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Five really annoying things about this season


This season was the longest hangover in history. It began on a downer after the double blow of missing out on the title and then losing Luis Suarez, and it just got steadily worse, save for a fine two month spell mid-season. Heres TLW Editor Dave Usher with five of the most irritating things to come out of 2014/15 season...


 

One up front
 
If you’re struggling to score goals would it not make sense to get as many goalscorers into your team as possible? You don’t have a 30 goal a season man anymore but you have two or three who are capable of getting 15 given enough playing time in a favourable system. None can play as a lone forward, but by playing two up front you’d be playing to the strengths of the players you have, while also potentially doubling your chances of a goal.

 


 

Yet how many times did we see Balotelli up on his own in a 4-2-3-1 early in the season and then again near the end? When Lambert played it was the same system, while Borini spent almost the entire season in the doghouse after refusing a move to Sunderland. It was obvious after a few games that Mario couldn’t play as a lone striker and as for Lambert, it was evident as early as pre-season that he didn’t look comfortable in the role. So why did Rodgers persist with it?

Belatedly he switched to Sterling up top and while the results improved, that was in large part down to the extra centre back allowing us to finally stop leaking goals. We still didn’t score many, although the balance of the side did look better with a mobile forward who could press from the front and wanted to run in behind. When you consider how many formation changes Rodgers made throughout the season, it’s puzzling that we didn’t see two up front more often than we did.

There’s nothing wrong with playing 4-2-3-1 when you have the right forward to lead the line on his own, but if you don’t have that player then find another solution. If we could replay the season and go with two up front in every game - be it any combination of Balotelli, Sterling, Lambert and Borini - it's a fairly safe bet we’d score more goals (albeit still nowhere near enough) and who knows, we might have even made the top four.
  
Risible set-pieces
 
We knew we’d score less in open play than last year. Losing Suarez guaranteed that and when Sturridge went down too it was always going to be very difficult. Yet there’s no reason why we should have suddenly reverted back to being completely useless from corners and free-kicks.
 

 
This year when we got a corner we’d have been better off just leaving everyone back and knocking it straight out for a throw in, as we were just as likely to concede one on the break as we were to score from a ball into the centre.
 
No Urgency
 
This was a season best forgotten. If it were possible to have a memory wipe done and have the whole thing erased I’d be first in line for that. Sadly that’s not possible and the occasional ‘Nam style flashback is going to be inevitable.

It might be seeing a 'trying too hard to impress' Dejan Lovren repeatedly left on his backside after recklessly diving into challenges. It could be Balotelli attempting desperation 40 yard shots because he had no clue how to do anything else. Maybe it will be the memory of Lazar Markovic spending one month looking like Karol Poborsky of the Euro 96 Czech Republic side and the rest of the season looking like Karol Poborsky of Manchester United.
 

 
For me though, chances are that any time I’m unfortunate enough to be haunted by a memory from this sorry season, the enduring image will be of our defenders and midfielders passing it around amongst each other in the closing stages of games we’ve been losing or drawing. It wasn the most infuriating aspect of a thoroughly infuriating season.
 
No Pressing
 
It’s supposed to be a staple of the Rodgers style. Press high up the pitch, win the ball and hit them quickly. Last year we destroyed teams by playing at a tempo they simply couldn’t cope with, especially in the opening 20 minutes of home games. Compare the exhilarating wins over Arsenal, Everton and Man City a year ago with the turgid tripe served up for most of this season. Of course a certain Uruguayan number 7 played a big part in it, but nevertheless it was a real eye opener how losing one player caused the whole thing to completely fall apart.
 

 
It was fair to expect a drop off in goal output and in the brilliant, unstoppable attacking play from last year. I sure as hell expected a drop off in craziness and controversy too  (despite the signing of Balotelli). All of that was understandable, predictable and in fairness, completely unavoidable as let's face it there was no-one we could have signed on the same level as Suarez.

Surely it was not too much to ask for the club to bring in someone who could at least replace some of the qualities Suarez brought to the table though? How do you go from Alexis Sanchez to Loic Remy to Balotelli? Not only did we lose our irresistable attacking threat, but we were no longer able to press high up the pitch and we became incredibly easy to play against. We saw pressing on an occasional basis throughout the season (Arsenal, Swansea and Man City at home spring to mind), but never consistently. “Death by football” took on a whole new meaning this year.
  
Brendanisms

 


 

“I thought we were outstanding”… “He’s a wonderful technician”… “If you spend £100m you expect to be challenging for the league (unless it's us, in which case "5th is par")”… “He’s turning into a beautiful young man” No I didn't make that one up, he actually said it. That on it's own probably justifies Sterling wanting out to be fair. Perhaps referring to Noel Gallagher as “a wonderful artist” was the most Brendan-like thing he uttered this season though. He did not just become a parody of himself, he was more like a parody of a parody of himself this year.

I’m being a bit snide here I admit, as when things are going well and we’re winning games I don’t care what Brendan says. In fact I’ll often get a kick out of it. It’s like anything though, you can get away with anything when results are good. When things aren't going well he grates like fingernails on a blackboard.
 

Dave Usher

@theliverpoolway


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25 Comments

Cunt season.
    • 2

Depressingly all too accurate.

    • 2

You can add to that 2 lost semi finals the second of which was a pathetic spineless surrender

    • 0
Our threat from set pieces especially free kicks is gonna be non existent without Stevie - who the fuck is gonna replace his contribution on that front....

All the other points are squarely Brendan Rodgers fault and it would just beggar belief if he kept his job after it all - a clusterfuck of a season.

The kind of poor decision making and judgement shown by Rodgers this season simply has to be his undoing here.
    • 0
We're fuckin shite
    • 1

You can add to that 2 lost semi finals the second of which was a pathetic spineless surrender

 

 

Rodgers should get a lot more stick for this than the 6-1 defeat at Stoke.

    • 0

Only 5?

 

Can I add a sixth? Constantly playing players out of position. Lazar Markovic only played one match in his natural position( home v Spurs where he scored) . He will never be a wing back. Emre Can was very good as a third centre half with a licence to roam, until he started to play right back. After that RB spell, he even started to suck at CB as well. Trying to fit in your favourite player at the cost of the team never works. Manquillo, despite being far from the finished article will always be a better right back than Can. 

    • 3

Oh my god we are shit. Shittier than timmy turds from brown log lane.

 

 

 

Liverpool FC I plead to you please stop signing mediocre shite for positions we don't need and then play them where they don't like to play. I mean a fucking saboteur wilfully trying to fuck things up wouldn't do this shit for fear of it looking far to fucking obvious. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST

    • 1
Playing players out of position because you have to make and do because your squad is paper thin and you haven't had any money is understandable.

Playing players out of position when you have bought a pile of players and spent an absolute fortune is a damming indictment on you as a manager.
    • 0

The kits. Warrior have come in for dog's abuse over the years for their outlandish designs and perceived third-rate-ness but the home and yellow away kits both looked like they belonged to lower division fodder. Well they would have if lower division fodder hadn't seemingly all switched to accepting 3-year-old templates from the likes of Adidas and Nike. Silly wavy lines don't evoke a sense of history, they just look shit.

    • 0

No urgency tops it for me. When we drew with West Brom and lost to Hull I expected to see something, anything, out of the manager and squad. Instead we got a shrug.

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Signing players that "might" be good in 2 years or players that will need 2 years to learn to play the position we're chucking them into or just taking punts on players for what seems like shits and giggles.

 

All that when we need quality and had the bait to attract said quality with champions league football. 

 

And we just completely fucked it all up. Forget everything else. That is the most annoying thing about this season by a country mile.  

    • 0
I have an absolute pain in my arse with everything involving us,we are going to be miles behind the top four next season....
    • 0
That's what comes of havin a team full of weak, spineless timid little boys with no bottle an bad attitudes.

You get a season like the one we just had, add to that all the managers failings and can you really be that surprised.
    • 2

Proving the fans of all the other teams near the top right could be added to the list. I saw numerous comments the year before from fans of City, Chelsea, Arsenal and United saying we only challenged for the title because we had Suarez and only had to play one game a week because we weren't in Europe. I thought that was disrespectful towards the contributions of a lot of the other players. Turns out they were right though and we ended up being even shitter than they predicted. I bet they're all really smug about it now too and after one year where United were the league's laughing stock for a change we instantly won back our crown. About the only thing we will win any time soon.

    • 0

(1) Manager who's out of his depth

(2) Chief exec who's out of his depth

(3) Shit players 

(4) Raheem Sterling being a twat 

(5) Daniel Sturridge being injured 

    • 1
Balotelli's social media output being reported as Liverpool news.

If anything could rub more salt into the wounds of this season, our fall from grace and losing a once in a lifetime player who lifted everyone around him through his singular focus, pictures of that cretin in a onesie or getting Tony the Tiger shaved into his hair for a grand was it.
    • 4

1. Players with absolutely no guts or fight, and the purchase thereof.

2. Players with very little skill and game intelligence, and the purchase thereof.

3. A manager with no system, picking players out of position

4. A manager who is really pretty shit at in-game tactical substitutions

5. The fact that it appear we are set to go all in on those four things again next season.

    • 0

Must have been a hell of a job narrowing it down to just five.
 
*Rant incoming*
 
Mine would be:
 
1) Sturridge.
 
Being permanently injured was galling, but when he came back he was rustiness personified. Perhaps more than that he was turning down opportunities to run beyond people. When there was a sea of green grass in front of him (or sand and mud at Anfield) he'd cut back inside or drop deep, completely congesting our attack and ruining any flow from the AMs.

 

It was like he no longer trusted his muscles not to snap at the strain of sprinting. His performances started to show all the hallmarks of Chelsea Torres; a striker whose explosive directness was either physically or mentally ebbing away. The amount of times he had a face like a smacked arse doesn't bode well for a future where he may have to evolve his game to accommodate a body made out of broken biscuits. To cap it all off he thanks God every time he's back on an exercise bike. Thank the physio team or get yourself a ticket to Lourdes.
 
2) Playing players out of position.
 
I still think one of Rodgers' best talents is in finding ways to adapt so we can get our best eleven players onto the pitch. It's the reason when we switched to the diamond last year we started running rampage, and he deserves huge credit for that. But this season he seemed to be trying to be too clever, like when you tinker on Fantasy Manager to see if you can uncover a mad tactic that works ("I wonder if Aspas could be a libero?").

 

One player out of position can be fine - in fact it's commendable when it's finding a solution to a squad problem, it shows a manager unafraid to back his own coaching skills - but when there are several the result is painful to watch. All our flow had gone as you could see players acclimatising to new roles, every pass looked laboured and we were downright disjointed. I keep saying the squad isn't as bad as we're being made to look, and this tactic pushed the focus on the players too much. There are many reasons to have a go at Sterling, but not being a decent CF at the age of 20 isn't one of them.
 
3) Europe.
 
If the league is beyond us then at least we should be able to console ourselves with a decent outing in Europe. If you can't be the best then you can at least rub shoulders with them and pretend. I don't think anyone expects us to win either the CL or even the EL, but to limp out by being outthought by some workmanlike sides - the kind that would lose to the Nigerian post office's second eleven - was beyond shite. If top four's beyond us then the EL is our only hope of pretending we're still a decent side, if that's beyond us then why bother averting our slide to mid table?
 
4) The pitch.
 
Or what's left of it. It looks horrendous, but more than that it points to a complete lack of foresight. It's symptomatic of a club that has no clue what it plans to do next, and only comes up with ideas once a year when everyone with any real power gets around a table. We're a club run by Skype calls, and planning not to be playing on what could double for a background to a landmine charity ad is the least I'd expect. It also gave us another excuse, which brings me to...
 
5) Deflection.

 

This is something that's been pissing me off for a while.
 
Everything that went wrong this year had a caveat attached to it, either from the manager, the fans, or reports from sources claiming to have the inside track on FSG; each loss was followed by a distinctly Evertonian "ifithadntabinfer" (which coincides with how many times we seem to be crying for hopeful handballs too this season) and it's now extending beyond solitary games to an entire season and beyond. It goes hand in hand with the defeatist attitude and bizarre quotes from the manager. Of which, there were three that really twisted my balls and they were all deflecting attention away from past or present issues that lay at his door. I'll put my cunt hat on now as I've been stewing on these:
 
The first was the one about the defensive coach. A little humility would have gone a long way, and self reflection welcome. If he'd said he was evolving as a coach, and that the defence was something he'd struggled with there'd have been empathy, as very few fans are dead set against him after bringing us one of our most thrilling seasons. But instead the moment was used to put the onus elsewhere, as if the run of form vindicated his thus far wobbly defensive coaching, framing previous excuses of the CBs and players not understanding the system.

 

Worse still, it was like some unseen playwright was giving Rodgers a cue, laying the groundwork for a tragedy of epic proportions, all set to culminate in a final act called "Stoke bumming". There was an inevitability to it all that made the unwinding of the season even harder to take.
 
Then there was the quote that fifth is about right. Now we all know that to be broadly speaking true, we're not crayon-munching fantasists, but I don't expect a manager to raise the point so bluntly. It smacked of defeatism masquerading as realism, and once the romantic hope that those in charge firmly believe we can usurp any of the sides above us is gone, the support will follow. One too many quotes like that may be seen as a necessary dose of reality, but it won't fill a stadium expansion, and players will take their cue from that attitude.
 
The final quote, and instance of deflection, is the one that has me most worried, and it followed the Stoke humiliation. Rodgers, to his credit, at least apologised, but even that didn't come in an unreserved manner. "There are a number of key elements of the performance today that didn’t surprise me if I am being honest." It sounds so abstract, like the performance is disconnected to the manager. If any manager sees any part of that performance coming, and can't avert the disaster that will inevitably follow, then what will next season bring with the same person in charge? 

 

Apologies for the snide rant.

    • 13

 

Apologies for the snide rant.

 

Mate, you should have typed that up yesterday morning and sent it to me. I'd have just ran yours and saved me the trouble of writing one, as yours is better anyway.

    • 0

Mate, you should have typed that up yesterday morning and sent it to me. I'd have just ran yours and saved me the trouble of writing one, as yours is better anyway.

 

If you're ever in need of a rant I'm more than happy to oblige.

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5) Sturridge. Fucking injured on England duty, comes back and puts himself fit to play when clearly still carrying an injury. makes the injury worse. In the games he is back in he sulks around throwing his arms in the air and generally acting like a spoilt brat clearly forgetting who pays his wages. A fully fit Sturridge for the season and I expect we would have been in the top 4. I don't ever see us having a fully fit Sturridge though and we need to bring in a new number 1 striker. Shame but that's the way it is. he needs to sort his sulking out.

 

4) DM position. We have had a Mascherano sized (Ok bigger than him but you know what I mean) gap in-front of the defence for 5 years. Its so blatant it is painful. Every team winning titles and European trophies has had one key component, a top level holding midfielder. We have no-one even close to that level. That's not a tactical dig at Lucas, its just a fact. We had 1 'hard' player, Gerrard who last season couldn't get his body to do what his head wanted. You take every squad in the league, put them in a ring and our squad gets battered first. We have no steel at all which is why teams like Hull, Stoke and Palace just bullied us.

 

3) Sterling and his fucking bell-end agent. Often when any club has negative press it effects the team. we were on a good run and still primed for 4th place when the Sterling shit started. look what happened. we started getting bum raped. Why not wait till the end of the season? Fucking selfish behaviour and the reason I hope we cash in. The fact the club have no PR strength to battle back as well pisses me off. Instead we look like (and defo are) getting bent over by a 20 year old kid who has had one very good spell and at times has looked shit.

 

2) Rodgers trying to be cocky. What was he playing at using 7 midfielders at Stoke? why is he continually playing players out of position? What the fuck was that team selection against Basle all about? Why are his substitutions fucking shit? Season before last we thought he had the midas touch. he didn't. he has the Luis Suarez touch. take that away and look what happens. Time to go before it gets ugly. Best wishes and all that and thanks for last season but please, do one. Oh and still [playing Glen Johnson? seriously, get on one now.

 

1) The cup semi-final against Villa. We collapsed loads last year. We were bullied, outplayed and laughed at. The Villa game was all 3 rolled into 1. It looked to me like the players weren't arsed at all. No urgency, no pace, no tough tackles. Fuck all. The worst thing about it? The air of inevitability. Villa equalised and I knew exactly what was going to happen. By the time the final whistle came I wasn't even shocked. Utterly abject performance. Think of the lift making the final would have given us for them last few games? Fuck off.

 

Ayre doesn't make the top 5 because it goes without saying he is so incompetent its unreal. I actually hate him and I cant believe i'm saying that about another employee of Liverpool football Club. (The last one was Hodgson)

    • 0

1. Brendan Rodgers

2. Brendan Rodgers

3. Brendan Rodgers

4. Brendan Rodgers

5. Brendan Rodgers

    • 0

Must have been a hell of a job narrowing it down to just five.
 *Rant incoming*
 
Mine would be:
 
1) Sturridge.
 
Being permanently injured was galling, but when he came back he was rustiness personified. Perhaps more than that he was turning down opportunities to run beyond people. When there was a sea of green grass in front of him (or sand and mud at Anfield) he'd cut back inside or drop deep, completely congesting our attack and ruining any flow from the AMs.
 
It was like he no longer trusted his muscles not to snap at the strain of sprinting. His performances started to show all the hallmarks of Chelsea Torres; a striker whose explosive directness was either physically or mentally ebbing away. The amount of times he had a face like a smacked arse doesn't bode well for a future where he may have to evolve his game to accommodate a body made out of broken biscuits. To cap it all off he thanks God every time he's back on an exercise bike. Thank the physio team or get yourself a ticket to Lourdes.
 
2) Playing players out of position.
 
I still think one of Rodgers' best talents is in finding ways to adapt so we can get our best eleven players onto the pitch. It's the reason when we switched to the diamond last year we started running rampage, and he deserves huge credit for that. But this season he seemed to be trying to be too clever, like when you tinker on Fantasy Manager to see if you can uncover a mad tactic that works ("I wonder if Aspas could be a libero?").
 
One player out of position can be fine - in fact it's commendable when it's finding a solution to a squad problem, it shows a manager unafraid to back his own coaching skills - but when there are several the result is painful to watch. All our flow had gone as you could see players acclimatising to new roles, every pass looked laboured and we were downright disjointed. I keep saying the squad isn't as bad as we're being made to look, and this tactic pushed the focus on the players too much. There are many reasons to have a go at Sterling, but not being a decent CF at the age of 20 isn't one of them.
 
3) Europe.
 
If the league is beyond us then at least we should be able to console ourselves with a decent outing in Europe. If you can't be the best then you can at least rub shoulders with them and pretend. I don't think anyone expects us to win either the CL or even the EL, but to limp out by being outthought by some workmanlike sides - the kind that would lose to the Nigerian post office's second eleven - was beyond shite. If top four's beyond us then the EL is our only hope of pretending we're still a decent side, if that's beyond us then why bother averting our slide to mid table?
 
4) The pitch.
 
Or what's left of it. It looks horrendous, but more than that it points to a complete lack of foresight. It's symptomatic of a club that has no clue what it plans to do next, and only comes up with ideas once a year when everyone with any real power gets around a table. We're a club run by Skype calls, and planning not to be playing on what could double for a background to a landmine charity ad is the least I'd expect. It also gave us another excuse, which brings me to...
 
5) Deflection.
 
This is something that's been pissing me off for a while.
 
Everything that went wrong this year had a caveat attached to it, either from the manager, the fans, or reports from sources claiming to have the inside track on FSG; each loss was followed by a distinctly Evertonian "ifithadntabinfer" (which coincides with how many times we seem to be crying for hopeful handballs too this season) and it's now extending beyond solitary games to an entire season and beyond. It goes hand in hand with the defeatist attitude and bizarre quotes from the manager. Of which, there were three that really twisted my balls and they were all deflecting attention away from past or present issues that lay at his door. I'll put my cunt hat on now as I've been stewing on these:
 
The first was the one about the defensive coach. A little humility would have gone a long way, and self reflection welcome. If he'd said he was evolving as a coach, and that the defence was something he'd struggled with there'd have been empathy, as very few fans are dead set against him after bringing us one of our most thrilling seasons. But instead the moment was used to put the onus elsewhere, as if the run of form vindicated his thus far wobbly defensive coaching, framing previous excuses of the CBs and players not understanding the system.
 
Worse still, it was like some unseen playwright was giving Rodgers a cue, laying the groundwork for a tragedy of epic proportions, all set to culminate in a final act called "Stoke bumming". There was an inevitability to it all that made the unwinding of the season even harder to take.
 
Then there was the quote that fifth is about right. Now we all know that to be broadly speaking true, we're not crayon-munching fantasists, but I don't expect a manager to raise the point so bluntly. It smacked of defeatism masquerading as realism, and once the romantic hope that those in charge firmly believe we can usurp any of the sides above us is gone, the support will follow. One too many quotes like that may be seen as a necessary dose of reality, but it won't fill a stadium expansion, and players will take their cue from that attitude.
 
The final quote, and instance of deflection, is the one that has me most worried, and it followed the Stoke humiliation. Rodgers, to his credit, at least apologised, but even that didn't come in an unreserved manner. "There are a number of key elements of the performance today that didn’t surprise me if I am being honest." It sounds so abstract, like the performance is disconnected to the manager. If any manager sees any part of that performance coming, and can't avert the disaster that will inevitably follow, then what will next season bring with the same person in charge? 
 
Apologies for the snide rant.


On the deflection point, I would like to raise the club's standard party line: "This season was always going to be hard, because we lost 50 goals." There was some kind of storm and when we want back into the club Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge had simply disappeared without a trace; we have no idea what happened, we couldn't have predicted it and there was no way to stop it. It's unfortunate, obviously, but these things happen.

Rodgers, Ayre and a host of others have kept to approximately that line of argument when talking about our struggles. It is, clearly, unmitigated shite. A year before he left, Suarez tried to force legal action to activate a clause he thought allowed him to leave over £40m, he then subsequently signed a contract that did have a clause which allowed him to go for 75m. A 6-year-old would have concluded in August 2013 that it was probably a good idea to start looking at how we were going to offset losing, by far, the club's best player. By the time he had a cast iron contractual guarantee, which we knew his agent would leak, then a 4-year-old would have reached the same conclusion.

Of course, the problem with accepting that we had an entire year to plan for Suarez leaving - or the shocking possibility that an injury-prone striker would be injured - and had the biggest transfer budget ever handed out at this club is that the committee would be forced to accept culpability. That can't be, because the Liverpool hierarchy are never responsible.
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If you're ever in need of a rant I'm more than happy to oblige.

 

Always on the lookout for people to write stuff, there's a place for it any time you feel the need to get something off your chest. Don't wait to be asked, just send it over and I'll use it.

 

Some really good contributions on this, which is quite sad really as we're so spoiled for choice when it comes to picking things about this year that were completely abject.

 

Imagine trying to do one of these a year ago.

 

1) Gerrard falling over

2) Not beating Palace

3) Aspas corner

4) Victor Moses

5) Errrr....

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