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Hodgson’s Made Some Mistakes But Gerrard’s Position Isn’t One


If a side is losing, obviously something needs to be changed. What it generally means, is that in a team of 11, 2 or 3 aren’t pulling their weight. Whether that’s because they’re not good enough (hint, Poulsen is in this category), or because they’re in the wrong role is the decision that has to be made.

Liverpool’s problems don’t generally stem from quality of personnel, the core of the side is the same as that which humiliated Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford, (yes, I’m bringing that up, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment), what is a greater issue is that the playing staff aren’t being used to the best of their ability in  a number of positions. Gerrard isn’t one of those, however much it may seem like he is. Fans always point out that the fortunes of the team coincide with the fortunes of two players, and obviously want them to be in roles where they have the most impact, which for Gerrard seems to be behind the striker.

It’s been apparent to all that Torres has been starved of service this season, and it’s actually a credit to him that the few occasions a match he’s handed a defense splitting ball he’s produced something out of it, against United he got both goal scoring opportunities, and provided both assists against Sunderland. But without someone working into channels beside him he’s had both center backs firmly stuck to him, resulting in him targeting the flanks more often, naturally taking him away from goal. Torres didn’t terrorize Vidic because he made runs off the back of O’Shea instead. Reasonably an offensive threat like Gerrard close behind him would cause defenders more problems and open up more space.

But there’s a better place for Gerrard, his role behind Torres can be filled by Cole, and space for Torres to run into can be provided by N’Gog playing beside him, but in the center of the pitch, no matter who plays behind the striker, never mind the actual front men, are never going to get passes in the right position unless Gerrard is in the middle making them. With such a thin squad this is one of the few things Hodgson has gotten right so far, of the other options Lucas prefers making short passes to retain possession, and Poulsen is nothing but a destroyer, (not even a very good one). Without Gerrard Liverpool can create nothing going forward and are on the verge of falling into kick and rush football.

The opening 6 games haven’t produced many positives for Liverpool, but it’s plain as day that Gerrard has been their best player, their only source of creativity, and their only link between their box and the opponents. It’s suicide to marginalize him at this stage by placing him in the hole, he needs to be in the center where he can influence games.

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  1. Alex

    September 26, 2010 at 3:45 am

    I think it’s a little odd that Ngog is getting so much stick, considering how much better Liverpool played when he’s come on. It was only after Ngog came on that the offense actually picked up with chances raining in on the Sunderland defense.

    Yes, Poulsen came off at the same time, but he had played well (besides the handball) and broken up several Sunderland offensive possessions. Why he was on the field against Sunderland at Anfield is a question I have no answer for.

  2. Dan

    September 26, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I know it’s not his favored role, but I think he has to play on the right side. Torres is on an island up front. Outside of the disallowed goal, he had next to no service yesterday. Liverpool desperately need someone who can get a cross in effectively.

    If Roy is going to continue with 5 in the midfield, I’d like to see Meireles and Lucas in the middle, Gerrard on the right, Cole behind Torres, and one of Kuyt/Jovanovic/Babel on the left.

  3. Gaz Hunt

    September 26, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I completely agree and have been saying this since things started going wrong last season.

    Gerrard needs to be put back in the midfield – especially when things aren’t going well for the team. He disappears from games when he’s up front slash “off” Torres due to a lack of service.

    Until we get someone that can spray passes and provide that creative link as well as he can, he needs to play back there. As you said, other players (I think Cole is the best option) can play that up front role just as well.

  4. Lyle

    September 26, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Hodgson didn’t make any mistakes actually.

  5. Thomas H.

    September 25, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Nathan, BRO, get a life and stop criticizing people’s grammar. If you’re so damn smart, why don’t you write something to show off your literary prowess. Sorry, but I think you’re an idiot!

  6. Dennis

    September 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    It doesn’t matter what Gerrard’s best position is. Liverpool are in freefall. Roy is clueless and the club is now a bottom half team. Hodgson has made too many mistakes and if he isn’t replaced immediately Liverpool might as well start considering being in a relegation battle. How the mighty have fallen!

  7. dominjon

    September 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Poulsen has actually settled in fairly well and is doing the job he was bought to do fairly effectively. Unlike when Lucas was put in that role, more than 50% of his passes find a fellow Liverpool player and he is able to gain control of the ball even if there is an opposition player breathing in his general direction.
    Now, you can certainly argue you don’t need a simple defensive midfielder at home, against Sunderland, and you would probably be right, but Poulsen is not a bad player by any means and the major issue with this team currently, its inability to create chances, is not the fault of the man bought to protect the back four and break up opposition attacks.
    The problem at the moment is the players available only really lend themselves to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-2-1. Ngog and Torres are not a partnership and don’t compliment each other. Cole, Jovanovic, Kuyt or Rodriguez are not 4-4-2 style widemen. Only Johnson could work as a wing-back.
    If they play 4-4-2 without natural width they will get smashed like they did by Man City. If they continue with 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-2-1 they are going to struggle to create chances.
    The quick answer would be several new players, but that isn’t an option right now, so I think Hodgson needs to get the players playing with confidence (a big win against Blackpool would help) and find a way for the players to start showing the touches, passing, runs and vision that you would expect from international quality players.

    • Clampdown

      September 26, 2010 at 8:03 am

      I don’t think we know yet whether a Torres-Ngog partnership will work. It hasn’t happened often enough to know the answer to that. However, when Ngog has subbed on to provide support up front, the team as a whole has looked better and has produced more of an attack.

      I agree with the author’s premise here. The club needs Gerrard in the middle. It is by far the best option right now.

      I also was hoping that we had seen the last of two holding mids when playing home matches against clubs that theoretically aren’t as good as Liverpool. It’s very disappointing seeing such caution rather than putting Sunderland on the back foot early on.

  8. Nathan

    September 25, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    You should really spell out numbers below 10. APA style guidelines, BRO! Also, your second paragraph begins with a huge run-on sentence. Amateurish stuff. I stopped reading.

    • Evan

      September 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

      You’re an idiot…

      • Gaz Hunt

        September 26, 2010 at 1:00 am

        He may be a slight bit of an idiot but he’s right.

  9. Tom

    September 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Put him in the role of chief elbower & diver. Seems best suited for him.

    • Alex

      September 26, 2010 at 3:39 am

      Calling Gerrard a diver? You’d best look elsewhere for that nonsense.

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