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  • Hobitez Hobitez Nov 1, 2012 09:58 Flag

    Swansea in reflection

    This is the standard comment from any team that gets knocked out of the league cup but "We are better off out of it". Try telling that to the Arsenal and Chelsea players after their wonderful fightbacks and added time equalisers, they must be commended as they have brought a bit of class and prestige back to the competition. Likewise Bradford, they are now everyone elses interest in the competition, well, until Arsenal put 10 past them, having been 6 behind at halftime.

    Our squad just simply isnt big enough to fight on 4 fronts, 1 striker playing 3 games a week, every week is clearly a recipe for disaster. The kids that we would have played in these rounds are now essential first team starters for us, it leaves nothing but the journeymen waiting for their January bus and some gap fillers. Obviously I was hoping we would equalise at some point but I was more then a little concerned about Gerrard and Suarez playing into extra time with the all important Newcastle game on Sunday.

    We really have to keep our focus on the league and Europa competition up until January when hopefully we will add enough to compete in the FA cup too. Rodgers had a dig at some of the midfield boys with this little gem :

    "Joe Allen was incredible," said Rodgers. "You can see he has come out of that Swansea team and into our team with his brightness and his cleverness. He was virtually playing on his own in the midfield in the first half"

    Translates as Downing and Cole were cack.

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    • PS I realize you’re not looking to crucify the manager, and understand you do think he needs more time. However it’s a question of whether you see the current regime in terms of the glass being half empty or half full.

      On getting things wrong, I'm not sure it was the manager, who got things wrong or not, but obviously it was not a good day at the office and it’s the manager who has to take responsibility. Maybe he did pick the wrong side, but then if the thinking was to rotate the squad to ensure fresh legs after a grueling derby for this weekend’s trip to the North East, I'm not sure what choice he had in terms of player selection.

      But, maybe he thought the players were good enough to get the job done, in which case he did get it wrong. Or maybe he knew or suspected they were not up to snuff and decided to take the risk of sacrificing the league cup run. But with us playing in Europe, something we did not have to worry about, I think it would have been unwise in putting out players we’d want rested for upcoming fixtures. So whether he knew ahead of time the side he selected was not good enough or not is really beside the point as he knows now. But even that is academic as there is no longer a need to select a side for our 4th or lowest priority competition.

    • It must be a slow day for you Robert!

    • "what came first, the chicken or the egg"

      It's odd this question. Science has known for a long time that the birds descended from reptiles. Reptiles lay eggs. So the egg came first by millions and millions of years.

      I suspect the question should be: which came first, the fish or the egg?


      Robert

    • Hi Dave

      I'm in a rush so I'll just pick up on your last sentence if I may ...

      " are we going to crucify our manager for getting things wrong on a Wednesday night in the league cup? "

      No - I've been trying to make it clear that i) I'm not out to crucify him and ii) this isn't based on one game. We are a quarter of the way through the season and sitting in mid table as close to the bottom of the division as we are to our supposed target of 4th. You see signs of improvement (so do I actually) but I think things can fall apart very quickly from here if results over the next month don't go our way. I actually think we are in very perilous position.

      Finally, in your last sentence - you seem to suggest that BR got things wrong in mid-week. What do you think he got wrong if you think he set the team up ok?

    • I think we're in near full agreement here (makes a change right mate).

      Downing needs to prove he's a winger, re-invent himself as a left back, or look for employment elsewhere. His time is not up, but the clock is ticking.

      Henderson I agree has more time, is a strong athlete and solid player, so at the very least is strong cover for the squad as he can play centrally or wide, but maybe not as a full back!

      Cole should have gone over the summer, and I recon he would of if he'd not injured himself. The question is who wants him. Even a loan where we pick up 50% of is wages is good for us as it saves us a bit, plus we won't have to feed him lunch after training!

      But Enrique is the one I'm not sure about. I do really like him (I always like left backs, as it’s my position), and think he can do the job. But there is something going on. Either the injury he's carrying is worse than anyone is saying, something is going on in his head (I know he's having his first kid, not an excuse, but could be a factor) or the manager just does not fancy him. I hope personally he works out, but one way or another we need to sort out the LB position as it’s just for too long been a problem area for us. We've got good cover with Glen, but we need a top class full back who can play week in week out on the left.

    • I suppose this might come down to what came first type of thing, like the chicken or the egg, or in this case do you mold players to a coaches system, or does a coach mold his approach to the players. I'm not sure its black and white so hope I did not put it in those stark terms, but generally I do think most players need to be coached, or molded into a team, and into the system, which is the coaches job. However some players you don't try to change and you play to their strengths, just as we did with Torres, and as we do now with Suarez, but I'm not sure it’s a good idea to build the system around some of our weakest technical players, which is what I’d suggest we would do if we slowed things down for example so Cole can keep up.

      On the points: first up I'd say your right, BR is trying to impose his system on the players, rather than looking at the players and then deciding which is the best system to use. But that is what he was hired to do, and to be fair, I think it’s what most coaches do, or at least would like to do. Wenger does not change nor does Fergie, Jose may tinker with tactics, but his philosophy pretty much stays the same. Even at the other end of the spectrum, big Sam is not about to change his spots.

      We and the owners knew what we were getting when they hired BR, and if they are smart they knew it would not happen overnight, so not sure we should expect it either. BR also knew what he was getting into for the most part. I recon he looked at our squad saw a couple world class players and thought they could play any system, and others that could handle the pass and move also. At the very least he saw a core that could adopt in time his system, and or promises from the owners that he could bring in players to fill out that core.

      Secondly on the players I did hope they'd have a future with us. Carroll I still think would have been useful to have, but also understand that he's not ideal for the BR system. I do have an issue that he was not replaced, but that is covering old ground where I think we are mainly in agreement. Henderson I think still has a future with us. Yes a shocker the other night, but as a young player I think he can adapt given time. Adam is actually a player I supported, but did not advocate we buy in the first place. For me he was a good squad player and value for what we paid for him, but not ideally a first choice midfielder. I'd not minded if he stayed, but with Allen and Sahan coming in, and Suso emerging, he really was surplus to requirements, and I think those other players are just better regardless of system. Enrique is the head scratcher for me. I'm a big fan of his, he's strong in defending, and can be effective going forward, although final ball is not always the best. Personally I'd want him to stay and see no reason why he could not adapt. Why he's not playing is hard to explain, I know he did have an injury but speculation is it’s because the manager does not fancy him, but we don't think we know that for sure.
      Third, I think we may have to agree to disagree. Yes the system is not generating 3 points every weekend, but few do. But I would say I for one feel there has been progress from match day 1 till now. Are we doing as well as we want, no? But are we making up ground and moving in the right direction. Are we still likely to see a few more banana skins, absolutely, but why would we not expect that. If Wenger after all his years at Arsenal can still mess up and drop points at Norwich are we going to crucify our manager for getting things wrong on a Wednesday night in the league cup?

    • dsteer...interesting post. Think Id go withthe idea of crafting the sytem to the players with a future at the club defo but also feel that we must be ruthless and rid ourselves of those unable to adapt as they arent even going to eventually even be woirth having around as bench warmers. Downing I feel is on a knife edge in the judgement of BR Henderson I do believe is adapting and I see him having a future at the club. Cole is a drain on the club and I really dont see how we can get rid of him when he has best part of two seasons left on his contract at 100k a week...seriously can u see ANYBODY prepared to give this no-hoper that kind of dosh and take him off our hands ? Enrique I think his days are numbered and we could see him leave in Jan he would fit well into some system but he doesnt fit BR's thats for sure. Hes far too easily caught up field out of position and nothing like fast enough to track back in a hurry...seen this for a long time and posted it up before. Borini Im prepared on this one to start at square one again when he gets back from injury. I hadnt known he had a crack in a footbone so maybe that was impeding his progress before the sidelining injury came along ?

    • dsteer...interesting post. Think Id go withthe idea of crafting the sytem to the players with a future at the club defo but also feel that we must be ruthless and rid ourselves of those unable to adapt as they arent even going to eventually even be woirth having around as bench warmers. Downing I feel is on a knife edge in the judgement of BR Henderson I do believe is adapting and I see him having a future at the club. Cole is a drain on the club and I really dont see how we can get rid of him when he has best part of two seasons left on his contract at 100k a week...seriously can u see ANYBODY prepared to give this no-hoper that kind of dosh and take him off our hands ? Enrique I think his days are numbered and we could see him leave in Jan he would fit well into some system but he doesnt fit BR's thats for sure. Hes far too easily caught up field out of position and nothing like fast enough to track back in a hurry...seen this for a long time and posted it up before. Borini Im prepared on this one to start at square one again when he gets back from injury. I hadnt known he had a crack in a footbone so maybe that was impeding his progress before the sidelining injury came along ?

    • Hey Dave

      No argument from me on your first two paragraphs - I've said many times that BR needs time and I haven't changed in that view regardless of our start to the season and to the concerns I have raised.

      Maybe you're right about getting more out of the players who are struggling with the system but, from his post-match comments, I'm not sure BR agrees. Also, I don't think Cara is going to become a ball-carrying centre half anytime soon :-)

      On your last paragraph you present it as black & white but I don't think that's true (see my comments about playing different styles in games where you have to play your back up players).

      That aside, I think you need to be careful with "we craft our system to those players likely to have a future at LFC".

      Firstly, that's NOT what BR has done. BR hasn't looked at the players and said 'I can get the most out of the team by playing this style' (indeed, that's my criticism). BR has said we are going to play this way and has then routed around the club to try and find players who can do it.

      Secondly, up until the end of last season, I thought Carroll, Henderson, Adam, Enrique all had a future with LFC (I was under the impression that you did too). A new man comes in with a new system and suddenly we throw them all overboard? What happens if at the end of this season we don't finish in the top four and the owners decide once more that that's not good enough. Throw Allen, Sahin, Assaidi, Borini overboard?

      Thirdly, and in my view most importantly, the system isn't working (YET). We are discussing this as if BR's first choice are flying in the league and the concerns have come from the second string being knocked out in a cup game. A glance at the table shows something different. So I come back to my original point - if you don't have the players to play a system successfully (and it hasn't been successful so far), change the system until you do have those players.

      Maybe you're right and the majority of fans don't agree with me on that. I'll happily stand corrected if the team starts to go on an unbeaten run. As I've said many times, we have an interesting month coming up and time will tell.

      I'm in a negative place at the moment (can you tell) so I reckon there is a pretty good chance that come the 1st December we will be closer to the bottom of the table than we are to the top four. I hope I'm wrong.

    • PS, I think it’s normal and natural to have a few doubts. BR is a young manager, with little top flight experience so it would be strange for someone to have no doubts at all. But for me it’s a bit like courting, you go out on a few dates to get to know someone. Some things you like, some things you really like, but there can be things you’re not so sure about. But if you’re serious about wanting to see if the relationship can work, and you do see things you like, you don't rush to judge those few nags. You don't ignore them, but you wait to see before you cut her lose and head back to the clubs.

      With BR sure there are some doubts, the Carroll saga did leave a sour taste, and I got to admit I'm not sure what is going on with the artwork in his house. But I've also seen plenty of things I like, and some things I really like, so think it is worth going out on a few more dates.

      On the actual post your right, it does seem some are struggling to get the best out of the system, while the first 11 seems now to be getting the hang of it. But let's remember the first 11 did not get it right away. I remember hearing pundits and others saying BR could not play his system with the likes of Skrtel anchoring the back line, but I'd say he's been one of our best performers the last few matches, so who's to say those players, some of whom got a rare start the other night, can't also learn as those in the first team have.

      Some will, and some won't, and if they can't they'll more than likely see their days at the club numbered. Cole most likely should have been gone already, and if he'd not been injured on transfer deadline day I doubt he'd still be with us. Downing I'm not sure about at least as a winger, but it seems to me Henderson and Enrique could but we won't know until they are given more of a chance.

      But at the end of the day where I think I most disagree with you (respectfully I hope) is whether we craft our system to those players likely to have a future at LFC, or bend it to those we think won't.

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