Where is the consistency?
So Liverpool seem to be having a see-saw season this time, normally a good is result is either followed by defeat or a draw. It seems that Liverpool are struggling to get the win away from home, the major worry is the standard of play in the away games compared to that of the way we play at home.
Now many would have thought going in to the game against Newcastle on the back of a 3-0 win against Aston Villa the team would perform to a similar level and would come away with another win but this was far from the truth. I don’t think anyone envisaged a Newcastle win, as this is a team that had earlier in the week sacked their manager to replace him with a new man. Also Newcastle had failed to win in their last 5 games and where on the back on 3-1 defeat to WBA the week before.
Many have questioned Hodgson’s record away from home and rightly so, it had seemed like on Saturday evening that the Newcastle team would struggle to win after the depart of Hughton and Pardew’s appointment. Was it down to a failure of Liverpool failing to take chances that were created? Was it down to the manager’s tactics and the mindset that he applies to the team?
Hodgson’s record has been far from brilliant both home and away. Based on the manager’s last 55 games both home and away, Hogdson has a win percentage of 59% at home and just 7% away from. Also the lack of goals away from home is worrying too. Now just quickly analysing the game against Newcastle.
It was strikes from two Merseysider’s that effectively settled the game, with Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton both on the score sheet for Newcastle with Andy Carroll grabbing a late third. The goals conceded would have upset the manager as these could have avoided and it was down to defensive errors that Liverpool ended up losing the game.
The first goal came from a Joey Barton free kick sent in towards the head of Andy Carroll at the back post who easily beat Martin Srktel in the air to nod down for Nolan to slot home the ball from close. You’d have thought they would have sent Kyrgiakos to mark Carroll as he is much better in the air. Liverpool pressed hard for an equaliser Sotirios Kyrgiakos had a shot saved by keeper Krul and Raul Meireles saw a deflected effort cleared off the line by Jose Enrique.
Liverpool could have gone in to the break further behind as Meireles gifted the ball to Ameobi whose shot took a deflection and went narrowly wide. Liverpool was pressing hard and Kyrgiakos had headed wide just before the break.
Liverpool came out in the second half and a touch of good fortune gifted the ball to Kuyt whose deflected effort went in the back of the net which renewed hopes for the Reds. Moments later an inch perfect ball from Meireles fell to the feet on Torres and the Spaniard shot straight at the goal keeper.
Newcastle made a change and this revitalised them and the substitute quickly got in to the game out muscling Srktel and shooting just wide. The Second Newcastle goal came with Carroll dwarfing Lucas winning the initial header looping it towards Ranger who just outside the Liverpool penalty box then flicked the ball on through the defence went missing to allow Barton to steal in and slot the ball past a helpless Reina.
The main thing is down the lack of consistency that we’ve seen this season and it’s down to this that there has been huge pressure placed on the shoulders of the manager. Now his record for games away from home has been mentioned but it isn’t only that, it’s the body language that we seem on the bench. Roy rubbed his face which was highlighted on Match of the Day which was something similar to what I would do in the morning when I wash my face.
There are also signs there that he doesn’t seem to have a back up plan or not really sure of what do to when we are in a losing position. Also throughout the game it was clear to see that we was very narrow and got bullied off the ball, i thought out centre backs were poor in particular Srktel. The team also lacked any real width and struggled to string passes together and the lack of support to the strikers where evident.
Now the away record only teams in the bottom three have a worse record than Liverpool at the moment in terms of goal scored. It’s clear to see that we do sit back in away games rather than put in performances like we did at White Hart Lane, I thought we played very well but was unlucky not to get the win and again it was down to chances missed.
Credit it where it’s due Newcastle had a very good game, they looked like a team with something to prove and in the end it was that desire and a lacklustre display from Liverpool that saw them again drop points away from home. It’s also pain to see that this season has been very unpredictable.
What is it that is contributing to Liverpool’s homesickness? Well the last nine away games of last season resulted in one win, four draws and four defeats. This has been their form from the end of last season so it can’t be all placed don’t to the current manager. It may be a mental issue that Liverpool have with away fixtures.
How do Liverpool turn from an attacking team at home that presses and harasses the opposition team in to one that that seems completely different away from home, now I’m all for being cautious away from home but there is such a thing as being over cautious and I feel under Roy Hodgson this is what is happening as the defenders are sitting too deep and there is no one really making the run from midfield looking to get beyond the front man and this is what is costing us when we are attacking as the lack of movement is not giving the player on the ball options.
I don’t want to highlight Roy’s signings either but it’s clear to see that Liverpool had and have got player better than the ones he’s bought in namely Poulsen, and Konchesky but this has been done so what Liverpool really need is to look for players of a higher quality.
It’s evident that the manager needs to change something as the away form is leaving alot to be desired and his overall win percentage in fixtures is far from inspiring but I can’t see the owners making any changes at present but it may change if Roy doesn’t change something and gets a level of consistency both home and away.