ONCE AGAIN Liverpool’s defensive vulnerabilities have been cruelly exposed by an Aston Villa side that had clearly spent time revising its homework. Paul Lambert’s men were helped by what can only be assumed was a naivety in Rodgers team selection and tactics, a formation that cried out “Come & bully us”. Rodgers team having already been much maligned for its inability to keep a clean sheet, defending has at times become a running joke amongst the Anfield faithful – Or the lack of it.
Brendan Rodgers must himself take the brunt of the supporter’s unhappiness, seemingly unwilling to see the glaring faults that occur on a regular basis. Rodgers has form in this department throughout his fledgling career as a coach; a constant at all his managerial posts has been the inability to defend, or keep a clean sheet.
Let’s be honest the personnel he has at his and the clubs disposal is far from ideal, however some of those very players, are players Rodgers himself has brought to Anfield, some he has decided not to use like former Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Llori despite a fee of £7 million pounds, whilst Kolo Toure has found himself exposed in the rigours of Premier League football, lacking pace and having poor positional play, his game being littered with schoolboy errors. Mamadou Sakho is another purchase (£15 million) who seems lacking at the highest level, whether in confidence or ability is a conundrum still to be answered.
Then we have the loan signing from Valencia; Aly Cissokho like Bambi on ice whenever in possession of the football, having been unable to master running and keeping the football, but even with his limited talent Rodgers men seemed intent on giving him the ball as if he were some sort of talisman A La Zidane –
Liverpool’s insistence on giving the ball to either Toure or Cissokho whilst neither has a clue what to actually do with it, seems flawed, Liverpool may as well just attempted to kick it into the Mersey and put supporters out of their misery.
Whether Rodgers has the coaching nous alone to sort the problems at the back out, will only become known once he has a stable back four, this season having seen a plethora of changes to the Liverpool defensive quartet and at times trio.
Wherever Brendan Rodgers has plied his trade, the one constant alongside Tiki Taka has been incompetence to defend its goal; clean sheets seem never to be high in the priorities of Rodgers footballing philosophies – Liverpool are as Brendan himself has stated a massive club & maybe he needs to accept that help is required in the defensive coaching department.
Clearly a policy of buying young unproven defenders has not worked for Liverpool, or in the case of Toure, players passed their best, there needs to be an overall of the policy of acquiring defenders and the blooding of those youngsters we already have, but all that will be of very little importance if they can’t be coached into that system. At present that system becomes error strewn when those lacking the proficiency to pass a football are asked to do just that.
Throw into the mix the poor form of England international Glen Johnson, and indifference of former defensive stalwart’s Skrtel and Agger, and soon we see the mayhem that is Liverpool’s defence at times.
As good as Liverpool clearly are going forward, they are very poor defending, especially from set pieces & the deeper they have to defend the more exposed they become. Liverpool have conceded as many goals as Villa, Manchester United & Hull, if they continue at that rate they will not finish in the top 4 or qualify for the Champions League as was their goal this season.
One major issue of Liverpool’s poor defensive form has been the effect on goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s own form, which has begun to dip over the last few weeks, becoming less & less confident with each defensive blunder, it becomes a priority that Rodgers must address in this transfer window. If your goalkeeper does not have trust in the defence he will make rash and poor decisions, as is being seen.
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