LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Sadly, this kid is pretty good....
Our resident Liverpool fan, Bromantic, joined us for a little Q&A action. The answers to their questions for us are available here.
TBB: How goes Rodgers’ implementation of his pass-and-move and pressing 4-3-3 system? Lucas Leiva (when healthy) and Joe Allen seem to be theoretically ideal fits at the base of the midfield, as does Nuri Sahin when and if he gets acclimated, but does Steven Gerrard style of play (more direct) hinder this system? We all know Gerrard is Liverpool’s heart right now but is he undroppable? What of the attacking line? Raheem Sterling looks like a bright prospect and Fabio Borini seems versatile enough to play anywhere along and he’s willing to work hard and press… Furthermore, Luiz Suarez is versatile as well. But, are there enough goals from Liverpool’s strike force?
AA: A lot of Q's so I'll try to be brief on each. Obviously losing Lucas was a huge blow to the system. It has forced Gerrard to play much deeper which is definitely not his strongest position and it shows. He has been extremely sloppy this year with possession. However, I like what I see so far and I personally am willing to be patient for a while no matter how frustrating it is.
-Joe Allen has been unreal and looks like the buy of the century given that he is so young. To be so young yet clearly have a developed football mind gives me hope for the future. Hopefully he doesn't get worn out though as I don't see a way to leave him out of the line up right now and still be competitive. He is probably the most indispensable player along with Suarez.
-Sterling has been a fantastic player so far and really has come into his own. He not only has the speed, but also the feet to beat players to the line. I think you are seeing why so many Liverpool fans were frustrated by Kenny's refusal to give him more than 5 minutes at a time on the pitch.
-As for the front line, yikes. They have really just been horribly inaccurate. The last game against Sunderland, Suarez only had 1 of 6 shots on target. This is obviously Liverpool's biggest issue and why the transfer deadline day was so frustrating (as has been the season so far). So no, there are not enough goals in this line up and if one of them gets hurt, we are screwed.
Check out Bromantic's thoughts on Andy Carroll, Being Liverpool, and a score prediction after the jump:
TBB: Thoughts on the back four? Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger were very solid last season but how have they adapted to playing higher up the pitch? What the hell happened to Jose Enrique? The Spaniard seemingly started off so well last season and now he’s terrible whenever he steps onto the pitch?
AA: Well some of this is on Reina. He has been extremely shaky so far this year, like a young DeGea. As for the back four, much of what they have conceded have been on quick counterattacks from poor giveaways while the team is pressing (Gerrard is responsible for two of those already). The pressing style is really leaving Liverpool vulnerable right now. I think it will just take a bit of time to figure it out. As for Enrique, I have no idea what happened. He played a lot last year so I could see why he might start to fade a bit, but he is really struggling right now. Hopefully the rotation of Johnson at LB with Kelly at RB from time to time will allow him to find his form and stay healthy.
TBB: I’m sure this varies depending on which Liverpool fans you ask, but how much patience will the supporters give Rodgers?
AA: Yes, this definitely varies. The fans are already getting involved with the Spirit of Shankly supporters club demanding a CEO type who lives local be appointed to run the team. I think it is a bit premature. I can't really say that any of Liverpool's performances have been poor this year, it really is a lack of finishing. If we had RVP we'd be top of the league right now. I'll give him this season and next. After that, results are a must. I don't want to prematurely dump yet another manager
TBB: Do you see a way back for Andy Carrol, or is this the start of the L’pool end? Will he ever fit into Brendan Rodgers’ plan A?
AA: For me, Not at all. I never liked him as is well documented on AA. He is a very polarizing figure amongst Liverpool fans. I hated the way Liverpool played when he was on the pitch. Everytime he played, it was just long ball after long ball and it just didn't work. Sure he won many of them, but "winning" was just a flick into space that no one but Usain Bolt could get to. His runs were horribly predicatable. I don't think I ever saw a near post run which is why he rarely found al those crosses that Downing was brought in to supply. Almost every run was exactly perpendicular to the goal line.
TBB: Do you think Rodgers can play ‘his’ style of Football (a la Swansea) or do you see this, even at its end, being an evolving project that is a passing game not quite Swansalona?
AA: I think it can be done and Liverpool's passing this year has been much more in quantity and much better in quality so it appears as if he has done well. The problem is the final part of the pitch where finishing has been awful and there really is no solution at this point.
TBB: Who are the rumored targets for Forward in the January transfer window? Who do you think best fits the needs and/or budget? Do you need just one, or two?
AA: I haven't seen a ton of rumors, but two I have seen are Huntelaar and Fernando Llorente. If they can put the ball inside the frame, then I hope to get either or both. They should be cheaper as their contracts are up at the end of the year I believe. It's a shame the Kenny wasted so much money and now we have little to spend.
TBB: Are you okay with Sahin being a loan without an locked in option to buy if he has a strong year?
AA: Well if he settles, then yes it will be frustrating. It would always be nice to have the option to buy, but if he can help us stay within the top 6 this year, then he will still have been a success even if he heads back to Spain after.
TBB: Does Liverpool have the talent around Suarez to compliment what he brings to the table? Does it seem clear they they are going to try to get that talent?
AA: This is a frustrating one for me and is what makes me hate Torres even more. Suarez was bought to play with Torres, then Torres stabbed us in the back and we ended up with an already injured Andy Carroll. Suarez and Torres would have been a nightmare and I have no doubts if Torres would have stayed Liverpool would not be in such turmoil. Rumor has it that Comolli was working on bring Torres back when he got fired. That said, there really isn't a poacher that we need to capitalize on all his chances that he creates. We need a Chicarito like player who just pounces on loose balls inside the box.
TBB: Charlie Adam is already gone, and Andy Carroll appears to just be awaiting a team he wants to play for making a sufficiently non-embarrassing bid. Which of Kenny’s other busts which may not fit into Rodgers plans are out the door next: Jordan Henderson or Stewart Downing?
AA: I would say neither. Right now, the squad is so thin that I don't think we could afford to part with either. I am glad to see Henderson given a more peripheral role as I think he was played way too often last season. I am not as down on Downing as other Liverpool fans. I think he percieved ineffectiveness goes back to Liverpool's poor finishing and the fact that they rarely gett bodies in numbers into the box to latch onto chances. I saw a stat tweeted from @OptaJoe that said Downing created over 140 chances last year (5th in the league) yet had zero assists. Is he a world beater, no. Is he as useless as many would like to say, I would say no.
TBB: How many games do you think you will get from Sterling this year? (PL and then all competitions). What are your thoughts on Reina? I think for the last year or so he has been…. Shaky?
AA: I hope a lot for Sterling, but it is obviously a delicate balance. He has made himself a no brainer first choice player so far. I can't really think of a poor game he has had yet. I am hoping to see him get around 30 games from all competitions with the majority being PL games. He will be needed to make sure we don't slip further down the table.
As for Reina, I have been one of his biggest defenders, but I don't know how much longer I can keep that up. He has really been poor so far this year. I don't know that there is much better out there on the market, so I don't see how we can get rid of him, but I wouldn't mind seeing Rodgers sit him for a game or two to let him know he is not indespensible.
TBB: How many years does Carra have left? Could this be his last one before he inevatably takes up a coaching role?
AA: I hope this is his last year. He has been hanging on way too long and is now a complete liability in the back. He never had pace, and now he has lost a step which means he resorts to dumb fouls. It is definitely time for him to move on.
TBB: Why does it look like you guys don't have a Plan B?
AA: Umm...it's because we don't. No Andy Carroll and no replacement means the striking options are thin at best. I think it is just going to take time and another transfer window for Rodgers to have the personnel for a Plan B.
TBB: When will Henderson ever play in the CM role? Does Rodgers rate him at all?
AA: That is a good question. He did play last night against Young Boys (the Swiss team, not actual young boys) and did ok. He got lost for a while, but came up big in the end with a very intelligent assist. However, I still don't see the development that I would have expected from playing all but one premier league game last year. I think that might be a big reason he has been relegated to the bench. Perhaps eventually he will play CM regularly, but I think it will be a few years until it happens now.
TBB: What the hell do you guys make of Borini save the fact he runs around a lot?
AA: Haha, yes he does run a lot. It is like we traded in our Dirk Kuyt for a newer model. He has had a rough start with some horribly missed shots. Rodgers finally moved him into the center of the 4-3-3 and it worked better last game, but the jury is definitely still out on him.
TBB: Thoughts on Being:Liverpool?
AA: I am still not 100% sure how I feel about it. I guess it'll take a few more episodes. However, it should help promote Liverpool and the game within the US so that is always a positive. I am just not sure yet how embarrasing it will be, especially given that they shot all the way through transfer deadline day apparently. I am dreading that last episode.
TBB: What do you think the result will be on Sunday?
AA: 10-0 Liverpool. Ok, real prediction 2-1 United. Liverpool are just too impotent impotent in front of goal to predict much more than one goal and RvP has been a thorn in our side for the last three years. Now I have to go vomit.