19 March 2007

Luis Garcia, he drinks Sangria, he came from Barca to bring us joy…

Liverpool 0-0 Everton
Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
Liverpool 0-0 Aston Villa

This are the games I firmly believe Liverpool could have gotten something out of had Luis Garcia been healthy. Granted, aside from Newcastle, these are all the league losses and draws since Garcia’s injury in early January, but the point remains.

I hesitate to write this now as I hesitated to mention it in any of the match reports, because this is Liverpool, it’s not right to put any one player above the team’s performance. But after yesterday’s “game” against Villa I simply can’t help myself.

Without Garcia, Liverpool has little creativity and flair, the type of player who can break these deadlocks and dreary games. It’s not a matter of being able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and drag the team kicking and screaming to a win, as Gerrard has been known to do on occasion, but more a player who has the required tricks and guile to unlock a stubborn defense when the game’s not going as planned. Garcia’s not a game changer, but he certainly can be a match winner.

All I could think of after yesterday’s game was the 1-0 win over Arsenal last year, when Garcia, coming off the bench, scored the winner three minutes from time by being in the right place (getting into the penalty box is a start!) at the right time for the rebound from Didi Hamann’s long-range effort. It’s one of my favorite qualities about Luis, and reminds me of a semi-famous Shankly quote: “Aye, Roger Hunt misses a few, but he gets in the right place to miss them.” Garcia gets in the right place to make things happen, whereas yesterday, Liverpool didn’t have anyone in the penalty box on a number of occasions, and were content to pass the ball around looking for an opening to develop, only to give possession away before that could happen.

Outside of Bellamy (who was bereft of service), Kuyt (no goals in his last 7 matches, and for all intents and purposes, was a midfielder against Villa), and Gerrard, Liverpool had no attacking options starting. I’m not including Riise, as he mainly played at left back with Aurelio in midfield, and nearly all of his goals this season have come when he’s been in midfield; I think the Community Shield was the only game where he scored from defense, and that was attacking quickly from a Chelsea corner. But against Villa, no one in the team who has Garcia’s trickery, intelligence, or any of the other qualities I’ve already gushed over.

You need players like Luis for games like these. All the times Garcia is slated for not fitting into the Premiership with his many attempts at being clever, you forget what he offers offensively. And it’s a quality that no other player has at Liverpool, outside of Harry Kewell, who obviously isn’t an option at this point.

For all the talk about needing a new striker, someone who can score 20 goals a season, what Liverpool really needs is a creative attacker who can play on the wings or through the middle. And that’s what Garcia is when healthy.

As frustrating as he can be, he’s also proven himself necessary.

Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder.


nate said...

This is why should I research before posting. Riise has 4 goals this season. He played in defense and scored against Chelsea and Tottenham, and both came on the counter. He was in midfield for goals against Reading and Barca.

Incidental to the main point of the post, but worth the correction.

Steven Gerrards Double said...

It relly depends on which Luis Garcia Sanz turn's up? The one who scores an amazing goal or the one who continue's to give the ball away cheaply........... But i'd rather have him around than not have him at all!


Same sentiments mate. I was looking through some past goals and suddenly, I was thinking 'what it could've been with Little Luis around'. Oh well, gotta cope with his absence...

Ace Cowboy said...

I'm with SGD on this one...I've seen Luith do some things out there I have not been happy about. But, I endorse this post because it's clear Liverpool has zero creativity this season.

For next season, I have three words for the left wing: Morten Gamst Pedersen.

Steven Gerrards Double said...

With a supposedly open cheque book it need to be better than Morten Gamst Pedersen (and I like him), But we need world beaters, Robinho, Ronaldinho, and Kaka spring to mind, as the great man rafa said "we're not as close as everyone thinks we are!"
It's time to buy big and deliver, personally apart from Carra, Stevie G, Riise, Alonso and Kuyt the rest of the squad could be sold and I would'nt bat and eyelid, those are the core players, it's time to buy players that are at this level or better

Ace Cowboy said...

I stand by it because to me there is nobody better than Morten Gamst Pedersen! Sorry, I just have a sore spot for the Arctic Monkey.

Sing it with me now like Bon Jovi: Your love is like Gaaaamst Pedersen. Gamst Pedersen is what I need, whoa whoa whoa shake it up just like Gaaaamst Pedersen.

nate said...

I'm closer to the MGP line of thinking than the Robinho/Villa simply because in addition to creative players, Liverpool needs players that know how to do it in the Premiership. League play has been where Liverpool has been wanting. Although Kaka would be a wonderful addition, I think he's a pipe dream. Milan would never sell.

That's not to say Gamst is the end all, be all, because I think a healthy Harry Kewell, if ever possible, is a better player. But it's the right track, because MGP = goals from the wings, and goals from free kicks (if Stevie lets others take them, mind you). But in general, I'm a lot more focused on players who've done it in England in the summer, whether they cost £20m or £2m.

I realize that's completely in contrast with saying we need Garcia back, because he's more a foreign player than any of the foreign players, but Luis has more than proven himself.

And while, agreed, Gerrard/Alonso/Carra/Kuyt are the backbone of the future, I'm not sold on Riise being in that group. Love him as a person, love him as a squad player, but certainly not untouchable nor in the league of the players above, despite that sweet sweet left foot. Frankly, he's frightened me many times this season with strikers/wingers running at him at pace.

Nice to know there's also a song in line if MGP did ever come.

Steven Gerrards Double said...

True, I agree with both comments, Kewell needs to leave if i'm honest, MGP would be a great replacement but his dip in form has been alarming of late, and that is a great song! made me want to get my tight leather trousers on, I still think Liverpool have to buy big though, if they are good enough then they will slot right in, look at Kuyt, just settled in like he'd always been playing the Liverpool way.
Villa or Eto'o are needing for pure finishing, Liverpool don't have one really, we have work horse strikers not putting away strikers.

nate said...

I'll say it until the day I'm absolutely without a doubt proved wrong or he's shipped out, but a healthy Harry Kewell would do wonders for this team.

His play on the left last year was the main difference between Gerrard on the right this season and last season.

Steven Gerrards Double said...

The problem is he isn't fit, and it seems he has become prone to freakish injuries, Kewell is brilliant, but with the money we have I really believe it's time to cash in and look at another option.