In all honesty, 46 goals from 38 games in all competitions doesn’t seem a happy statistic if you’re a Liverpool well-wisher and focus should not be solely on defensive frailties but also on the Reds’ forward line.
We go back two seasons and see Liverpool as genuine title contenders and possibly challenging teams of elite Europe even with poor defense but since the departure of Suarez (post 2013-14 season) and persisting injuries to Sturridge, the Reds have floundered to acquire a player that can fill the boots of these two strikers.
To go with it, we all know the perennial defensive problem this club has inherited I guess from the past 3-4 years and lack of goals on top of it just seem to complicate things two-fold. Since, the departure of Carragher, Reds have struggled to snap a centre-back of his quality.
So, in one sentence I should say Liverpool haven’t been able to acquire players of the stature they had few years back and now find themselves a mid-table club far away from the dreamland of being ‘title-contenders’.
I’ll not scrap through more history and mock the club’s transfer policies and all, rather will focus on the attacking problems Reds are having and analyse through few points where improvements can be made and one major factor is the presence of players in opposition box.
We’ll look through how Liverpool shape when they attack in an open-play and how few changes can lead to something contrasting-
Abbreviations- FB – Fullback; DM – Defensive Midfielder; WP – Wide Player; MR – Midfield Runners; CF – Centre Forward
Now these are the position of players when Liverpool are attacking in an open-play, we have seen in many games that midfield runners like Can and Henderson are more obsessed in supporting wide plays rather than making inward runs into the opposition box, wide players like Lallana and Milner are linking their plays with fullbacks but what they should understand is that if midfield runners are getting wider then they have to tuck-in a yard or two so that more support is there for the centre-forward. Simply making good moves around the box and crossing waywardly because less players are there doesn’t make sense, the shoot on sight policy has to be implemented regularly, it’s not like shoot from 25 yards or something then don’t shoot if you are 27 yards away, to be honest shooting has been quite poor from usual standards too.
The key in all these moments is decision-making, one instance was in the game against Leicester, Moreno got a clever ball on the left hand side with acres of space and time, he just had to pick one of the four players around the six yard box and he decided to shoot, so it should be termed as a terrible decision by the Spaniard and nothing else. Another thing which should be kept in mind is flexibility of play around the opposition box, Liverpool have been quite pedestrian when teams are defending deep against them and they seem to just pass sideways and don’t seem to get a perfect or shot or a linkup play.
Regardless of all these, players in opposition box is a necessity in whatever attack is to be ventured, presence in the box will always enable to attack the opposition with more menace.
Next game against Sunderland provides a stern test for Reds’ forward line to break a deep defending side and be more decisive in the final third, another pedestrian performance at Anfield especially against a relegation-threatened side, then serious questions on few attacking players may well be asked.
By Mizgan Ahmed on 5th February, 2016