Where Did It All Go Wrong For Liverpool?


Back on the thirteenth of April, Liverpool defeated Manchester City and took pole position in the title race. After that important result, the team went into a huddle and club captain Steven Gerrard told his fellow players “This is gone. We go to Norwich. Exactly the same. We go together.”

At the moment most believed that Gerrard had sent out the message that Liverpool were ready to become Premier League champions for the first time.

They did manage to gain the same result down at Norwich and again the fans could afford to dream that the league championship was going to comeback to Anfield.

But tellingly in both those vital victories, Liverpool’s deficiencies were still being shown up for all to see. Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho and Crystal Palace’s tony Pulis took note of them.

See the fact is, Liverpool are fantastic going forward but are too susceptible at making mistakes at the back.

In the second half of the City game, David Silva was able to cut through them with ease. He almost singlehandedly got Man City a result that day.

The Liverpool defence don’t like the pressure from defending at set pieces. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet gets caught out too easily and doesn’t command his box at these important events. Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar branded the Belgian keeper Liverpool’s ‘weak link’. I believe that statement is a bit harsh but it is true that he needs to attack and win more aerial duals with forwards when crosses come into his area.

Liverpool have conceded forty-nine times this season, only Spurs have conceded more in the top eight.

Martin Skrtel has had a fine season but is that mainly down to his goals rather than his defending? Last night against Palace he made the cardinal sin of being too attracted to the ball. He got caught underneath it, got nowhere near it and it was passed beyond him into the free path of Dwight Gayle.

I really can’t understand why Brendan Rodgers doesn’t select Daniel Agger beside Martin Skrtel as his defensive paring when both are fit. The last time they started together was back in March, when Liverpool kept a cleansheet and won 4-0. The Dane has been on the bench for the past four outings when the defence have looked vulnerable. In fact those two made up the centre-back duo that kept Liverpool’s last three cleansheets!

We cannot doubt that tiredness is getting to the players. At various times last night Glen Johnson, Jon Flanagan and Mamadou Sahko looked dead on their feet. Too many times, Johnson in particular, was beaten by his opposite number and the England international couldn’t get back in time.

The whole team kept on falling back and sitting deeper as Palace smelled blood and went for Liverpool’s throats. Again that is a classic sign of fatigue. Liverpool have been famed this campaign for their pressing style but it has left them at the business end of the season.

The squad have also missed Jordan Henderson energy, who has missed out recently due to suspension. They could have benefitted with having him and Joe Allen in midfield. As Gerrard doesn’t offer enough protection for those playing just behind him. I think injuries have caught up with Lucas Leiva. He seems short on pace and looks weak in the tackle. In fairness he could do with having a full pre-season under his belt, but the Brazilian’s ball winning skills and ball retention abilities have left him when Liverpool have needed it the most.

Luck as ever plays a huge part at this stage of a season. Gerrard’s mistake against Chelsea looks like it will be one of those moments that will get replayed for years to come. If Liverpool lose out on the title that moment will be highlighted as the time it all started to slip away (pardon the pun). That is very unfair if truth be told. Liverpool’s attitude of ‘attack, attack, attack!’ has been admirable but it hasn’t always papered over the cracks in their defending game. At times Rodgers needed to tell his troops to shut up shop and he failed to do that or they failed to listen to his advice.

Even in attack Liverpool need to improve.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have had wonderful seasons. Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho have also helped the cause by chipping in a fair amount of goals. But they still need one or two back up strikers that can come in on the big occasions and help deliver too. One goal between Victor Moses and Iago Aspas isn’t good enough, especially if you think that Liverpool will be in the Champions League next term. Even keeping Fabio Borini would have been better than bringing in Moses.

But its not all finished for Liverpool yet! They are actually still top of the Barclay’s Premier League. Yes Manchester City have a game in hand and only need four points to secure their second title in three seasons but they do still need to win those points. Both Aston Villa and West Ham have nothing to play for in those two remaining City fixtures. That could mean they just lie down but it may mean that they play with a freedom that improves their game.

But whatever happens, it has been a pleasure to watch Liverpool this season. They have been the most consistently creative club to watch and I hope this isn’t a one season wonder. They will need to make big purchases in the summer, probably in all areas.

Will Brendan Rodgers be the next title winner or the next Kevin Keegan? Only time will tell!

One Response to “Where Did It All Go Wrong For Liverpool?”

  1. Have faith in our destiny.

Leave a Reply