SINCE Liverpool FC were knocked out of the Cup by Oldham a few weeks ago, Liverpool’s season has gone from up to down in a short space of time.
From leading by 2 goals with half-an-hour to go to conceding 2 late goals to both the Baggies and Zenit in the space of less than a week, we’ve hit a remarkably low point, matched only by the final few days under Hodgson.
Then a visit by an under-strength Swansea saw the Reds dominate and smash 5 past our current boss’s former side, but that display against the Welsh sides’ second string (there were eight changes) can’t paper over our season-long problems.
The primary cause of our problems is defensive inadequacy. It’s so alien to many of us, as apart from a period in the 90′s, Liverpool has generally always been a solid defensive side, with some great defenders.
So having conceded 11 goals in our last 6 games is a situation we really are not used to.
I have written about this a couple of times recently, about how I believe that certain players (primarily defensive) have been quite lacking in the commitment and also concentration department at some key points for us this season, with all of our defensive players contributing to goals against in some way or other this season.
But one thing I have noticed is that we just don’t ever seem to have a settled back-four, and that can’t be helping either.
It’s a fair point to make that a player that makes a few mistakes should be dropped, but when his replacement messes up too, what do you do? It’s a very vicious circle, and one where a line has to be drawn.
We’ve only kept the same back four in back to back matches once in that time and, until Agger decided to treat us all to a couple of impressive brain farts, we had begun to look like we’d remembered how to defend.
What I am basically trying to say is that consistency breeds consistency, and while individuals are responsible for their own mistakes, constantly chopping the most important part of any football side is only going to have a detrimental effect.
I noticed that many fans were delighted when Jamie was re-introduced to the defence but it doesn’t appear to have made any difference, with the side letting in 8 since so I just don’t see the point in ‘tinkering’ in that way and Sunday’s win being the first clean sheet since his re-introduction.
For me, we really must choose our strongest defence and stick with it through thick and thin. People have their own ideas but for me, that means Johnson, Enrique, Skrtel and Agger.
Sure, they’ve all had their moments this season but that is a back line that would be more than good enough to get into any Premier League side and unless we suddenly find the money to sign the likes of Hummels and Pique, we may as well persevere with them.
You can’t just leave a player in the team if they’re causing the performances to suffer but our defence has been the focus of all our problems this season, so there’s no point in helping it out by never letting it settle into a good run of games.