Saturday’s defeat to Arsenal has left Liverpool ten points behind their London rivals who now occupy the coveted fourth place in the Premier League.
Kenny Dalglish‘s side sit seventh and although they do have a game-in-hand it appears to be a tough task to overtake the Robin van Persie inspired Gunners. This has led to some suggestions among supporters that the rest of the season could be used to blood some of the promising youngsters in the squad.
This season for Liverpool can be summed up in one word; frustrating.
Frustrating for the fact that the primary aim of getting back into the Champions League has been very possible and should easily have been looking much different. Especially given the problems at Chelsea and Arsenal this season.
Just looking at each Premier League team’s top scorer tells the story itself;
Man City – Aguero (16), Man United – Rooney (17), Spurs – Adebayor (11), Arsenal – van Persie (25), Newcastle – Ba (16), Liverpool – Bellamy/Suarez (6).
Only Sunderland, Everton and Wolves‘ top scorer’s have less than Liverpool’s.
Just fifteen goals at Anfield in the League (in 13 games) also explains the problem. As does the fact that between them Henderson, Downing, Spearing and the injured Lucas have one goal between them. Such lack of goals from midfield has put pressure on the forwards to score.
It seems rather simplistic to say that we need to sign a goalscorer to solve all our problems. But it really appears that way. For me, we do not have an “out and out goalscorer” in the squad. Suarez certainly isn’t. He’s a creator of goals, a livewire to disturb defences, but he’s not really a clinical finisher – especially as often we have been over-reliant on him to create.
Imagine a forward who could benefit from the movement of Suarez, the crossing of Downing, the craft of Henderson. Somebody who is quick around the box, a real poacher, an Ian Rush, a Robbie Fowler. Somebody to take those chances that we have created time and again this season – none more so than Saturday – and turn the eight home draws into wins.
For the first half of the season you always expected us to hammer a team soon, we’ve been on the verge of it all season, but never did it happen and now it really doesn’t look likely to. Our biggest win is the 3-0 at Wolves; a complete contrast to back end of last season when we hit 17 goals in five games.
That was a time when attacking football was in full flow, with the likes of Maxi, Kuyt and Raul Meireles getting forward and chipping in with more than their fair share of goals. Those have been replaced by, for the most part, Downing, Adam and Henderson – all of whom arrived with goalscoring reputations. Last season Downing hit eight for Villa, Adam 13 for Blackpool and Henderson 3 for Sunderland. So it’s not like the goalscoring potential isn’t there.
That’s what makes our lack of goals so frustrating.
It’s just one of the many head scratchers this season. Adding to such questions as just why, for Liverpool, are Charlie Adam’s set-pieces so poor? Alex Ferguson once said Adam’s corners alone were worth £10m but now he isn’t even first-choice to take ours.
Another frustration has been the missed penalties and amount of times we’ve hit the woodwork (21 times in total). That surely has to be a record? An unwanted record granted. Apparently Suarez has hit the woodwork 19 times in his 46 games for Liverpool so far. Talk about being inches away from a different outcome.
If our prolificacy can change over the run-in, fourth place could still be achieved, if it doesn’t it will be clear where things went wrong and what is needed to be added to the squad.
Liverpool’s character and style; according to WhoScored.com – calculated from team’s current domestic season statistics.
Liverpool’s remaining fixtures: Sunderland (a), Everton (h), QPR (a), Wigan (h), Newcastle (a), Aston Villa (h), Blackburn (a), Fulham (h), West Brom (h), Norwich (a), Chelsea (h), Swansea (a)