After progressively poor displays against Wigan, and the two matches against Sparta Prague in the Europa League, yesterday’s defeat to West Ham was always on the cards. That is not to say that the Reds have played badly in all these matches but the side has certainly been lacking the spark which characterised the victories against Wolves and Chelsea during the eight match unbeaten run King Kenny had sustained before the loss at Upton Park on Sunday. Some might suggest that the enthusiasm that had been instilled into the players by the arrival of Kenny may have worn off slightly, and although that maybe slightly true that some players have reverted to type by putting in below par performances, a lot of it has been down to a lack of squad depth.
As of yet, Dalglish has not been able to pick his best team. With the departure of Fernando Torres and the arrival of his replacement Andy Carroll injured, the strike partnership between Luis Suarez and Carroll has yet to be formed. In addition, in the two average performances against Sparta Prague, Suarez was unavailable because he was cup tied and Kenny was left with the hapless David Ngog as his first choice striker. If we also include the various injuries to Daniel Agger, Raul Meireles and Steven Gerrard, it makes it hard for any manager to really make their mark on the team. It makes it doubly hard when the replacements are not really capable of playing up to the same levels as those they have replaced.
Even against West Ham yesterday, injuries contributed greatly to the outcome of the match. At the start of the match, Kenny reverted to a 3-5-2 formation. Danny Wilson replaced Daniel Agger in the middle of defence and with his inexperience, and the lack of mobility from Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel, the formation just didn’t work as well as it did against Chelsea. I won’t be too hard on Wilson as he is still young and learning his trade, but both his distribution of the ball, and his positioning in the back three was not up to the standard expected. He lost out to Demba Ba in the air for the build up to the second goal and allowed Ba to get into the box unmarked to put away his header, although he certainly wasn’t helped by his centre back team-mates Carragher and Skrtel in the marking department either.
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