Numbers DO NOT equate to competition. Performances do.
For too long our midfield has been flooded with transfer window purchases adding another young player/prospect to our ranks in the hope that he will come good, or push another in his position to excel by creating composition.
Instead, we’ve found players given a run-out of a few games here or there hoping that he seizes the opportunity with top class performances and banging in goals and winning points. This ‘throwing mud and seeing what sticks’ approach hopefully (or was it hopelessly) attempted over and over again by Rodgers was generally unsuccessful and in part was let to his demise.
And yet, we still have some numbers, and I believe we have some quality. So why the frustrating lack of goal production from players who we expect so much more from? Why haven’t our numbers seemingly pushed players on? Why, if we assigned a single digit number to the last time the likes of Milner, Hendo, Lallana and Can scored we would use it to refer to months, and not games?
All that is until now. This weekend saw a goal from each of Henderson, Milner and the penultimate celebratory goal by Lallana. Where did they find their inspiration? Of course the shambolic defense that was Norwich played a key role in all three of them getting on the score sheet. But what else did it? Was it some great inspirational speech by Klopp? As much as we’d love a manager to be able to provide such great motivational speeches, that well usually runs dry at this level rather quickly.
I think the real reason for this boost to these players comes from the most unlikely of sources…Joe Allen. A player that most of us, myself included, never saw any attacking threat at a top level being provided by Joe. But his recent attempts to get into the box and scoring a couple of goals has had some people clamoring for his inclusion into the first XI. And it is this production by what most would consider a second-string player, that I feel is what is giving the first-stringers that motivation that they haven’t found inside themselves before. A rising tide raises all ships.
Joe as a number hasn’t helped. But Joe’s recent performances, has affected not only himself but those around him. Performance and Production, not Numbers.