01 October 2011

Liverpool 2-0 Everton

Goals:
Carroll 71'
Suarez 82'

The referee will be the focal point, so we'll start with the controversy. Yes, Rodwell didn't deserve a red. Yes, Liverpool deserved their win regardless.

In fact, Liverpool should have taken an earlier lead, especially since Kuyt is usually automatic for the people from the spot, and the sending off actually helped Everton until the players inevitably tired. Everton are at their best when sitting deep and compact. Moyes does nothing better than organizing his defense, and Liverpool had surprisingly few opportunities despite a man advantage for almost 70 minutes.

Liverpool started the better side, intelligently keeping possession – even if mainly in their own half – to make sure Everton didn't start afire (which is what doomed Liverpool's last away league game). That start resulted in two early chances: Downing on the break centering just ahead of an open Suarez, followed by Kuyt capitalizing on Jagielka's mistake, looping a high cross to Suarez at the back-post but tamely headed straight at Howard.

Everton unsurprisingly responded, winning five corners and two dangerous left-channel free kicks in the first 20 minutes, but Liverpool's set play defense was excellent, with Carra, Carroll, Skrtel, and Lucas dominant in the air against tough opposition. Then came the game-changer.

Martin Atkinson clearly remembered his last Merseyside derby, where he failed to send off Pienaar until the South African racked up multiple dismissal-worthy offenses, and only sent off Kyrgiakos in an incident where both the Greek and Fellaini should have marched. That's the only explanation for Rodwell's straight red. His studs were marginally high, with a trailing leg designed to take a second bite at Suarez's ankles, but it was yellow at best under normal circumstances. Somehow, it's tough to empathize.

As said above, the sending off actually initially helped Everton, as much as a sending off can. Everton knows how to defend with backs against the wall. Liverpool had all the possession, but couldn't carve out opportunities until late in the half. Early balls in Carroll's direction weren't coming off – the strike force failing to link as they had at Wolves – while both Hibbert and Baines sealed off the flanks. Liverpool's first of two chances came on a mistake from Jagielka: a clear, unnecessary penalty taking out Suarez on the left edge of the box. Up stepped Kuyt, so deadly from the spot and in derbies. His low, placed penalty was too easy for Howard: a smart reaction save, but also the Dutchman's worst spot kick. A minute later, Adam pinged an effort off the crossbar from the same location he created an own goal against Wolves, the sixth time Liverpool hit the woodwork since losing to Spurs.

Liverpool kept creating chances after the interval. Carroll had two threatening headers from corners – the first cleared off the line by Saha, the second scrambled behind by Howard – followed by Kuyt placing wide after a quick free kick, but the away side looked increasingly disjointed and frustrated. Finally, substitutions broke that ubiquitous deadlock. With 23 minutes to play, veterans Gerrard and Bellamy replaced derby debutantes Adam and Downing and made all the difference. Gerrard added dynamism, patience, and intelligence in midfield. Bellamy's terrier pace created Carroll's opener.

Everton's increasing fatigue certainly helped, penned back and chasing since Rodwell's exit, but Liverpool still needed an excellent team goal to go ahead. Lucas intelligently spread play to Bellamy on the counter, with both Hibbert and Neville retreating too deep, unable or unwilling to press the ball. Sliding it through to Enrique at the byline, the left-back's cross was cleverly dummied on the bounce by Kuyt (whose run drew both center-backs), warned by Carroll, who blasted on the half-volley for his first league goal of the season. Redemption. Potential realized.

Ten minutes later – with Everton's sole response a quick, tame effort from Cahill immediately after the restart, released by a long flick-on – Liverpool had the crucial second. This one was down to Suarez's innate unwillingness to give up, aided by some baffling defense from the usually reliable Distin. Carra's hoof (and I hesitate to call an accurate long-range pass a hoof, but it is Carra...) found Kuyt between defenders, who knocked down for the Uruguayan. Beating Distin, Baines made a lovely recovery tackle. But with Distin still retreating, the defenders got in a muddle, and Suarez fortunately picked up possession for a point-blank, easy-as-you-like death blow, placed past Howard with his weaker foot. Game, set, match, celebration.

Of course I'd rather focus on Liverpool's resiliency, perseverance, and skill in finally finding the needed goals. It's only the second clean sheet of the season, both surprisingly coming in early kickoffs away from Anfield. Lucas was typically outstanding in a big match (stat line: 68/74 passing – with 40/46 passes forward – 65 passes received, 4/6 on tackles, 2 interceptions, 2/3 on aerial duels); Carragher was untouchable, winning every aerial duel against the dangerous Cahill and Saha; Enrique continued to impress, close to cementing his status as one of the three best left backs in the league; and Kuyt was Kuyt, solidifying the right flank, ensuring Baines rarely threatened with his outstanding crosses, no matter the surprising spot kick mishap. Both Liverpool's strikers scored on their derby debuts, and Dalglish's double substitution made a massive difference. Tactics worked exactly as drawn up, even though it was surprising to see Liverpool stick with the 4-2-2-2 against a packed midfield prior to the man advantage.

But the post-match media narrative will undoubtedly focus on Atkinson's contentious decision, despite subsequent worse fouls by Fellaini, Jagielka, and Hibbert going unpunished. Given past history in derbies, let alone past Liverpool luck with red cards, I'm certainly less than sympathetic. And I'd much rather focus on Liverpool's professional, eventually comprehensive win away from Anfield in one of the most important fixtures of the season.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nate, when you say "Redemption. Potential realized." What on EARTH are you talking about? Carroll hit a sitter in the net. He didn't redeem anything. There was no realization of 30million dollars there! A ball at knee level was hit into a net 6 10 feet from goal. I see this every weekend at my 10 y/os games. Potential!? He didn't even hit it solid, he hit it into the ground and was probably lucky to have made that great of contact. Lets not forget he couldn't even make a solid pass back to bellamy without kicking the ball out of bounds. POTENTIAL!? 35 million dollars and his potential is realized because he scored a wide open sitter for his first goal of the season and it's OCTOBER! Lets be honest... We were LUCKY that Andy didn't blow it and were LUCKY that Suarez scored off their mistake. We played like SHITE!

nate said...

I disagree with almost all of that. Sorry.

Strikers are there to score. He scored. He and Suarez didn't link up particularly well, but both scored. He did very well against Wolves, got the winner today. Also could have tallied with those two aforementioned headers from set plays, as well as two important clearances from the early Everton set plays. I call that realizing potential, if a slower process than hoped for, as well as redemption for his earlier iffy appearances in addition to undue criticism from both the media and supposed Liverpool supporters.

Also, for the umpteenth time, I couldn't care less about his fee.

Jaysaw said...

Anonymous - maybe we were watching different matches. As mentioned by Nate in his post, Andy threatened with headers and still tried his best and got a goal which was all that matters. It's the goal that matters, not the manner. U can have an empty net and still miss (read Torres). You sure you support Liverpool? Seems a very harsh and unfair critique of a striker who's young, and got loads to prove.

purify said...

What was good about Carroll's goal was not so much the finish, but the ditching of his marker. He started his run, then broke it off smartly and kept his finish low.

Intelligence in movement has been a big, big problem for Carroll so far in his Liverpool career, so the goal was encouraging from that aspect.

I still think he sucks, but anyway there it is.

The Commish said...

I am far more pessimistic about today....and I am normally an apologist compared to the author here.

First the positives: Lucas was excellent, Kuyt was Kuyt, and the D was great. You nailed all three, Nate.

However, we seemed completely stagnant, and our relatively high pass completion percentage seemed to be gained by "passing the ball about" as opposed to a more technical "pass and move" plan. This may be due to Everton's characteristically strong team defense, but it also seems to come from Suarez and Carroll's lack of compatibility.

As for Carroll, I thought he was rubbish overall today. Sure he scored, but this overshadows his general ineffectiveness. His greatest contribution may have been on set pieces when he did reasonably well on Fellaini.

For Carroll to be great for us, he must contribute more than poached goals and headers. Nice though they are, we really need him to come back, make nice distributive passes, suck up defenders, and yes, poach a few goals and head the cover off the ball.

I hope the goal gives him confidence today because I am looking forward to the game where he plays as he did last week versus Wolves whilst scoring a brace. We'll be impossible to handle when that happens...

Its tough to knock a W at Goodison Park, so perspective is important. However, I am not looking forward to Man U, City, and Chelsea based on our performance today. We need to be better in the final 3rd to chase those three all year.

nate said...

Purify:

Agreed on Carroll's good movement for goal, but Kuyt's movement was even better. Run inside drew both center-backs, leaving Baines one-on-one against Carroll, and then he was smart enough to duck the cross knowing Carroll would be in position. Won't get nearly enough credit, but so very very good. Please don't let that make you think less of Carroll's contribution, though.


Commish:

I thought 'passing the ball about,' especially for the 23 minutes when 11 v 11, was a very smart strategy today. Took the sting out of what's always a frenetic, high-paced match. Also, as referenced in above match review, thought it ensured Everton didn't get off to a quick, damaging start (despite those early set plays). Tactically, those sideways and backwards passes so often criticized seemed to serve a real and vital purpose.

Definite room for improvement, but derbies are never, ever pretty. I don't expect pass and move sumptuous football, even with Everton down to 10. I've written about 13 derbies since starting this blog (yikes). Liverpool have won six (plus four draws, three losses), and not one of those wins was aesthetically pleasing.

Finally, not ignoring your Carroll comments, just think I don't have anything else to add other than above post + comment.

Moe Vawda said...

Our cb's played quite good bar the time they let saha shoot.Every cross in the box,which was about all everton done was mopped up with ease
Glad gerrard is back,if only for him to take penalties,we could've paid for that miss on another day
Good goal from carrol and his heading defense-wise shouldnt be underestimated but he's really got to come to the party against united in 2 weeks
And finally,brilliant subs at the right time(about 65mins when its usually past 70)from kenny,i though he'll take out carrol and kuyt but they were both the first goal

The Commish said...

Nate...good points re: ugliness of derbies vs. normal schedule. They are indeed a different breed of cat.
YNWA.

Anonymous said...

HAHA "strikers are there to score" correct Nate. However, Kuyt scores more than Carrol yet he costed a LOT less... POTENTIAL of 35 million isn't 1 goal in 7 games! That's Morientes and Cisse.. hell, Cisse had more POTENTIAL than Carroll and scored more... when you cost 35 million and suarez costed 20 million i'd say Suarez is Potential Realized and Carrol is potential yet untapped... c'mon Nate, I read your blog but lately you've been so biased. No commentator was that thrilled about carrol in the goal, but Kuyt dummying and enrique and bellamy were more to do with that goal... it is like a LAY UP in basketball.. if michael jordan makes a dunk or layup no one says POTENTIAL REALIZED! if michael jordan scored 62 pts in a playoff game and playes amazing defense and leads league in scoring then u can say potential realized... i'm beginning to wonder how much football you played and if you are even athletic enough to understand how unathletic carrol truly is.

Anonymous said...

Nate,

If it was bellamy or suarez or Kuyt or Gerrard or Lucas or Adam who had scored that goal would you have said ANYTHING about what a great goal it was? No. Because it was a goal that SHOULD have been scored. He didn't create it himself, it was set up for him! That's why half the team ran to Enrique... the team knew Carrol did the EASY bit and Enrique did the HARD bit... why can't you see that? You have yet to make an argument for what realization of potential was shown by a ball hit into the ground and bounce up into goal... If that is potential than EVERY 14 y/o striker in America has potential realized. lol

Peter Elwood said...

Kuyt's duck out of the way reminded me of Gerrard scoring the header over Kuyt's back against PSV in the champions league several years back. The man is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

nate,
forget the fee in terms of the value of the player, but in purely econmical terms, we could have purchased zarate and pazzini, with an extra 5 million we could have gotten aguero.... i realize the fee is not his doing, and i have no problem with carroll, i think hes a decent footballer, but the questions have to be asked of the men who purchased. we spent more than 100 million, and with all 100 on the field except hendo, it took a 31 y/o free transfer to break the deadlock against 10 men. Adam, carroll and henderson are all really, really questionable buys at this point. especially adam, considering the fact that we could have had scott parker and 5 million. no one is questioning potential, but like you said, strikers have to get goals, midfielders have to complete passes and be composed on the ball. it seems neither of these players are capable as it stands.

nate said...

Anonymous #1:

Sigh. Two words about how a goal in the derby demonstrates how Carroll is realizing his potential and this. Wow. Help me help you.

I'd go into more depth, yet again, as I'm evidently a masochist but

"i'm beginning to wonder how much football you played and if you are even athletic enough to understand how unathletic carrol truly is."

And we're done here. I subscribe to Sacchi's famous maxim – "A jockey doesn't have to have been born a horse" – but you want my athletic CV, you're more than welcome to e-mail me. I'm actually very proud of it.


Anonymous #2:

That's fantasy football manager. Ugh. Have loved watching Zarate at times, but he's a proven headache. Pazzini's never done it outside of Italy, and Liverpool has a poor record with Italians (Premier League in general recently; Zola, Di Canio, Vialli were long ago). Aguero's wages are reputedly three times as much as Carroll's, at least. None of those are/were feasible. Apples and oranges. Scott Parker's far different than Adam as well, five years older and far more defensive. Liverpool are clearly building for the long-term with signings over the last year, and within a wage structure. Not counting free transfers (Bellamy, Doni), only Downing is older than 25 out of January + Summer signings. Give the plan time.

Purify said...

@anonymous

I agree with you about Adam, Carroll, and Henderson. I'd give them all back for their fees right now if it was possible. Adam is fat, slow, and lazy; Carroll has near-zero technical skill, intelligence, movement, and is easy to mark out of the game; Henderson is a weakling mentally and physically.

None has what we need to get back to the top and it's less fun to cheer on the team with them in it. And even after spending all that money, we desperately need more midfielders, if you can believe it.

However, Parker & Aguero is fantasyland. Parker was never going to leave London and Aguero was not going to choose us over a CL team. The players we should have been buying were more the likes of Falcao, M'Vila, Dzsudzsak, Gameiro...

Peter Elwood said...

While I agree that Adam and Carroll have been disappointing, (Adam's play seemingly only effective at a small club, and Carroll's play simply lacking chemistry with the squad) I would challenge Henderson's doubters. He is young, and while he hasn't been a star for us yet, I've seen a lot of promise in a red shirt as well as for Sunderland. I would agree with Nate that KK's plan needs time, especially Henderson's role in that plan because as of now we generally play him out of his most comfortable position.

We've just seen a manager who tried to fix our problems in one off season by buying old players who he hoped would save our club; his name was Roy Hodgson. Now we have a manager who cares about the club and about the future, and yet so many misguided fans criticize him because not every player he has bought is instant perfection. Lucas was the far and away the weakest player on our team week in and week out. Yet the staff saw the potential, gave him time on the pitch, and now a couple years later he was our player of the season.

Misguided. This brings up another point. I think every fan should have their opinions, I have plenty of my own. But the idea that somehow we have a better understanding of the game than Dalglish, Clarke, and Comolli because we watch games once a week and read articles online is complete rubbish. There is nothing wrong with questioning a manager's decisions but questioning there sanity or their ability to coach only highlights that "fan's" stupidity.

Give the lad's a little time, give Dalglish a little faith. He's called King for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Nate - Even the commentators made plenty of remarks in the first half about how quiet Carroll has been. Every game a commentator talks about Carroll could be doing more, Carroll seems to be walking around a lot, Carroll hasn't popped up anywhere all half... I know you love Liverpool as much as we all do but it is obvious Carroll is a mid table player. He isn't champions league quality, and that is our goal. We need a new motto, "If ManCity don't want them, neither do we". Stick to that and we'll get good players because they sure seem to have them all. Man City didn't become impressive by buying "players for the future" they bought players who are good NOW! If we can't afford that it's okay to say it but don't let people from the club brainwash you into thinking they are building for the future... if that was true they'd have bought Neymar instead of adam and carroll and got a star player to go along with suarez. FSG has the money for Neymar. Could you imagine Suarez and ANY OTHER GOOD STRIKER OUT THEIR IN A PARTNERSHIP? Seriously, if you can't see that Suarez is frustrated at Liverpool already you must be blind. It is glaringly obvious he is sick of playing with rubbish players up front, his gestures show it all the time. He'll do a great pass only for Carroll to have a horrid touch or Kuyt. Liverpool have fallen so far that we think Suarez is a GREAT player. He wouldn't even start for Man City or Chelsea at this point. We would have been better spending the money on Christopher Samba and had someone to replace Carra who has become an avg player these days. When it is Carra and Skrtel we dont intimidate any strikers.

Anonymous said...

* spending the Carroll money on Samba that is.

Anonymous said...

look these were just theoretical buys, simply to give a benchmark to the value. regardless of whether or not zarate would have succeeded, does anyone really believe the squad wouldn't be better off with a less talented version of suarez than carroll?

i agree that handerson is talented, his passing is immense. however the sunderland supporters always warned - dont put him in the middle. and if he is to be a right sided midfielder, does anyone think that he could really be lfc quality? a poor mans ryan giggs at best? he offers little guile, pace or positional sense.

i agree we should be waiting for the potential to shine through. i like the strategy. i just dont know who decided it was best to prepare for the future with old-school british talent that may bully their way to pl victories but could never compete with the best sides in the cl.

psm said...

My fear is that you are right Anon but it is early to judge the new buys. My worry is who would buy Carrol & how much would we get.

For me the players that should of been in the team at the start of the season or at least on the bench are Sterling, Suso & pancheco.

Anonymous said...

@Peter Elwood

lucas was on 6m.

henderson was on 20m.

carroll was on 35m.

look at their prices tag. i bet if they aren't british, he will be benched or become center of the media.

i don't know about their wages.

more expensive price tag come more critics.

both carroll and hendo should learn from kuyt, lucas. learn how to become hardworking player.

look at rooney, drogba, suarez. learn from them. show us that they are different. don't wait for other to give support. show their x-factor.

Abhiram said...

My My!!
All this discussion after a Derby win!
We have two weeks to talk before our next game. If we start on this note, we'll surely have a sour 2 weeks by the end of which the only decision left for us would be to term this team as shite and this season as over.

I would personally like to think this was a positive result and gave ample game time for our front six to gel well. Like Nate said, we have completed a lot of our typical banana skin games and come out with very little or no bruises, according to me. All we have to do now is to build on it.

With Gerrard back now, we can look to some positives. Gerrard, Suarez, Downing, Kuyt and Lucas will not have a problem with playing pass-n-move footy. Charlie Adams, Henderson and Carrol will take time but will learn the trade. Henderson already is looking good in playing the pass-n-move style in my opinion. Looking forward to positives...

Thats what you Anon guys should be doing too..

Peter Elwood said...

@Anonymous

So by your reasoning if a player costs less to buy, he doesn't need to do as well to please you? So if we bought a striker 20m and he scored 1 goal and we bought a striker for 10m and he scored 1 goal the cheaper striker is twice as good right? By that logic Neil Mellor and Jimi Traore were at the core of our team during the Rafa-lution. After all Mellor scored 6 goals and we didn't pay a cent for him. Traore only cost half a million so he must of been our defensive corner stone. Hell, with this logic I could even make a case for Joe Cole.

Forget about transfer fee's. They represent how much that player is worth to the manager on the given day that the purchase is made. Obviously we didn't get a good deal with Carroll. No one is arguing that. Newcastle knew we needed another striker and they knew we had the money. But those are the facts, we over payed and got a striker that the management believed to be a young and influential player. Henderson's price tag was high due to many interested club. Demand raises prices. We got in a bidding war and won.

Now, let the players show their worth to you. If at the end of the day we decide that Henderson doesn't have the quality needed to be an influential player on Liverpool, then yes, it was a poor transfer. If he ends up playing well this year and many to come then it was a good transfer. But a constant check and balance system of dividing talent by cost is just nonsensical.

Lastly, at the moment, we don't have the bidding power that Man City has. Unfortunately they have deeper wallets and the incentive of Champions League football. We will, at times, have to settle with the fact that we will not be able to draw in everyone Man City can and rather than filling our minds with the illusion that we are equals, we should focus on finding good players with promise and chemistry and in a year or two we will be at that level once again.

Anonymous said...

@elwood

hendo's price tag was high because sunderland really werent that interested in parting ways with him. and yet we went out and paid a kings ransom to prise him away. he looked better with sunderland where he could have more responsibility and freedom, just about the same as adam. The prices DO matter, your just looking at it differently than me. I have watched these owners with the red sox and the marlins in baseball. they throw a shit ton of money at it early and then sit back and watch. if this is supposed to be the whole of the investment, i cant imagine any of you would be thinking that the current squad would be capable of europe, this year or in five. Its not a question of a bad deal, its a question of worth to the squad currently and what will be brought in to complement the purchases. andy is not worth half of the new owners investment, and he is showing more and more that he is simply not cut out for this style of play or this level of football. and this has NOTHING to do with drinking, practicing, attitude, those as asides, its simply the quality of his football. I dont see anywhere in his "potential" more technical skill, vision or positional awareness. he certainly has the potential to be the best englishman in the air, a rocket shot and a true number 9, but is that enough for lfc?

@nate
i am an avid reader of your blog and i am both annoyed and somewhat taken aback by your relegation of my comment to "fantasy football". I watch at least 10 hours of football every week and attempt to learn more about the game everyday. my comment was simply about "danger" men. suarez gives opposition nightmares the night before gameday, carroll does not. half the time the opposition arent even gameplanning for carroll, because, as said previously, it is easy to man mark him out of the game. my point was, with another suarez type player, i think it would have made for a better squad than this outdated "little and big" nonsense. do you see man city, man utd or chelsea going after giant scarecrows? no they get complete footballers, like torres, rooney, berbatov or aguero/tevez/dzeko. Im not saying we could have bought these players without cl football or the finanaces these other clubs have, but does it make more sense to just give up and buy "potential"? I think we could have spent more reasonably, achieved cl qualification and then moved on from there.

nate said...

I'm losing track of which Anonymous is which, but if the comment we're talking about was the one where you suggested Liverpool should have bought Zarate, Pazzini, or Aguero instead of Carroll, it's fantasy football. You wrote "purely economical terms," then mentioned Aguero, someone who gets around £200k/week in wages. Which comes out to around £25-30m more than Carroll's wages over a four-year period. Somewhat destroys the "economical terms" argument.

Not directly insulting you, not questioning how much football you watch. I dismissed that comment because it deserved to be dismissed. Discussing whether a little-large pairing is feasible, whether Carroll fits into the team structure now (or in the future)? More than applicable. None of your listed names were linked with Liverpool. None of those names were going to happen. I mean, really. It's fantasy football. Sorry.

Buying potential, paying over the odds for youth, is what FSG promised to do and is evident in almost all of the transfers seen since they took over. That's "moneyball" as it relates to football, I guess. Whether or not you agree with that strategy is one thing, but it's not "giving up" to buy potential. It's building for the long-term, because FSG/Comolli/Dalglish rightly realized Liverpool probably aren't winning the league short-term. Sad but true.

Finally, bringing up Dzeko probably isn't the best example on your part, because that's exactly the kind of parallel I'd draw with Carroll. Looked a fish out of water last season, scoring for fun to start this one. A large target-man striker with decent feet fitting into a City side filled with small, clever, quick players. And Dzeko's three years older than Carroll, and (given that he plays for City) almost assuredly on higher wages.

Anonymous said...

there are many Anons...

Nate can't admit he is wrong.. it's okay. However, if people don't realize we are basically Tottenham and Aston Villa 2007 version 2.0 then I don't know what to tell you. With this squad we will can do no better EVER than 6-4th place finish. We are a SMALL club currently. No kid growing up anywhere in the world has dreams of playing for liverpool and no current player has dreams of moving to liverpool. They dream of ManCity/ManUtd/RealMadrid/Barcelona/Chelsea

The years of Juventus/AC Milan/Bayern Munich/Roma/Arsenal as ELITE clubs are over. There are 4 tiers in a 20 team table. Great-Good-Bad-Relegated.. we are currently just Good. Accept it Nate and accept that Carrol-Hendo-Adam-Carra-Kelly-Skrtel-Agger-Lucas-Downing would NEEVR start for any of the Great teams and to quote the lil green man... That is why we fail.

Anonymous said...

pardon my grammar and spelling... iPads are highly overrated.

Marc said...

Someone who isn't even willing to give themselves an internet nickname doesn't need to go all ad hominem on the host of this site by saying he "can't admit when he's wrong."

It's probably true that this isn't redemption, but it's also true that it's Carroll's job to put the ball in the net when given a a chance, and he did that. Strikers are streaky creatures, and something like this could transform Andy's productivity. *Could.*

And while Fabio Capello isn't exactly at the height of his reputation, the fact that he was seeing Carroll as the future #9 for England suggests that some smart football folks beyond Kenny and Comolli think the kid has world class potential. Sitting on either extreme of the Carroll situation makes people sound silly.

Do Liverpool have a team spine that could win Europe right now? No. But Anon's little list of players leaves out Suarez, Downing, Kuyt, Gerrard, Lucas, Agger, Enrique, Pepe, and Johnson. Those 9 stars mean more to me than whether our next tier of guys are definitely in the same class. Plus, if Anderson and Cleverly can sit in United's midfield in front of ho hum dudes like Evans and Smalling and freaking Lindegard, then I think we can say that the concept of a *team* is at least as important as the individual talents within it. And that takes (gasp) time.

james said...

anon 1 = james

nate,
I understand none of these names were linked with lfc. Again, I was simply using the value to compare. I know we could not have gotten these name THIS year. if youll re-read, my suggestion was to get into the cl before major investment (which with the current squad minus 50 mil on carrol and hendo, 4th is feasible in the next 2 campaigns imo)

For our european friends, i'll explain the basics of moneyball:

If you'll read my earlier comment, I don't think "Moneyball" has any real place in football because the landscape is so much different. Moneyball is completely reliant on statistics. There is very little interaction between a manager and the owners in terms of singings. Its almost a completely theoretical endeavor. moneyball has very little to do with youth, and a lot to do with efficiency. But exactly what does "efficiency" in baseball translate to in football? passing efficiency? scoring ratio? it cant be quantified like baseball.

therefore the owners are heavily reliant on the opinions of two camps, the comolli camp which includes probably suarez and enrique and the dalglish camp which probably includes hendo and adam. Im assuming carroll falls somewhere between the two. now we are faced with a dichotomy in the squad, foreign skill and british force. i dont blame suarez for being upset with the side. When enrique plays a beautiful shot ball and adam plays a beautiful long ball into the stands, its logical for them to think they deserve better.

if you think the money we were throwing around relegates players of earlier mention to fifa or fm or whatever, fine, lets talk dollars and sense. Adam = aquilani + 10 mil. charlie adam is supposedly our attacking minded midfielder and just simply does not have the vision or skill to so so. Aqulani is that player to link midfield to attack. If for some reason you think that wouldn't be possible, fine.

lets talk youth. miralem pjanic is fast becoming the next luka modric in rome, a team NOT in the cl this year. eden hazard would have cost just over twice hendo's fee, but that is not a reality this season. I'm simply saying, I think players could have been brought in to help the side, who are young or old, get us into the cl and then go on the shopping spree. there is a difference between potential and proven potential. pjanic, suarez, enrique had proven potential. Hendo and carroll do not. its a 50 million pound gamble on something no one has any idea about. I dont think its the direction this club needed to take.

thats all.

nate said...

Afraid we're not ever going to agree. Gonna have to wait and see if this plan is ultimately successful. Which makes for poor internet arguments, but oh well. It's turned into what I think is the longest comment thread on this blog, so hurrah I guess.

I do take issue with a couple more of your assumptions though.

1) That there are distinct Comolli and Dalglish 'camps.' Dalglish wants all the Englishmen, Comolli's responsible for the foreigners. Nothing in public statements or the track records of either (Dalglish in first Liverpool stint or at Blackburn/Newcastle/Celtic, Comolli at Spurs) to suggest this.

2) That Liverpool could have made it into the Champions League places without said significant investment.

3) Aquilani isn't worth mentioning at all. Didn't want to be here, so Liverpool did all they could to ship out. Adam isn't his replacement; they're different players. And you assume he'd have been great in England even though we saw little but cameos under Benitez (his best matches were against Burnley and Portsmouth, neither still in the Premier League) and being good in preseason. So about the same as Voronin's accomplishments. Also, I don't know where you get Aquilani + 10m = Adam. Aquilani cost £18m, and what Milan will pay if they pick up the option hasn't been revealed (rumored to be €6-8m). Adam cost £7m.

I hate assumptions.

And one additional point. I used the 'moneyball' shorthand almost jokingly (hence the quotations, but subtlety's never been my strong suit) because it's been so abused as a term – there's never going to be a perfect statistical parallel between baseball and football spending for reasons you suggest. Boiling it down to simplest point is idea of getting value for money. And FSG/Comolli have been heavily quoted in their focus on youth, saying that's where value is, and that they don't mind overpaying for said youth/potential.

nate said...

Oh, also, forget to mention. I do very much appreciate you using a real name, and should have returned the courtesy and addressed previous comment to "James." Thank you. Seriously, no sarcasm.

It's much better to have someone to address – even if it's a random Internet handle – rather than a serious of "Anonymous" which may or may not be the same person.

Anonymous said...

Marc,

You list Downing, Kuyt, Agger, Johnson, Lucas as "star" players. I would have to disagree. Right now, no team ahead of us would start any of those players on their own team. Downing isn't better than any midfielder on Utd or City or Chelsea. Agger isn't better than their defenders. Kuyt, lets be honest, "works hard" which is a hint at his true lack of skill. Johnson is the new Harry Kewell, kudos for anyone here who watched a game where Kewell played. Lucas is okay. But do any of you really think Barca/Madrid/Chelski/Mancs would actually start him?

This is the problem Marc... we are considering players who are good to be STARS. This is the heart of bias. This is the heart of letting yourself believe the hype n propaganda your own club puts out so supporters feel there is hope. Though unless we sign a Neymar or of the like we will never win the League. Everyone is happy to be in champions league contention.. that hasn't been our goal since 2005. After 2005 it was to win the league... we haven't done it yet and we won't even come close again this year. It's been forever. Even if we do win it in the next 10 years we'll be winning one for every 4 Man Utd is winning. How is it possible we didn't sign Sturridge or Welbeck who can obviously score and are athletic and fast and skilled, yet we signed Carroll. People on here speak of we HAD to it was a panic buy. These people are getting paid millions to choose WISELY and NOT panic... they scout ALL YEAR, I do not believe it was a PANIC buy, I believe our scouts are as good as our competitors scouting. We got Coates they got Phil Jones. We got Carrol they got Welbeck. They win. We don't.

matt said...

Wow. All I'm going to say is that it's good to see Gerrard back haha. Hopefully, it won't be too long until he's fit enough to start matches.

Anonymous said...

Seems Gerrard has definitely lost a step this past year. His shots for the last 2 years have been inaccurate as well. We need him to sit back a little and maybe play a 4-2-3-1 with gerrard and lucas as CDM's then a downing-kuyt-henderson then suarez up top. who's with me? also... please start coates instead of skrtel. skrtel has reached his potential and its avg at best.... lets see coates and see him catch up to the speed of the EPL and become who he was born to be.... the next Hypia!

matt said...

Naturally Gerrard's lost a step in the past year. He's only just returning from a huge injury, but let's not write him off before he has even played a full game since coming back. He obviously isn't fully match fit, and even a Gerrard who has lost a step is still a mighty fine player. He can bring certain intangibles that simply make Liverpool better.

Anonymous said...

I agree Matt, however, I do feel at his age he should no longer play as a CAM... his long passes and late deep runs are what we need from him. He moves to slow to play again a Man city or Man utd or Chelsea defense these days. He needs to play alongside lucas in a 4-2-3-1 lucas sticks, passes to gerrard, gerrard feeds the attackers. Gerrard at his age needs to morph into an Alonso.

Pan said...

My goodness 35 comments and counting - must be some kind of record. Good to see so much discussion on here, with such polaric points of view, hurrah!!

I must say though... Anon (or whoever) was MAKING their points in such BOLD fashion - WHENEVER you make points in CAPS I can't help but picture you JABBING your finger into someone's chest when you DO make you're points… maybe I'm just being pugnacious myself in saying this but you come across as belligerent regardless of the case you’re making. Either that or you’re just changing the inflection of your tone subtlety, for emphasis - similar to William Shatner.. in which case awesome. I guess it's hard to tell in txtland.
Anyways at least you’re making points about football... which I’m not... um... go go Gerrard's Groin

p.s. Hey Nate, is there some way or an option which can be turned on for us readers to 'reply to' each other in this Blogger's comments format? Could be fun.

nate said...

@Pan

Blogger's comment system doesn't allow that. Still very basic, and hasn't ever been updated in the five years I've had this blog. Since we're in the midst of an international break and I won't be posting as much until next week, maybe I'll look into alternatives.

I'm pretty sure Disqus – for one – works on Blogger, but since Liverpool Offside has that, I don't know if I want it. You can't trust those guys. Maybe there are others as well. I'll check around.

Anonymous said...

Pan

I will BOLDY go where NO MAN ... pause... has... GONE before...

-shatner

Pan said...

hahaaa nice one Shatner...

oh and Nate, meh all good your blogisphere works well as is, tidy and uncluttered. But if you do add some extras I will press the like button.

Anonymous said...

40th!

Cheers to the season so far and lets get this international break over with... Maybe I'll buy a new kit this weekend, anyone like the new white kits this year? LiL too Man City for me.