Liverpool proved yesterday against Manchester City that they should only fear their own profligacy rather than any team, but is it time that the Dutchman was replaced?
It might be time to send Dirk out to pasture
I love Dirk Kuyt. His enthusiasm, constant harrying of opposition defenders and love for the club have made him a player that Liverpool can always count on when the chips are down. Yet when the chips are up, as they were for long periods against Manchester City yesterday, his inability to keep control in the tightest areas, and also his at times woeful passing, lead to too many potentially good moves breaking down at this feet. Replacing Kuyt with a player of similar indefatigability yet increased technique will be a huge ask and will, undoubtedly, cost in excess of £15 million. But Liverpool are increasingly profligate at present, and with Suarez playing as a false nine and finding goals hard to come by, the players wide of him in advanced positions also need to start chipping in if our rapidly emerging style of football is to bear fruit at the business end of the season. Neither Downing or Kuyt, who have started the majority, have scored in the league. Contrast this with the other teams in the top seven and we’re lagging.
Aldo, although not quick, had the instinctive movement of a predator. Carroll hasn’t, and it’s a huge problem.
More than ever, we need Steven Gerrard
A few months ago I wrote an article stating that Liverpool were a better team without Steven Gerrard, arguing that other players stepped up in his absence. I stand by what I said at the time, but now that Adam has joined Lucas in cementing his place in the midfield, we need the skipper back in the side and back to his best. I saw a lot of fans giving Henderson hammer on Twitter and forums yesterday. Technically, I think he's fine, he's neat in possession and offers good support positions to his teammates, but physically he isn't ready. Adam, Lucas and Gerrard all bristle with physicality. Lucas had Yaya Toure's number yesterday, which is no mean feat, and Adam outplayed Gareth Barry in every aspect. One can only imagine then, how things would've panned out if Gerrard had been on the pitch. Although yesterday was a day of positives - besting the league leaders and being incredibly unfortunate not to win - we need a cuter edge to the often-frenetic passing and also someone who is deadly from range.
Andy Carroll can’t be a £35m super sub.
On a number of occasions yesterday before the big fella was summoned from the bench, Liverpool whipped cross after cross into the box only to see them wasted. Despite nearly winning the game with that stooping header, the deliveries into the box got worse when Carroll was on. In all honesty, I’m not sure this is Carroll’s fault. The team without him are set up to play a fast pass and move game the puts the opposition on the back foot, yet when he comes on the pace has to drop. In Liverpool’s sense there is nothing wrong with this, if you are going to have a super-sub, why shouldn’t it be a hulking centre-forward who scares the bejeesus out of opposition defenders. Yet for Carroll there is no benefit. Every game he sits on the bench and fails to score when he comes on will fuel the media’s obsession with his price, and no matter how much Kenny protects him, his mindset will become increasingly negative. I’d love nothing better than to see a style of football evolve that can get the best out of Suarez and Carroll as a pair, but can’t see it happening. Carroll was said to be the Aldridge of Kenny’s new team with Suarez the Beardsley, but Aldo, although not quick, had the instinctive movement of a predator. Carroll hasn’t, and it’s a huge problem.
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