John Henry and his management team bought out Liverpool’s FC debt at a bargain price of 275 Million Pounds from previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Now, they have the tough job of rebuilding the club back to its glory pedestal. Not an easy task considering the current global post-Bosman ruling business scene that top European football clubs compete, and the spending power of rivals such as Chelsea and Manchester City, The shift of change inside the club will have to come through the inside, as it has been so common within the club’s history. The new owner will have to change the management and many players within the club and make the team go back to its Shankly roots foundation of attacking stylish football.
Since the last time Liverpool won the old First Division (1990 – now Premiership), football has changed considerably. The game has become global. Before it was local by nature, with mainly “home” players spread across all leagues of the world. Nowadays, foreigners are playing everywhere, and top teams compete in the global market in terms of audience and staffing supply. Furthermore, the game has changed tactically. In the late 90’s, British teams almost all played under a 442 formation, while continental teams used the 352 formation on the constant basis (Argentina 86 & W. Germany 90 were World Champions under that formation). Today, the most used system by top teams is the 4231 formation, that has been widespread for about 2-3 years now worldwide. Also, the funding of the clubs players and investments has taken a big competition from sugar daddy’s, such as Manchester City’s owner Sheik Mansour and Chelsea’s Owner Roman Abramovich. They have an almost unlimited supply of money, whereas clubs like Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United don’t. This means that the John Henry management will have to be very wise in were to invest their money.
Roy Hodgson’s recent track record with signings has been far from impressive, which is one of the reasons John Henry has already appointed Damien Commelli as Director of Football. Despite not having a high amount of funds, he needs to be responsible for such poor signings such as Christian Poulsen, Paul Konchesky and Milan Jovanovic. All these three players are a step behind from Rafa Benitez’s bad signings! Christian Poulsen is very slow and hardly gets a pass together, Konchesky does not have the athletisim to be a world class left back and hardly gets a cross in properly (basic for any wing back). While Milan Jovanovic, lacks vision or even finishing power to play in the final third of the pitch for a club of Liverpool’s stature. John Henry will be a very brave man, to let Roy Hodgson have any say in the transfer market and spending his money, and has wisely hired Damien Commelli to take care of such matters.
The Liverpool team in general has been poor this season. Despite the recent good results achieved by Roy Hodgson’s men, the only good game that the team played was against Chelsea. Everyone knows that the team needs new players. However, Roy’s tactics do not help the team. He placed Raul Meireles, a natural defensive midfielder as a right hand sided attacking midfielder. He places Maxi Rodriguez, a right hand sided midfielder on the left, and he does not have enough vision to play in that position to create. While he leaves Steve Gerrard deep in midfield, pumping balls from one side to the other. He should put Gerrard closer to the goal in midfield (not exactly as a support forward) and drop Raul Meireles deeper in midfield for him to be able to distribute the game and Gerrard to be able to create and more importantly shoot (as he will be closer to goal). Also, Fernando Torres is to isolate in most games and he should make a more compact system to help Torres get more service. Hodgson’s tactics are very predictable, with little interchanging of players (as any creativity, or lack of, comes from defensive minded midfielders). He relies too much on defense, even when playing low standing teams (no wonder he loses so many games!), which goes against the stature of a club like Liverpool.
The vast majority of Liverpool fans agree that the current player profile is not good enough to put a challenge for the title (or even to qualify for a Champions League spot). Viewing the team as it is, Liverpool need immediate reinforcements in the following positions: Right back, 2 defenders, a left back, a defensive midfield, an offensive midfielder, 2 support forwards and a back up center forward for Fernando Torres. Glen Johnson is very poor while defending and while attacking he creates little of value to the team. Jamie Carragher’s age has caught up on him! Skrtel, as shown against Sunderland and Stoke City is not a trustworthy defender, as he cannot head the ball properly (something that is vital at the Premiership for a defender!). Paul Konchesky is simply not good enough. Raul Meireles and Lucas are good players, they need someone of equal quality to be able to rotate with within the squad. Liverpool lack a proper playmaker and need one to be a team to be respected. Also, the only attacking player that poises any threat is Fernando Torres. He needs a trustworthy back up and two support forwards to rotate with! There are many players in the market that Damien Commolli can pick up for grabs. Nilmar (Villareal), Jonathan Reis (PSV Eindhoven), Fernando Gago (Real Madrid), Elias (Corinthians), Miranda (Sao Paulo), Wayne Bridge (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Ajax) would be excellent realistic additions to the club.
A big change will occur at Anfield in the next 8 months. Many players will leave and many will arrive. I believe the first change will be the release of Roy Hodgson and his outdated tactics and view on football itself, hiring a more modern manager with a winning mentality. Then, Henry and Commelli should look into quality youth at a bargain to go to Merseyside. Also, add some romance into the mix, making Liverpool go back to its traditions of playing attacking positive stylish football. As Bill Shankly once put out: “ the 3P’s – passing, possession & patience, instead of the borefest that the club has become in the last 12 years or so. The new management have all the conditions to bring the club back to its natural position, which is to be winning the Premiership on a constant basis and without the need of spending 300 million pounds in signings as other clubs have done.
About the Author
Written by Dennys
Soccer fan with knowledge from Brazil and European Soccer!