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utujeegoo
21-5-08, 16:40
Where should we strengthen and why?

Torres up front partnered with gerrard is working. 119 goals, most from these two. Gerrard's intelligence and his own ability to shoot or finish is working wonders here, as well as the freedom it gives him to roam. He has set up goals from all over the pitch this season. Torres is intelligent enough to read the passes and get into those positions, or to link up with stevie. The number of goals speak for themselves. I've always liked Gerrard in an advanced position behind the front man or front two, not in center midfield. Even on the right he produced great goals. Is center midfield in our new formation not too defensive for our best and most creative player?

Two defensive midfielders to me would suggest attacking fullbacks. So whether or not this works depends on our fullbacks. Are our fullbacks giving the proper support going forward? To me, no they are not. Riise used to be good at bombing down the line and overlapping the left midfielder but I don't see that from anybody anymore. Aurelio I think is a very good left back but is he injured too much and does he overlap or link up enough with Babel or whoever is in that position? Or is it Babel's fault, that he doesn't link up well enough with the left back? Aurelio has cut in at times and made a run, and does overlap like he did to set up Torres goal (against inter I think). On the right arbeloa does get forward but is never in a threatening position, either to make a killer pass or to shoot on goal (something he seems to be afraid of). For this formation our full backs almost need to have the attacking qualities of wingers so that our wide midfielders/forwards can have the right support, stretch defenses and create chances.

So do our defensive midfielders work? Yes if our fullbacks are getting forward, no if they are not. Why? Because we are losing another attacker to our defence. Now if our fullbacks are not to go forward, then only one deep midfielder is needed with the other getting forward in attack. But who is doing this? Mascherano tries at times but it is not his forte. This is where Alonso and Lucas come in. Does alonso do it? No. He is too static even as a DM. He picks out great passes which is a quality any DM should have, but he does not support the attack and even in defense I don't know how quick or mobile he is anymore. Lucas on the other hand is mobile and works like a proper box to box midfielder;. He runs his heart out and does indeed try to support the attack, but the quality doesn't seem to be showing right now. If he's supporting the attack he must be getting into positions or finding passes. Like he did for the reserves in their cup final. So is this where barry comes in? Will he provide those dynamics from midfield - protecting our back two along with masch when our fullbacks are attacking? Or joining in the attack with late runs into the box or telling passes or even shots in support of the attack when our fullbacks are in their own half? Even providing better passes and supply to our forward men.

With that in mind we can now move forward to our wide midfielders/wide forwards. Babel on the left. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, is it because of Babel's lack of ability? Is it because of the supply and support he is getting? He has the ability in front of goal. He can pick out a pass when he wants to but more often than not he gives the ball away and does not take on players. If a fullback overlaps he just cuts in and tries to take on too many defenders. On the other hand many passes to him are long balls from the defence. Also many times he gets the ball and surrounded by defenders. So does he need better supply and/or more support (e.g. from the wing or from one of the centre midfielders coming out to the wing to help out or overlap?

Kyut on the right. This is half working. Yes he gets a lot of assists since he moved here and has played well. However he is not scoring goals, so is this a balance we are willing to accept? Assists mean goals, so is it worth giving those up for the chance that somebody else MIGHT score a few but not create enough assists? He did well for us in the CL but has scored nothing in the PL (the bounce off his knee doesn't count) :) I don't have anything against kuyt but, like Babel, I'd like to see more goals or creative play here. Granted I do think Kuyt can sometimes be more creative than Babel (maybe it's just more experience), he seems to get other players involved a lot better, but then again sometimes what he tries to do does not work out. On the other hand he doesn't have babel's pace and does not seem to threaten the goal. Do we need somebody more creative or is there another reason why he is not working out so well here? Is his supply good? Is he getting the right support?

Other than that we are left with our defense. To be fair we all believe our defense is rock solid and always has been. However, this year our title hopes were lost not because we couldn't finish teams off, but because we didn't hold onto leads we had. In my view our defense let us down this year for one reason or another. So where do we go with that? Perhaps the new formation we are using is helping solve this problem, as well as the signing of a class defender in skrtl. We missed Agger this year so that may not have helped. Hyppia was great but not before it was too late and we had let in a lot of goals. Did our new formation help stop teams attacking by bringing the game to their own end of the pitch? Did the use of two defensive midfielders help plug that hole and provide a good base for attack also?

In considering all of this my views on our team are mixed. In once sense it looks like we are a few signings away from getting it right. Maybe Barry is exactly what we need to increase the quality in that center of midfield and perfecting the balance between attack and defence. Maybe we need better or more attacking fullbacks that pose a goal threat. Maybe we need more quality in our wide forward areas or maybe what we have is enough if we improve other areas of the pitch such as midfield or fullback.

In another sense, when you look at how we've played, the number of goals we have scored, and all the draws because of sloppy defensive work, it looks like there is very little to do with this team. Last year it was our attack that lacked. This year it was our defense that let us down. It's just a case of all the cogs working perfectly together at the same time, so who knows, get that right and we could actually be in contention right up to the end next season.

Sorry for the long post, thanks to anybody that has a read.

#19
21-5-08, 16:41
Did we score more playing 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 ? That will help you on your choice for any new players.

utujeegoo
21-5-08, 16:54
Well our best and most consistent results have come since we switched to the 4-2-3-1 formation so that's the formation I am assuming we take next season, but there again, who knows :)

aampix
21-5-08, 17:29
This is a good analysis.

I disagree somewhat with your view on Kuyt. I think he was a real asset since he moved to the right side, even though he didn`t score a lot in the PL games. Aside from providing assists, he helped a lot by wearing down opponents` defences, and did valuable defensive support work.
Also, if there is anything certain about Kuyt it is this: He will run his heart out, and on his day he can score goals (even with his knee), otherwise he would not have been top scorer in the Dutch league in two consecutive seasons before he came here, with some 60 goals in two years. If you judge his goal scoring over the course of the past four years, and not just this season, then chances are he will be more prolific again next year.

One worry I have is that we lack depth for DM. If we regularly play 4-2-3-1 (which I hope), then we need not only better FB`s, but also four experienced and reliable defensive midfielders. If Alonso leaves, we are left with only Masch and Lucas, both of whom will be gone at the Olympics (I think) at the beginning of the season. I hope we sign not only Barry, but one more DM, as Plessis is still only 20 and may not be ready for regular play. I really liked what I saw of De La Red during the UEFA cup, even though he played Centre Half most of the time when I saw him. He looked like Getafe`s best player to me.

Regarding FB`s, I had hoped we would sign Alves (or, earlier, Hutton). Or, if we are holding on to Alonso, that Gareth Barry will be used as an attacking Left Back. But as it stands I will have to support Degen and whoever else Rafa decides on.

Cheers! :)

GoatApocalypse
21-5-08, 17:34
Really good post.

Couple of things... I think Babel on the left needs more support from his full-back. Will Dossena be able to provide that? Who knows.

I think Barry in and Alonso out would put a focus on a short passing game, and our midfield would be a lot more mobile. Say what you like about Alonso, and I know he apparently covers a lot of ground, but he doesn't cover it with the ball. Barry might not be Steve Heighway, but he can move the ball 20 yards in his feet. Alonso can't, or at least, doesn't. I think he's be a good acquisition, has he can also drift wide from a nominally central role - if Babel cuts inside, Barry can drift out wide to provide another option, with the left-back and Mascherano in place in defence.

Quality post, really enjoyed reading it, but I don't have masses to add!

utujeegoo
21-5-08, 17:41
Thanks aampix. Like I say I have nothing against Kuyt and in fact I really hoped he would score a few more just to get his confidence up. I thought he had a good season last year and I thought he could add ten or so more goals to our tally. I wouldn't get rid of him anyway. Even if we look for somebody else for his position I think he's a great player to bring on for tough games or for closing out games, like you say, his work rate is terrific and he will harass defenders and attackers alike. I just hope that if he does start next season he can find the form he had last year and maybe become the difference between a draw and a win.

GoatApocalypse
21-5-08, 17:43
That's true. If Kuyt comes back next season to score as many goals as he did in his first season here, I'd actually be very happy to keep hold of him. If Torres can get 20+ up front and we can get 10+ from Ryan and Dirk, with Stevie getting his usual 10-15, that would be 50 goals in the Premier League from those players alone, minimum. I'd be happy with that.

utujeegoo
21-5-08, 17:45
Thanks NNNick. I agree with you on the Alonso-Barry thing. I wouldn't like to lose Alonso, I think a quality bench is what we have been lacking compared to the rest of the top four. Like Aampix said we need depth in that position. Perhaps selling Alonso is a step forward in one sense but a step back in the sense that we still don't have that great a depth in reserve. Alonso's a long range passer and doesn't seem to fit in with the short passing football we are playing now, but he's still a quality player to bring on from the bench or if somebody gets injured.

PeaTearGryphon
21-5-08, 17:49
Good post.

I don't really agree on the Gerrard - Torres partnership bit. Whilst it is a good partnership, it is not so effective against the better defenses. And i personally believe Gerrard, whilst more than capable of playing that role, isn't good enough to totally pull it off. I would much prefer a natural "hole" player, with Gerrard either dropping to midfield or right wing.

Completely agree with the fullback situation. We need drastic improvements there if we are to effectively play the chosen formation. They need to be quick to overlap and also recover their position.

Effectively the 2 holding midfielders become defenders when the fullbacks attack, and this is where Rafa has to find the right balance. I would honestly prefer a straight 3 in midfield and only 1 holder and let the other 2 go forward in tandem, and the fullbacks a little less freedom to venture forward. Currently 2 hold and in that case you need attacking fullbacks. Up to Rafa on that one, but it is a balance he must find

GoatApocalypse
21-5-08, 17:56
Thanks NNNick. I agree with you on the Alonso-Barry thing. I wouldn't like to lose Alonso, I think a quality bench is what we have been lacking compared to the rest of the top four. Like Aampix said we need depth in that position. Perhaps selling Alonso is a step forward in one sense but a step back in the sense that we still don't have that great a depth in reserve. Alonso's a long range passer and doesn't seem to fit in with the short passing football we are playing now, but he's still a quality player to bring on from the bench or if somebody gets injured.

My pleasure :)

Well... Alonso isn't the kind of player we could keep on the bench consistently. For one, he's a £15m asset that'd be collecting dust and, right now, we could seriously use that £15m in other areas of the team. Next season, if we get Barry and sell Alonso, we've got 3 "central midfield" positions (including where Gerrard plays; I know it's not accurate but bear with me!) and we've got 7 players capable of playing there: Gerrard, Barry, Lucas, Benayoun, Plessis, Mascherano. It's also worth noting that in Carragher, Agger and perhaps even Aurelio, we've got 3 players that could, in desperate times, cover there (albeit only in a defensive role). So I think our situation is that our central midfield area is the strongest we have in terms of depth, and not something we should be too concerned with.

I've said it so many times before but I like the idea that Barry and Gerrard could both play ahead of Mascherano. Both are sound defensively and capable of dropping back to cover, both like to bomb on and get into the box, and both are capable of drifting wide to provide another option. There's a lot of symmetry and balance there that I like, and could in theory give us a real fluid, versatile midfield. I know Barry isn't the greatest player in the world but he's very consistent and in my mind is at least as good as Carrick (albeit in a different role), who has excelled for ManYoo this season. I'm quite excited to see where this is potentially going; the other side is that Rafa wants to sign him as a left-midfielder and return to 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, which is a nightmare waiting to happen.

We'll see, but right now I'm optimistic that it'll be a good piece of business :)

Amongpigeons
22-5-08, 12:16
Nice post. I agree with you on most counts.

I think Barry would be a good acquisition. I suspect Alonso might be sold, if the money’s right, and Mascherano is now our No 1 DM. Lucas can be useful playing alongside Masch, but I am a little disappointed with him. I expected Lucas to more ‘box-to-box’ and chip in with a few more goals than he has. My guess is that Rafa might go for 4-3-3 with Gerrard, Masch and Barry in midfield and Kuyt, Tores and Babel upfront. 4-3-3 has been used by Chelsea and Man Utd to great effect, so Rafa might use it as an option.

I agree we need some good, attacking full-backs. It is a priority. If you compare us to the other big 3, we come off badly.

Finnan/Arbeloa and Aurelio

vs

Neville/Brown and Evra
Sagna and Clichy
Essien(now Bosingwa) and Cole


I hope Degen is going to be brilliant. Don’t know much about Dossena, but we need to catch up with our rivals in these positions.

Our other big problems are..

1 Cover for Torres and Gerrard. What if either got a long-term injury? Where would our creativity come from? We need a flair player to make things happen, and the good ones don’t come cheap.
2 Wingers. Someone to get to the byeline and put the ball in the danger area. How much more would we have seen from Crouch if Cristiano Ronaldo was on our flank?

I reckon we should kill two birds with one stone and pay big for a flair player that can play wide or in the middle or upfront.

Come on Rafa, pay big for someone like Quaresma or Maxi Rodriguez or Nasri. Real Zaragoza have just been relegated, so what about Aimar or D’Alessandro?

Flair, please, Rafa. Flair!

SidsterUK
22-5-08, 12:34
Hi

I agree with Flair just worried by Quaresma due to his lazyness and we dont need players like that, what about SHaun Wright Phillips or Aaron Lennon? At least we know they can play in the Premiership.

We need to get a big striker too like Defoe or Huntelaar, an out n out fox in the box! and as wing backs I would go for either Micah Richards who can also revert to centreand or Daniel Alves!

utujeegoo
22-5-08, 12:46
I've said it so many times before but I like the idea that Barry and Gerrard could both play ahead of Mascherano.


I like that. In games where we need to be a bit more defensive it's just a matter of somebody dropping back. Would make a good transition between defense and attack too.

Amongpigeons I agree to an extend about wingers but I think our width should come from full backs with the mindset of wingers rather than our wide forwards (at least that's how I think of them in this formation). I do agree, however that in these wide forward positions perhaps a little more flair and creativity is required, and such a player might also step in for Gerrard or Torres if they became injured.

Having said that, considering the small margins for us this season, perhaps the signing of attacking fullbacks will be enough to get more out of our wide forwards?

brmc21
22-5-08, 12:47
simple....wings and fullbacks....

Granemore
22-5-08, 12:49
I really think we are three very good players away from being a world class team. with the formation we are playing we need two full backs with quality and maybe we have just got one in our new right back, i dont know anything about him but I heard Rafa wanted him before he went to germany so im hoping he's a nice surprise for us all.

If we *** get a strong fast left back who can attack it will give babel more confidence and support.

And the last player i believe we need is someone for Kuyts position, because I'm sorry i know he's one of our players and i will support him when he plays for us but he is frankly not good enough. so if we could get someone like de silva, ronaldhino :eek:, or even joe cole we would carry a much greater threat.

I know we dont have much money but if we sell off some of the deadwood we could free up some funds, and i really dont think we should be spending it on garth barry as we have enough quality in his position.

Here's hoping Rafa gets his targets and I can look forward to wiping the smiles of them manc basterds

GottaWearShades
22-5-08, 13:00
Some very good and interesting posts here. I think Barry gives a huge number of options. He can play in a 4-2-3-1, he has proved for England he could play central with SG in 4-4-2. If we had had him this year, he would have probably played left back in the semis. With 4 good centre backs we have extra cover centre mid as Nick has pointed out and also 3-5-2 options.

I agree with 2 top fullbacks and an attacking player. Not fussed whether it is a winger or a magic man like Zola. Just want someone who can get their share of goals and assists, and turn some games. Like Garcia or Yossi but better.

GrumpasaurusRex
22-5-08, 13:28
From your post, it is quite clear we need a mix of first choice players and squad altyernative players.

My feelings is that we need 2 sets of players in all positions that can play offensively or defensively.

1. Full backs
I think we're all agreed that we need some better attacking full-backs. These would be players that I consider should be first choice rather than squad alternative.

However, we need to keep some FBs who are better at defending than going forward for when we play the better teams. For all those that like to quote how "attacking" Man Utd are, don't forget they played very tentatively at Anfield. Players like Arbeloa still have a place in the squad.


2. Wingers / wide players / whatever TF you wanna call them
Here we have opposing problems. Babel has shown that he can be great going forward, but doesn't appear to be able to contribute as much when the team has a spell under the cosh & defending. Therefore there is the need to have a squad player on the left who is a bit more like Kuyt. Perhaps this might be the replacement for Riise, who was able to play both LB and LM, or perhaps a straight LM. Perhaps Barry is being chosen for his versatility and this might be one of the tasks he will be asked to perform.

Alternatively, there needs to be a different option from Kuyt. For all his detratctors, Kuyt's tenacity and willingness to run for the team *is* needed in tight games against the big boys. However a more attack minded player is needed for the games against the "smaller" teams. Pennant is currently there and has shown flashes of what he might be able to do, so perhaps if cash is limited, this is an area that can be addressed next year.

3. Striker.
If Crouch goes, then we need somebody new. Perhaps somebody who gives us an alternative type of attack - as Crouch does. But the boy wants regular first team football - so good luck.

Here I wouldn't mind if we got an older player on a Bosman. Basically somebody who doesn't mind being 2nd fiddle to one of the top strikers in Europe, and will be happy only playing 25%-30% of the time.

4. Attacking midfielder
I thought Benayoun was supposed to be the back-up for Gerrard here. Will he get more games next year now the 4-2-3-1 formation appears to be first choice? I think yes. Dessena has also been mentioned in that role - but he might be more for the future.

5. Defensive midfielders
I think the OP's point about Barry is probably right. definitely needed if Alonso goes.

6. CBs
That depends on whether Agger is ever up to playing for us again. only Rafa and the coaches knwo this, but if he won't, then a new CB is needed.

7. Goalie
Carson wants first team footie. Martin needs a season's loan. So yes.

Basically what Chelsea & the Mancs have over us is better depth of squad.

From this 2 or 3 first choice players, 3 or 4 squad alternatives and a couple of teens for the future, and the squads will be closer.

pippin2
22-5-08, 13:36
Your post also asked “…and why?”, which nobody has answered in the larger sense yet.

Why we need to strengthen should be painfully obvious after last night. Those two clubs will simply be carving up between them all the available silverware for the next 5 years minimum. And the Scum will not only catch but surpass our league record and (less likely) our European total. While we sit around and argue about who’s in charge, who we CAN’T buy and a mythical stadium. That’s why.

Syndicato
22-5-08, 14:36
Great post ... my two-pence worth is as follows:-

- I am sorry to disagree with many of you. I am no longer a Dirk Kuyt fan.While he scored a lot for us in the CL, he was disappointingly hopeless in the PL and elsewhere. His first touch, for me, is the single most frustating aspect of his game, especially for someone who plays for a top 4 side. As much as I like Rafa, I think he stands by Kuyt because he paid loads for him- I really did not understand some of the tactics last season, especially ignoring Crouchy and Pennant when a game was simply crying out for them, eg the CL games against Chelsea!

- I am sorry I don't rate Voronin either but I give him the benefit of the doubt because this was his first season with us. I really hope he ups his game this coming season, but not to be first choice striker during the first few months of the season!!!!

- If Crouchy and Pennant leave (which is really looking likely), I would reald really appreciate a fast and skilful wideman. I still think some serious effort should be made to get David Bentley and Stewart Downing. I think they are both young, experienced, very English (therefore fully understand the nature of our game), and they would supply the right ammunition for El Nino and Gerro.

- In the middle of the park, certainly Gareth would be a massive addition: I agree with everything that's been written about him.

-The fullbacks and goalkeeping issues: I agree with what's been written.

In conclusion, I really don't think there's too much wrong with our team- tinkering in the right places should allow us to get THAT title: it's about time- the Mancs are getting too close for comfort, everywhere!

I think another

KanyeWest
22-5-08, 14:38
LB
right sided striker
cm to replace alonso
striker to replace crouch (if he goes)

:)

utujeegoo
22-5-08, 14:45
Hey this made the front page :) thanks guys,I am enjoying your responses

pippin2 - yes it seems like a dumb question now that I look at it :) What I was trying so say was how will the possible changes to the squad improve it or, conversely, how are each of the players we have affecting the rest of the team. E.g. are poor showings from left back and perhaps from midfield are leaving Babel isolated at times? Does he look bad because of it?

In a way I am suggesting that some players that might have been disappointing are only so because of what is around them or how others are playing with them, so a change in, say, midfield might have a knock on effect in other areas of the pitch (to risk stating the obvious - hopefully you know what I mean)


Syndicato - I know how you feel about Kuyt, I tried and tried to support him all the way up to the utd game in december and I just couldn't take it anymore so I gave in to everyone else around me. Since he moved to the right, however he had redeemed himself a bit, but is it enough? Has he shown signs that he can give us what we need from him next season?

IMOFFSKI
22-5-08, 15:11
up front i wouldnt buy anyone as NEMETH looks good and will quite happily sit on the bench and wait his turn, plus there is still BABEL and if need be KUYT, midfield BARRY, SWP!!! FB DANIEL ALVES on the right with DEGEN, on the left ARBELOA with AURELIO, I personally think we are not that far away from winning the league it is just a matter of those silly draws that should of been wins, and with just a couple of new players i think we we can get 19!!!!! YNWA

ozzie365
22-5-08, 17:00
It makes me weep that poor old Rafa whos done so well has got no money to spend instead we have to sell some of our best players Crouchie Alonso if the rumours are true.
We need a couple of Billionaires in the Boardroom not those penniless yanks.
Chelsea already spent wads and Manure will too. Quality costs and were scrounging around for Bosmans.

Jodzo
22-5-08, 17:21
1] right sided wing-forward
2] left full-back
3] alonso's replacment
4] back up left-wing and striker if crouch goes

Killerpain
22-5-08, 17:34
Cool post so many good views but lets see who comes and goes!
I'd like to see Babbel in a strike role with Torres and Gerrard back on the right for some games as long as we get skillfull, pacey and strong wing backs and a proper left winger we will be good. The thing is too many waisted chances so if half of those had gone for us we would have won the league simple as that but a more aggressive approach next year with a wider variety of tactics will be really good for us.

Bring the youth into the squad to play i.e Nemeth and co. and sub earlier it really gets me down when a sub gets 10 mins when you down!

bannono7
22-5-08, 18:58
everyone has great points. But Boardroom Unity is most important before we can strenghten the team!

Rafamyth
22-5-08, 20:22
Manager

Syndicato
22-5-08, 20:37
Hey this made the front page :) thanks guys,I am enjoying your responses

pippin2 - yes it seems like a dumb question now that I look at it :) What I was trying so say was how will the possible changes to the squad improve it or, conversely, how are each of the players we have affecting the rest of the team. E.g. are poor showings from left back and perhaps from midfield are leaving Babel isolated at times? Does he look bad because of it?

In a way I am suggesting that some players that might have been disappointing are only so because of what is around them or how others are playing with them, so a change in, say, midfield might have a knock on effect in other areas of the pitch (to risk stating the obvious - hopefully you know what I mean)


Syndicato - I know how you feel about Kuyt, I tried and tried to support him all the way up to the utd game in december and I just couldn't take it anymore so I gave in to everyone else around me. Since he moved to the right, however he had redeemed himself a bit, but is it enough? Has he shown signs that he can give us what we need from him next season?

Kuyt really began driving me nuts at the beginning of the season but the day I almost threw the chair at the TV was Blackburn away. If ever there was a day a striker deserved a 'slap' around the ears a'la Drogba v Vidic, and I don't mean this in a nasty way, that was the day for me. I really don't see the point of all this 'he's a hardworker- works well between the lines' stuff. I really see him as a squad player- but first choice for me, no-no! A striker has to score the goals- simple. Managers and pundits over-utilise certain words to hide their poor judgement....

Good example is Shearer- not really a graceful, go-past- everyone-in-mazy-runs type; not a step-over type, not a between-the-lines type (boy, do I hate that statement)..... but he did one thing very well, and hence we still talk about him today: SCORE GOALS!!!!!!!

And if we did that, we'd be champions every single year!

Even an Anelka would have been much better value than Kuyt.... sorry gys, but I did feel very passionate about this- nothing personal, but I hate the idea of the Mancs stealing up on us in every direction and we seem to be stagnant

speege
22-5-08, 21:23
Owners!!! We need a world class boardroom, I'm afraid this current one is pretty far from that. :eek:

shanks1978
22-5-08, 21:55
Where should we strengthen and why?

Torres up front partnered with gerrard is working. 119 goals, most from these two. Gerrard's intelligence and his own ability to shoot or finish is working wonders here, as well as the freedom it gives him to roam. He has set up goals from all over the pitch this season. Torres is intelligent enough to read the passes and get into those positions, or to link up with stevie. The number of goals speak for themselves. I've always liked Gerrard in an advanced position behind the front man or front two, not in center midfield. Even on the right he produced great goals. Is center midfield in our new formation not too defensive for our best and most creative player?

Two defensive midfielders to me would suggest attacking fullbacks. So whether or not this works depends on our fullbacks. Are our fullbacks giving the proper support going forward? To me, no they are not. Riise used to be good at bombing down the line and overlapping the left midfielder but I don't see that from anybody anymore. Aurelio I think is a very good left back but is he injured too much and does he overlap or link up enough with Babel or whoever is in that position? Or is it Babel's fault, that he doesn't link up well enough with the left back? Aurelio has cut in at times and made a run, and does overlap like he did to set up Torres goal (against inter I think). On the right arbeloa does get forward but is never in a threatening position, either to make a killer pass or to shoot on goal (something he seems to be afraid of). For this formation our full backs almost need to have the attacking qualities of wingers so that our wide midfielders/forwards can have the right support, stretch defenses and create chances.

So do our defensive midfielders work? Yes if our fullbacks are getting forward, no if they are not. Why? Because we are losing another attacker to our defence. Now if our fullbacks are not to go forward, then only one deep midfielder is needed with the other getting forward in attack. But who is doing this? Mascherano tries at times but it is not his forte. This is where Alonso and Lucas come in. Does alonso do it? No. He is too static even as a DM. He picks out great passes which is a quality any DM should have, but he does not support the attack and even in defense I don't know how quick or mobile he is anymore. Lucas on the other hand is mobile and works like a proper box to box midfielder;. He runs his heart out and does indeed try to support the attack, but the quality doesn't seem to be showing right now. If he's supporting the attack he must be getting into positions or finding passes. Like he did for the reserves in their cup final. So is this where barry comes in? Will he provide those dynamics from midfield - protecting our back two along with masch when our fullbacks are attacking? Or joining in the attack with late runs into the box or telling passes or even shots in support of the attack when our fullbacks are in their own half? Even providing better passes and supply to our forward men.

With that in mind we can now move forward to our wide midfielders/wide forwards. Babel on the left. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, is it because of Babel's lack of ability? Is it because of the supply and support he is getting? He has the ability in front of goal. He can pick out a pass when he wants to but more often than not he gives the ball away and does not take on players. If a fullback overlaps he just cuts in and tries to take on too many defenders. On the other hand many passes to him are long balls from the defence. Also many times he gets the ball and surrounded by defenders. So does he need better supply and/or more support (e.g. from the wing or from one of the centre midfielders coming out to the wing to help out or overlap?

Kyut on the right. This is half working. Yes he gets a lot of assists since he moved here and has played well. However he is not scoring goals, so is this a balance we are willing to accept? Assists mean goals, so is it worth giving those up for the chance that somebody else MIGHT score a few but not create enough assists? He did well for us in the CL but has scored nothing in the PL (the bounce off his knee doesn't count) :) I don't have anything against kuyt but, like Babel, I'd like to see more goals or creative play here. Granted I do think Kuyt can sometimes be more creative than Babel (maybe it's just more experience), he seems to get other players involved a lot better, but then again sometimes what he tries to do does not work out. On the other hand he doesn't have babel's pace and does not seem to threaten the goal. Do we need somebody more creative or is there another reason why he is not working out so well here? Is his supply good? Is he getting the right support?

Other than that we are left with our defense. To be fair we all believe our defense is rock solid and always has been. However, this year our title hopes were lost not because we couldn't finish teams off, but because we didn't hold onto leads we had. In my view our defense let us down this year for one reason or another. So where do we go with that? Perhaps the new formation we are using is helping solve this problem, as well as the signing of a class defender in skrtl. We missed Agger this year so that may not have helped. Hyppia was great but not before it was too late and we had let in a lot of goals. Did our new formation help stop teams attacking by bringing the game to their own end of the pitch? Did the use of two defensive midfielders help plug that hole and provide a good base for attack also?

In considering all of this my views on our team are mixed. In once sense it looks like we are a few signings away from getting it right. Maybe Barry is exactly what we need to increase the quality in that center of midfield and perfecting the balance between attack and defence. Maybe we need better or more attacking fullbacks that pose a goal threat. Maybe we need more quality in our wide forward areas or maybe what we have is enough if we improve other areas of the pitch such as midfield or fullback.

In another sense, when you look at how we've played, the number of goals we have scored, and all the draws because of sloppy defensive work, it looks like there is very little to do with this team. Last year it was our attack that lacked. This year it was our defense that let us down. It's just a case of all the cogs working perfectly together at the same time, so who knows, get that right and we could actually be in contention right up to the end next season.

Sorry for the long post, thanks to anybody that has a read.

Very straightforward strengthening policy i believe,

Out Carson - £10 million
Crouch - £15 million
Riise - £5 million
Voronin- £4 million
Finnan - £3 million
Le Tallec £1 million
Leto £2 million

Total £40 million

In Harper £2.5 million
Bridge £7 million
Degen Free
Bentley £15 million or SWP £10 million
Henry £10 million or Diego Milito £10 million
Barry £10 million

Total £44.5 million

I think all this is realistic and would ensure our 19th league title

Belfast-Connect
22-5-08, 21:57
cover for torres and also gerrard

quite a few posters talk about needing another striker, but who is our attacking midfield threat if gerrard gets injured?

i suspect this is why we're being linked with pandev, hamsik and the argentine trejo who could all comfortably play in this position or perhaps a bit wider

anyway i just really hope hicks does one soon so the transfer season can start properly

YANKS GO HOME JUST TAKE THE ********** MONEY AND GO :finger:

redloz
22-5-08, 22:23
For me it is our wide positions were we need new players like so many have already said. To many times this season we have found it hard to break teams down like against Wigan at Anfield were the we were crying out for someone to make a few overlapping runs and stretch there defence. With good attacking right and left backs making these sort of runs the defence would get more stretched and leave holes in the middle for the likes of Torres and Gerrard to run into which happened the one time Finnan got forward against Wigan. We also need two wingers in the shape of Bentley and Petrov or young who can put the ball in the right place an add a bit more creativity to the team

Fotzegeneralen
22-5-08, 22:58
I think this is a great post. In my opinion one of our biggest problems is that even though we want to dominate possesion and pass through the opposition we are not direct enough. Sometimes I feel the players have been told that they can only pass the ball sideways into the box. On top of this it's up to the wingers (Babel, Kuyt, Pennant etc.) to make the pass because our fullbacks (like you've pointed out) are holding their positions a little too much and with two defensive midfielders we just don't get enough people in the box when we attack! Especially these days when Rafa prefers the one striker system with support right behind him it's pivotal that the support actually gets into the box. Torres is as good as anyone in the world and he had a fantastic season but it's just not enough. It's unrealistic to expect more goals from Torres in a season so I think it's all about getting the other players in scoring positions.

On a defensive note, I think losing Agger for most of the season was a crucial blow. I don't remember us letting so many goals in after set pieces and that has cost us important points. Agger's vision and sense of placement is so important at set pieces - especially with the zonal marking. Having said that it was really positive to see Skrtel adapt so quickly.

I don't think we need to splash big to get glory. A few quality players who can bring in some creativity and winning spirit would be great but most important thing is to change our mentality a bit. Plus I would like to se if a player like Nemeth can be as good as he promises to be.

Anyway, I really enjoy all your threads and I wish you all the best for the summer. I think there's enough quality and heart in the squad to be posotive for next season.

YNWA

marty-b
23-5-08, 10:02
If Barry comes into the side I presume the team will look something like this:

---------------------------------Reine------------------------------------

Degen--------------------Skrtel------Carra/Agger-------------------Dosena


Kuyt-----------------------Gerrard---Masch--------------------------Barry


------------------------------Torres-Babel--------------------------------

The rest which you swap and change into the starting X1: Keeper?, Hypia, Lucas, Plessis, Yossi, Insua, Nemeth, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Lennon

aksel
23-5-08, 10:06
Strengthening the wide areas is key for next season, we do have a good spine.
I would also let two or three strikers leave, and I do not mean Torres, thus we need replacements there as well.

Wide areas consists not only of wingers, but also full backs.
Ive never heard of Degen before, Im willing to give him a chance, but i was kinda hoping for a world beater like Alves or maybe Richerds to go on our right back.
I feel our left back position is covered with the three current players, although Im sure I'll get lots of stick for saying it. But this is not an ideal
world, we have limited funds, and left back is not a disaster zone.

On the left wing however we have Kewell leaving, and Babel is a forward. There are several good options here like Silva, Barry, Downing, Kranjcar (Quaresma is a winker, dont want him here).

On the right wing we have Pennant who I think is no more than a squad player at best and Kuyt who again is a forward. Maxi Rodriguez or Joaquin would be ideal (dont think I like Bentley, but Lennon could maybe do a good job?).

With two or three forwards leaving we need a replacement, and Villa is considering a move. He is creme de la creme, but there are other good options as well, like Eto'o or Roque Santa Cruz (Berbatov will be to expensive). It would also be great if we could steal Tevez from under the Mancs noses (currently just on loan) (dream on).

To summarize:
Joaquin/Maxi, Silva, (Barry, Downing, Kranjcar) and Villa (Eto'o, Santa)
Should be able to get them all for around £40, with £20 from sales and £20 from rich uncles it could be realized. Which again would realize our dream of the title.

FelixDeSouser
23-5-08, 11:23
Hi

I agree with Flair just worried by Quaresma due to his lazyness and we dont need players like that, what about SHaun Wright Phillips or Aaron Lennon? At least we know they can play in the Premiership.

We need to get a big striker too like Defoe or Huntelaar, an out n out fox in the box! and as wing backs I would go for either Micah Richards who can also revert to centreand or Daniel Alves!


I agree with that:cool:

FelixDeSouser
23-5-08, 12:01
I would like to see us with,

SWP,

he gets down the flanks running right at defenders something we need to open up defences a bit more.

Gareth Barry,

he is solid when defending and attacking, I think he can really complement Mach & Stevie, he also opens up more optons with him being such a versitile player.

Michael Owen,

Michael's awareness to the game is second to none, his ability is right up there with the best. He can take some of the pressure from Torres and split those defences even more, his pace, awareness and his ability to hold the ball in tight situations must be considered. He can also cover for Torres should he get injured and we would still be free to play babel on the wing or to partner him up front.

Imagine trying to defend against the likes of Torres playing creativley between the defence with Owen in support, you then have SWP/Babel bombing down the lines stretching the defence with the option of cutting inside, and you then have to deal with Stevie & Barry making surging runs into the box.

If degan & Doseena can get down the flanks in support you have a verry threatening side that is also solid defencivly I think this is just the balance we are looking for.


------------------------------Reina-------------------------------
Degan------------------Carra---------Agger---------------Doseena
------------------------------Mach-------------------------------
----------------------Gerrard-------Barry-------------------------
SWP---------------------------------------------------------Babel
-----------------------------Torres-------------------------------


OR


------------------------------Reina-------------------------------
Degan-------------Skrtl/Carra---------Agger----------Doseena/Barry
--------------------------------Mach-----------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------
SWP---------------------Gerrard------------------------Babel/Barry
-----------------------------------Owen--------------------------
-----------------------------Torres-------------------------------

Subs: Keeper, Hyppia, Arbeloa, Insua, Lucas, Kuyt, Nemeth

Gerrard, Babel and Barry can play in many positions so in them three alone there are many options.

Any thoughts :)

51nbad
23-5-08, 14:27
LB
LW
RB
RW

Rafa must find 4 players who will start most games, not squad players

if we get these 4 Babel could be used to cover Torres up top too.

we have Degan, need Alves, Quresma & Bentley.

If Aloso goes to Juve then get Barry, as Barry is not a winger or a full back on CLASS.

RedMike7
23-5-08, 15:33
Realistically, I think our best possible team for next season will look something like this:

------------Reina------------
Degen--Carra--Skrtel--Dossena
------Masch-----Barry--------
Gerrard-----Babel---------Riera
-----------Torres-------------

Subs:
Itandje
Arbeloa
Agger
Lucas
Benayoun
Kuyt
Nemeth


Out:
Crouch - £15mil
Alonso - £15mil
Carson - £10mil
Pennant - £6mil
Riise - £6mil
Voronin - £2mil
Finnan - £1mil

In:
Degen - Free
Dossena, Barry and Riera - around £30mil in total

If we do make those signings and sales that's £25million profit, and we are lacking a natural hole player and a back-up striker for Torres. So we could make a bid for either Aguero/Diego/Villa to play in the hole and maybe Henry as back-up for Torres. But then neither of those are very realistic :(

pippin2
23-5-08, 15:53
If we strengthen in one area, I hope the Yanks sell off to a grotesquely rich sugardaddy lifelong Liverpool fanatic. Otherwise we will be the 2nd out of three or four tiers of the EPL (and maybe even the CL now) for a long time.

pouldh
23-5-08, 16:46
Realisticly!!

GK: Back-up for Reina.

LB/RB: A given and from the rumors Dossena seems to be an option. Never seen him, but with him an Degen our attacking full backs could be sorted. Maybe not everyones dream but give them a chance.

Barry: Likely as he seems to be a Rafa type of player. He can be deployed in several formations. If Barry comes in, Alonso could well leave.

Wide attackers: We need two wide attackers that are interchangable. In Babel we have one, Barry is not being bought for this position, so one more that can both play on the left and right. Some one like Kranjcar, Menez or Joe Cole (latter not likely).

Striker: Both Crouch and Voro could to leave. Kuyt has found a new role as defending winger. Nemeth could come in the the squad, but probably not as partner/first reserve option for Torres. A class striker is needed, but which class striker wants to sit on the bench for half the time for games when we only play with Torres on the top? Villa, Huntelaar. I don't think so. I really can't think of too many. Pandev? If Rafa wants a target man in the squad Jones is a distinct possibility.

Possible squad:

GK: Reina, reserve (Rame or Taylor)
RB: Degen, Arbeloa
LB: Aurelio, second (Dossena), Insua
CB: Carra, Agger, Skrtel, Hyypia
DM: Masch, Plessis
CM: Gerrard, Lucas, Barry,
Wide: Kuyt, Babel, new (Kranjcar or Menez)
Striker: Torres, new (Pandev and/or Jones), Nemeth

Is that a competitive squad?

Red4EVA
23-5-08, 17:07
we need LB RB CB LM RM CF all must be world class 4 us 2 win premiership!!!!

shanksfan
24-5-08, 12:05
One or two quality additions is all we need.The team is almost there in terms of balancing attack and defence(we were the highest scoring team and towards the end of the season weren't conceding many either)
The spine of the team is almost there. If Alonso does go, then we need a quality replacement (Barry/Keita or Diarra).
We already have a quality replacement for Torres if he his injured in Babel.
We need someone similar to Babel who can play on both wings and as a striker (Silva/Simao/Malouda or Aimar)
With Deggen and Dossena in,and young talent like nemeth, Insua, Spearing, Hobbs and Plessis, we will have strength in depth across the team.
Rame looks likely to shadow Reina next season so the maximum amount of players we need to bring in without spending too much is 5.

BelfastRed30
24-5-08, 13:38
I hear all this talk off who we should buy to partner torres up top, ** getting keane, villa, so on and so on, y do we need to buy another striker? Babel is a striker could we and should we not go out and spend big on 2 wingers and use babel were he wants to play!

Personally the wings are our problem, look at the teams of old, barnes, macca, 2 awsome wingers who scared the **** out of defenders.

Then u got chelski and the mancs both teams have very good wingers in there team, we need width in our team. Just my personal view.

FelixDeSouser
24-5-08, 17:19
Shaun Wright-Phillips

Gareth Barry

Doseena

Michael Owen

:cool:

RedMike7
24-5-08, 19:03
Rame looks likely to shadow Reina next season so the maximum amount of players we need to bring in without spending too much is 5.

Who is this Rame fella? I think I've heard his name mentioned a few times.

Apparently (may not be true - paper gossip) Newcastle are trying to offload Obafemi Martins to us. Maybe he could play as one of the attacking three behind Torres or he could just act as back-up for the spaniard. He is someone I'd like to see at Anfield and could make for a relatively cheap attacking option. I hope the rumour's true.

EssexTony
24-5-08, 19:05
My pants because I keep cra**in meself when we play! :)

Steveclarke20
25-5-08, 16:00
well if the rumours are true.... alonso is leaving, gerrard will be playing up front and mascherano is heading to the olympics we will need a CM so i think that means Barry will join its just a matter of when...

left back obv needs filling which looks like Dossenna (would have prefered it if we tried to get Lahm but hey)

Depending on our formation we could need a right winger... id like some one who can play like c.ronaldo... id even sign ronaldinho if he was available and maybe play 4-3-1-2 without wingers... risky i know...

REINA

DEGAN CARRAGHER AGGER DOSSENNA

MASCHERANO LUCAS BARRY
RONALDINHO
TORRES GERRARD

oh wait tht doesnt include babel... well i truely have no idea then lol

begs9
25-5-08, 19:14
We need to strengthen left back as Riise is likely to be going Aurelio is not good enough and Beni doesnt have the faith to just play Insua all the time! Dont know y we have this right back Degen? dont know much about him! we have finnan and arbeloa plus carragher can play there! personally my back 4 would now be carragher RB Skrtel CB Agger CB Insua LB.
Midfield i think Alonso, Pennant will go, switch babel to the right get in a new left winger.
Upfront Voronin has to go, crouch is likely to go! so we need some1 upfront maybe David Villa? Eto?

begs9
25-5-08, 19:22
apart from Ronaldo name me the very good wingers at man utd and chelsea? cause i cant think of any!!!





I hear all this talk off who we should buy to partner torres up top, ** getting keane, villa, so on and so on, y do we need to buy another striker? Babel is a striker could we and should we not go out and spend big on 2 wingers and use babel were he wants to play!

Personally the wings are our problem, look at the teams of old, barnes, macca, 2 awsome wingers who scared the **** out of defenders.

Then u got chelski and the mancs both teams have very good wingers in there team, we need width in our team. Just my personal view.

mark791
25-5-08, 19:30
whoever we get in must be quality no question......

bringin in 3,4,5 million pound players in to replace the likes of riise,pennant,crouch,finnan,voronin...or whoever is leavin......its not good enough....we need real quality whoever they may be....

cos the types of players were rumoured 2 be after like....riera,,downing,,valencia,,barry...etc..... .imo.....are not good enough 4 lfc......

we must start buying the best or were gonna be knowhere again......

who are degen.....dossena.......etc......are the likes of madrid....inter.....milan...chelsea or man ure...after these players.......i seriously doubt it........

come on rafa sort it out....................

taters
25-5-08, 20:14
we need LB RB CB LM RM CF all must be world class 4 us 2 win premiership!!!!

WTF :eek:
Six new players there isn't a lot wrong with our squad now we just need a striker to play along side Torres.
I don't care how many goals Gerrard as scored put him in the centre of midfield where he belongs that's will make our team much harder to break down we need more bite in the middle Macsh can't do it all on his own.

As for the defence it will be sorted when Agger comes back :)

Why do we need to keep spending money on over the top players who are not worth it when our reserves have some fantastic players come through sick to death of hearing We should buy him him him him him we should sell him him him him how many times do we have to hear it.

We brought Torres Babel Skrtel & Masch at long last and where did we finish 4'th trophy less again for the 2nd season running Oh great !!!!

To me its the Manager who should carry the can for another trophy less season.
Rafa buys the players apart from the other four i mentioned who else as set the team alight this season maybe Yossi he plays 1 game then gets drop Crouch the same he scores one week drop the next. :confused:
Rafa selects the starting eleven. Rafa plays the players out of position. Rafa rest the players for the end of the season. Rafa does zonal marking :confused:
Well sorry i thought the season started in august not in April when were out of every competition.
I think some of you on the site need to be looking a bit nearer home than blaming the players & the unrest in the board room all the time.

Ps cant wait for all the finger sign replies ;)

naturalskill
25-5-08, 20:52
We need a different manager

We need a top class wide attacker. We should aim for someone with similar quality/attributes to any of the following: Ribery, Ronaldinho, Robben, A.Young, Dos Santos, Cristian Rodriguez, etc

We need a top quality second striker to support the main striker, link with the midfield, create and score goals. We should aim for the likes of Aguero, Tevez, Robinho, Keane or if we prefer a more withdrawn No10, we should look at Diego, Arshavin, even Aimar if we need to operate in the bargain basement and it is thought that he could rediscover top form.

We need to return Steven Gerrard to central midfield and play Mascherano as our only deep holding midfielder.

Defensively, we do have strength in depth but improving our fullbacks would be nice but more of a luxury than a necessity at this point in time since our limited resources would be better directed towards bringing in certainly one if not two top drawer match winners.

We need a more positive approach!

FlatBackFour
25-5-08, 21:27
We need a different manager

We need a top class wide attacker. We should aim for someone with similar quality/attributes to any of the following: Ribery, Ronaldinho, Robben, A.Young, Dos Santos, Cristian Rodriguez, etc

We need a top quality second striker to support the main striker, link with the midfield, create and score goals. We should aim for the likes of Aguero, Tevez, Robinho, Keane or if we prefer a more withdrawn No10, we should look at Diego, Arshavin, even Aimar if we need to operate in the bargain basement and it is thought that he could rediscover top form.

We need to return Steven Gerrard to central midfield and play Mascherano as our only deep holding midfielder.

Defensively, we do have strength in depth but improving our fullbacks would be nice but more of a luxury than a necessity at this point in time since our limited resources would be better directed towards bringing in certainly one if not two top drawer match winners.

We need a more positive approach!

Read your rep comments for why your post is clueless.

FIOS
25-5-08, 21:37
Defensively, we do have strength in depth but improving our fullbacks would be nice but more of a luxury than a necessity at this point in time since our limited resources would be better directed towards bringing in certainly one if not two top drawer match winners.


When you say luxury, do you mean that you would avoid spending big money in this area or avoid spending any money at all?

Are you happy going into the season with the a massive question mark hanging over the left back position.

By that I mean that as of this moment we have a young lad with no experience of playing there, a fella who can't stay fit for more than 2 games at a time and a right back who will fill in if and when needed if he can over come his own fitness, injury and loss of form problems.

I really can't see how essential strengthening of this area could ever be described as being a luxury.

naturalskill
25-5-08, 21:43
Its all about priority necessities FIOS

For me, it is far more important to bring in another top drawer match winner than a left back. We have numerous options for Left back but how many top draw match winners do we have?

cookpassbabtridge
25-5-08, 21:50
But Nat surely you can see the part top drawer full backs play in top sides there role is vital.

If dossena is an attacking football watch Babel come on leaps and bounds

FIOS
25-5-08, 21:52
Its all about priority necessities FIOS

For me, it is far more important to bring in another top drawer match winner than a left back. We have numerous options for Left back but how many top draw match winners do we have?

Two top draw match winners, and no it is not enough.

However, we should definitely make the left back position a priority as we simply don't have one single player good enough in that position. We don't even know if we have one that could last a more few weeks in the premier league, let alone a whole season.

Strengthening the full back positions is as essential to the development of the team as strengthening the forward positions is.

FIOS
25-5-08, 21:54
But Nat surely you can see the part top drawer full backs play in top sides there role is vital.

Two birds with one stone.

Blow £20m on Alves.

naturalskill
25-5-08, 22:10
FIOS

Of course they are both important but I believe we have greater strength and depth defensively than we do in terms of real attacking match winners so it makes perfect sense to make the latter a greater priority especially since the current English and European Champions had atleast three.

FIOS
25-5-08, 22:20
Of course they are both important but I believe we have greater strength and depth defensively than we do in terms of real attacking match winners so it makes perfect sense to make the latter a greater priority especially since the current English and European Champions had atleast three.

While I agree with the point about match winners and the need to find more quality in at least one of the forward positions, I can't agree at all that we have strength and depth in the full back positions. At centre half, definitely, and to a certain extent at right back but where is the strength at left back?

It doesn't make sense at all to spend heavy in one area and then neglect another area that desperately needs strengthening.

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:25
We've scored more goals than ever before under this manager. Granted, some of that is down to victories like 8-0 over Besiktas and the like, but scoring goals hasn't been too much of a problem for us this season, and I expect the outputs of Babel, Lucas, Benayoun and Kuyt to improve; perhaps not radically, but improve nonetheless. What I want to see is more goals from midfield - I would sell Alonso and acquire a more mobile midfielder. Barry, for all the bad people have to say about him, scored 9 league goals this season and probably got a lot more assists from set-pieces. You also have to bear in mind that we conceded 16 goals from set-pieces, so perhaps the defence needs tightening up more than you think.

Gazza74
25-5-08, 22:25
I'd say flapping about priorities in May is pretty dumb to be honest.

Unless a certain poster on here can read minds how the hell does he know what our managers priorities are???

It could be that our manager is sorting out the full back areas quickly so he can then focus on HIS priorities which is bringing in attacking players to enhance what is already a very good squad.

It would be best to wait until towards the end of the summer before condemning a manager for his purchases when none have even happened and it's only May 25th.

The only person who knows what his priorities are and what the needs of HIS team are is the manager himself so let him do his job and judge him when the summer is almost over.

Given the crap board we still have i'd say our manager is going to be at his best to make this summer an exciting one in terms of signings and to get the full back areas strengthened quickly as it looks like and at not much cost with sales is a great sign IMO.

Jaythered
25-5-08, 22:28
We need 1 more world class attacking free scoring player in order to take the pressure of T & G.

I'd go for Villa or Huntelaar.

naturalskill
25-5-08, 22:29
FIOS

Again, we have plenty of options to cover left back but comparatively, we are lacking in terms of real attacking match winners.

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:32
We have Riise, an abject liability. We have Aurelio, who's class but can't play 4 matches in a row. We have Insua, who is unproven in a title-winning team. We have Arbeloa, who is maybe slightly above average.

Can't you accept that great defenders are "match-winners" too?

Gazza74
25-5-08, 22:34
FIOS

Again, we have plenty of options to cover left back but comparatively, we are lacking in terms of real attacking match winners.

Yes, but not one outstanding first choice left back which is the problem.

Riise is being sold so thats him gone, Aurelio is injury prone so we may not see much of him through the season and Insua is still young. Arbeloa is a right back so forget about him anyway.

Dossena, with Aurelio/Insua covering would be very welcome and needed for sure.

As for the attacking match winners, when did Rafa say we're not signing any???

naturalskill
25-5-08, 22:36
Riise, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carra, Agger, Insua are all options to cover left back
How many options do we have in real attacking match winners?

naturalskill
25-5-08, 22:38
He didnt Gazza
We are talking about priorities

cookpassbabtridge
25-5-08, 22:38
Riise, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carra, Agger, Insua are all options to cover left back
How many options do we have in real attacking match winners?

Do you think the above players championship winning material in the left back role?

FIOS
25-5-08, 22:38
We've scored more goals than ever before under this manager. Granted, some of that is down to victories like 8-0 over Besiktas and the like, but scoring goals hasn't been too much of a problem for us this season, and I expect the outputs of Babel, Lucas, Benayoun and Kuyt to improve; perhaps not radically, but improve nonetheless. What I want to see is more goals from midfield - I would sell Alonso and acquire a more mobile midfielder. Barry, for all the bad people have to say about him, scored 9 league goals this season and probably got a lot more assists from set-pieces. You also have to bear in mind that we conceded 16 goals from set-pieces, so perhaps the defence needs tightening up more than you think.

I actually think goals have been problem for us this season, despite the eventual tally. Certainly in the league, at least.

Perhaps I am thinking about specific games too much and discounting the times we did find the back of the net but I think there were far too many games when we created a great number of good, clear cut chances but failed to score. I think back to the run of games we had through January and the points we threw away against teams we dominated simply because we couldn't convert the chances we created.

As I said though, maybe I am focussing on those specific games too much.

Gazza74
25-5-08, 22:39
Riise, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carra, Agger, Insua are all options to cover left back
How many options do we have in real attacking match winners?

Riise = Being sold
Aurelio = Injury prone
Arbeloa = Right back
Carra = Centre half
Agger = Centre half
Insua = Young player still learning his trade

So, in truth we have one left back and that is Aurelio who is injured a lot unfortunately.We've needed a new left back for a couple of years and signing Dossena would be welcome indeed.

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:40
Gerrard, Torres, Kuyt, Benayoun have all put in "match-winning" performances on more than one occasion this year. I expect to add Lucas and Babel to that list next season, plus whatever attacking options Rafa buys this summer.

United apart, we don't fail to score goals against any of the other top clubs. Our problem against teams like Boro and Wigan hasn't so much been not scoring, it's been poor defending. Of course we could certainly use improvements but our focus should be on improving the goals from central midfield with a more mobile midfielder, and improving our full-backs.

Graggster
25-5-08, 22:42
Riise, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carra, Agger, Insua are all options to cover left back
How many options do we have in real attacking match winners?

I agree with what your saying nat.. but just try to be alittle patient.. Rafa brought in Torres & babel last summer and i think he will bring in another 2 quality attacking players this summer.

Lets wait till the end of transfer window before we judge.

Yet i do understand where you coming from

Gazza74
25-5-08, 22:43
He didnt Gazza
We are talking about priorities

Yes and left back is a priority and has been since last summer in truth.

I asked the question above because you seem to accuse Rafa of not wanting buy any attacking players and all we're getting this summer is Barry, Dossena and Degen and thats it.

If you're not then i'm not sure what you are suggesting as i'm sure our manager knows we need new attacking players hence why he's selling players like Crouch,Pennant, Riise (Who can play left mid) and has let Kewell go to.

It is pretty silly to try and make out that our manager is not going to be signing attacking players this summer as you seem to be doing.

naturalskill
25-5-08, 22:44
cook, it depends on the dynamics of the team. If we play a 5-5 system rather than a 6-4 with marauding overlapping wingbacks then yes so long as we add top quality attacking players.

FIOS
25-5-08, 22:44
FIOS

Again, we have plenty of options to cover left back but comparatively, we are lacking in terms of real attacking match winners.

Riise, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carra, Agger, Insua are all options to cover left back


That was my point entirely. We have several options in that area but no real strength and no proven quality.

I don't have one single player who can establish himself in that position right now.

Riise will be gone, Fabio and Arbeloa have struggled with fitness, injuries and form since they arrived, Carra and Agger should be the heart of our defence and Insua has barely kicked a ball for us.

Essentially, we would have a kid, a crock, and three players being played out of position as cover.

Madness.

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:45
I actually think goals have been problem for us this season, despite the eventual tally. Certainly in the league, at least.

Perhaps I am thinking about specific games too much and discounting the times we did find the back of the net but I think there were far too many games when we created a great number of good, clear cut chances but failed to score. I think back to the run of games we had through January and the points we threw away against teams we dominated simply because we couldn't convert the chances we created.

As I said though, maybe I am focussing on those specific games too much.

I agree to an extent - but I think we got too many score draws this season. We need to turn those 1-1 games into 1-0 games. I'm not arguing that we could do with more goals, but it's not as simply as buying a right-winger or a striker. We'll still have problems because comparatively, we are weaker in defence than we are in attack.

newcirk
25-5-08, 22:45
buy three job done

barry
micah richards
eto o if crouch goes.


reina
richards carra agger skrtl

mach

gerrard barry
babel
eto o
torres


win the lot

cookpassbabtridge
25-5-08, 22:46
our main problem this season has been set pieces at both end of the pitch. Defensively we went form conceding 6 to conceding 16. While down the other end when you consider the likes of Villa and everton score the majority of goals from set pieces are tally of 0 goals from a corner in the premier league all season doesn't make for very pretty reading.

the signing of Barry will help in that apsect id also like to echo NNNicks comments about matchwinners Benayoun has won a few for us this season and Babel will win more for us this season

Gazza74
25-5-08, 22:47
That was my point entirely. We have several options in that area but no real strength and no proven quality.

Exactamundo

If we have Dossena as our new left back with Aurelio/Insua covering next season that will be a problem area finally sorted IMO and if Riise is playing at another club even more so.:)

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:47
That wouldn't work newcirk, but nice try.

naturalskill
25-5-08, 22:48
No its not madness at all

What is mad is to think we need a left back more than we need a top class match winner

Da-Voyce
25-5-08, 22:51
Not all, but even a few of these players would add quality to our current side in the areas we are looking to strengthen... 1 or 2 from each position named below would surely help us 2 challenge Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal...

Full Backs - Urby Emmanuelson, Juan Vargas, Guardardo, Christian Pander...

Wingers - Ricardo Quaresma, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jose Antonio Reyes, Helder Barbosa, Aaron Lennon, David Silva, Diego Capel or David Bentley...

Support/2nd Strikers - Samir Nasri, Pablo Aimar, Luis Suarez, Matias Fernandez Andres D'Alessandro or Kerlon...

Strikers - David Villa, Mauro Zarate, Obafemi Martins, Mohamed Zidan, Jeremy Menez, Gabriel Obertan or David N'Gog...

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:51
A great offense is built on a great defence. It's nice for you to think that we can just go in all guns blazing all the time but it doesn't work that way. United and Chelsea have built their success in the past 4 years on rock-solid defences, and we need to do the same. We need a defence that can properly make the transition from defending to attacking, which will in itself boost our attacking options.

Honestly, can you not see where we're coming from on this? Do you think all we need to do is buy more attacking players?

cookpassbabtridge
25-5-08, 22:53
A great offense is built on a great defence. It's nice for you to think that we can just go in all guns blazing all the time but it doesn't work that way. United and Chelsea have built their success in the past 4 years on rock-solid defences, and we need to do the same. We need a defence that can properly make the transition from defending to attacking, which will in itself boost our attacking options.

Honestly, can you not see where we're coming from on this? Do you think all we need to do is buy more attacking players?

And the transition from defending to attacking come from your full backs i agree totally NNNick

Gazza74
25-5-08, 22:54
No its not madness at all

What is mad is to think we need a left back more than we need a top class match winner

Who has said we need a left back more than we need a match winner???

It is possible to strengthen more than one area of your team and squad in one summer, there are no laws against it.

If you can get the left back sorted quickly and sell Riise to then you can then focus the main part of the summer, which is yet to begin, on getting the attacking players we need.

Makes perfect sense and with a bit of bleeding patience each area needing to be strengthened may well be so come July/August.

It's May 25th for crying out loud so knickers in a twist time it ain't.

begs9
25-5-08, 22:55
aurelio whos class! wtf u taking the mick? his distribution is pathetic! apparently hes a dead ball specialist! well im the queens son!!!
Riise is miles better!
and u say Insua unproven in a title winning team! dont remember aurelio or riise winning the title! Insua is class he should be given the chance u dont get experience if u arent given the games!!!


We have Riise, an abject liability. We have Aurelio, who's class but can't play 4 matches in a row. We have Insua, who is unproven in a title-winning team. We have Arbeloa, who is maybe slightly above average.

Can't you accept that great defenders are "match-winners" too?

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:55
Well we need to improve it in many ways, but the full-backs are the gob-smackingly obvious area. I think getting Agger back will help, as will getting a midfielder that doesn't just sit outside the penalty area. With two full-backs, Agger, Mascherano and someone else who can pick the ball up on the edge of his box and either dribble it out or make some constructive passes out, then we'll be much much better. Half of our problem this season has been the whole of the back four just booting the ball away without any real consideration of what's going on, and that has to stop right now.

naturalskill
25-5-08, 22:56
Who do you think would take us closer to the Title?

Evra or C.Ronaldo?

Evra or Rooney?

Evra or Tevez?

Fine left backs are great but real match winners are more likely to turn draws into wins

FIOS
25-5-08, 22:57
No its not madness at all

What is mad is to think we need a left back more than we need a top class match winner

I was saying it would be madness to go into the season with those options at left back.

If it came down to spending £25-£30m on a forward and missing out on a left back, then I would be very worried indeed.

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:57
aurelio whos class! wtf u taking the mick? his distribution is pathetic! apparently hes a dead ball specialist! well im the queens son!!!
Riise is miles better!

Well, you're entitled to your opinion.

GoatApocalypse
25-5-08, 22:58
Who do you think would take us closer to the Title?

Evra or C.Ronaldo?

Evra or Rooney?

Evra or Tevez?

Fine left backs are great but real match winners are more likely to turn draws into wins

OK, first of all that's a stupid, loaded question. We'll never be in a position to take Ronaldo, which is the obvious answer to that question.

Second of all, I'd take Evra over Rooney and Tevez, hands down.

Gazza74
25-5-08, 22:59
Who do you think would take us closer to the Title?

Evra or C.Ronaldo?

Evra or Rooney?

Evra or Tevez?

Fine left backs are great but real match winners are more likely to turn draws into wins

Again, what is your point???

Are you saying we are only going to sign a left back this summer and no one else??

I don't know what you are saying to be honest........

Is it possible we could sign a left back AND a top class 'Match winner' aswell or do you think that won't happen, it's one or the other???

FIOS
25-5-08, 22:59
If only Fabio had Riise's fitness eh?

blackpanther
26-5-08, 09:48
we lost the league because last season we couldnt convert our many chances and at times didnt have the quality to make them chances - as a result we drew to many games.

thats is our first objective- it doesn't matter if crouch, kuyt or voronin- who i think should go- we need another top world class striker- e.g eto, villa etc.If we dont get one we will pay the price.

we need another attacking midfielder- barry isnt the one- we dont need so many defensive midfielders. we need two world class wingers- quaersima- arfa etc sorry burt babel aint ready pennent is sh it.

we need to left full back - marciola would be good or even denrithe of real madrid. we also need a yougn right full back but if money is there alves would be good.

finally we need a good cover for reina.

so conclusion we short 7 players of which four have to world class players.. so cash wise we looking atleast 80 million

simple as!!

langersandmash
26-5-08, 10:15
We are really only short of 4 players i would suggest. For me, this includes (now that we have Degen) a left back, a winger and a number 10 'hole' player ie. to play where Gerrard is now:

Reina
Degen/Carra
Skrtel/Carra
Agger
LEFT BACK (Dossena?)

Mascherano
Gerrard/Alonso (Who can be replaced if we get 15mill for him)

Gerrard/Bentley
Aguero
Babel

Torres



But still...here's to hoping.

utujeegoo
26-5-08, 12:24
To those that think we need more goals here is my take on things:

We've scored more goals than anybody this season and prob our best record since I don't know when. I understand what you mean about a bad spell around january when we couldn't find the net but I think if our defense hadn't leaked those goals around november/december when we were winning (and in fact, top of the league at one stage) then we would have had all the points we needed to still be fighting for the title at the end of the season. As Rafa said on friday - we ***'t from conceding 6 goals to conceding 16.

Put this into perspective - if we only conceded 6 goals last year, look how much an improvement our scoring has made since we conceded 16 this year and are still only about 11-12 points behind the leaders (I can't remember exactly) only losing a couple of games and drawing games because of those leaked goals. I think it speaks for itself in terms of our improvement in attack. If our defense was as good as last year, we could well be sitting near the top of the table (and possibly been in the CL finals). Who knows, maybe even won something.

I know it's a matter of opinion, but I really don't think we are a negative side.



As for the fullback position:

My OP was based on using a 4-2-3-1 formation. Fullbacks are very important in this formation and if they can be a threat in front of goal (which ours aren't apart from the odd pieces of play or crosses from time to time) then by strenghtening a defensive position we are actually strenghtening our attack as well. Granted there are players like Kuyt who some may believe not to be the quality we want but to be fair - with them playing we are scoring goals. Perhaps with better players in OTHER positions they can be better again. The obvious next question is: are these new full backs good enough to do this?

Bottom line is that goal threats should come from every part of the pitch. Only since we got Agger did they come from defense (at least in the sense that he can play the ball forward) and not since maybe 2006 has Riise been a goal threat in terms of not only playing down that wing but also putting a few away himself. Finnan set up a few in his time but how many has he scored? If you look at Evra, Clichy, etc you see them getting into the opponent's penalty box, getting up for headers or playing people in from the wings. Arbeloa was good at this when partnered with pennant in front of him but not so much in the new system so far. Maybe this formation doesn't suit him.

Aurelio is for me a very good left back and has a lot of potential in attack too but hasn't really done it this season. He's had a lot of injurys. Some might say Rafa told him not to. Some might just disagree with me and say he's ****. But whatever the reason it is something that needs to be fixed.

If we had those kind of full backs, I think it would improve us not only in a 4-2-3-1 formation but also in a 4-4-2 formation because we are getting good width and our wide midfielders can cut in or join up with our fullbacks in attack, thus providing width, like a traditional winger and also the flexibility to play the ball around the box, as you might expect from a 4-2-3-1.

For me a player like barry will help improve our centre midfield in the 4-2-3-1 formation but can also play out wide in a 442, and let stevie and masch take centre midfield. Pennant could play right, so could Yossi or even Kuyt. Leaving Torres up front with Babel/Kuyt/Voronin/Crouch (if they don't go). Ok another forward would be nice but how often will we play this formation remains to be seen.

So even if you want to be really strict on the players we have, no matter what the formation we know that we have a great central midfield (or even attacking midfield), we now have an excellent back two (with a few players that can play there) which can play the ball forward and help in attack, we have a great forward in Torres. If we had two good fullbacks then the only area we really need to improve are the wings/wide forwards, and in the formation we use, they've actually been doing a decent job and good full backs will directly or indirectly provide the extra firepower (and hopefully quality) that has been lacking in these areas.

If Barry comes maybe he will improve the center of midfield beside Masch, thus also influencing and improvement in other areas of the pitch?

So for me fullbacks are that important. However, are these new guys good enough to fill that role or are we just replacing like with like? Or are we replacing good defensive player and bad attacking players with the exact opposite and leak more goals?



For NaturalSkill, et al. I really do understand your point. I would love to see a matchwinner come in that can play in, say, Kuyt's position and cause as much havoc as Torres did, creating chances out of nothing as well as turning missed chances into goals. And I am not giving up on that posibility just yet.
However, I think that in the top level of the premiership every part of the team needs to be a goal threat, directly or indirectly. While I understand that many of us wouldn't consider Kuyt to be much of a threat, or might think that Babel could do a lot more than he's done, I look at players like evra, lescot, etc and I don't see anybody like that at LFC. I see quality in positions in our team that they don't have, sure, but a title winning team needs to be COMPLETE and for me that means goals or assists or even threatening players that make defenders nervous from all over the pitch.

We have subs that can mix it up in wide midfield or wide forward or whatever we want to call it. We don't have any fullbacks that can make a difference. I don't see our fullbacks making late runs into the penalty box. I don't see Terry saying "here comes arbeloa, watch him or he'll score!!". I see him saying "somebody keep an eye on arbeloa just in case". I see ferdinand saying "there's riise, don't let him have a shot" but not saying "**** riise is making a run, get two players on him quick!!".

So MAYBE good fullbacks COULD be the match winners we want.

GoatApocalypse
26-5-08, 12:59
Good post, little to add to that.

FIOS
26-5-08, 18:51
^^^

FIOS
26-5-08, 18:53
...

KeemI
26-8-12, 04:37
Funny how many still blame Rafa for trying to sell Alonso when most in this thread were in agreement that he should be replaced with Barry. Hindsight eh? :D

TheSoundLady
26-8-12, 05:10
Funny how many still blame Rafa for trying to sell Alonso when most in this thread were in agreement that he should be replaced with Barry. Hindsight eh? :D

I love Alonso to death but for me the only person to blame for Alonso leaving LFC is Alonso. Rafa was basically begging him to stay because of his stellar 08-09 campaign. I believe Xabi wanted to go and win trophies and get away from our crap owners that were running us into the ground. The "you were going to replace me with Barry" thing sounds like an excuse to mask the truth, and to his credit, I think Xabi has regretted leaving ever since he left, and I think he'll be back soon enough. I don't blame him at all but at the same time I also don't blame Rafa.

I read that Barry heard our fans insulting him in a song and that was why he didn't come.

If so, well done Anfield! Massively overrated player who I do not believe we would have enjoyed the same highs of 08-09 with. Xabi >>>>>>>>>>>>> Barry.

fighting45
26-8-12, 07:09
So MAYBE good fullbacks COULD be the match winners we want.

i could not agreed more.
for many years we do not have good attacking fullback or wingback like fabio, evra, a.cole , clicy