Worrying Days For Liverpool FC Despite Victory At West Ham


There are a lot of things that worry me about Liverpool FC’s team this season. The match against West Ham United was a perfect example where they were fortunate to win after West Ham United played them off the park for large portions of the match.

To me, Liverpool were blessed by individual performances at Upton Park that smoothed over a couple of weaknesses:

  1. Jamie Carragher had a poor game compared to his typical performances, but there’s no hiding the fact that both of Liverpool’s centre backs were unable to deal with the pace of the opposition. The comedy of errors by Carragher and Skrtel at the back were glaringly obvious. For West Ham United’s first goal, Carragher was unable to deal with the pace of Zavon Hines and pushed the player to the ground which resulted in a penalty. For the second goal by the Hammers, Carragher lost Cole who was able to jump up and head the ball into the back of the net. As a result, Zavon Hines and Carlton Cole made Liverpool’s defense look amateurish. The name of the game when beating Liverpool this season is pace. Liverpool are unable to deal with it.
  2. Up top, Liverpool looked unimaginative in front of goal. That is except for three individual moments of beauty from Fernando Torres (a beautiful solo run on a shot that Robert Green should have saved, and his second-half glancing header) and Steven Gerrard (for a beautiful header from a corner which Kuyt tapped in to score). Aside from the individual efforts from those two players, Liverpool looked poor for large periods of the game.

The other thing about Liverpool is that they’re not playing well together as a team. Compare Liverpool to how Manchester United plays and the difference is night and day. United, for the most part, play as a collective unit who always seem like they’re going to win. Take away Torres’s solo run and Gerrard’s brilliant header, and what you’re left with is a uninspiring performance by Liverpool who look like they’re playing more as individuals.

The concern for Liverpool is what happens if Torres and Gerrard have a bad day at the office and they’re not able to pull off those incredible touches to score goals. Without those two players performing at a world-class level, Liverpool looks pedestrian. And this is not just the performance against West Ham United. You can add the games against Debrecen, the first half performance against Burnley, and the game against Aston Villa at Anfield.

It’s quite possible that Liverpool will turn things around after the important victory in east London and will regain the confidence and performances necessary to make a serious run at the title. I however am not convinced.

22 thoughts on “Worrying Days For Liverpool FC Despite Victory At West Ham”

  1. Is his the same Man Utd that everyone said wasn’t playing well at the start of last season, and were scrapping 1-0 wins? This the same Man Utd team that lost to Burnley, that we put 4 past?

    To be scoring 2.6 goals a game and yet be unimaginitive is quite impressive if you ask me.

  2. Sorry, but I couldn’t agree less with this utter bunch of toss! Liverpool were, for the majority of the game, the stronger side with some lovely crisp passing, mazy runs and excellent chances on goal. West Ham, despite knowing that they had the beating of Skrtel and Carra for pace, could not get out of their own half for much of the second period and Johnson did a good job of nullifying the threat down West Hams left.

    Altogether, it was a very shaky first half and a massively improved second half for Liverpool. Personally, I much prefer to see us win this game without the last ditch goal syndrome we had last season. Last season we were all saluting how Liverpool were turning games around, coming back from the brink.

    Maybe this season we should just appreciate that the lads put in a performance that, although not there best, was good enough to see off a team that we had the beating of from the first whistle despite some silly mistakes!!

  3. Well GAFFER what can I say, other than that you were not at the match or, if you were, just make sure you take your telescope with you next time!!!!………..

  4. I’m not even going to bother comment on this article, but would like to comment on a very good performance from Liverpool and West Ham. Good quality Premier League match not a bad match for the neutral to watch. As a Red unlike ‘The Gaffer’, I witnessed a good team performance and at times a few mistakes at the back due to a very impressive display by the young Zavon Hines, who was a good test of sharpness for our defense. I was also impressed by Johnson’s defensive play and Insua’s attacking play. Now that Yossi is starting to impose himself in the first eleven I was made up when he started to take the corner kicks something that Gerrard hardly ever allowed. As Gerrard is one of our tallest players I would like to see him in and around the box for corners. Three points away from home and third in the League I don’t see that much to be worried about?!?

    1. J, I completely agree that the match was entertaining. Most of the games this weekend (thus far) in the Premier League and La Liga were entirely too one-sided. This one was far more entertaining.

      The Gaffer

  5. Could it be, perhaps, that you written an overly-negative post to try and rile Liverpool fans into commenting on your site? Hmmm….

    What you say doesn’t appear to be a very considered assessment of either the game yesterday, or the season so far.

    What about Benayoun’s performances this season? And Babel has done well in two cameo appearances too. Kuyt is scoring goals and showing more of a predatory touch as well so to question the goal threat is bizarre.

    As for Man United, take away Wayne Rooney from their attack and I think you’ll find they look “pedestrian”. He bailed them out from a poor performance at home to Birmingham, won (dived) for a penalty against Arsenal and scored the winner against Spurs.

    How about some fairness and balance?


    1. Robbo, it’s not a post to rile Liverpool supporters into commenting. Instead, it’s an opinion piece about how I saw yesterday’s game and the season so far for Liverpool.

      Benayoun this season has been one of the few highlights for Liverpool. Babel flatters to deceive and does well at times, but is far too inconsistent overall.

      The Gaffer

  6. “individual performances” certainly not Yesterday’s game at Uptown park. We were dominant and played collectively. Benyoun was superb; Insua had an eye for goal, and Torres was devastating for the hammers. your assessment on yesterday’s game is utterly rubbish and contains fallacious reasoning.

  7. I’m going to have to seriously disagree with your views on yesterdays game. The glaring problem was the defence, and that is what us supporters are worried about. But to create other faults where they don’t exist, belittling our offence and midfield, which have been in good form as of late, spells of someone sniffing for controversy or jumping on a media bandwagon.

    Liverpool are second in scoring this season (16, one less then Arsenal), they put three past West Ham, four past Burnley, and three against Bolton. That doesn’t seem like a team lacking creativity or offensive output. (There was a 1-nil in the CL, but were United and Chelsea blowing their opponenets away?)

    And for all this blabbering about Gerrard and Torres, I’m absolutely sick of it and how disrespectful it is to all the great work and contributions their teammates contribute. In tune with Rafa, lets look at some facts..

    Last season, Liverpool scored 77 goals in the PL, only 14 of those came from Torres. 16 from Gerrard, together thats 30 and less then half. I guess those further 47 must have come from own goals, rather than Liverpools “other” players. This season, so far, Liverpool have three players in the top 10 of scoring (Torres, Kuyt, Benayoun), with Gerrard in 14th. Go ahead and check how many Chelsea and United have.

    If you’re going to criticize Liverpool for having star players, then go on and smack Chelsea for their dependency on Lampard and Drogba, United for theirs on Rooney and (in seasons past) Ronaldo. Where would they be if their stars had a bad day? “Pedestrian”? It’s foolish to criticize a team because their star players perform.

    There was one problem (a bad one) yesterday, and that was the defence. But to say that West Ham outplayed Liverpool (when all they did was go on some threatening spurts every now and then, created by Liverpools poor defending), or to say that Liverpool were bad when they dominated possession throughout and worked the ball really nicely, is poor on your part.

    Livepool are starting to get their season back on track. Yes there are still some problems defensively that need working out, but (unlike the first weeks) they’re getting three points week in week out and that’s good.

    Don’t overexaggerate the minority or turn a blind eye to the majority.

  8. Well Gaffer, you could have fooled me. Everything you write here is loaded with negativity. Even in your reply to me you say ‘Benayoun this season has been one of the few highlights for Liverpool.’ Note the word few.

    Well here’s more than a few highlights from the season so far for you:

    * Insua has continued where he left off last season, looking solid and dependable defensively and offering an attacking outlet going forward.

    * Glen Johnson has been a revelation at right back, scoring goals, providing assists and slotting right into the Liverpool way

    * Pepe Reina has continued to show he is one of, if not the, best keeper in the league

    * Fernando Torres has hit top form with two world-class goals at West Ham, previous to which he was scoring without playing well, which also is surely a positive?

    * Dirk Kuyt continues to provide a valuable contribution to almost every game, and has added a new predatory instinct to his finishing, grabbing some much-needed ‘poacher’s’ goals.

    * And Steven Gerrard? Well he’s just Steven Gerrard – the best midfielder in the world.

    So, Gaffer, not all doom and gloom is it? Oh – and there’s the small matter of Alberto Aquilani to come, too.


    1. Agree here. However, there is some truth to the original post.

      I think Carragher doesn’t trust Skrtel. From the cracked jaw on, Carra has constantly had eyes on Skrtel and I’m not clear why.

      Liverpool have suffered from uncreative play for years, primarily because they have generally not produced from out wide. That’s changing though and its coming from the back – both Insua and Johnson are delivering with strength, pace, and technique. With Yossi playing mazy ball, there’s a creative force working behind Torres. And what a revelation Babel can be when he plays in his natural position – on the right! Riera has been solid out left, challenging fullbacks down the line. And Kuyt – if nothing else has improved his first touch.

      I’d say the creativity is still developing, and early in the season has shown promise.

      But the problems that remain: depth and defending set pieces.

      We’ll have to see what Aquilani can do to add to the depth. But the set pieces have needed attention for how many years now? All of Rafa’s time at the helm? Cringe.

      Go Reds.

  9. Carragher had a horror show in the first half but playing out of position didn’t help. He did recover somewhat in the second half but I suspect the pace of Hines will cause more than a few problems with other defences this season. The lad had an exceptional shift. My problem with LFC defencively is that dealing with set pieces is still an issue. My concern is upfront – Torres’s injury cost them the title last season, Benitez may rue not getting quality second striker. I hope Aquilani will put some goals and creativity in if he can stay fit.

  10. Six points off Chelsea, three off Man. U, after a terrible start to the season.

    Oh noes!!!! It’s all over !!!1!!1!

    And remember, kids:

    1-0 CL wins by Man. U. and Chelsea are “gritty”

    1-0 CL wins by Liverpool are “pedestrian”

  11. Were we watching the same match? If you take Gerrard, Torres and Kuyt out of the team or they are injured wouldnt it also be fair to take Rooney, Rooney and Rooney out of the Man U team and see how they cope with their team performance and their impressive team efforts that have seen them thump Burnley 0-1. I think i just had the same problem as the Gaffer, i was colour blind and imagined West Ham wore Red and Liverpool Claret. Take an impressive performance by Hines out and West Ham showed nothing. Gaffer Look At The Posession,Corners, Shots and any other match stat and it is obvious LIVERPOOL Dominated for LOOOONG periods, go back, watch your tape and make sure it wasnt Jan 2008 match.

  12. Gaffa,

    Do you suffer from blindness or are you a closet Man United fan? Although I agree with the bit of defensive errors, you’re completely wrong on other accounts.

    Unimaginative? How’s that so? We’ve got 2 full backs who play high up on the pitch, and create great attacking play, we’ve got Benayoun is playing out of his socks, making mazy runs, beating players, and creating chances, we’ve got Kuyt scoring goals each game now, Gerrard..well being Gerrard, and Torres back to his world class self.

    If this had been a Chelsea or Man United win, I bet you’d say ‘THIS IS THE MARK OF CHAMPIONS’, but instead because it is Liverpool, you have to make up some utter bunch of shit that can’t even be proven just to rile up fans in replying to your article, thus making yourself somewhat ‘popular’.

    The argument over a a ‘2man team’ which you’re getting at here is also repetitive and boring. We won a chunk load of games without our ‘2 man team’, and this season we’ve got every player on the pitch contributing especially Kuyt, Benayoun, Johnson and Insua.

    The midfield is looking good too, with Lucas-Mascherano-Gerrard all interchanging and swapping positions, with Aquialni set to return also.

    This had to be said, you’re ‘opinion’ or view lacks substance, and your general outlook seems to be one sided ‘lets just be negative against Liverpool ya’?

    Have fun writing more articles :)

  13. a good system is a system where players can play their best at the positions they were bought or groomed,when u play in a different ,u would have to teach yourself n then get with the team.babel has gone the down the drain because of this ,play him has a striker and i can say he will be as dangerous as torres.come on liverpool fans we see there is a problem .i have to say the above comments are good and i think it is really usefull to have it but look at the bigger picture we need a better manager and owners.lets be honnest the yanks n benitez is not going to bring us anything.it is a pity we are the best of the best of the best .we are liverpool.

  14. Oddly most media articles have been praising the attacking verve of liverpool this season, and the goals scored column is excellent. The pedestrianism you speak of is simply untrue.

    Defensivley, we are not a solid as last season, but going so far as to to call the display a comedy of errors is another massive stretch. If cole and hines were so devastating and Liverpool seemingly trying to give them opportunities why did they not get a brace? The answer is simple, your appraisal of West Hams attack is way over the top, as well as your opinion of Liverpools defence.

    You are always on dangerous ground when you write things like,

    “Take away Torres’s solo run and Gerrard’s brilliant header, and what you’re left with is a uninspiring performance by Liverpool who look like they’re playing more as individuals.”

    Take away Owens last minute goal against City, and United draw. Take away 3 minutes of added time and United draw. What value is a statement like that? Only one player can score a goal, the collective effort is in the other aspects of the game, like making space for players like Torres.

    As for,

    “United, for the most part, play as a collective unit who always seem like they’re going to win.”


  15. Typical like every other pundit out there, critisize the reds and praise man u or chelsea for the same thing. Man U are the biggest one man band ive seen for years and chelsea are doing the same thingas they have always done. Boot it to Drogba and lamps gets the scraps.

    Why is it that the media get on are back? Lucas gets ripped to bits and yet he is the only other Brazillian (as well as Robinho) to get near the team???? HE is 5,8 and wins alot of air battles, his energy is high, he plays loads of one-twos (which alonso wouldnt dream of) ad can pass, he is 22 and a great prospect, hes better than Anderson anyway!

    No depth, Take our starting eleven on sat and then look at our perspective bench – Riera, Babel, Aquilani, Agger, Aurelio, Ngog, Cavilieri

    Whats wrong with that a mix of international talent and youth in the sub keeper and ngog who scores alot considering hes played about 6 games and scored 4!

    Oh I wonder what they could possibly say if we won the league weve been written off so much that I think they would all have to pack in, in embarrassment – We win at the Bridge then wel go on and stuff the lot!

    Sam – home and away red

  16. Christ. I’m a little ashamed by my fellow Liverpool fans on here. I usually consider us to be above the silly, blind bias of most clubs. CoughcoughChelseaManchesterUnitedcoughcough. :) What’s wrong with a little criticism?

    I’m a Red true and through and I don’t see too much wrong with what he’s said here.

    That said, I do not agree with the bits about our attacking. Torres doesn’t look as deadly as last year right now but he’ll be right back on form soon enough.

    Having said that…

    Are you all seriously happy with what’s happening at the back for us? We’ve let in way too many goals. The number one thing we need to fix is our back.

    Obviously our goal scoring is not too much to worry about but why the hell did we let West Ham (it’s effing West Ham for God’s sake) score two on us. That should have been a game that we had in the bag by early in the second half.

    And set pieces! Almost every corner has me praying that we manage to get something on it.

    We’ll be fine, though. I’m sure Rafa is working on the back as we speak and the players will know they can do better (especially Cara).

  17. dont forget AGGER is due back and as far as im concerned he is our best defender and also scores and makes goals, he bigger than carra, quicker than carra and is young and fresh. MS and DA at the back is as solid as any defence in the world

  18. Sorry lads, but the same worrying signs I saw in Liverpool’s performance against West Ham United raised their ugly heads again in the loss versus Chelsea.

    I’m really sick and tired of seeing Liverpool try the same method when they’re attacking of floating balls into the box and hoping that Gerrard or Torres can head the ball into the net. I’m much prefer to see the side mix things up and be more unpredictable and imaginative.

    Defensively, I thought they improved compared to their performance against West Ham United.

    But overall, I’m not impressed by this Liverpool side. I won’t be surprised if they pull off some impressive wins in the next few weeks, but this is a Liverpool side that looks like the heart and soul of the team — Xabi Alonso — are desperately missing.

    The Gaffer

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