SINCE Brendan Rodgers was appointed as Liverpool’s new manager, much has been made of the Ulsterman bringing a new style of football to Anfield.
The short passing style Rodgers implemented at Swansea – aka “tiki-taka” – is something that Liverpool’s players will take time to adjust to and I can’t help but wonder whether or not improving Liverpool’s style of play will bring about success.
Tiki-taka certainly helped Spain win Euro 2012; if you can win an international tournament while playing without a striker most of the time, you’re obviously doing something right. However, as Barcelona found out to their cost in last season’s Champions League semi-final, playing better football than your opponents does not always guarantee victory. It is also worth noting that for much of last season, Liverpool played good football. Our biggest problem was an inability to score goals rather than our playing style.
Liverpool scored just 47 goals in the Premier League last season; in comparison, Manchester City managed 93 goals. We hit the woodwork 33 times and converted just one of six penalties awarded in the league, which quite simply isn’t good enough. Our top goalscorer, Luis Suarez, scored a mere 11 goals in the Premier League and he was the only Reds player whose scoring record broke into double figures last season. Suarez’s eight-game ban, plus a one match ban for giving Fulham fans the finger, didn’t exactly help improve our luck in front of goal.
There were a number of other problems that led to Liverpool’s disappointing eighth place finish last season. Though we didn’t have too many injuries, losing Lucas was a huge blow and we struggled at the start of the season while Steven Gerrard was recovering from his injury problems. We also had to deal with a number of underperforming players, including two of Kenny Dalglish’s summer signings, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. In other words, Brendan Rodgers has far more to think about than how many passes Liverpool can string together.
Having said that, I really hope Rodgers is able to successfully implement tiki-taka football at Liverpool. It would be nice to see the Reds play more like Barcelona and I do think it will help us get the results we didn’t get last season. However, if Rodgers wants to make Liverpool a successful club again, improving our playing style won’t be enough. There is far more that needs to be done to push Liverpool back into the top four and make the club title challengers.
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