by Kieran Davies
The reason I want to know where Emile is, is because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion he’s the finishing coach at Liverpool currently. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve totally bought in to the Brendan Rodger’s era and realise it will take time, but this isn’t a slight of him as this problem has been evident for a while now. Under Roy Hodgson, Liverpool couldn’t make paper aeroplanes let alone goalscoring chances but the hierarchy were to replace him with Kenny Dalglish. This saw a positive change and Liverpool started creating chances, lots of them. However, week after week the stats were showing that they were not converting these chances. This so far has continued into Rodger’s tenure also. Now the current Liverpool squad is full of quality so how are players of this calibre spurning all these chances? Is Emile Heskey actually the finishing coach at Anfield now? Does anyone have his number can we check?
Now Rodger’s philosophies and style of play will take time to inject into all facets of the club and I know that, he signed a three year contract and I strongly believe that FSG have told him that he will be given that full duration to produce on his promises. Most Liverpool fans also seem on board in giving the new manager time instead of chopping and changing but by the end of that contract Liverpool will have equalled Man Utd’s 26 year wait for a league title. This means that by the end of the contract FSG will no doubt want to see a squad that mount a serious title challenge. It is bad enough for reds fans that Man Utd have bettered their record for league titles but for their drought without one to exceed their rivals? Every month will seem like a year! Without the aid of a crystal ball I cannot say whether he will achieve this, but I remain positive and hope to see the squad strengthened in January.
What about the short term though, what can be done to make the side more clinical in front of goal? As much of a genius as he is Luis Suarez he has a conversion rate less attractive than Greece currently. Rumours around Anfield that they have had to employ a highly skilled pig to hunt for strikers within the club grounds after witnessing their very impressive knack of finding truffles haven’t been confirmed as yet so Suarez is Liverpool’s only striker thanks to the injury Fabio Borini picked up on international duty. It seems the club is resisting recalling Andy Carroll from his loan spell from West Ham which further casts his long term future at Anfield in doubt. What worries me is that January is a long time away despite what the shops would lead you to believe with all their Christmas product ranges readily available. The club may be well advised to ask the design team from Broadmoor Hospital to decorate the interior of Suarez’s home to ensure off the pitch that the club’s lone striker isn’t injured in any way.
This weekend Reading are the visitors to Anfield. This is a must win game. It would appear on the fixture list to be a home win and ideal for Liverpool to fill their boots and get some confidence back but things haven’t been panning out that way for Liverpool fans for some time now. The harsh reality of the situation is the club not only need the big players to perform but the young prospects propelled into first team action need to hit the ground running too, the likes of Shelvey, Sterling, Suso and co. Most importantly forgetting that Liverpool strikers have been put on WWF’s endangered species list, defensive matters need addressing. Pepe Reina is world class no doubt but I think Liverpool’s lack of conviction in ever having a reserve goalkeeper good enough to challenge for Reina’s spot has made this keeper complacent. Over the last two seasons he has been culpable for uncharacteristic costly errors. In Reina’s defence (excuse the pun) the back four in front of him doesn’t inspire confidence and this is important for a keeper.
During the summer when I heard Man City wanted to pay £20m for Martin Skrtel, I was on the phone to the club asking whether they needed me to drive him to his medical to seal the deal but this didn’t transpire. People will disagree with me but I think Martin is a very inconsistent defender. He is prone to lapses of concentration in games and world class defenders do this rarely which is why he does not fit into this category. Daniel Agger however is world class. I think the time is now to be utilising that Agger is at the top of his game and his attributes and partner him with a young centre back to groom into the rock of the defence of the future. There are many contenders but due to many factors I feel Sebastian Coates best fits the bill. Now I know he too has made errors but he is young where as Skrtel is in his prime. I think the time is also right to convert Glen Johnson back to his natural right back role. With Martin Kelly’s injury it surely makes sense to slot Enrique back into the left back spot, he is a skilful player who surely would adapt to Rodger’s style of play.
Whilst we cannot affect Brendan’s decisions all Liverpool fans will be hoping for an attacking flowing display of football against Reading on the weekend and a bonanza of goals. These fans (me included) will give Brendan the time needed but we cannot be expected to endure a complete famine while this work in progress takes shape.