Midfield Is The Weak Link For Liverpool

Not just one player, the lot of them apparently. If it's fixed in January then they could make the top four, but if not then another seventh place is in store, it says here...

Last Updated: 04/11/13 at 09:39

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Worried Liverpool Will Become A Selling Club

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Liverpool fans in the mailbox are not too worried about sour grapes from United supporters, but one admits he's scared the Reds could end up selling their best players...

United Should Have Gone For Bruce And Hughes

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A mailbox asking why United did not go for two old boys over Moyes, what Wenger's targets were for the season and whether he's had a better season than Pellegrini..?

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Disgusted With Villas-Boas
"The medical department was giving me signs that the player couldn't carry on, because he couldn't remember where he was".

"But he was quite focused and determined to continue, so when you see this kind of assertiveness it means he is able to carry on, and that is why it was my call to delay the substitution". Andre Villas-Boas, November 3rd 2013.

Am I the only person who is disgusted by that quote (as I am sure Mohamed Ali was quite assertive to continue boxing well beyond his prime while losing three of his last four matches), and shocked that a football manager has greater authority than the medical staff surround the player's well-being. I have said it before, and (unfortunately) I pretty sure I will be emailing it again, but something needs to be done about this.
Mark O'Brien


And On The Team
"Spurs sit fourth in the table, and a new transfer window opens again in nine weeks, in which much-needed attacking reinforcements can be brought in," says Daniel Storey in Sunday's piece about Roberto Soldado.

Forgive me, but after a £90million(ish?) transfer window in the summer, shouldn't Tottenham's first concern be to integrate all of those who have just joined the team?

Attacking minded players Soldado, Lamela, Chadli and Eriksen were all brought in by AVB recently, whilst Andros Townsend was promoted to the first team set up, to add to the likes of Holtby, Sigurdsson, Defoe, Adebayor, Lennon and Dembele. There should be more than enough combinations within that little lot to be able to create chances and score goals.

As an Arsenal fan, I'll probably be told to keep my nose out but I'm genuinely interested to hear what Spurs fans think. The line from Daniel struck a chord because I thought that surely just signing another couple of players isn't the answer?

I fail to see why Lamela hasn't been given any sort of playing time in the league as yet. Yes he's new and maybe not quite settled yet but surely if he was doing what he'd been brought here to do then his confidence my be given a boost. He was unlucky to miss a penalty on Wednesday but it happens. Lukaku missed one against Bayern in August but that hasn't tarnished his Everton form. A front three of Townsend/Lennon, Eriksen and Lamela behind either Soldado or Defoe should surely be given a couple of games to gel.

Nick Miller was correct in his tweet during Sunday's games that AVB continually picks the wrong options off of his bench when Spurs are struggling/searching to win games. Surely adding another one or two names to an already promising array of options will only further his problems in trying to find his best team?
Joe, AFC, East Sussex


Everton v Spurs Thoughts
Ok first and foremost, that was dire, but we didn't lose despite being under the pump.

Kevin ain't no Friend of mine, He consistently reserves his bum performances for the Goodison faithful, he lost the plot again, his booking of Lukaku for Loris colliding into him took the prize for worst refereeing decision ever.... of the week. Another low point was him making Baines re-spot the ball at a corner from 20 yard away, despite it overhanging the quadrant/arc "learn the rules" is part of what I shouted. Finally, the inconsistency! Damn and blast the inconsistency, Mirallas berating the linesman is bad, but to not do the same when Tottenham players, Townsend and Vertonghen did the same to him, is sub-standard and frankly, drop him. And don't replace him with Jon Moss!

To the game, AVB threw that away, he can say it's a good point, but Sandro ran the show, Tottenham had us at the throat, ready for the kill, and he let us off with that sub, Barkley coming on moments later helped greatly but the win for spurs had already disappeared by that point. I remember back 18 months ago a similar decision with Chelsea, when he hauled Juan Mata off, costing a chance of a point in that game.

Having said that. For £100m spent, spurs didn't create much, at one point I thought back to "The IT crowd" "the problem with Tottenham is they're try to walk it in." Neither team created a clear opportunity and that's a concern for Everton but it's surely it's "Crises" for Spurs. Wingers cutting inside all the time, a good defence will love them for that, and it let Everton off multiple times.
EFCraig (Don't worry Mediawatch, I saw it too, Townsend was rubbish)


Better/Worse
Reading Daniel Storey's piece about Soldado on the weekend got me thinking about the merits of his transfer.

In transfer window just gone, both City and Spurs signed a spanish striker from La Liga (Negredo and Soldado) and a combatitive Brazilian midfielder (Fernandinho and Paulinho).

Now, after each has had a couple games under their belts, I open it to the Mailbox - which club has gotten the better overall deal out of these two transfers?
Martin Todoroski, MCFC


Liverpool Midfield: The Weak Link
I'm not going to go on about Rodgers and his stupid 3-5-2 formation as it's been covered so I'll address Liverpool's main issue - which I've been thinking about since reading your article on Spurs' striker problem. Liverpool have a somewhat similar problem, in that their midfield is the weak link. They have quality and depth in defence that is up there with any in the top four (If you ignore the presence of Ally Cisshoko), they've arguably the best striker partnership in the league, and with Phillipe Coutinho they have the flexibility to change it up from a front 2 to a front 3, at the expense of one of those unnecessary centre backs that are shoe-horned into the starting lineup every week.

What is clearly not up to scratch though is the midfield. Gerrard is still a class act, but he's 33 and can't dominate the middle of the park like he used to. Lucas is erratic, battles a lot but is limited as an offensive player, and Henderson is absolutely not good enough. He can't shoot, is weak in the tackle, and has doesn't have a massive range if passing.

If this situation is fixed in January we can sustain a realistic top four bid. If not, I fully expect another 6th/7th place finish.
Daniel Benvenuto


Lol Out Loud
''But in my honest opinion, United can still win every trophy they're participating in.'' - Tony, MUFC, F365 Mailbox, 03/11/13. So Man U can win the Champions League eh?? Can I be the first to say....ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....stop it, you're hurting me, hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, oh, this could go on for a while....ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....
Pablo ''horrible feeling Dortmund are gonna take us to the cleaners'' Eagle


Erm, Do You Want To Tell Him, Or...
Shaking my head at F365 and liverpool "fan" rob.

"...I feel a repeat of last season. Liverpool are still to beat a team that will finish in the top 6."

How could this website and this "fan" not know that we beat man united? Unless this is some tongue in cheek joke about how united won't finish in the top six. We've played two teams who will finish there and beaten one of them. 100% improvement on last season. Also beaten villa who beat city and arsenal.

Shaking my head at this once respected website.
Todd, Richmond


Getting The Most Out Of RvP
According to reports RVP is moaning at Moyes for him playing him when he's carrying an injury.

I say - well done Mr Moyes. He's obviously learning the lessons of Wenger. If this guy only plays when he's fully fit - well, he doesn't play at all, does he?

In terms of getting the most from RVP, United have something like two years before he's past it and needs to be shipped off.

Fair play to Moyes for wanting to make the most out of those two years.

You're at one of the biggest clubs in the world RVP - you can be injured all the time when you sign for Stoke aged 33.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Vexed
I know I should just be happy with the win on Saturday night, and try to deal with conflicting excitement and anxiety the Dortmund game is inspiring in me, but I'm a bit vexed.

Every report or highlights package I've read and seen about the game suggests things might have been different had Martin Atkinson not brought back play after Suarez's quick free kick (I cheered Sagna's cynicism by the way - have we learnt from Dortmund and Palace?). It's basically being treated as the denial of an equaliser but Sturridge's cross was so close to Szczesny that he would barely have had to dive for it to snuff the chance out. If the whistle hadn't been blown - and Wojciech hadn't stopped playing - it was really never a chance.

The incident summed up Liverpool's front two quite well actually. Suarez was dangerous, always alert, the player Arsenal obviously feared (Koscielny handled him brilliantly however). Sturridge mishit his passes, except for when he kindly knocked the ball back to the keeper after being given it unchallenged about ten yards from goal, blatantly dived for a penalty, and then had a strop when his Uruguayan colleague decided he was better off going for goal himself.

The only thing worse than Sturridge was Liverpool's away support.
Will O'Doherty


On Subs
On the question of why so many substitutes - the way I think of it is (and this is just my personal musing rather than based on actual facts or anything - god forbid! ;) ), you must have a keeper, just in case - while in 99 case of a 100 they'll never be used, you need that sub for that 1 case in 100 to keep the game competitive.

The next three or four subs are for geniune cover, and change of tactics, etc. Three (if not four) senior player in order to change the game. These are tactical subs.

Finally the last three (or two) are kids. So if you are playing Norwich and (when) you find yourself 7-nil up, you can throw on a few kids, in order to give them experience and develop them going forward. Or when you are losing 7-nil, you can throw on kids because - well... who cares - the game is lost - give them experience.

If the number of subs was reduced to say four or five, it would be the kids that would loose their spots, before the tactical/senior substitute players.

So, having a large number of subs basically helps the development of youth talent.

Cheers,
Col.


...Sam (I hope Arsenal beat Liverpool) Langley's email about substitutes - specifically having seven substitutes - did raise an interesting point. I can't answer it, but I can suggest something I would like to see, that would most likely work best for international tournaments. Keep the limit of three changes, but make every player (unless suspended) outside the starting XI eligible to come on as a substitute. That way, all players in the squad will be involved in the game, albeit in a very small capacity, so should be better prepared mentally for if/when they come on, even if they haven't played for a while. Also, managers would have a bit more tactical flexibility, while keeping their opposite number guessing a little bit longer about their next tactical move.

As is often pointed out, football is a squad game at the higher levels nowadays, so why not embrace that and get the whole squad involved in the game.
Ed Quoth the Raven (other ways to get the whole squad involved in the game include stewarding and serving hot drinks), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts


#KagawaOut
Anyone else see the picture of Shinji and Olly Murs on the United Twitter account? I'm afraid my cries of #freeshinji have been dramatically reversed to #kagawaout. Shocking behaviour.
Liam, Heartbreak Hotel


Real Talk
I might be getting ahead of myself here when I say this but I think that Adnan Januzaj is the best player in the world. Messi hasn't scored in his last 4 games (Clearly in decline). However, Januzaj has 2. Case closed.
Gav (Would gladly slap 7 shades of sh*t out of Reither)

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Mail Box

Worried Liverpool Will Become A Selling Club

Liverpool fans in the mailbox are not too worried about sour grapes from United supporters, but one admits he's scared the Reds could end up selling their best players...

United Should Have Gone For Bruce And Hughes

A mailbox asking why United did not go for two old boys over Moyes, what Wenger's targets were for the season and whether he's had a better season than Pellegrini..?

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