Another quiet week for Liverpool then!
Firstly, we had the defeat at West Brom. Let’s be honest here, we got what we deserved from the game. Nothing. Once again Liverpool were outfought by opposition that we really should be beating easily, while it was a better effort than against West Ham (though that wouldn’t have been hard), it wasn’t anywhere near good enough. Just as worrying, West Brom completely outplayed us too.
Attacking-wise, there wasn’t much to report. Liverpool did well in the first few minutes, and Kuyt should’ve scored. There was no fluency to any of our attacks following the first few minutes and once again Carragher took it upon himself to hoof the ball up to Carroll at every opportunity and Liverpool’s passing was terrible for most of the game. West Brom’s defenders had a plan to knock Carroll off his game by getting him so wound up with some rough challenges he lost all focus, and it worked. Carroll looked likely to be sent off at one point and it was probably only half-time that saved him, but he had little effect on the game second half.
Because of the two defensive injuries, there wasn’t much Dalglish could do to change things up. So Dalglish would’ve sent his team out hoping that they could turn the performance around. Against the run of play, Liverpool took the lead. Following another good delivery by Meireles from a corner, Skrtel scored. Liverpool couldn’t capitalise on this though and West Brom began to pass the ball around Liverpool again.
Our midfield was atrocious. Lucas had one of his bad days, Meireles couldn’t get into the game and Jay Spearing was terrible. The only attributes Spearing brings to the table, in my opinion anyway, is tackling and work-rate and both of those were non-existent in that game. Spearing is 22, so I think it’s time to stop talking about him in terms of potential and talk about what he can deliver now. He can’t pass to the required standard and I just don’t think he’s good enough at this level (I read an article recently comparing him to John Welsh, which I think is a good comparison).
In recent seasons there’s been a good argument that Liverpool coped without Gerrard well. Results and performances didn’t suffer too much when he was missing. That doesn’t seem to be the case at present as we are missing him badly.
The midfields failure to stop West Brom meant that the defence was under pressure for a lot of the game. Unfortunately injuries to Johnson and Agger meant that we had to change our defence early on and we struggled to adapt to West Brom’s pace and movement. Kyrgiakos had a shocking match, making some of the elementary mistakes that he and the other defenders have been making all season. He gave the first penalty away following a clumsy challenge, that wasn’t even necessary in the first place as Skrtel was covering.
West Brom’s second was even worse; Kyrgiakos was undone by a long ball that he should’ve dealt with. Considering that most of the time, he and Skrtel try to play the man rather than the ball, Kyrgiakos failed to do that either and got knocked off the ball by a man half his size. Watch the replays, Kyrgiakos doesn’t look at the ball at all, he looks at Reina and has no idea where the ball is at all. After Reina brought Odemwingie down and Brunt scored the penalty, Liverpool managed to string a couple of attacks together, Suarez had an effort cleared off the line and Skrtel missed a golden chance to get his second.
This week also saw a magazine interview published with John Henry where he expressed his dismay at the lack of depth in the squad, despite the large payroll. For years Liverpool has suffered from the wrong people spending a lot of money on the wrong players, or players in the wrong position. Hopefully Henry will begin to address the problem this summer, but if Liverpool do not qualify for Europe, it may limit both the spending power and the ability to attract the calibre of player required to take the team to the next level.
This lack of depth is apparent now, especially in defence, as Liverpool do not have a fit full back for the next league game. Wilson can fill in on the left, though he is still largely untested and Carragher can do the same on the right, leaving Skrtel and Kyrgiakos to play in the centre, but if anything happens to them, there really aren’t many options. Agger’s terrible injury record has caught up with him once again, he’s done for the season, Johnson and Kelly are out for the foreseeable future and Fabio Aurelio has an injury record that makes Chris Kirkland (a man who once got injured leaving the treatment room) seem like Iron Man.
Considering our next two league games are Manchester City and Arsenal, it would be a tall order to bring Jack Robinson in on the left or John Flanagan on the right, straight into the team from the reserves and expect them to succeed.
With Liverpool needing results quickly to stand any chance of qualifying for European football next season, the lack of defensive depth is a real worry.
In other news, Liverpool has a new shareholder. LeBron James. I’d love to know if James had actually heard of Liverpool ( the city or club) before he got his shares but if it brings some publicity to the club, then that’s not a bad thing (though there may be a sudden rise in the number of Man U fans in Cleveland!). This is not the first time that Liverpool has had a link with a superstar from another sport. In 1944, Joe Louis signed for Liverpool as a publicity stunt while he was on a promotional tour of England. He never actually played but still technically counts as a Liverpool player.