I may just be imagining it but I do get the feeling that there is a tension among Liverpool supporters recently about how the team should play. I alluded to this in a previous article yesterday about the use of set pieces and the importance of both Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll next season, and I think it is something worthwhile elaborating a bit further on.
A lot of supporters, both young and old, could be termed to be “Football Purists.” Although it is not really right to pigeon hole fans so specifically, if you did generalise slightly, there are those who like to see the beatifically game played as exactly that, beautiful. It is a style of play most perfectly demonstrated by the current Barcelona side, and it is a winning, attractive style which has won them many plaudits as well as many trophies. Great Liverpool teams of the past, playing the Liverpool Way have also come close to matching this style in the pass and move philosophy instilled first by Shankly, and latterly perfected by Dalglish in the late 1980s.
For this reason then, there are a higher percentage of “Football Purists” among Liverpool supporters than anyone else, and so there should be, considering how we have all been brought up believing in this way of playing the game, watching the Reds over the years. It was a big factor in fans hostility towards Roy Hodgson as in no way did he befit this style despite proclaiming its virtues before the start of last season.
The argument has reared its head again during the last 6 months though after the purchase of Andy Carroll. Why do we need a big burly old style English number 9 some have asked? Won’t he mess up our style of play, and prevent the pass and move style from being established again?
This feeling that the Reds may revert to playing more direct is certainly notable among some fans and it has also crept in to concern at the type of players that the Reds have signed this summer. For all intents and purposes, you could very well see the signings of Adam, Henderson and more specifically Downing as a reversion to a more direct style of player being bought, all bought to suit Andy Carroll rather for someone like Luis Suarez .
I cannot deny I would like to see similar players to Luis Suarez and although I haven’t joined the clamour for the likes of Juan Mata and Sergio Aguero, I have to admit I would have loved the Reds to bring in these sorts of players. Who wouldn’t want them? Especially alongside Suarez, the Reds could have been playing some great pass and move footballl, but at this point in time I don’t think its too realistic, King Kenny is being a hell of a lot more pragmatic than that. If you are going to buy a £35million striker you must utilise him to the nth degree.
At Blackburn Rovers , Dalglish showed he has the ability to change styles to suit the players he has, and with both Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in his armoury, Kenny again has the ability to adapt, switch styles and capitalise on the weaknesses of opponents. If you are going to win the Premier League title, you need to be able to adapt against different sides. Arsenal have showed that a lack of a plan B can be fatal, Dalglish will not make the same mistake. To beat teams such as Stoke, you need a different game plan, and I have full confidence in Liverpool ’s coaching staff that they have every plan available to make a full frontal assault this coming season.
Read more of David’s articles at Live4Liverpool