Here are the Seven reasons according to Into The Top Corner for Liverpool’s struggles this year in the Premier League.
What is Liverpool’s best formation? Does Kenny Dalglish need to fit the players to a formation, or mould the formation around his players? These are all questions that have yet to be answered and Liverpool feel like a team still searching for their identity. We all know Dalglish wants his team to ‘pass and move’, but at the moment most of the passing and moving comes in the first two-thirds of the pitch where they won’t hurt teams.
2. Midfield Isn’t Good Enough
The team doesn’t appear to have the right blend in midfield, particularly in the absence of Lucas. Compared to the Mascherano-Alonso-Gerrard trio that took the club to 86 points in 2009, the 2012 is very poor in comparison. Gerrard is not a central midfielder and has always been at his best when given licence to get forward. Charlie Adam has plenty of ability but none of the game intelligence possessed by Alonso. Henderson? Way too raw.
3. Cup Distractions
While success in the Carling and FA Cups may not compensate for poor performances in the Premier League, it does partially explain why Liverpool have suffered in their pursuit of a top four place. Only the very best teams are capable of sustaining an assault on several fronts and, sadly for Kopites, Liverpool are far from the very best at this point in time. The cups have proved they can compete with the best over 90 minutes, but they simply aren’t equipped to do the same over 38 games.
4. Too Many New Signings
Liverpool brought in eight first team players in 2011 and shipped out nine. That is a big turnover by anyone’s standards and it’s not surprising that they aren’t exactly the finished article. Players like Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing have all played for big teams before, but are now finding out what life is like at a club that has won 18 titles and five European Cups. It’s also been a learning experience for Dalglish, as he finds out where his new-look team is lacking.
5. Luis Suarez Is Too Good
Luis Suarez plays football on another level to most of the Liverpool squad, in both ability and style of play. He’s a player who thrives on direct football and by that we don’t mean in the old English ‘lump it forward’ sense – Suarez is a typical South American attacker who thrives on clever give and go moves around the box, rather than getting it wide and getting on the end of crosses (witness his one-two with Maxi against Stoke in the Cup). In the right team, Suarez can be a world beater.
6. Fernando Torres Hasn’t Been Replaced
Forget the Spaniard’s struggles at Chelsea for the moment – when Liverpool sold Torres they lost a world class finisher and those are few and far between. Despite receiving £50m for their former star, the club didn’t replace like-for-like and it’s the worst kept secret in football that Liverpool are suffering from their lack of a prolific goal scorer.
7. The Andy Carroll Problem
Liverpool have not found a way to play to Carroll’s strengths, despite signing players last summer seemingly to do just that. Due to Luis Suarez’s nine-match ban, he got an extended run in the team after struggling to cement a starting spot earlier in the campaign and began to look half decent, but he’s been in and out ever since the Uruguayan’s return. Interestingly, Liverpool have won 62 per cent of the games Carroll’s started and just 38 per cent when he hasn’t.