Following The Reds trip to Brighton for the 3rd round Carling Cup match, this is looking suspiciously like a rotation policy based on Adam, Henderson and Carroll for the league games and Maxi, Kuyt and Bellamy for the ‘others’.
I really hope this isn’t the case. I don’t belive in players simply walking into a team when they arrive at a club. There has to be an element of proving themselves first. The arrival of Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson has lots of potential, but when they displace other established players the impact has to be carefully considered.
The new band of faces at the club is great to see, as is the commitment to investing in the club, but you rarely see more than a couple of new players being thrown into teams put out by successful clubs. It feels like a testing out period for the club. The midfield area certainly hasn’t been cemented yet and the various relationships and link ups have yet to be formed.
The most glaring example of this is how on earth do you get anything from Andy Carroll? He lacks the pace and quickness of Bellamy and unless the service into him improves, Kenny will have to find another way of using him. Joey Barton used to drive diagonal balls into him at Newcastle.
Against Brighton, the link ups between Kuyt, Bellamy, Suarez and Maxi were quick, accurate with lots of movement – pass and move.
Just looking at the three games between Spurs, Brighton and Wolves, there were some big differences. Dalglish had problems at Spurs with the Adam, Henderson and Carroll combo but when he shifted to the Bellamy, Kuyt and Maxi option at Brighton, is just worked. Another swap back at Wolves and there was also a lack of creativity and natural movement.
Bellamy seems a far more dangerous player than Carroll and his movement is miles better.
Skrtel at right back is not an ideal fit, with Kelly or Johnson the 1st two choices – good for England but one of them needs to be playing regular football and staying clear of injury.
Henderson needs to get used to the Anfield environment for a bit longer and would benefit from some Reserve and Cup games. There’s no reason to look at this as a negative and the Reserves are there for this purpose.
Selling Aqualini to AC Milan has meant we are down another creative midfielder. When the combination of Downing and Henderson doesn’t seem to be working to provide service from the wings, there has to be a plan B from central midfield. This seems to be where a lot of the creative potential comes from. At the very least, the midfield has to be able to control that area and then provide accurate passing to the wings and centre forwards, if not the ‘wonder passes’. Benayoun has recently departed, as has Meireles to Chelsea – two obviously technical and creative players.
Overall it’s been a fairly good start, with 10 points from 6 games in the league and with lots of new players getting used to each other and the club. Gerrard is now back in contention and both Kelly and Johnson are fit for the right back position, meaning Skrtel goes back to central defence.
Two very tricky games now against Everton then at home to Man United! YNWA.