Liverpool turnaround missing one key factor

The defeat away at Blackburn Rovers in January was the straw that broke the camels back.  Within moments following the final whistle Roy Hodgson was hauled away from the cameras by the LFC Media Officer, and told in no uncertain terms not to make plans to attend the weekend’s FA Cup clash at Manchester United.

Hodgson wasn’t prepared to fall on his sword so a few days were spent discussing his severance package.  A reward for failure.  But in the end a fee many Liverpool fans will have thought worthy of paying to cut away the anchor from the good ship Liverpool.

Despite an unfortunate 1-0 defeat against the 12 men of United in the FA Cup, coupled with a slide out of Europe – Liverpool’s turnaround in Premier League fortunes has been very positive for Liverpool supporters.

After only 1 win and a miserable 7 defeats in the opening 9 away games, Liverpool have now added 3 wins and a draw to the 7 that Kenny has been in charge of.

The reds look to be pushing for 60 points in the Premier League, when form at the turn of the year was suggesting that the reds wouldn’t make it to 50.

But LFC’s recent run of results has not been perfect.  Kenny has had to content with a heavily depleted side, the turmoil of the Torres departure, and an injury to his replacement that prevented his immediate deployment.

West Brom’s penalty double, the defeat at West Ham and Kenny’s opening reverse against Blackpool have all added to the stains on the away game copybook for this season.

It also highlights the reds ongoing problem that has plagued them this season and last.

Ruthlessness. Or a distinct lack of it.

In the past couple of months Liverpool have played each of the current top four sides. Man United, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.  They’ve beaten 3 of them and drawn against one of them.  Even with a weakened side, the reds have proven that they do have far more ability than the present league position suggests.

The problem this season has been against the Premier League strugglers.

LFC have suffered two defeats at home this season.  To bottom placed Wolves, and 3rd from bottom Blackpool.  They have also had two draws to bottom 6 clubs.  That’s 10 points dropped out of 18 against the bottom 6 clubs at Anfield.

Against the bottom 5 clubs

Of the 10 games played against the bottom 5 clubs in the league, Liverpool have only managed 3 victories.  2 draws and 5 defeats.

If we skip back two seasons the figures read P10 W8 D1 L1.

Even last season, which was not one of glory, the reds managed 7 wins and a draw.

Past 3 seasons

Top 5/Bottom 5

v Top 5 (Pts per game) v Bottom 5 (Pts per game)
2008-09 2.25 2.5
2009-10 1.1 2.2
2010-11 1.55 1.1

Top 10/Bottom 10

v Top 10 (Pts per game) v Bottom 10 (Pts per game)
2008-09 2.06 2.45
2009-10 1.28 2.0
2010-11 1.6 1.39

* 2010-11 figures up to April 19th 2011

Much has been made of LFC’s poor away form over the recent 18 months, however it is difficult to comprehend beating Chelsea away and getting a draw at Arsenal, yet losing to Blackpool and West Ham.  Equally as it is beating Chelsea, Man City and Man United at home – then getting beat by Wolves and Blackpool.

Liverpool may see Spurs as the biggest game left of the season, but they should ensure they dispatch Birmingham, Newcastle and Fulham before then.

Why are Liverpool struggling against the ‘weaker’ Premier League sides this season, yet have done well against the top ten (and in particular the top four)?

10 comments on
Liverpool turnaround missing one key factor

  1. so many results decided by bad luck poor refereeing.also these bottom clubs seem to have more fire in there belly. re example look at our fa cup results in the past northampton, burnley. then just lately injuries upset team chemistry.

  2. Unfortunately it has been an unpredictable season for all when you take into consideration allot of smaller teams have upped their levels and we have unfortunately suffered at the hands of being appointed a negative coach to take over from the knee jerk reaction to terminate Rafa’s contract when he should have been given a chance to turn things around !
    We have also suffered more due to coming out of the wrong end of a poor structure of ownership in which we have been forced to sell off our talent in the hope of making a bunch of lucky signings that would bolster the squad ! That failed and left us with very little in the way of what you would call WORLD CLASS players.
    Injurys have crippled us the last few seasons and we haven’t had the quality to support them at times and im sure its no coincidence ether that as the team had to once again overly rely on our few quality players that these players physically couldn’t cope with the demand !
    As much as Kenny’s brief charge has not been problem free the turn around in both mentality and results has been much improved ! Games against west ham and west brom where not simply the result of players not turning up but more freakishly bad luck resulting in multiple injuries per game and every error punished to the maximum.
    Games against United ( a ghost penalty) and Blackpool away ( second game in charge) are immaterial in my book and even in these games you could see vast improvements.
    Next season when we finally remove some of the dead wood and after three seasons inject some much needed finance back into squad quality I have no doubt we will see a vast improvement on away form and results against lesser sides .

  3. some “fans” have an incredible ability to look for negatives, no its not perfect but the recent months are a slap in the face to the defeatists, and in both the games you mentioned (and i dont “count” the away to blackpool as Kenny had hardly got into the job,,) , i reacall some “fans” even critical of Raf when we onyl lost 2 games all season in 08/09..somearguements arent even woth making, and if u watched those games at w ham and W brom, a lot of anaswer were apparent, but i feel sunday Kenny has vene over come “bad luck” and got a team to believe in itself, collectively and as individualss

    ..which was missing SG dAgger, Kelly (player of season) Glen ..Carra carried off..Fbaio off again ,in first hal;f..which left ..

    a 17 years old, (Jack robbo) 18 years old flanagan , a free transfer and Sktrel in defence , another lad (Spearing) and “vet” 24 years old Lucas in midfield and new boys Suarez and (also injured early in the game) Andy C. (only his SECOND league start!), with the much maligned Dirk, add all this up with Jonjo ,also a lad, coming on, and Suarez sky-ing a shot that miight have won the game, and us NOT giiving up after losing a goal (pen) in extra time..and it wsa probably the BEST away performance since the 1-4 win at old toilet!!

    ..with Kenny2 (“Kennys heroes”..) we have played the top 4 , battered both manc teams 3-0 (dont count the one utd scored when we were sining YNWA! 😉 won @ Chelski and drawn at the emirates…bring back our players and a couple of quality signings and we could take the league next season..the kids looked like established players, what i also liked was Kenny joking when he put a 17 year old player on at the emirates..

    i feel your article is simply..petty minded..(not least because EVERY top team has lost a lot of games this season..) and its about time some of our fans learned what supporting is all about ..and be thankful …that this club wasnt destroyed completely by the diaster chaim of Parry-Hicks-Purslow, broughton and hodgson..

    shame on you!

    • I think there is something very wrong with your keyboard.

      As for ‘looking for negatives’, I was just highlighting the problems we have had (and still are) against the weaker teams. Plus I already noted the huge improvements Dalglish has made.

      Clearly you feel that there is no problem on the playing side and we should all be thrilled with 49 points from 33 games.

  4. You ask why? Lack of width. When teams set up to defend and attack on the counter, play must go wide to get in behind. We have carroll to convert crosses now. One key left winger with a sweet cross should help…

  5. IMAGINE the scene….LFC dressing room…tens of thousands of people await outside. Kenny Dalglish firing everyone up, looking them all in the eye at the door . Who wouldn’t be fired up? There are nerves but it’s what pushes you to perform to you potential. You want to show the hostile away crowd that YOU ARE LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB!

    The passion needs to still be there when we are not the underdogs, play for each other and pass- no self glory – this is where Luis Suarez annoys me. P

  6. The problem against the bottom has to do with the difference in playing styles. The bottom clubs tend to apply more pressure on the ball to try to stop other teams playing, whereas the top teams try to create more.

    It means that we’re constantly losing possession in the midfield, and because we have no natural wide players and not much speed in the team, we have no real outlet when the central players are being hassled off the ball.

  7. The West Ham/West Brom losses were a result of 2 injuries to our defenders in quick succession and early in the first half. With the attacking outlets of the fullbacks dimished and the only decent ball playing CB (Agger) meant the passing went awry and more direct.

    The loos to Blackpool was KK 2nd game in charge (after Man Utd FA cup game) and consequently he had limited time to drum into the team the ethos of how he wanted them to play. To be fair though Blackpool played well that day.

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