Liverpool Misfiring Up Front As They Fight For a Champions League Spot

Maybe it’s a bit premature to talk about must-win games and the possibilities of a top four finish when we are only in November, but it’s certainly true to say that the next three games could define Liverpool’s season. It could either rendering the Reds under-achievers for yet another year, or embodying hope for Reds fans that this could be the year they venture back into Europe.

About the game against Swansea at the weekend, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said “We were poor in most aspects If not every aspect of the game.”

Liverpool’s home form has been patchy at best having failed to win any of their last three home games. They peppered Norwich’s goal with 25 shots but only managed 1 goal, couldn’t put to bed an under strength United side, and against Swansea they didn’t manage to score at Anfield for the first time this season.

In a weekend where both Chelsea and Manchester United scraped 1-0 wins with under par performances, it speak volumes for Liverpool’s European hopes that they couldn’t do the same.

A squad with the goalscoring talents of Luis Suarez, who had 11 shots against Norwich without scoring a goal, and £35 million powerhouse Andy Carroll whose form has been patchy at best along with veteran Welshman Craig Bellamy should never be short of goals, but this season the Reds are  struggling to find the net. The chances are coming but the side isn’t converting enough of those chances.

Suarez has been on sparkling form creatively but has been lacking accuracy finishing. As former Liverpool striker John Alridge said, ‘[Suarez] is a scorer of great goals, not a great goal scorer.”

Provided Liverpool’s strike force hit a run of form, the midfielders look capable of taking the side forward. Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam has impressed the Anfield faithful in his maiden season. Lucas Leiva has grown tremendously over the last 18 months. Combine that with the undoubted potential of youngster Jordan Henderson, then contrary to the lackluster home form of late, things are looking up for the Merseyside club.

When you consider full back Glen Johnson has returned from injury and Spanish left back José Enrique has slotted seamlessly into the side, added to Daniel Agger’s successful return, defensively the Reds look solid.

If they can keep players fit and healthy during the international break — which is by no means as simple as it sounds — then they have a chance of going to Stamford Bridge and getting a result

Manchester  City visit Anfield on November 27 and even the most optimistic fan would have to think twice about predicting a home victory with the form the Citizens are in. Then just two days later, Liverpool play Chelsea in the Carling Cup — a tough turnaround for any side. So Liverpool may have it all do come December.

The prognosis? Liverpool have the squad to finish well, but in this day and age that just isn’t enough. Realistically Spurs and even Arsenal will probably outbid them in the fight for a European place.

17 thoughts on “Liverpool Misfiring Up Front As They Fight For a Champions League Spot”

  1. LFC is playing poor football as of late and they can’t finish, but still sit in 6th. The defensive record is excellent with only 10 PL goals allowed. If Gerrard had been healthy all season and 3-4 shots not hit the post Liverpool is comfortably in the top 4.

    Just one idea I have read to shake things up….move Henderson to a more central attacking role, keep Downing on the left, Johnson on right wing, Kelly as the right back, and maybe drop Adam.

    A few changes to formation, adding a decent striker in January, and I think they will be OK.

    LFC supporters need patience…just over a year ago we had NO spending, massive debt, the cowboy owners, and Uncle Woy in charge.

  2. This Liverpool team is a litmus test of whether British football players are up to the challenge of competing with the world’s best talent that is achieving success in England’s top flight league. Were I not an Arsenal supporter, I would urge them on to get the 4th place spot and get back to Champions League football under King Kenny.

  3. Liverpool are playing poor – flat – non-dynamic football . It’s not a good thing when the likes of Norwich and Swansea cannot be broken down at Anfield. Why is Downing still starting? His crossing is pathetic. What does Maxi have to do to earn a go?

    The strikers are getting piss-poor service. I wonder if the game has indeed passed Dalglish by, as his midfield, circa 1999, is devoid of any creativity or link play. He got rid of Aquillani, Merieles 6 months too soon.

  4. “King” Kenny wasted a huge amount of cash on three poor signings – Carroll, Downing and Adams all very average, and he added them to an average squad. How can you say “things are looking up” when they play average football and struggled against Norwich and Swansea and were stuffed by Tottenham? They are carrying several players who need to be let go.

  5. I started the season optimistic, and that has faded away. The team is just too slow and offers little creativity, outside of Suarez. While I hope Henderson and Carroll can make a positive impact eventually, neither has looked good. More than anything, though, they need a real poacher up front to pair with Suarez. If they don’t fix this in January I can’t see anything better than sixth.

  6. kenny has not done the work we would expect,..why does he not drop the likes of downing,henderson and carrol..and give maxi,kuyt a chnce who did really well season and also the influential bellamy,i just cannot undrstnd,and also leting aquilani and meireles leave was really a big mistake,i miss dat spark torres and gerrard seem 2 supply

  7. With Carroll, Henderson and Downing to League 2. Pathetic! All three are poor players, I don’t care if they are 21 years old or 35 years old. You are either a good player or a poor player.
    Carroll has the first touch of a horticulturalist. Downing is disturbingly one-dimensional, and he isn’t even good at the only thing he does (crossing the ball). Henderson…what a sad excuse for a Premier League footballer. Sell all 3 to Harchester, Doncaster, Macclesfiled Town.
    SAF, Wenger, they have all made some poor poor purchases. By golly, how do I trust Kenny when he spends sick amount of money on what are arguably 3 very mediocre players that do not belong even to the Liverpool reserves!!!

  8. Not giving up on Hendo in the least bit, Way too soon to dump him to the side as a “sad excuse”. Has had moments. Carroll at least is giving it a run though he mentally seems a bit weak as he was good in the first half against the Swans and became a statue in the 2nd. They both need to get a bit tougher. Carroll doesnt seem to attack crosses with any force, its odd considering how much more aggressive he seemed at Newcastle.

    Downing….oh Downing…going into the window I desperately thought we needed a creative player due to Gerrard’s injury issues the past 2 years and Suarez being the only real bit of flair we had. Adam hasnt provided enough due to his need to tap tap the ball with agonizingly slow pace nor Downing who is just been poor since the Bolton game.

    As a fan I can wait for Carroll and Henderson to make good. Carroll did not ask to be paid an astronomical amount to be moved nor did Henderson. That is on Kenny and Comelli. Adam for the money should be a squad player, not a defined starter. I cannot excuse Downing because he should be at his peak.

    Lets not forget Enrique has been worth triple what was paid for him. And Suarez is priceless. But god we need a creative tricky wing or attacking mid with mobility. Still disappointed we never made a move for Carzola.

  9. Henderson still has to develop his trade – don’t give up on him just yet. I still think Carroll will hit some form, 35 million’s worth? I’m not too sure. As for Downing? I wouldn’t pick him for the reserves.

  10. hey guys, instead of supporting teams from a far away country across the Atlantic where they’ve been supporting their clubs for generations, why don’t you help the MLS and soccer grow in America?

    1. if you don’t support your own league, then the league will never grow. the MLS is a good product, but not a finished one. For it to be finished, it will have to have promotion and relegation and that means every state or region has their own league and they have like an MLS Cup where all teams can participate. But at this point, these are all hypothetical arguments. If you start supporting your league NOW, then you will see the fruits of your support and investment in the next 7-10 years. If you want to continue watching English football in the meantime, go ahead. But don’t forget that you also have a responsibility to help the sport grow here and help change people’s opinion of the sport here.

      1. It doesn’t work that way at all. With all due respect, MLS is a joke in comparison to the top European leagues. Now don’t get me wrong, there is some quality football played in MLS, and I do respect it, but to say we should be paying more attention to it instead of supporting the far superior and much more exciting Premier League is a tad ignorant.

        My problem with MLS is that it is far too “Americanized.” Here’s what I mean. MLS is way too much like the tradition “big 4” american sports leagues in the sense that it was teams separated into conferences, a salary cap, playoffs, trades, a draft, and more of an emphasis on “free agency” than on transfers. I get that Americans are in love with parity in their sports (which is hypocritical, because parity is an incredibly socialist ideology, while outside of sport Americans are typically as anti-socialist as it gets), but if MLS wants to attract more traditional fans of European football, then it should structure its league in a similar way.

        I’m sorry man, but Premier League fans who want to watch a sports league run like MLS are more likely to watch the NFL, NBA, or NHL, and rightfully so.

      2. I don’t see why there isn’t room for both. I’ve been a season ticketholder for an MLS side for several years. While the quality has gotten better in the league I’m growing tired of the excuses not to take the training wheels off and let these clubs grow or fail on their own. I’m also tired of fellow MLS apologists telling me how great the league is when clearly it isn’t. It’s OK.

        For years I’ve tried to convince fellow soccer fans that they should give MLS a chance, yet every time I bring them to a match they see guys who have a problem stringing two passes together or controlling a pass to their feet. Obviously there are exceptions to this and there are some very good players in the league but I can’t fault someone for choosing to watch the best players in the world.

  11. Firstly, the MLS will never add promotion/relegation so that is a moot point. I’m not sure if it’s necessary anyway.

    The biggest change the MLS could make is to get rid of the East and West Conferences and go to a straight points standings.

    This would make it easier for casual MLS followers to understand while also having the playoffs as the end of season showpiece.

  12. Robbie Fowler>>>>Luis Suarez. Suarez wouldn’t have been able to cope in the era that Fowler played in. Back then, the game was more physical and the refs wouldn’t have been so easily conned by Suarez’s dives and antics. Suarez would’ve hidden in fear from playing against the likes of Roy Keane and Paul Ince. And Fowler was a good two inches shorter than Suarez yet he had more guts and soul than the Uruguayan.

  13. support your local team –

    Explain to us (or just me), what does “support” mean to you? I don’t want to berate you for suggesting that we support the MLS even tho this is a site dedicated to the EPL. Did you come here just to tell us that we shouldn’t be supporting a team that isn’t based in our country? If I grew up in the UK and am born from a family that’s followed liverpool for generations, why should that suddenly change if I live in the United States? If neither of those are the case, then I assume you too are a fan of the EPL, and I assume that you support both a club in the premiere league, as well as whatever team is local to your town. Because we are discussing english teams doesn’t mean we don’t support our local MLS teams… but this site isn’t for that. Do you not buy things that are manufactured in other countries because they aren’t local? Despite how great they might be?

  14. Daglish’s British experiment has failed. Instead of buying technically talented players he opted for overhyped British talent that play hard but are not technically astute. Thery have no creative midefielder at all. Adam is very average and inconsistent to boot.

    Daglish has been playing Henderson, Adam, Downing and Carroll as if to justify his decision to buy them. It is not working and he needs to find an alternative tactic. Henderson is being forced to play on the right wing and he is not a right winger. His natural position is in the center.

    It may be early but I just cannot see this Liverpool squad make the Champions League, they will even struggle to get a Europa League spot.

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