Improvements still needed in Liverpool’s key area

So we’re close to a quarter of the way through the season already (I know, it goes quickly, doesn’t it?) and it’s fair to say that we’ve started fairly well. The odd stutter aside, we’ve acquitted ourselves pretty decently against the more difficult sides we’ve faced with victories against Everton and Arsenal (both away, no less) a home draw against United which could and should have been a morale-boosting win have shown that we’re more than capable of getting results in tough games. Likewise, we’ve made easy work of lesser sides in some games too. But defeats against the likes of Tottenham have shown that we’re still lacking and have a lot to learn still.

While a lot of people have pointed out that we lack any real pace and mobility in midfield when the likes of Henderson and Adam are playing, I actually think that, now Gerrard is back that will become less of an issue, particularly if he is able to play off Suarez and link midfield with attack like he is so good at.

There is also a lot being made of Jamie Carragher’s fading ability (myself being one of those people) and, strangely, a large part of our fans that put all of our defensive failing squarely on Martin Skrtel ’s shoulders. However, a quick glance at the league table would show that we’re actually joint 5th strongest at the back with Aston Villa, having conceded 9, whilst Stoke have let in 8 and United, City and Newcastle are all on 6 goals. Given the sheer amount of new – and returning – players we have, it’s pretty impressive that we haven’t been more of a mess defensively.

Neither of these two areas concern me overly, as they things that are gradually working themselves out and have not posed any huge problems for us so far (particularly not as we conceded 4 of those 9 in one dire, dire game). The one main issue I see up to now is our complete inability to take our chances at the opposite end.

The stats will show that Liverpool have scored only 1 less than Arsenal and 2 less than Tottenham but given the amount of chances we’ve managed to create overall, it’s an incredibly worrying statistic. Particularly given that the Manchester’s City and United have scored 27 and 25 respectively and Chelsea who have an expensive flop of a striker in their midst have still managed to score nearly twice as many as us.

In the Red’s first 8 league games so far this new season, we have managed a total of 122 shots and just 11 goals. That averages at just over 15 shots per game, with us needing over 11 shots to score just one goal. Now, I think anybody would argue that you would hope to at least create 2-4 great goal-scoring opportunities from those shots in each game, so why aren’t we taking them? It’s hard to say, really. We have one of the best strikers in the league in Luis Suarez and while he is our top scorer, he has still only notched up 4 league goals. Compare this to – I know, I’m sorry – Wayne Rooney who, despite missing a few games, has already notched 9 league goals.

The most disconcerting game for me so far was the away match at the Britannia. How Stoke managed to beat us 1-nil, despite us creating 24 chances I will never know. I doubt the players and staff would be able to offer any further insight into what happened there either. Something must be done soon though, as after our last big ‘Super Sunday’ match, we have – at least on paper – a relatively straightforward run in the offing.

Now, I don’t want to add further fuel to the ‘Liverpool rely on Gerrard too much’ brigade but I think that now that he’s back and taking his place in the side, I think this will become much less of a problem. Not so much because he’ll score all of our goals himself but because between him and Suarez we will have something akin to the Gerrard-Torres partnership that used to devastate so much for us and with those two creating an understanding it will hopefully take a lot of the pressure off the likes of Adam, Downing, Kuyt and Carroll and their goals will, as a direct results, also begin to start flowing.

Article courtesy of David Tryer from Live4Liverpool
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