Tag Archives: Charlie Adam

Steven Gerrard – The Pied Piper Of Anfield


One of the greatest midfielders, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been the lynchpin of the Reds for the past decade or so and has also been the part of the transformation plans of four managers since the triumphant spectacle at Istanbul. However, the critics have doubted the current influence of the 32-year old English captain.

Under the current Chelsea interim boss – Rafael Benitez, Anfield was a place most teams around Europe feared to go. It was a fortress in its true sense. A young Gerrrad was given a more advanced role to play, just behind the target man Fernando Torres, Peter Crouch or Andrei Voronin. With Xabi Alonso at the centre of the park and the smart Javier Mascherano as the holding midfielder – the link between the midfield & the back four – Gerrard was handed the responsibility of handling the attacking side of the game. Liverpool were known for their direct style of play, fluent passing and classic counter attacks. The 2008-09 season was the highlight of this Liverpool side’s strength and ability. Benitez was clearly a manager who understood each player’s psychology, style of play and the suitable position required for his effective influence in the side’s game. Gerrard was at his very best and had expressed his happiness under the Spanish boss.

Liverpool’s formation under Rafa Benitez

Liverpool’s inability of holding on to Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, the stalwarts of the Liverpool midfield was followed by the exit of Benitez. This led to a beginning of a doubtful and disappointing transition in the history of the football club. The entry of Roy Hodgson led to a hope for the Koptites as the former Fulham manager seemed like a hopeful perspective. But his tenure ended after just 31 matches following a run of disappointing results. Meanwhile, the Liverpool skipper suffered a recurring hamstring injury in training.

The sacking of Hodgson meant that Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish would step in his shoes. After a struggling start and a serious injury Lucas Leiva, Gerrard was given a role of playing behind Jordan Henderson and play as a deep-lying playmaker, a position to which the English midfielder was not much acclimated to. The introduction of Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Henderson meant that the injury affected captain had to play behind the attacking midfielders. However, this was the time when the then 31 year-old midfielder suffered his major injury setbacks. He was sidelined for six months with a grueling groin injury and was again sidelined for an infection injury on his right ankle.

Liverpool’s formation under Kenny Dalglish

These injuries forced the manager to play him in a safe deep position which would keep him away from exertion and hard tackling and thus keep him away from further injuries. However, the fan favourite had mentioned in his interviews that he was more than willing to play the same role that he had played for Liverpool over the years but was happy with any role given by the manager. A 1-0 defeat on the final day of the season at  Swansea City meant the end of a disappointing era for Dalglish. Gerrard was criticized by many as a player too old for the British game but was still able to get 8 goals in the meager amount of games that he played.

Then came Brendan Rodgers. The former Swansea boss provides a whole new type of game of retaining the ball as quickly as possible and playing an aggressive & fast game. Meaning, the type of game Gerrard longs to play, with wholehearted commitment in every tackle.


However, the current role given to Gerrard has frustrated many a Liverpool fan. The influential and committed skipper has been given a tamed role of playing the ball in the final third from a deep position. But with a lack of strike force and a berserk Luis Suarez when it comes to finishing the obvious chances, the only support in the front-line, the midfielder is forced to give away the ball due to lack of options. The main and obvious remedy to this is to bring in a new striker, especially a striker who can make his presence felt in the box. The reason being that Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling do all the hard work on the wings, taking defenders to the byline and then when they look up there is hardly a shadow in the box to aim at. Due to the inexperienced midfield comprising of Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Allen, Gerrard is given the responsibility of handling the defensive duties as well. For a 32-year-old it is too big a task. Allen after an impressive first three games has exposed his physical weakness and has given the ball away cheaply especially against the likes of Chelsea who have a hefty attacking line-up.

The formation that Brendan Rodgers should play, which will get the best out of Gerrard

A makeshift solution can be of playing Lucas and Allen as the holding midfielders and Gerrard playing in front of them. This will enable him to move to either wing to support Sterling or the newly fullback turned left midfielder Jose Enrique as also of playing the final ball to Suarez or taking the shot on from outside the area, for which he was so feared till a season or two ago. The main problem is that the more deep he falls in the midfield the more the midfield looses its experience and the dynamic presence of an attacking and creative midfielder and thus his influence in the game reduces drastically. For a man who has given everything for his home club and wants to fulfill his only desire of winning the Premier League title, he should be given the role of a trequilesta, even if it drains out all his energy and has to sit out a third of the game.


Top 20 Worst Premier League Signings Of The Season

As we draw near the end of a thrilling season in the Premier League, almost everything is still up for grabs – relegation, UEFA Champions League qualification, and the title itself.

While we wait for those matters to be decided, let’s debate who the worst signings of the season have been. Here are Into The Top Corner looks at the top 20 worst signings of this season. Tell us whether you agree or not in the comments section.

20. Romelu Lukaku – Anderlecht to Chelsea for £18m

Dubbed as the next Drogba, he joined the Blues in the summer for a huge fee. Everyone expected him to get a run in the team under the then new manager Andre Villas-Boas’ policy of giving young players a chance but it never happened. Lukaku was behind the likes of Drogba, Torres and Sturridge in the pecking order and made just six appearances this season – all as a substitute – and is expected to spend the next season out on loan. People would say he is the one for the future but spending that much amount of money and giving him just six appearances from the bench is a waste of money.

19. Raul Meireles – Liverpool to Chelsea for £11m

Decided to follow Fernando Torres and join Chelsea in the following transfer window and I have no clue why he did that. He was having a great time at Liverpool and was performing well for the Reds but since his move to the Stamford Bridge he has been very inconsistent this season. Apart from that one Manchester City game at Stamford Bridge, where he scored the equaliser, his season has been poor compared to his first season in the Premier League.

18. Owen Hargreaves – Manchester United to Manchester City for Free

Everyone was shocked – including me – when Hargo signed for City on deadline day. He used youtube to attract clubs and prove his fitness but that plan was a complete waste and it backfired. England’s player of the 2006 World Cup, was troubled by his injury nightmare again and was able make just a single league appearance this season. According to reports City are ready to release him again at the end of the season.

17. Sylvain Marveaux – Rennes to Newcastle for Free

Marveaux was reported to be very close to signing for Dalglish’s Liverpool at the end of last season but the two parties failed to agree a deal and so the winger joined Newcastle United for nothing in the summer. After recovering from an injury picked up in pre-season, Marveaux was a regular part of Newcastle’s Carling Cup team and made a handful of appearances in the league. He picked a groin injury against Everton which would keep him out for some week and later in November it was confirmed he would require a hip surgery in US, which will make him miss the whole season. The France U-21 international was able to make just six appearances for the Magpies in the Premier League this season.

16. Craig Gardner – Birmingham City to Sunderland for £6m

Gardner was Birmingham star last season and was signed up by Sunderland at the start of the season. Gardener started the season as he had ended the last one with Birmingham, on song. But soon his form dropped and subsequently he was dropped to the bench. Arrival of Martin O’Neill at the club saw a change of fortunes for the former Aston Villa man and an injury crises at Sunderland helped him to regain his place back in the team. There were some rumours in the press of him being homesick but the Black Cats rejected a loan offer from a Midlands club for him in January. Gardner who has scored three goals in 19 appearances this season hasn’t produced the same performances as he did for the Blues last season and will be hoping to get a chance next season.

15. Jordan Henderson – Sunderland to Liverpool for £16m

Many people would say he should be a lot higher in this list but I don’t think so. The 21-year old joined the Reds for a hefty transfer fee in the summer and has made 37 league appearances this season but the England U-21 international has been consistently inconsistent this season. Liverpool fans call him the next Steven Gerrard and he has the talent in him to follow the footsteps and maybe even replace the inspirational skipper but it’s still in the future. This season he has been used by Dalglish in different positions in the midfield and that’s probably the reason why he has shown us just blinks of his talent and not the real talent. Expect him to come good next season.

14. Stefan Savic – Partizan Belgrade to Manchester City  for £10m

The 21-year-old joined City in the summer for a fee which could have been more than 80% less had they signed him a season ago. The Montenegro defender was brought in as a backup for Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott but he failed to fill in the boots of Kompany, when the Belgium international was sidelined with injuries or suspended. Savic scored a goal in his 12 league appearances but he struggled to cope up with the pace of the English game and was badly exposed in Liverpool Carling Cup win at the Etihad.

13. David Goodwillie – Dundee United to Blackburn Rovers for £3m

The Scot came to the Premier League with a reputation of scoring goal but when he leaves, he will leave with a bad reputation. Rovers expected him to make the headlines with some goals and he did but for all the wrong reasons. The Scotland international has made just 16 appearances for Blackburn this season and has able to find the back of the net just two times. With all the controversies surrounding him this season, I expect him to be the first player Blackburn getting rid of in the summer.

12. Matthew Upson – West Ham United to Stoke City for Free

The West Ham United skipper joined Stoke City for free in the summer. He stated that his main reason of joining Stoke was Europa League football. Upson who was once linked with the top Premier League sides is now a backup for Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth at Stoke. The former Arsenal defender hasn’t had the best of the season at the Britannia with most his appearances coming in the Europa League or of the bench. The England international who scored in the World Cup 2010 against Germany, will be looking to move and try his trade in some other league perhaps.

11. Joey Barton – Newcastle United to QPR for Free

The one-cap England international had a successful campaign with Newcastle before falling out with owners in the pre-season and then deciding to leave the club for nothing. The busy man on twitter, joined the Rs in August and was handed the captaincy by the then coach Neil Warnock. Barton started the season impressively and scored his first goal for the club against Wolves but soon his formed dipped and has been largely inconsistent since. As expected, he was involved in controversies with Wolves skipper Karl Henry and was also shown a red card in a match against Norwich.

10. Gabriel Obertan – Manchester United to Newcastle United for £3m

The failure of Obertan in the Premier League is one thing that surprises me. The winger has a lot of pace in him to beat any defender in the Premier League and also has the talent to succeed at this level but he has never shown it. When he moved to Newcastle from Manchester United in the summer, everyone expected him to be one of the best buys of the season but he has been very poor for the Magpies also. Started the season in the first team, Obertan was then dropped to the bench because of unimpressive performances and now with the return of Hatem Ben Arfa he just makes the bench. The France U-21 international has made 23 appearances this season, most of them from the bench, but has managed to find the back of the net just once.

9. Scott Dann – Birmingham City to Blackburn Rovers for £7.7m

Dann was a solid player for Birmingham last season and with the Blues relegating a move away from St. Andrews was imminent. Speculation of a move to Arsenal was probably the highest point in his career. But Blackburn came in for him first and what looked a like a great buy at first has eventually led Rovers to a relegation battle. Dann has looked a completely different player that he was last season with Birmingham and maybe a season in the Championship will help him get his career back on track.

8. David N’Gog – Liverpool to Bolton Wanderers for £4m

Was very disappointing during his time with Liverpool and I can’t understand why someone would even pay £4m for him. Looked at as a possible replacement for Kevin Davies, N’Gog has scored just three goals this season in 32 league appearances for the Wanderers. Maybe a season or two in the Championship can help him prove his potential.

7. Shaun Wright-Phillips – Manchester City to QPR for £4m

It’s very sad how his career has declined since the departure of Jose Mourinho from Chelsea. Wright-Phillips who has 36 English caps to his name was told he is not wanted anymore by City at the start of the season and so he joined QPR on deadline in August. He started the season impressive and also won the Man of the Match award for his performance against Newcastle on his debut. But soon his form deserted and that saw him being dropped onto the bench. Wright-Phillips who has a Premier League winners medal to his name has made just 23 appearances for the Rs this season and hasn’t scored a single goal yet.

6. Wilson Palacios – Tottenham Hotspur to Stoke City for £6m

After falling down in the pecking order at White Hart Lane, Palcaios joined Stoke on deadline day along with Peter Crouch. He made his debut as a substitute against Liverpool in the 1-0 win but his start to his Stoke career was restricted by a by a knee injury and tonsillitis. He eventually made his first league start against City in December, but by March 2012 he still hadn’t managed to become a regular in the side playing mostly in cameo roles. His poor fitness levels and a long-standing knee injury restricted him to just 18 league appearances for Potters this season and hopefully with a good pre-season he would be back to his best.

5. Charlie Adam – Blackpool to Liverpool for £8m 

He was Blackpool’s performer of the season last term and proved to be a brilliant sale for his former employers. His performance with the Seasiders attracted a huge amount of interest from top teams in the Premier League and Anfield was his destination in the end. The Liverpool faithful were delighted with his arrival and expected a lot of him and probably even fill the boots of Steven Gerrard, as the skipper was injured for the most of the first half of the season with a hamstring injury. But the Scot has failed to stand to the expectations and his inconsistency has been one of the reasons for Liverpool poor season.

4. Roger Johnson – Birmingham to Wolves for £7m

He formed a formidable partnership with Scott Dann at Birmingham last season but this season he is right up there in the flops of the season. He costed Wolves a huge fee of £7m and was named the skipper of the team but he led to relegation. At the same time he was booed on and off the field by the Wolves supporters, maybe the sacking of Mick McCarthy has something to do with that. But the skipper turning up drunk for training and his one field bust-up with his own team-mate Wayne Hennessey is not at all good for the club and its image. In the Championship next season he will be too good for the other teams and will again attract good amount interest from the Premier League sides.

3. Park Chu Young – AS Monaco to Arsenal for £5.8m 

The Korean international joined the club with a reputation of scoring goals in the French league but it looks like Arsenal signed him just to sale shirts in South East Asia. The striker who has 25 goals to his name for his country in 59 appearances failed to settle in England and has also been troubled with injuries since his move to London. The former FC Seoul striker has made just a handful of appearances for the Gunners this season with his only goal coming against Bolton in the Carling Cup. The Korean international will be hoping to get some more opportunities next season before he leaves for national service.

2. Charles N’Zogbia – Wigan Athletic to Aston Villa for  £10m

N’Zogbia was one of the reasons of Wigan’s survival in the Premier League last year and that’s why Aston Villa paid a huge fee to get him to Villa Park. He was also seen as a replacement to both Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, who left the Villains for Liverpool and Manchester United in the summer, but the French international failed to live up to the expectations of the Villa fans. With just two goals and three assists to his name in 30 appearances this season, N’Zogbia has failed big time under Alex McLeish and maybe a change in manager may well get the best out of him.

1. Stewart Downing – Aston Villa to Liverpool for £20m

No prizes for guessing who our flop of the season is. Yes, it’s Stewart Downing. Liverpool paid a huge amount of £20m to get the England winger from Aston Villa in the summer. Everyone including Dalglish thought Downing could be the perfect player to get best out of Andy Carroll but it didn’t work out. Downing, an England hopeful and will probably always remain one, has made 34 appearances for the Reds in the league this season and has – wait for it – zero goals and zero assists to his name. Yes, Liverpool fans, yes, you can argue that he was the Man of the Match in the Carling Cup final against Cardiff City but you can’t argue to the fact that he has been a complete waste of money and the worst signing of this season.

7 Reasons Why Liverpool Are Struggling In The Premier League This Season

Here are the Seven reasons according to Into The Top Corner for Liverpool’s struggles this year in the Premier League.

1. Tactics

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.