is blame his predecessor rather than focus on the job at hand. The sooner we get rid of him the better.

  4. Thanks Gaz for that insightful and constructive reply. I don’t recognise the ‘paper bag’ analogy, but I’m right in voicing my thoughts about Hodgson and his effect on the club. I wil not stand by and remain mute under the ‘let’s support our manager’ idea. Support him to do what? Buy useless players? Accept calling the supporters “a group of people”? Get behind his negative and dated tactics? Revel in his praise of opponents and their managers? Ignore lies and sniping criticicsm of a former manager? Constant public denigration of the squad and individual players? Enjoy his ‘low expectations’ at such places as Birmingham? Gain pleasure at the ‘good performance’ against Everton?
    Sorry mate, but I will be there on Thursday and Sunday actually paying to support my club. That support extends to the manager if he deserves it, not just because he picks up his pay cheque from the club, my club, every month.

  5. Watching Necastle beating Sunderland prior to our game against Bolton was like watching Barcelona if you compare the newcastle and liverpool. Boring and we were lucky to win.

  6. I think it is all about expectations which may have to be lowered.Newcastle United like to think of themselves as a big club yet have won nothing in my lifetime.Liverpools history and heritage is an albatross round its neck . Those who grew up in the trophy gorged 60’s ,70’s 80’s ( thats me btw) have to realise that for the time being at least we are at best ordinary.There isnt a 60 minute make over quick fix for this.too many players arent fit for purpose.We may forgive lack of ability but we wont forgive lack of guts

  7. I cannot believe nobody has really disagreed with the article? Play 4-4-2 against Chelsea, are you mad? Look what happened against City!

    Oh and the small point that we never once played 4-4-2 against Bolton???! It was 4-2-3-1 throughout the whole game, NGog caused all of the damage in the Gerrard role, just off Torres. Just because he is a striker doesnt automatically make it 4-4-2!

    Oh and err, it is a 4-2-3-1 as opposed to your suggested 4-3-2-1.

    1. a) 4-3-2-1, 4-2-3-1 – if anything it was Lucas in the holding role, gerrard, miereles in front and cole, maxi feeding Torres. Doesn’t matter – what matters is the two behind Torres. That was the gist of that particular point. It is imperative those two link up perfectly.
      b) It was 4-4-2 but anyway, it may have been different to you, doesn’t matter. It’s called perspective.
      c) Reg. Chelsea, what’s your point? Who do you suggest plays in cole’s absence? Forget the City game pls, that was screwed from the onset after Mascherano’s refusal to play.

  8. Gaz the only tit i can see is you!! if you think being in the bottom 3 for what seemd a long time is a man doing a good job for a big club like ours then your seriously deluded. Maybe if it was Fulham, Wolves, West Brom you could give him credit, but Roys turning the club in to a mid-table team and he needs to go now beofre he does more damage. I wouldn’t trust him with 1 penny of the January transfer money, maybe now Damian Commolis at the club he may give the owners some feedback about Roy and tell them he isnt good enough for us, since they only know about baseball.

    On the formation at Bolton Andy Gray seemed to think we would play 4-4-2 i think thats where the blogger Karl got it from, but if you watched the highlights on MOTD 2 we played more of a 4-2-3-1 formation. We would get hammered if we played 4-4-2 against Chelsea maybe if we did Roy would get sacked, i think hes already lost faith in Poulsen or he would be playing aginst teams like Blackburn and Bolton hes simply rubbish as is Konchesky……YNWA WIN, LOSE OR DRAW SHOW ROY THE DOOR

  9. If there are any Chelski or manc scum fans reading this (which they invariably do as proved by various blogs in the run up and during The Champions League Final 2005) they must be rubbing their hands together at the bitter waring and sniping going on between fans on this and other sites.
    There was a time when it was well known that we had the classiest fans in the land but sadly that is not the case any more, it is no wonder that the home bred scouse element of the club are demanding their club back and that only true Liverpudlians get to attend games and banish the ” out of towners “.
    I have supported this club since the age of six years old (37 years), and though i am one of those ” out of towners ” i have spent time living on Merseyside so do have some experience knowing how local supporters feel about their club.
    I was not overjoyed when RH got the job,especially when it was highlighted that last season he managed to obtain with FFC more away draws than any other team and clearly was more defense based than attack minded, though i was of the opinion that RB had to go, not down to all his own doing but many contributing factors.
    After a somewhat disasterous start, caused on and off the field there are actually some signs of stability at the club now but all some people seem concerned with or intent on is ripping that to shreds and ” expressing their rights ” to moan and whinge about the club and it’s affairs turning it into even more of a laughing stock for opposing fractions.
    This season was always going to be a transitional one, thanks to the previous regime, so if during this time of rebuild LFC can do well in Europe and get back in the top four, which is more than possible, that would have to be seen as progress under the circumstances and not a backward step.
    There will always be plenty of things to be not happy about but if you cannot show your support for club you profess to love in a positive way, then at least try and keep your negativity hidden, especially in front of opponents.
    We never had this nonsense thirty years ago, i had the honour of meeting the late great BP once, and though he would have politely smiled at this media hype he was more than ruthless enough to know NEVER to show this kind of negative weakness outwardly.
    Roll on Sunday. Bring on Chelski. Have a little faith baby !

    1. Perfectly agree. It’s become a sort of civil war between Liverpool fans nowadays. We are all entitled to an opinion about Rafa, Roy, players and anyone connected to the club but we should criticize constructively. I see some comments (not only here but on other sites too) and feel that some fans live in a perfect World. I am a great fan of Rafa but I respect Mr Hodgson as a person and really wish him well irrespective of the many times I criticized him. He may not have the pedigree of other top class managers (or hasn’t yet exposed this side of his managerial talent) but he’s the one put in place to drive things. My first article sent a straight message that if things don’t improve by Christmas, Roy must depart – what surprised me was that fans were calling for his resignation already! The use of certain vocabulary should also be condemned. Let’s be more mature in the way we put forward our arguments. Respect please.

  10. ZAHID and BRUNO – Where did I mention hodgson doing a good job?????????????????

    I will say it again, both of you are utter tits, yes you are entitled to your opinion but if you cant even read a post properly then what hope do you both have?

    I get behind my team I dont giv a fuk who is in charge, you wont be saying anything after christmas I can promise you that and even you even say 1 good word about hodgson from here on in, then you will both not only be tits, but hypocritical ones aswell, I suggest that if we finish in the top 4 under roy, you celebrate silently because to the fans that get behind the team and what the manager is trying to acheive, they will get their rewards, I am saving this page until that time comes I suggest you do the same.

    Oh and btw, there are managers jumping up and down, full of quality waiting for the liverpool job.

    Fickle idiots

  11. Lol Gaz you seriously are clueless, save this page all you want, Roy wont last more than 1 season and hed be lucky to last the whole season. Do you think he can attract the worlds best players? The reason he attracts players like Carlton Cole, Crouch, Scharner, Poulsen, Konchesky, Brunt etc is because he has a small team mentality and the world class players wouldn’t want to play under him hes a deluded old man. He brings in a 70+ year old coach whose already caused some uncertinty between Pepe and the other foreigners, what Henry needs to do is not give him the money, hes just going to waste it then we’ll have to wait another few seasons without money, having to sell over priced players for cheap. Get in a new manager now. IL REPEAT THIS FOR GAZ JOHN HENRY REPLACE ROY NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW……YNWA……WIN LOSE OR DRAW SHOW ROY THE DOOR

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