Liverpool: Easy Fixes to Solving the Reds' Goal-Scoring Crisis
It is no secret that Liverpool is in desperate need of firepower up front. Luis Suarez is a master craftsman with his trickery, but he has yet to achieve the prolific goal-scoring form he was famous for with Ajax in Holland.
The departure of Andy Carroll seemed like it was not as big of a deal, but then the window closed without the Reds bringing in a single replacement to help Suarez up top.
When asked if he would have allowed Carroll to leave if he knew he would not have new recruits joining the side, during a press conference aired by Sky Sports, Brendan Rodgers replied with a simple, "No."
The Reds now find themselves not only with a No. 9 but also a No. 10, and despite Joe Cole's wearing the classic number, he has yet to prove himself worthy in a Red shirt. Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres made the number perhaps the most iconic goal-scoring kit in Red, while Michael Owen and John Barnes were the epitome of players that embodied the skill of a No. 10.
Suarez is a true No. 7 as, of late, he has all the goal-creation and passing abilities that were bestowed upon both Kenny Dalglish and Steve McManaman, as well as the highlight-reel ability to score wonder goals. However, as the lonely No. 7 in a sea of frustration at the front of the Liverpool attack, it would seem that there truly are no easy fixes for the Reds' lack of clinical finishing up front.
That is not to say there are no players in a Red shirt that can score goals. It is more a manner of saying the finishing touch has been left wanting for far too long at Anfield and on the road.
So, what can the Reds do to fix their issues?
The first, most glaring, problem that could help to solve Liverpool’s goal drought is to stop hitting the bar. The Reds struck the woodwork more times than a woodchuck could chuck wood last season, and Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard both proved that was still an issue for the side against Sunderland this past weekend.
Second, Liverpool have a problem with their transition between the midfield and the attack. The Reds have dominated the central part of the pitch during most of their time in action this season, with new arrival Joe Allen having proven a masterful signing as he has orchestrated the domination with a quality beyond his age.
Steven Gerrard has been allowed to move more freely due to the arrival of Allen. However, unlike his free movement as the central linkup figure between the midfield and Torres in the prime of their partnership from 2008-2010, he has failed to do the same for Suarez. Granted, the tactics between Rodgers and Rafael Benitez are completely different.
The Reds need a natural goal scorer to play in front of Suarez and allow Gerrard to roam freely and create, as well as have the opportunity for, more chances on goal. Liverpool have an ample supply of hungry young players who want to be goal scorers in the ranks; give a few of them a cameo to see what they are made of.
Following the first two problems, the next most important thing is patience in the youngsters. New arrivals Fabio Borini, Oussama Assaidi and Samed Yesil, along with current youth attackers Raheem Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey, Adam Morgan and also potentially Suso and Michael Ngoo, all are building for great careers.
But none of them are fully prepared to shoulder the weight of the club. Borini was sensational at AS Roma, and his experience in England should prove him well. But he needs time to settle, as do the rest. Raheem Sterling has made a fantastic start to the season, but the club has to be careful not to burn him up too quickly in the opening months.
Liverpool have a history of blooding youngsters that achieve great success, and there is no reason to believe that this group of up-and-coming stars is any different. People forget that before Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen were Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen, they had to be thrown into the fray.
You could debate it all day long, but there is no quick easy fix to the Reds goal-scoring issues other than being more clinical with the chances that the team creates. It is, plain and simple, all about the Reds putting away the chances that are handed to them through their great plays up, to the point of having to punch the ole onion bag.
The Reds have the weapons and a manager who is completely behind his side to come good as his tactics are looking more complete each week. If there was ever a weekend to have a statement victory at Anfield for the Brendan Rodgers era, it is his first major rivalry showdown of his career when the Reds host Manchester United this coming weekend.
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