There’s an old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”  Let’s focus on the meaning of that phrase and overlook the two questions that raises, 1-Who skins cats, and 2-Why would you need to have more than one way to do it?

But that phrase is relevant to todays LFC, especially Jurgen Klopp and his tactics and player selections.  Klopp is paid roughly seven million pounds more per year than I am to manage LFC, and his knowledge, past experiences and results in the game is probably worth more than that compared to mine.  And everything I write here is tempered by that acknowledgement of our particular experiences.  And I have faith in him to get us to the promised land.  But like you, I do have some questions about how he does a couple things, and his reasoning behind it.  In particular, two positions and four players that are used there.

The two positions are striker and left back. 

The fact that they are often selected in diametrically opposed ways to their intended positions is what makes them perplexing.  Taken alone, they aren’t as big of a deal.  But when considered in concert with another it raises questions and frustration when the results don’t come (which the last two matches didn’t earn a result one would expect-Burnley, or one that was deserved-Spurs).

What I’m talking about is the main role of each position. The premise of the game is simple, score more goals then your opponent. So some players have defined roles to accomplish this overlying principle. The main role of the striker or forward is to score goals.  The main role of the left back is to defend, or prevent goals. 

I’m sorry if you feel like I’m explaining the game like I would to a four year old, but the idea is really that simple and makes for my confusion.  It is said that ‘Genius is the ability to take the complicated and make it simple.’  So that is what I’m doing with this.  I don’t want to out-think the room.  I don’t need to be the smartest guy around when it comes to this.  I just want the results.

So when looking at the striker position, we have one of the best goal scorers around (when fit) in Daniel Sturridge.  He fulfills the strikers role of scoring better than anyone else on our team. 

However, we continually play Roberto Firmino at this position.  I like Firmino.  He has some amazing games.  But he also disappears entirely for large periods or entire games.  And quite often he seems to have a poor touch or pass that causes him to have to defend as he’s given the ball away.  It’s true he was our leading goal-scorer in the PL last year.  But he only had 10 in league.  Most of that was under Klopp and not Rodgers.  But 10 to 15 goals even isn’t going to set the league afire.  The primary reason for his selection seems to be that he is great at pressing, or ‘gegenpressing’ as has been termed.  I understand the logic of defending from the front.  From turning defense quickly into offense.  What I don’t understand is selecting a striker because he is better at defense but poorer at offense.  Especially when you visit our left back position.

Klopp has repeatedly defended Alberto Moreno.  I like a manager sticking up for his squad in public (if the player isn’t an outright criminal) and trying to boost their confidence.  But we’ve had a full summer for Klopp to do something.  And it can quite rightly be said that Moreno cost us two cup finals with his poor defensive play.  The irony of the one is that if he was better in the Europa Final, we’d be in the Champions League and maybe he’d demonstrated that we don’t need a better LB.  But his poor play kept us out of the CL, making it so much tougher to find his replacement.  How’s that for one of your all-time Catch-22s?  But that reveals that Moreno didn’t just hit a bad stretch this August, we’ve known it.  And while he supports Moreno publicly (why say you want someone better, and risk not getting him in?) he’s played a midfielder James Milner more often.  Which only highlights the doubts of Moreno.  And Saturday it bit us again.  Even though Milner scored the penalty with a nice coolly taken shot, he is not a left back and was caught out for their equalizer.   His defensive awareness and positioning are not of a standard of a top club in the Premier League, much less a Champions League team.  But is his awareness is probably better than Moreno’s. 

So why is Moreno selected?  But he brings something to attack going forward.  It’s been exposed over and over again though that he attacks at the expense of his defending.  And to the club’s detriment.  It leaves Lovren exposed, which gives his confidence and form a roller coaster ride.  Worse yet, we seem to have plenty of options going forward with creativity and goals in them, that do we need a defender to attack?  Because at the same time, we haven’t kept a clean sheet yet in the league and what looks to be our Achilles heel to prevent us from obtaining our goals this season is a leaky defense.

So once again I ask…Why do we prefer a striker who defends to a striker who scores, while at the same time preferring a defender who attacks to getting one who can defend?

Comments

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lanoisseforp
Member

The Left Back is our most priority for this season and recently I read Ronnie Whelan’s article that he mentioned that Liverpool FC should make a bid for Robbie Brady of Norwich City. Brady is a Left Back and Winger…. plus has PL experience. Maybe Whelan sees something that is worth taking a punt on this lad plus he’s only 24 years old.

RedUncle
Member
A number of interesting points made there. I must admit there are a few things Klopp has done so far this season that I don’t quite understand but I too believe there must be a method to his madness. With regard to Sturridge, this is how I see it – Klopp has made a number of thinly veiled references to the attacker not putting in the required defensive workload and I think his limited time on the pitch could be attributed to that (John Aldridge certainly thinks so). Klopp has also said Origi is ‘lacking rhythm’ which would explain his limited appearances so far. With Ings still regaining fitness it would seem the next logical attacking option is Firmino. Don’t forget that we have some very potent wide attacking options so the centre forward doesn’t necessarily have to be the strongest attacking element in the side. With regard to Moreno, Klopp seems to be applying his man-management skills to the full. Firstly, Klopp obviously wants to shoe-horn Milner into the side somehow – whatever anyone thinks of Milner he is a first class professional and a very versatile player: he is an asset to the team. Milner himself has said… Read more »
OldSage
Member

Very well thought out arguments gentlemen. However, since the transfer window closes tomorrow, all points are moot. We are stuck with Moreno and his hidden ‘potential’. Sakho will be training by himself since he doesn’t want a permanent move to any club Klopp is willing to loan him to. And the trophies and titles are another year away.

RedUncle
Member

Klopp has said that because he feels Milner can play left back adequately he doesn’t need to bring in another left back. Of course, until the window shuts it remains to be seen whether that will be the case but I get the feeling he thinks Moreno is young enough to shape into a better player so I’d be surprised to see any more players in or out at the position of left back.

Huytonian
Member

It seems to me that we are in a bit of a chicken and egg situation with regards to left back. It is difficult to attract a top class one without CL football, but without one there is a danger that we might not get a CL position at the end of this season. You are only as strong as your weakest link. I’m reserving judgement on Milner as a full back until he has had a few games to settle into that position. I don’t have as much faith as Klopp must have that Moreno will come good.

With regards to the striker situation, I think the Firmino option is ok for playing the big teams away but for most games we need a striking specialist whether that be Sturridge or Origi. What I don’t agree with is playing Sturridge from a wide position. In future if Mane is not available I would replace him with Ojo once the boy returns to fitness.

RedUncle
Member

Klopp knocked back around eight offers for Ings during the window and he’s said he sees a role for him at Liverpool. On that basis we mustn’t leave him out of the equation, particularly when it’s clear Klopp has no fear of selling or loaning out players he doesn’t need. When Ings will actually be used remains to be seen.

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