Is it all back pain for Liverpool?
I think it’s perhaps too easy to continually blame the back four, and saving the obvious blunder from Moreno he had a solid game and looks tremendous going forward. I believe two key structural issues are continually costing us since last year, through pre-season and now again this term.
Coutinho offers very little on the left particularly defensively. Therefore playing with an advancing full back, Moreno, as per last night this inevitably leaves us caught on a counter attack. This is where the holding midfielder is supposed to drop deep and allow the centre back slide across. Unfortunately the holding midfielder in question is Stevie G. who tends to follow the attack and is guilty of being caught out of position consistently. The offensive contribution from the captain last year was simply outstanding however it covered up the defensive frailties of his game whereby he simply does not have the legs any longer. The issue is intertwined and any amount of money won’t fix this.
In Coutinho we have one of the great 'hole' players playing behind a front two/three yet we continually deploy him out left. It is unfair on both the player and the team as a whole.
Sadly until this imbalance in the set up is addressed, either through a new formation, a new role for Gerard or at a minimum less game time for the captain this looks set to continue. However we know Brendan Rodgers is extremely loyal, just ask Liverpool fans about Glen Johnson, and see’s Gerard in this role for a number of seasons to come. There was enough about Liverpool last night to suggest they will offer an offensive threat against many of the lesser lights this season and this may serve to paper over the cracks in the near term however the structure is flawed and requires repair eventually.
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