In a regular weekly feature I look at what Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has been doing right and wrong over the last week.
- Tactics v Arsenal – Although we lost against the Gunners last Wednesday, the tactics that were employed at the Emirates were the only sensible option. Liverpool are still trying to get out of a long rut and Rafa’s primary focus in recent weeks has been to keep things tight at the back. We had four clean sheets in a row before the match against Arsenal, something we haven’t done all season, and hopefully things will continue to improve at the back. We kept things tight in the first half at the Emirates and could have gone ahead when David Ngog was through one on one with the goalkeeper. For me, the result was only a set back for an improving Reds side.
- The signing of Milan Jovanovic maybe a bargain buy for Rafa. Although not proven in a top European league after spending most of his career in Ukraine, Russia and Belgium, the Serb was on the verge of signing for Real Madrid last summer but rejected the move as he felt he wouldn’t be a regular starter. He was also recently being chased by AC Milan, Juventus and Valencia but it now looks like he will sign for Liverpool for free in the summer.
- A case of putting square pegs in round holes again for Rafa, the Liverpool boss has persisted starting Maxi Rodriguez on the left hand side of midfield. He had a pretty poor game at the Emirates and some of the blame can be put down to the fact he is playing out of position. No doubt Maxi can play the role as he has done plenty of times for Atletico Madrid but when you move to a new league, especially to the Premier League where the pace of the game takes a lot of getting used to, it would be advisable to play him where he is most comfortable. Rafa, play him on the right and move Kuyt up front, the Dutchman has been scoring enough goals.
- Although with the injury to Glen Johnson, he may have had little choice, Rafa replaced the injured Carragher against Arsenal with Philipp Degen. I am not the biggest fan of the Swiss full back for although he offers a lot going forward, his positional play defensively is awful and he was caught out once again for Diaby’s goal, standing in no-man’s land as the Arsenal midfielder had a free header to put the Gunners in the lead. The return to fitness of Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly can’t come soon enough.