By Matt Davies
Liverpool are a team who struggle to score goals when we really should do, whether it is when we are dominating a game and should be ahead, or if we get a chance to score and we panic. I believe that the main thing that we are missing is patience.
Under Rodgers, Liverpool are supposedly playing ‘Tiki Taka’ football, what this essentially means is tick tock football, a phrase used that was supposed to be onomatopoeic to describe the short sharp passing that was performed by the Spanish team in the 2006 World Cup. Since then Spain have gone on to win 2 European Championships and a World Cup and they will surely be the favourites going into the next World Cup.
What the Spanish National Team as well as many of the clubs such as Barcelona do well is play the ball calmly in the opponents half waiting for an opportunity. When you watch Barcelona play they slowly build up the play and bring players forwards until the majority of their team is in and around the opposing penalty box. They then pass from side to side waiting for a gap that they can manipulate, if their opponents shape is out of place for a second then a Barcelona will have filled a hole and be ready to receive the ball to help the attack, if there is no slip up in shape, they will play the ball out and wait again for a chance.
You don’t see the Barcelona team panic when they have the ball, instead they remain calm and patient. Because of this they can gradually apply pressure and bring players forwards, normally what happens is that the opposing players start to feel as though they have to get the ball, they will then run out to try and apply pressure when they shouldn’t do, leaving a weakness. The slow build-up also allows them to bring their wingbacks forwards to help with their attacks, you see this every time Barcelona or Spain play if you watch for Alba on the left or Dani Alves/Arbeloa on the right. Often the wingbacks can push forwards and get in behind the line of defence to the by-line where they can play a ball back across goal, this is a tactic that I definitely feel we should use, especially as we have one of the best right backs in the world in Glen Johnson.
If we have this little bit more patience then we would capitalise on our opponent’s mistakes and create more chances to score. The problem with our lack of goals is that the players feel that they have to score more, therefore pressuring themselves and each other more than is beneficial. If they relaxed more and waited for the right time to ‘pounce’, we would inevitably get more clear-cut chances and score more goals. We need to panic when we have the ball, there is no threat to our goal and there is a threat to theirs, we need to panic when we don’t have the ball and try to get it back quickly so that we can keep applying pressure and forcing mistakes.