Another home match an Anfield, another disappointment, but at least not a loss. Thanks to who? Once again, Luis Suarez, showing the good side of him; the one that makes him one of the best strikers in the world, and not the diving cheat everyone loves to hate. It was only enough for a draw, once again showing the problem of completely relying on just one player to score goals.
Now 12th in the Premier League with only two wins in 10 league matches and only one win at home out of six, Liverpool have scored 13 goals. Seven of them belong to Suarez, who also has two assists. Where would they be without their only striker? Probably where Reading, Southampton and QPR are at the moment; Bottom Dwellers.
A team in a top flight with just one striker. Has anyone ever heard of this? Suarez, for now, is staying healthy, and is back to being focused in matches. Minimal diving, minimal fighting with the referees. He even won two or three free kicks vs Newcastle, including the red card to Fabricio Coloccini. He does everything – finish and set up chances, although the options are far and few when he’s the man who needs to do the passing, as it seems no one seems to join him fast enough and provide options in the box.
Brendan Rodgers has his midfield sorted out, with Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Nuri Sahin. The problem last afternoon was Sahin, who was hardly felt during the match. A bit more diligent and influential defensively, it looks like he’s a bit lost in his role as somewhat of a 50-50 midfielder, and needs to understand that he’s not there to be an usher and just watch the match go by him in the middle of the pitch. Jonjo Shelvey lacks a certain class with his touches, but he’s a constant threat at goal, and right now, probably deserves to play ahead of Sahin.
Another option is trying Sahin in the role Joe Allen is playing right now, or trying to play the two alongside each other and taking off Suso or Raheem Sterling, but that would leave Liverpool with even less forward players, unless the midfielders would like to start showing a bit more of their offensive side. Steven Gerrard tries, but he just can’t do what he used to 3-4 years ago on a constant basis. His crossing and passing are still among the finest you’ll find in the Premier League, but he just doesn’t have the power and fitness to make those powerful surges from behind and provide another scoring option.
One mistake Rodgers made was starting with Sterling on the left. Despite being right footed who keeps looking for the goal, which makes it easier for him to play on the left, he looks a lot more effective coming in from the right, where Liverpool played him in the second half, their better 45 minutes in the contest. Suso, as you’d expect from a teenager, is going to have his ups and downs, and wasn’t felt much during the match.
Another match in which Liverpool dominated and had the bulk of the opportunities and came away with just a point, or less on worse days. Heading into the match against Chelsea next week, expectations can’t be too high. Liverpool’s defense has its highs & lows, but often looks like a disorganized mess. With no defensive midfielder, it’ll be hard to keep track of the Chelsea trio. Once again, it’ll mostly be up to Luis Suarez to provide almost all of the magic upfront. Not enough for a team still talking and thinking about a top 6 or top 4 (depending who you ask) finish.