Jamie Carragher has said after the game against Middlesbrough on Saturday “We know we will improve. We’ve got too many good players to keep performing the way we are doing at the moment so I’m sure it will turn.”
We do indeed have some good players but there is a general assumption that the improvement will just happen, that somehow it will all just click into place and we will start winning.
As players get their full fitness back and people like Dossena and Keane become integrated into the team, we may well start winning some games more comfortably. What is most worrying is that organised teams like Middlesbrough come to Anfield, defend well and we simply do not have the imagination or creativity to break them down.
The most concerning thing that Carragher said was “Middlesbrough performed well. To be honest, I couldn’t really see us scoring.”
That is a key problem. If a passionate 100% player like Carragher can’t see us scoring then how many others on the team may be thinking that this just isn’t our day?
Perhaps negative views like this are dictated by the lack of chances we are creating. Without any apparent natural wingers we are over-reliant on a moment of magic from an individual player (Torres vs Sunderland & Gerrard vs Boro). This will not happen in every game and sooner or later we will not be as fortunate as we have been so far.
The only way to address this is to buy 1 or preferably 2 out and out wingers. This not only provides balls into the box from a better angle but stretches the ground that the defenders have to cover and overall makes the team less one-dimensional.
This was number one priority at the start of the summer and I am baffled why, with only a few days left until the transfer window closes we are left with Kuyt, Benayoun and Babel as our established first team wide players. None of these are traditional wingers. Babel, who possesses the most pace out of the 3 does not have the crossing ability nor really the guile to go past players to be totally effective in this position. Both Kuyt and Benayoun are central players with some ability to play wide and once again we are trying to crowbar players into positions to which they are not naturally suited. El Zhar is too unproven, even if in time he may be effective.
Unless we get at least 1 quality winger in the next week, we can forget about even finishing in the top 2 this year. Our luck so far will not be sustained for a whole season. I’m afraid that once again come March, I will more concerned about the results of Everton, Villa and Portsmouth who may be pushing for 4th place than I will about Chelsea or Scum.