I’ve been getting a wee bit frustrated about LFC and how things have turned out this season. It’s been a very strange season in many ways. A season of big spending and major changes at the coaching, management and ownership levels. A season of potential and failure. A season of success and frustration.
- The Reds have hit the woodwork 32 times in the Premier League this season, more than any other side in a full campaign since 2000 (according to Opta).
- They have converted just 9% of shots into goals this season, the lowest proportion in the top flight.
- The Reds have allowed their opponents just 120 shots on targets this term – the lowest tally in the Premier League.
These are strange figures and show quite a strong imbalance in the team. The first half of the season saw LFC with the best defence in the whole football league (as in previous seasons under Benitez) but there were so many missed opportunities.
Then, Lucas and Gerrard got injured and the defence basically fell apart. This shows how important defending from midfield is. We badly need Lucas back next season. We need someone else with creative flair who can setup all the attacking players.
LFC were still missing the opportunities, but now we were also letting in the goals, so wins turned into draws and losses. The very significant stat from above is the ‘woodwork’. 32 times we’ve hit the post or bar. What this says to me is that 1) the shooting accuracy is not quite there yet and, 2) chances are being created which are leading to these near misses. Fundamentally, we’re getting the shots in and creating opportunities it’s just not quite working, yet.
I would keep faith with Andy Carroll – the stats say the team does better with him in the team. Henderson is young and has potential, but Bellamy and Maxi are post-30 and also badly need replacing in the next 2 years – they also happen to be two of our most effective and creative players. Gerrard will also need replacing (how the hell do you replace him???) and Shelvey + Spearing are just not in the same class. Lots more changes to make.
So, here is the season…
Poor league form, nearly 40 points behind the Manchester clubs, lowest ever Premier League points total, fewest wins (14) in a top flight season since 1953-54, Everton finishing above us, inconsistency, a cagey and prickly public profile from Kenny, supporting Suarez at all costs leading to a PR debacle, players brought in for huge sums some of which just aren’t (yet) good enough, predictable tactics and many occasions where players were used who did not work together or who obviously didn’t cut it.
Against this is the cup runs, including two finals, with the Carling Cup win. Yes this was a big achievement and to be fair, it was close to being two cups. If Andy Carroll’s goal had actually been a goal in the FA Cup final, i’m pretty sure we would have won that and Kenny could still be manager. Two cups are hard to ignore, but the negatives are just shouting too loudly.
So, King Kenny is out. At first I was surprised and disappointed (he could have been given 1 more season to prove himself) but now it feels inevitable – he was the manager all the fans wanted but maybe not the manager we needed.
The overall season was not good enough. For me, the most painful thing was seeing Downing, Henderson, Adam and Spearing in midfield. OMG. OMG. The creative potential of that group of players is so limited. Downing finished the season with 0 assists and 0 goals (in the league). Henderson spent much of his time on the wing but should have been in the centre. Spearing is just not good enough all round and as soon as ‘player of the year’ Lucas got injured (as well as Gerrard), Adam was also shown up to be only average.
The injury to Lucas was the turning point of the season. Loosing this one player affected everything in the team, from protecting the defence to supplying the forwards. Our defence had been the best in the league, but this slipped once the midfield was exposed. At times it was the 32 year old Maxi and the equally aged Bellamy who were keeping the team going.
Suarez has been both the best and worst part of the season, with amazing skill and maybe the goal of the season, but with the complete shambles which was the racism row with Evra. His finishing ranks as around the poorest of any forward in the league and this needs a lot of work.
The new kit is AMAZING and I have genuine hope for next season, now that the players have had a full season together. They now know what is expected and a new manager could provide a boost.