Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Liverpool's summer signings

Four of Liverpool summer signings picture with Kenny Dalglish

With Liverpool's awful current league form, the summer signings made by the club have come under a lot of scrutiny. In all Liverpool made six signings in the summer but I'm only going to look at the three under a huge amount of pressure at the moment.

Those three being Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing. I'm actually in the rare group of Liverpool fans who thinks they're all decent signings despite a poor run of results. Their combined price tag is £40 million before add ons. Yes, Liverpool paid over the odds but the players aren't responsible for their price tag, it really gets to me when fans use it against them. If a player is having a shocking run of games, it's ok if they cost £5 million but if they cost £20 million it's not? A poor game is a poor game no matter what their price is.

Kenny Dalglish has made an obvious attempt to buy British players if not English. In an attempt to bring back the glory days to Anfield, Kenny took up this policy as looking back through the great Liverpool teams of the past there has been a real British element.

Charlie Adam looked like a deal that might have been done in January but it didn't go through for whatever reason. I wasn't sure if we'd go back in for him but seemed like a decent deal when we did. At the time of signing I'm certain he wasn't meant to be the regular he became. For me the midfield of this season was meant to include Gerrard, Lucas and Meireles with Adam and Henderson to be used more as squad players to get bedded in.

Obviously a lot has changed since then and they've been relied on a lot more than originally hoped. Even so, Charlie Adam's start to his Liverpool career was impressive. He seemed to revel in the role he was playing alongside Lucas but his dip in form coincided with Lucas' injury. He comes in for a lot of criticism for not being creative enough, two facts that disprove this theory completely. He has the most assists out of anyone in the Liverpool side (6) and has created two chances less the Stewart Downing (47).

Saying all that, he has been shocking since the turn of the year and is currently out with an injury but from an outsider looking in, I fear that he's had stage fright. He seems to sometimes be in awe of Steven Gerrard when the two are playing together, which he will quickly have to change.

Jordan Henderson was Liverpool's first summer signing and he was signed early on in the transfer window, which shows he was high on our target list. I'm certain he was never meant to have such a big role in the side this season but for one reason or another he has played almost every game. The problem some of the less thinking fans have is that he doesn't score too many goals or get too many assists, this may make him sound average but he brings a lot more to the side.

It's easy to forget that he's only 21 and this is a massive step up for him. He's only one year older than 'young' Jonjo Shelvey. He's been overawed by Anfield and the Kop this season but this was surely inevitable when a young player has made such a big step up in class. He will be a great player in the future but we have to give him one season to feel his way in to his Liverpool career.

To show that his hard work goes unnoticed, he's got a 83% passing success and a 84% tackle success which isn't bad by anyone's means.

Another problem that Henderson has had this season, is constantly playing out of position. He's a player who's natural position is in the middle where he is very good but he's been shifted out wide right where if I'm honest he's very average. If he can get a run of games in the middle with Steven Gerrard then I don't see how he can't improve, Steven Gerrard just demands class.

The last signing I'm going to look at is in my opinion the most disappointing one. Stewart Downing, 27, has been very disappointing for me. He's an England international and played many seasons at a high level in the premier league, he knows what it's about. This is why the fact he's directly contributed nothing in the league has come at a shock to me. I do feel though that he's been very unlucky to have that stat to count against him as I've seen several sitters missed off his crosses and has been one of the few to be hit by the woodwork curse.

He's got a unfortunate record that he's the player to create the most chances in Europe without making one assist (49). In the recent weeks though he seems to have improved which has been a good sign, it took me a while to realise that he's a confidence player but it appears obvious now. He needs to be playing games to play well he's not one who can come in and out of the side and play well.

There is good reason to have hope and belief that these signings will come through and repay the faith we have shown in them and ease the pressure on Kenny Dalglish.

You can follow me on twitter; @AnfieldReds_

nb all stats used are based on premier league games only.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

What now for LFC?

A picture to sum up our league season.

After another disastrous performance and result in the premier league, which left Liverpool in a battle to stay in the top seven. With another eleven premier league games left and a minimum of one FA cup game. What is there to get excited about for the rest of the season?


The obvious thing that jumps out at you is the possibility of two more Wembley trips and another trophy to add to the cabinet. We have the task of getting past Stoke in the quarter finals first, if we were to get past them and two more opponents to win another trophy this year it would definitely soften the blow of our awful inconsistent league form.  On our day we are the best team in England, this is what cups are all about and why they have suited us this year as it we haven't had to win week in week out.

To end the season with more success would improve the owner's moods when evaluating the season with Kenny and revitalise the player's attitudes when they come back for the new season. It would be seen as the year Kenny Dalglish came back to manage the club he loves and won the cup double in his first season not the year Kenny Dalglish led us to seventh.


Another thing that could give the Kop something to shout about is the youngsters coming through. I'm including Jordan Henderson when I say 'youngsters' he is after all only 21, which many people seem to forget when they blame a poor result entirely on his young shoulders. Jonjo Shelvey should also be seeing a lot more game time in the back end of the season as after he was recalled from his loan spell at Blackpool he has only been given two starts. He impressed in both of these starts and he must be frustrated watching Charlie Adam run his socks off but give very little quality output.

Other youngsters that could be given a chance to excel in the first team are Raheem Sterling and Suso Fernandez who have both really shone in the Next Gen series. They have contributed as much as Stewart Downing has to our Premier league campaign (0 goals, 0 assists). What is there to lose?

If you think back to the end of last season when Kenny gave Spearing, Flanagan and Kelly their chances in the first team and how they have really benefited from that chance. Jay Spearing hasn't looked back and now looks like he has been playing in the Liverpool midfield for years not months. Kelly is just as good as Johnson in my opinion and came without the price tag. Flanagan has struggled to get in the team at right back with Kelly and Johnson both ahead of him in the pecking order but the experience must have undoubtedly have been invaluable.


Playing without pressure can really help some players kick start their Liverpool career. For example, maybe Stewart Downing or Andy Carroll could get in to a purple patch and start playing well which would help them start next season in a decent vein of form. Lucas Leiva is a prime example how of this as he took his good form from last season in to the new one and was brilliant until he picked up his tragic injury.

To conclude, although our league campaign has been ultimately disappointing if we can build and take some form in to the new season all will not be lost. Keep the faith in Kenny and the team.

You can follow me on twitter @AnfieldReds_

Sunday, 4 March 2012

4th Place - Where did it all go wrong?

After Liverpool's defeat to Arsenal on Saturday, 4th place is surely out of reach now. This will mean another season without Champions League football at Anfield which is obviously disappointing. After thinking for some time I have come up with the 5 main reasons our Premier League form has been off the mark this season.


Liverpool have dropped 19 points at home this season, this is more then the last two seasons combined. 8 draws and only one defeat. The draws have really killed any type of momentum we have had in the race for 4th. Drawing with the likes of Stoke, Swansea, Norwich, Sunderland and Blackburn has been really frustrating for the fans. Of course most of those teams have just parked the bus and been tough to break down but that's what you expect.

I think that the new signings have struggled to realise what it's like to play in front of the Kop. There has been no late winners, no back to back home wins to get the fans excited. Just missed chance after missed chance after missed chance. Anfield this season hasn't been the fortress it normally is and this will have to change in the future if we are going to get anywhere.

Larsson celebrates after securing Sunderland a point.


Liverpool haven't had too many suspensions or injuries just the ones they have had were to crucial players. Right from the start we without the captain Steven Gerrard. He missed the first five weeks of the season with a groin injury which kept him out the back end of the last season. Once he was back he somehow managed to pick up an ankle injury at the beginning of October which kept him out for another two and a half months.

With our captain missing a large part of the season we were always going to struggle but one man had really stepped up in his absence. Lucas was having a fantastic season until at the end of November he did his knee cruciate ligament which ruled him out for the season. This was a huge shame as he had really been excellent and the shining light of the Liverpool team.

Just when Stevie was coming back to full fitness, Luis Suarez was given his infamous eight match ban which ruled him out for a month. In that period, Liverpool played four premier league games and only won

Lucas sustains a nasty injury which will keep him out for the season.


If there was a trophy for missing chances we would definitely win it. With the worst conversion rate in the league of 8%, Liverpool have only scored 30 goals. To put that in to perspective, Robin Van Persie has scored 25 goals on his own in the league. Chances have come and chances have gone. Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy are our top goal scorers in the league with 6 goals each. When you see Ba, Rooney, Rvp and Aguero all have 20+ then 6 is a really pathetic total.

Luis Suarez is a truly fantastic player, some of the things he does are unbelievable but for the amount of chances he makes/gets he really needs to score more. In saying that the midfield really need to chip in. Between Gerrard, Adam and Henderson there is 5 league goals. That is just not good enough.

Another chance goes a begging.


Liverpool have hit the woodwork a outstanding 21 times. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and when it's come to shooting it just hasn't been with us. Against Arsenal we hit the post twice, for me we should have really scored both of the chances but instead we just added to the tally.

If we could make the goals a couple of inches wider then we would of scored a lot more goals. Suarez has hit the woodwork 19 times in his 46 games at the club. That is surely some sort of record.

Carroll after he hits the bar against Swansea.

In the league alone we have missed 4 penalties. That's a crazy amount, if those 4 had gone in we would be 5 points better off. That's 3 kicks of a ball going differently and there's 5 more points in the tally. That's how close we have been this season. Would Gerrard have scored those penalties? Probably ... that's an easy thing to say though, everyone should really back themselves from 12 yards.

Charlie Adam misses a penalty at the DW.

In conclusion, this season we have made progress under Kenny Dalglish this season. That's not what frustrates the fans, the frustrating thing has been how close we have been. If little things had gone our way then we could be sitting in 4th spot right now. I'm keeping the faith in Kenny Dalglish and I'm backing him to get us in to 4th next season.

YNWA @AnfieldReds_