Liverpool FC: 5 Steps That Can Invigorate The Life At Anfield
After what was seen as a possible threat of administration, finally, we have a new owner who vows to be a "winner" and wants to learn and listen to the fans' groups, the manager and the players.
So, the hardest part of the saga has come to a happy end, at least for now. John W. Henry has finally taken over the club, and has made it clear that funds will be available to strengthen the squad.
A miserable off-the-field drama came to an end with the anticipation of being followed on field. However, Roy Hodgson's men were outplayed completely against Everton and the club now sits on the devastating 19th position.
Here I am proposing a five step process which can revitalize the club's on-field performances and hopefully Liverpool FC starts completing for major trophies.
However, I am leaving the "need of a new 60,000-plus capacity stadium " to the owners as long-term strategy.
I'd also like to see your comments on the remedies I am providing here.
Step One: Replace Roy Hodgson Immediately
It is indeed very clear that Roy Hodgson is under intense pressure to save his job at Liverpool FC.
He has been performing exactly the way what many had thought when he was appointed. Poor tactics, wrong selection of players and their playing positions are being the best of his tenure till now. Apart from a bucket full of Uncle's true fans, the majority of fans want to see the back of him. So here I have a few options to replace Roy at Anfield and start a better and positive era.
Frank Rijkaard, Guus Hiddik and Manuel Pellegrini all are equally eligible for the job at Liverpool and perhaps the stand out candidates according to many.
If sources are to be believed then Pellegrini has been contacted by the club, but the talks are at a stall following the NESV takeover last week. The reason, perhaps, was him being available compared to the other candidates listed.
Now, yesterday, that advantage and the edge has been equalled when Frank Rijkaard quit his job at Galatasaray and many think that has something to do with the speculation linking him with Liverpool. He's a young, attacking and talented manager who turned around the fortunes with Barcelona and now tops the list to be the next man at Anfield.
Whoever it may be, Rijkaard or Pellegrini, it is of profuse urgency to get rid of Roy Hodgson before it's too late to rectify.
Step Two: January "Selling" Reshuffle of Players
Without being over critical about a player's four to five month stay, I would suggest the new owners be ruthless and remove the following players.
1. Lucas Leiva. Somethings in life you can never change and he is one of them. The guy is just not good enough to cope with emerging midfield strength of rival clubs, period. One can not help but lose hope on him being a better player given the time he had to do so.
2. Christian Poulsen. Only God and Roy know why was he bought. He was tipped by many to be the holding key in midfield, only to fail. Combine him with Lucas, as Roy has done, and you craft a self-destruction in midfield.
3. Maxi Rodriguez. If Liverpool wants to be competing again, they will need someone better in the wings. Although reasonable for his price tag, he never even showed glimpses of anything. He struggles to get the ball and when he gets it either gets booked or gives the ball away. With no real pace on the flanks, he is of no use other than Europa League, maybe.
4. Ryan Babel. The only reason to sell him is for his own good. I am convinced, finally, that he will never ever get enough playing time to prove his worth. People say he is erratic and do not show enough in training and all, nonsense. He brings that X-factor to the team with his pace, dribbling and crossing. Unless the new manager shows enough faith in him, he should be released from his misery. He is in no man's land.
Step Three: January "Buying" Reshuffle of Players
With the new owners and, hopefully, new manager in charge there should be enough funds available come January to strengthen the squad. I am not hoping for a 50 million quid to rain, but a good 20 to 30 million should do. With that in mind we should be looking to buy a few decent players.
1. Striker. A major share and emphasis of this should be given to buy a decent striker. Torres needs help, badly. The likes of Lisandro Lopez, Alexander Kerzhakov and Loic Remy are rumoured to being traced down by Liverpool.
2. LB. Paul Konchesky hasn't been up to the mark. Also, more importantly Liverpool does not have a decent back up. This should be the priority, too.
3. Winger. For sometime now Liverpool has lacked a genuine winger. There is no one providing pace, dribbling and constant feeding of crosses. Arda Turan or Juan Mata would be an excellent choice. Both are young, talented and got pace to tear down the opposition. If Rijkaard is given the whip of the ring, Arda may follow him as he has stated in past that he'd love to move to Liverpool.
4. DM. When, again hopefully, Lucas and Poulsen departs there will be a need for a holding midfielder to provide cover to the back four. Ever Banega, Marek Hamsik and Arturo Vidal all are talented and YOUNG candidates. With the right mentoring and positive exposure, with the right class players any of these could become world class and provide the base to Liverpool.
Step Four: Employ An Attack Minded Formation
Roy Hodgson is very famous for his defensive tactics. That's the last thing Liverpool needed when Rafa Benitez left. Right now there is no real attack in the Liverpool's game play. How many times have we seen Torres wandering frustrated in the opposition's box waiting for the hope to see the ball? In the Premier League more and more teams are attacking with more bodies in the box to get more scoring opportunities. Simple as that.
If Liverpool happens to buy some decent wingers and get rid of Lucas and Poulsen they have to change the defensive formation. Torres alone up front is not damaging anymore for the opposition. Any team can shut down the goal threat by deploying two markers for Torres. Gerrard is often busy defending the ball thanks to Lucas and Poulsen. Cole is on the wings. Ngog is not good enough. Roy doesn't want to play with two strikers. So, I just don't see from where the next goal will come!!
Johnson is an OK right back. His defensive abilities are often questioned. Carragher is past his best, although he provides the eye for the upcoming threat. Agger must be preferred to Skrtel.
Liverpool needs to remove Lucas and Poulsen first. Play only one better and decent younger holding midfielder, whoever they buy. Next step would be to play with genuine wingers like Turan/Mata. Babel, if not sold, should be played on the wings on a regular basis. This leaves Gerrard and Cole/Meireles to dictate the play in central midfield.
Finally Torres could get a striking partner. A new striker, Kuyt and Jovanovic can be rotated if needed.
This will add a two phased wing attack to the central midfield. Suddenly the team looks much more attacking and threatening. Torres can expect a three dimensional supply, more importantly, with better quality then now.
Step Five: Exposure To The Young Academy Players
The younger, hungrier and full of energy academy players are the pillars of the clubs. The next few years would be extensively important for the club as far as the youth is concerned. Make no mistake, there are no Romans and Sheikhs who would want to throw mind-blowing money to buy the best talents in the world. It is very important for Liverpool to use Daniel Pacheco, Danny Wilson, Jonjo Shelvy, Martin Kelly and Jay Spearing and grow them into Gerrards, Fowlers and Carraghers.
This season could well be salvaged. However, Liverpool will not get a better chance of playing the youngsters along side the stars of the first team. For example, Spearing could be used for Lucas. Pacheco could be partnered with Torres. Danny Wilson could be used for Skrtel at times.
Why Man United constantly plays 19 or 20 years old alongside the likes of Giggs and Rooney? They know the money is not available as it was in the past, and only younger players will be tempted to play for the club they love because they want to be the next Legends.
Given enough play time and exposure in the right direction, there would be a time when Liverpool, could be in two years time, will no longer have to worry about injuries to Torres and Gerrard. They will not be battling with their fortunes to convince the stars to stay at the club. In fact, there would be a positive competition within the mix of stars and young players for every spot.
This will leave such a bright impression on the next generation to come and play for Liverpool for the love of the club, their tradition and the game itself, not for a big fat paycheck.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Combining these factors, I believe, Liverpool could start playing attacking football which will ultimately lead to competing in major honours and competitions, and who knows the elusive 19th may come earlier then ever!!!
Thank you for your time to read. I am as eager as a 5-year-old child to find out what you think. You can leave your thoughts below as it's always interesting to perceive things from others point of view, too.