This was going to be the year that Liverpool challenged for the title. Well, that always seemed far fetched, but the Champions League was a realistic goal. As I watch Liverpool, along with the other top Premier League teams, I see so much wrong. Here are my top three reasons why Liverpool is failing.
#3- Suarez is an Illusion
Whenever Suarez has the ball I get excited. When anyone else has the ball I get bored. It seems as though Suarez scores in every game, but being a Liverpool fan, my sense of reality is skewed. Suarez has played in 22 games for Liverpool thus far, and in these 22 games he has scored 8 times. This means that Suarez scores, roughly, once every three games. In that same 22 game span, Suarez has recorded 103 shots, 40 of these have been on target. Shots on goal percentage of 38%.
I look at these statistics and think it's no big deal. I think to myself that Suarez must be leading in assists, but that's not a favorable statistic for Suarez who has recorded only 6 assists. He sees far too much of the ball and does far too little with it. Liverpool will not be able to push themselves back into the top 4 until they can figure out where the goals are going to come from in the other two out of three games. The problem with Liverpool is their reliance on a player, Suarez, that is not capable of producing the winning goal in every game.
#2 Catch-22 Carroll
By no means do I think that Carroll has lived up to, or even come close to his, 35 million pound price tag. Only time will tell if Carroll was worth that hefty price. However, some time has passed, and we can now evaluate Carroll's contribution to the team. In his first 10 months with Liverpool, he has played in 16 games and scored 4 times. This means that Carroll scores once every four games. In order to score these 4 goals, Carroll has needed 40 shots. Of these 40 shots, Carroll has put 16 on target. Shots on goal percentage of 40%.
Suarez 16 goals 6 assists 40 shots on goal 103 shots 38% accuracy 6.5 shots per goal
Carroll 4 goals 0 assists 16 shots on goal 40 shots 40% accuracy 10 shots per goal
I look at Liverpool's +/- with only Suarez on the field, compared to with only Carroll on the field. What I find is that without Carroll on the field, Suarez has only scored once. With Carroll on the field, Suarez has scored seven times. This means that in order for Liverpool to get any productivity out of Suarez, they must start Carroll who is less impressive than Suarez.
#1 How to Produce
Every economy must answer three basic economic questions. These questions are: what to produce, for whom to produce, and how to produce them. Let's think about Liverpool as being an emerging economy, and lets take a look at how Liverpool has answered these questions. Here are Liverpool's resources and their primary attributes.
Andy Carroll- Striker- heading, finishing
Luis Suarez- Striker- speed, finishing
Craig Bellamy- Midfield/Wing- speed
Stewart Downing- Midfield/Wing- speed, service
Charlie Adam- Midfield- service
Jose Enrique- Defense- service
Glen Johnson- Defense- speed, service
Jordan Henderson- Midfield- resemblance to Twilight character
How to produce?
The first two economic questions are relatively easy to see. Liverpool is trying to produce goals (what), and they want Carroll and Suarez to be the goal scorers (for whom). The way Liverpool have gone about producing has been all wrong. Instead of using the resources for their proper purpose, Liverpool has resembled the Soviet Union in the 1980's. While the formation is listed as a 4-4-2, Liverpool plays closer to a 4-1-3-1-1-1. Lucas sits just ahead of the back line, while downing plays more of a center midfield role. Charlie Adam appears to wonder forward, where bad touches are too often present, and sits in front of the midfield. Ahead of Adam is Suarez, and then Carroll is all the way at the top. Saying this is unorthodox is an understatement.
Liverpool should attack down the wings and cross to Carroll. Carroll from here could shoot or knock it down to Suarez. Instead of doing this, Liverpool midfielders and left back (talking about you Jose Enrique) send long diagonal balls ahead of an awkward Carroll. This tactic does not work with a player like Carroll. Long balls need to be targeted directly at Carroll, not ahead of him. The speed players, need to exploit the space at the edges of the field.
Liverpool needs to start using it's players for the reason they purchased them.
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