The fall out from Thursday’s was a little unnecessary as much of it was self inflicted.
I understand Brendon Rogers’ frustration at the way things turned out against Udinese however there was a lot of good in what the players did and if he is intent on imposing his style of play on the squad then, initially at least, he should expect mistakes.
Two of Udinese’s goals were the result of misplaced passes, the passes BR is trying to make central to the team’s game. Moreover to describe the team as “lazy” in the period when Udinese got their goals surely doesn’t really help or inspire everyone to really pitch in and adopt his methods?
“We were very good in the first half but we lost concentration and became lazy and found ourselves 3-1 down.”
It is one thing to criticise the players behind closed doors however to do it so publically and so soon into his job is asking for trouble, it is really the Liverpool way? Moreover it holds no real sway with me at present as the manager doesn’t have the results behind him this season for it hold any credibility. Thursday’s evidence suggests blaming the team is an approach that doesn’t hold water, we completed nearly 700 passes to the Italian’s 170 odd and enjoyed a procession rate of around 75%. That, at first site anyway, does not seem to consistent with a team that sat about on their ar*es? Moreover I don’t think you could describe any of the players individual performances as “lazy” what about Jonjo Shelvey’s commitment especially running after his own pass, via Downing, for his goal?
Perhaps the first part of Rogers’ quote about losing concentration might be more appropriate however, to keep the string of passes he expects his players make, count them their was seven hundred apparently, would require immense powers of concentration not to mention consistency? Surely there should be an opportunity to mix it up or is their no plan B? There was one incident where we passed to ball at least twenty times to each other up ten yards then across the pitch back ten yards and then across once more and after that we ended up in exactly the same place as we were when the move had started! Presumably, during the course of this noodling, Udinese had time to get back regroup, light a fag and have a cappuccino before we decided to go forward. A killer pass forward, albeit a long one, wouldn’t have soured BR’s style of play too much and might have more of an effect?
Clearly there is still a lot to do, it’s a familiarisation process for both players and manager but do we have to be so slavish to this style of play? Granted it can be entertaining if done well but if overdone for no apparent purpose, when there are other alternatives available, it is boring and counterproductive. We need versatility otherwise we become predictable and therefore easy to deal with?
If ever a second string to our bow is needed it will be today against Stoke City? On paper it looks easy as they haven’t won at Anfield since the 1950s however, we are a side undergoing change and therefore vulnerable to Stoke particularly as in Crouch, Pennant, Owen and Adam, they have plenty of ex reds who are no doubt be intent on making an impression. They are just the sort of hard working no nonsense side that will easily make our purist attempts to play football look pretentious and foolhardy ask Chelsea, a few weeks back who just scraped past them!
Team wise and we may be in position to welcome back Daniel Agger. The Dane, after much pre season speculation, has finally decided to pitch in with us for the foreseeable future by signing a new contract. This is good news given Martin Skrtel’s persistent mistakes this season, the withering of Carragher (sorry it needs to be said) and the.. well not really much to write home about so far Coates? Other than this surely BR will stick with the same side that thrashed Norwich?
Prediction? It is that Norwich game we should focus on and all it’s good points. I said Stoke could course us problems but we have already shown enough to suggest that we have the talent to unpick them and I take us to do this with a 2-0 win.