Liverpool's Mental Issues
Feature by Kerushun Pillay
Updated Wednesday, 22nd August 2012
Liverpool's 3-0 away loss to West Brom on the opening weekend of the Premier League placed a deep sense of worry in fans.
The amount of panic in our game is crippling. We came out in the second half rather direct, with plenty of pressure to get the equalizer. Our extra pressing up the pitch caused the West Brom counter that got Agger sent off, and was responsible for both penalties. Liverpool threw out their short-passing philosophy, and played with a lot of urgency.
But why is this? What is it really that prevents Liverpool from turning deficits?
For me, it’s two things. The first being composure: our players have the tendency to become far too worked up after conceding, to the point where we have very little cohesion, and squander possession. We saw this many times against West Brom, where we tried many cross-field passes, which went straight to the opposition, in the second half.
The next thing is determination. We saw last season, especially towards the end of the season, that we would give up instead of trying to wear the opposition down.
Liverpool need to have patience and probe consistently and effectively. Also, when we were 2-0 down, our aggressive pressure to regain possession was nowhere to be seen, and West Brom dominated the game.
Of course these mental deficiencies that Rodgers has to sort out will take time, but we need to see incremental steps, such as not throwing out our philosophies of high pressure and possession retention when we are losing.
Aside from the overall issues, with regards to the match itself, I did notice that we seemed to naturally line-up with Allen behind Lucas. I take issue with this as, whilst Lucas may have it in his game to be more expressive, he is best employed in the enforcer role. Lucas has the ability to mark opposition playmakers out of the game, and with City on Sunday, we need him in that role to close-off David Silva.
Furthermore, Fabio Borini looked bright, but struggled with the physical side of the game, and often became overwhelmed due to pressure from West Brom causing him to make blind passes. Suarez’s finishing is an obvious concern as well.
The substitution of Cole for Lucas was surprising. I did not expect Rodgers to sacrifice his midfield shape to play a more direct game. It showed desperation by our manager.
Hopefully this loss is a blessing. Hopefully it brought to attention areas that Rodgers needs to address. It is a long season, and there is much time to get ourselves back on track.
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