Liverpool Mid-Season Analysis 2009-2010: What Went Wrong?

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  Liverpool Mid-Season Analysis 2009-2010: What Went Wrong?
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"Liverpool FC - The Most successful club in the history of English football "

It took over one hundred years to build what is Liverpool FC today and to think all of it will vanish because of a single bad season is ridiculous. Success is not what you get in a single season, those are cheap thrills. 

Success is built over the years with patience, faith and an undying commitment to strive harder and progress, not as individuals, but as a team. That is Liverpool FC for us.

Over the last five years we have reemerged as a strong force in the champions league. Our League performance has been consistently progressive.We have improved as a team year after another, technically and tactically. We have quality players in the squad. From the Dioufs and Traores to the Torres' and Aggers Liverpool FC has grown in stature and quality.

It is surprisingly strange how quickly we forget the 'FACTS' that this time last year we were the champion team in England. We defeated Chelsea at the bridge and completed a brilliant double, gave nightmares to Ferguson & Co both home and away, and but for the Russian magic we almost got the better of Arsenal, so much for their so called "beautiful" football. It wont be long before we are back up there again.

Every Liverpool problem for the last 3 years starts with the one thing any Liverpool fan would readily disown—its owners, the two notorious yankees. Greedy Mr. Moore could have rather invited beggars to run the club, at least they would have been a million times more loyal and honest with their promises.

That apart what really went wrong at anfield this season that questions all the hard work of the manager and the team he has successfully built over the past 5 years, edging ever so closer to the eluding title? Let us Analyze.

Squad:

Alonso's departure to Madrid and Barry's choice to join Manchester City has been a big blow to Liverpool. Alonso had a great final season but it was his inconsistency and momentary lack of commitment the season before, combined with the advent of new 6+2 homegrown rules that prompted Rafa to search for his replacement in Barry in the first place.

Lucas and Aquilani were expected to sufficiently fill the void.

Lucas was badly judged even before he started kicking balls for 90 full minutes, such strong prejudice weighs too much on young shoulders especially when he competed for a place in a midfield against the likes of Alonso, Gerrard and Mascherano. Lucas definitely needs to time to regain confidence to show his definite class.

20 million for the injured Aquilani is believed to be bad business. Aquilani is still blighted with injury and hasn't had a telling performance so far to justify his price tag. But with Gerrard nearing the 30s Liverpool definitely need a quality young creative midfielder to fill the herculean boots of Gerrard. Aquilani is certainly capable of it.

Glen Johnson is the most exciting player Liverpool has signed since Torres. Well Johnson hasn't been your world class right back yet, but make no mistake his quality in attack is second to none. For all of Liverpool's defensive frailties, Johnson has been the perfect scape goat. Every young right back in premier league makes mistakes and Glen Johnson is still young enough to learn from them.

English talents these days have been such rarity and even if so they would prefer an Aston Villa or Tottenham under English managers rather than join Liverpool's Spanish contingency due to fear of lack of playing chances. Glen Johnson is one of the best signings for Liverpool on the long run.

Overall none of Liverpool's transfer has been an exact failure. It is the weight of expectations that comes with great teams trying to do great things—Liverpool are a victim of their own success. It is not lack of quality but lack of faith and the infectious disease of pessimism and fear of failure that is holding them back.

Set piece:

While somethings may have changed for good or bad, but Liverpool's defense in set piece hasn't changed at all. What no other saw in a supposedly invincible Liverpool team marching to glory last season, Guus Hiddink did and effectively used in ending Liverpool's Champions League dream—aerial weakness in defending set-piece. With Hyppia's departure and Aggers frequent injury Liverpool lack flying power in the defense department.

Carragher, Insua, Skrtel and Johnson—the four defensive regulars for Liverpool this season—none of them are strong enough in the air. While Kuyt, Lucas and Torres may be good at air, but not good at defense. They still lack the positioning and the defensive vision to foresee goal scoring threats. Liverpool's use of zonal marking desperately needs defenders who are aerially strong. I would still rate the zonal marking system as a more complete form of set-piece defense than man marking, it is the lack of proper personals to execute it that is costing the Liverpool defense badly this season.

Injuries  

Millions may not matter at the blue end of Manchester, but it matters most when you have Uncle Scrooge running the club with his ugly twin sister. Such has been the penurious state of the Liverpool Coffers that quality additions are made only at the expense of squad depth and strength. Gerrard, Torres, Riera, Agger, Johnson, Aquilani, Benayoun, Aurelio are some of the big names in the squad blighted by injury time and again. That is more than half of the first team regulars. Liverpool genuinely lack width in the absence of the injured Riera and El Zhar. The rest of the wing in Benayoun, Kuyt and Babel haven't been effective in stretching the defense to free Gerrard and Torres

All bad things come to an end. Liverpool's injury woes are getting fewer and fewer. Returning players are returning with a zest. Liverpool's season is about to change for the better. Belief in the squad, belief in the manager—two of the most important lessons for the fans. Learn from Geordie fans who hastily fired Sam Allardyce only to find themselves relegated.

New year Resolutions for Liverpool FC.

  1. Rafa needs to strengthen aerial defense. Kyrgiakos can be of help, but Torres, Lucas, Kuyt are poor substitutes to defend set pieces.
  2. Liverpool needs width not a second striker. An Ardan Turan or a David Silva will be better than a Chamakh or Cole.
  3. Stop blaming Lucas when Liverpool does not score. Lucas has been one of our most consistent performers this season, even better than Gerrard [returning from injury]. 
  4. Stop planning for UEFA cup 2011. Liverpool will definitely be in the top four. Start Believing—players,manager,fans... everybody
  5. If somebody has a billion dollar, please help the club clear the Pig stench, save Liverpool from petty thieves and ruffians, save Liverpool from the yanks.

Follow few of these and I am sure Liverpool will be right back where we left it last season.

All this talk about the gloomy despair of losing out on a champions league spot are bullocks! Why waste time thinking over uncertainties.

Lets be practical and think about the odds, shall we. If we are on the so called "save" the season mission with a champions league spot in question, all we have to do is beat a Tottenham side at home, at the legendary Anfield fort, with almost a full strength champions league squad of our own, one which is capable of knocking the lights off any big team on their day—how bad can it really be?

Its is not quality or talent that we lack but belief and faith. Tottenham, Aston Villa and Manchester City, however strong they may seem, all of them will falter where we will not. Because we have—been there, seen it and done it before.  We are Liverpool FC. "This is Anfield"

You'll Never Walk Alo ne

 

 

{This article was written prior to the postponement of the Liverpool-Tottenham clash}

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