Liverpool FC: 5 Questions After the 1-0 Loss to Stoke
Liverpool lost their first match of the season to Stoke today 1-0. The lone goal came via a Jonathan Walters penalty after Jamie Carragher dragged him down in the box. Despite having over 70 percent of the ball and 20 attempts at goal, Liverpool failed to find the back of the net through a combination of awful finishing and strong defending by the home side.
Here are five things to consider heading into next Sunday's match with Tottenham.
1. Is Luis Suarez the Next Steven Gerrard in the Worst Way Possible?
Suarez turned in one of the better performances for Liverpool, as he was constantly chasing the ball down, taking on defenders and getting into positions to score. Unfortunately, he couldn't find the back of the net despite multiple shots, including an open half volley in stoppage time.
While there were other players who had fantastic opportunities to score, most notably Jordan Henderson, none were closer or more deserving than Suarez.
It's looking increasingly more likely that the Uruguayan is becoming the only consistent goal scoring option and is relied upon far too much by the rest of the side to come up with a bit of magic. Of course, it's early in the season and Gerrard is likely to make his return soon, but it's unnerving that despite the wealth of attacking talent, so few can consistently find the back of the net.
2. Will Andy Carroll Amount to Anything This Season?
To be frank, I'm quite finished with Andy Carroll for awhile. He's young and has plenty of time to develop into a fine player, but right now he doesn't deserve to wear the Liverpool shirt.
He was given half an hour to come up with something against Stoke and was essentially invisible. I understand that Stoke's defenders can easily beat Carroll in the air, limiting his effectiveness, but this match was just one of many where he has useless at best and downright bad at worst.
If the last month hasn't been evidence enough that it's time to keep him off the pitch in league play until he finds the work rate and scoring ability he had at Newcastle, I don't know what would be.
3. Can Someone Explain Why Alberto Aquilani Was Loaned Out?
I like Charlie Adam. He's great on set pieces and can come up with stunning long passes to set up attacks. Unfortunately for him—and Liverpool—he's very inconsistent. One could use the excuse of the wind making it hard to accurately pass at the Britannia, but considering Adam always needs to be on his game in order for the attack function, he's not always doing enough.
If he were to remain on the bench, Aquilani would provide another fantastic passing option. This is something that was desperately needed in today's match, as not only are Stoke one of the best defensive sides in the league, but as a team, Liverpool's passing was largely off.
Considering the only true central midfielder on the bench is Spearing, I don't know why Aquilani was loaned away to Milan. He could have given so much to the Reds, particularly today.
4. Is Martin Kelly the Only Useful Option at Right Back?
Martin Skrtel didn't have an awful day at right back, but he did make a few clumsy fouls and was caught out on multiple occasions when getting forward. Given that he's naturally a center back, I'm not surprised that those things happened.
Glen Johnson again proved that he can't be consistently influential on the defensive end both because he's not very good at defending and his legs are always failing him.
John Flanagan...well, let's just say he needs more time to develop before being a first choice at the position.
That leaves Kelly and boy are Liverpool missing him while he's out with a hamstring injury. He's the best overall right back by a clear mile and while the others (well, really just Skrtel at this point) can replace him for a time, it's crucial that he's back and healthy at least until January and the transfer window.
5. Should Craig Bellamy Start over Dirk Kuyt?
In the half hour or so he had, Bellamy looked a real threat against Stoke. Not all of his passes were perfect and he should have done better with his header towards the end of the match, but all in all it was a better attacking performance than most other Reds.
In my opinion, Dirk Kuyt had a rare off day. He strung together some nice passes, but he was often dispossessed and didn't look good around the box.
I don't think that Bellamy should always be playing ahead of Kuyt, but if Bellamy continues to play as well as he did today then he certainly deserves more opportunities than when the Reds are chasing games late.