4th November 2012
By BEN HOLT
Another draw for Liverpool at Anfield means it’s still only one home win for Brendan Rodgers from six matches. It would have been a third home defeat of the season but for the brilliance of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan was once again sensational, repeatedly causing havoc for the Newcastle defence; so much so in fact that Fabricio Coloccini decided to take the matter into his own hands, or more specifically, studs, by recklessly lunging at him.
It is a real worry for Liverpool how reliant they are on Suarez, with only Raheem Sterling providing adequate support. It was such a toothless display against Newcastle, especially in the first half where they dominated possession but were so wasteful in the final third. Everything was neat and tidy – the Rodgers way, but Gerrard struggled to make the impact he would have hoped on his 600th appearance, and Joe Allen once again refused to be creative. His pass completion rate might be excellent, but the goal is at the end of the pitch, not at the side.
Ironically the equaliser came from a long, hopeful ball from Jose Enrique, which Suarez brilliantly controlled on his chest before rounding Krul to finish into the empty net. It must’ve taken the Newcastle defence by surprise to see Liverpool resort to such a simple tactic. Surely Rodgers wouldn’t approve – until he saw the ball in the back of the net of course.
Who else have Liverpool got? Sahin and Suso look decent enough players, but they need longer to bed in to the side – the latter is still only 18 years old. But the biggest concern is the lack of quality on the bench, with Downing and particularly Shelvey so ineffective during their short spell on the pitch. Perhaps they weren’t given enough time to influence the game, but Liverpool were in the ascendancy especially with the extra man.
It’s stating the obvious to suggest Liverpool desperately need a new striker or two in January, but they arguably need better midfielders as well. The problem is that they’ve spent such a vast amount of money already, the owners will be reluctant to spend more. The manager is unlucky in the respect that he’s inherited a squad of overpriced footballers that he probably wouldn’t have picked if given the choice. Luckily for him, there’s also Suarez.
Fair play to Rodgers though, he’s sticking to his guns with the neat, patient football that his side demonstrated on Sunday, but Liverpool need to be more direct. Allen needs to watch how Paul Scholes passes the ball when in space, and try to emulate him. Gerrard needs to re-discover his old form (if he’s still capable of doing so), Suso and Sahin need more time, and Suarez needs support up front; someone who knows where the back of the net is, because he can’t do it by himself every week.
If I were Brendan Rodgers, I’d be begging the owners to get Darren Bent in January.