“We lost a world class talent and the natural progress of the team was halted – we needed the squad rebuilt,” explained Brendan Rodgers. “I think where we are is what was expected. The players we brought in [over the summer] were not really established. That decision was made knowing they might struggle a bit initially but further in the future would be big players for the club. That is where we are right now.”
There is a quite excellent [indeed it must be one the best football analysis set ups on the ‘net] web site dedicated to Liverpool FC called Tomkins Times. I used to subscribe to it, and great value it is too.
However, I got embroiled in some right brain and-yes it happened-spiritual stuff, moving away from the ‘scientific’ dominance of the contributors [which is fascinating] and the vitriol I got from some of the subscribers shocked me. So I got out.
That Rodgers comments, underpinned by a certain mind-set, might have a serious bearing on the current plight of team is acknowledged, but then typically lost in a discussion about transfer policy, wage rates and Opta statistics. Rodgers himself points out the bleedin’ obvious when the two primary sources of the goals [a current problem] have been absent. Suarez transferred and Sturridge injured.
But what do the likes of Suarez, Keane, Cantona, Souness, Viera, and yes Ronaldo bring to a team? They combine high personal standards with the highest expectations.
Yes, having a world-class goal scorer in your team does give you a lift. How can it not? But having one or more players who will never give up, expect to win and expect the same of others is critical. When you have both of these qualities in one player, you have the absolute best.
So, in Liverpool’s case, the loss of Suarez is not just down to the absence of his goals, but his personality.
And the great beauty of all this waffle is that it cannot be proven. The statistics geeks cannot prove anything either.
One thing I can say about Balotelli, which I suspect even the analysts would agree with [you see stating the obvious can be contagious] , is that he is short on confidence. So when he is in front of goal, and he misses, his internal ‘map’ is one of a goal keeper bigger than usual, a goal smaller than usual, maybe a voice in his head saying ‘you will miss’ or the equivalent, and a possible strong feeling of anxiety. All this comes in before he kicks the ball.
But hey, why pay attention to any of this? Gola scorers thrive on confidence don’t they? and ‘all they need is to score’ goes the mantra. Well, how about rectifying what happens before they shape up to head or kick the ‘chance’ given to them? But it might make some inroads into ‘twelve games without a goal’ and that surely wouldn’t do, would it?
To close, despite the lowered expectations, which the proclamation of which may have a political motive, Rodgers has the ability to turn all this around.
Football is a funny old game eh?
Jack Stewart, November 2014