Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Three Solutions To Liverpool’s Scoring Troubles

Luis Suarez scored his first goal in over two months against QPR on Saturday, just Liverpool’s 18th strike in the league.

This has become a worrying statistic for Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, as his side have begun to lose touch with the teams leading the Premier League.

Another concern is that Liverpool’s immediate rivals Chelsea and Arsenal are both beginning to show some good form.

The Anfield side have only managed to score more than once in a Premier League game on six occasions this season. This has left them with a measly goal difference of just five.

Compare this to the 21 of Manchester United and Chelsea with 15, never mind Manchester City’s whopping 34.

These scoring figures are pretty dismal, nobody can really argue that, but what can Dalglish do to improve them?

There are a number of arguments being put forward but GMF have come up with what they feel are the most suitable options for the Merseysiders.

Accommodate Andy Carroll

The £35million signing from Newcastle United has struggled to settle in at Anfield and has been spending the majority of his time sat on the bench.

This makes coaxing his best form out of him more difficult, as you cannot risk it while the team are struggling to finish games and not looking overly dominant.

However, the long-term benefits could outweigh the quick fixes in this regard, as a fully fit and firing Andy Carroll would surely lead to a great rate of goals.

His physicality alone is enough to occupy most defences, but couple this with the guile and movement of Luiz Suarez and you have a potentially devastating partnership.

Change The System

Although it is en vogue for Premier League sides to play the 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation and variations thereof, a straightforward 4-4-2 could suit Liverpool.

Following on from the previous point, this would make it easier for Andy Carroll to fit into the side and give him and Luiz Suarez the chance to form some kind of understanding.

Another expensive summer signing struggling to make his mark is Stewart Downing, whom Dalglish purchased from Aston Villa for £22million.

The England international has failed to register an assist or goal this season, but he has been quite unfortunate so far. Downing’s strengths are taking opponents on and putting dangerous crosses into the box.

Having Luiz Suarez in the middle means there isn’t much likelihood of this tactic being overly effective, which has been illustrated by a number of positive performances from Downing ultimately ending fruitless in goals stats.

Having more to aim at in the box would benefit him greatly and could in turn help turnaround the fortunes of Carroll.

Buy A New Striker

The simplest answer to Liverpool’s little problem could also be the most effective in this case. With the transfer window looming ever closer, Dalglish may be well served to go out and purchase a proven goal scorer.

Dirk Kuyt is yet to register this season, Andy Carroll has not really got going at Liverpool, Luis Suarez has only just come out of two-month drought and Steven Gerrard has spent most of the season injured.

That means the vast majority of Liverpool’s main goal sources are not doing the job they would normally do. This is a problem around the Christmas/New Year period especially, with lots of games coming over a short amount of time.

If a team is struggling to find the net and is not seeing out games, February could arrive quickly and they, seemingly all of a sudden, have fallen too far behind their rivals.

January signings have been known to reinvigorate a side’s season and spur them on to greater feats in the second half of the year. If Liverpool were to bring in a quality striker, it could mean the difference between Champions League qualification and no European football at all.

Liverpool Transfer Target Lucas Biglia On Arsenal Radar

Reported Liverpool target Lucas Biglia is being pursued by Arsenal, according to the agent of the Anderlecht midfielder.

The 25-year-old Argentine is also on the radar of Fiorentina and AC Milan, with the former making a concerted effort to seal a January deal for his signature.

Liverpool has been frequently linked with Biglia in recent months, and injury to Lucas Leiva has led to renewed speculation that he could move to Anfield.

However, Arsene Wenger appears to have stolen a march on Liverpool counterpart Kenny Dalglish, and Enzo Montepaone has confirmed the Gunners are keen on his client.

"I know that Fiorentina officials went to Belgium to have a look at him and that they spoke to Anderlecht about trying to sign him in January," Montepaone told

"Interest from AC Milan? Yes, I can confirm that there has been in the past, but there has never been anything concrete.

"Fiorentina's interest is real, but Arsenal also like him a lot.

"Italy has always been his dream and, as he holds an Italian passport, a move to Italy is very likely.

"It is, however, important to pay attention to Arsenal."

Liverpool Target Jelavic Is Happy To Stay At Rangers

Nikica Jelavic insists he's happy at Rangers despite being flattered by reported interest from Liverpool.

The striker has bagged 28 league goals in just 40 appearances since joining from Rapid Vienna in 2010.

The Croatian international was the subject of a big-money bid from Leicester City in the summer and Gers boss Ally McCoist is braced for further interest in the January transfer window.

But Jelavic told the Daily Record: 'Every day, when I open the newspapers, I’m moving to another club.

'It’s nice to think so many teams are interested in me from the strongest league in the world but I’m not thinking about a transfer right now.'

Adam Has Capabilities To Outshine Alonso

Former Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie has reiterated his claims that Charlie Adam can be as good - if not better - than Xabi Alonso.

The Spanish international became a cult hero during his five-years at Anfield, although left for Real Madrid under a cloud in 2009 after falling out with manager Rafael Benitez.

Whether the Reds have ever properly replaced the 30-year-old remains up for debate between the club's loyal fans, but Gillespie insists Scottish international Adam is the man who could go on to bigger and better things on Merseyside following his summer arrival.

"Adam's performances all season have been excellent. He's a midfield player that makes things happen. He hurts teams, and he hurts defences with his passing," said Gillespie whilst co-commentating during the 1-0 win over QPR at the weekend.

"I like him, and I've gone on record as saying I think he's got all the capabilities of being better than Xabi Alonso. I stick by that.

"He also gives you goals as well; he created a great chance for Suarez against QPR. I think he's a great player."

Adam joined Liverpool from Blackpool for a reported £7 million during the summer transfer window, having failed to help the Tangerines avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League by the narrowest of margins.

Spearing Eyes Regular Start

Jay Spearing admits he needs to prove to Kenny Dalglish that he does not need to strengthen his side with anymore midfielders.

The academy graduate had been lined up to replace Lucas, who is out for the season with a knee injury, but was sent off in his first start of the season in the Premier League against Fulham.

Summer signing Jordan Henderson filled in for Saturday's victory over against QPR but Spearing is keen to prove he is the long term solution.

"The club is massive worldwide and the owners have come in and shown that they're going to back the manager," he said. "A club the size of this is always going to attract big players.

"It has always been my dream to play week in, week out so it's up to me to prove to the manager on a daily basis that when the transfer window does open and he has money at his disposal that he can look at a position like mine and think: 'There's no need to sign anyone there - we're pretty strong.'"

Johnson Offers Suarez Support

Glen Johnson insists Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez will not be affected by all the furore surrounding him.

Suarez has found himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons on occasion this season with the Uruguayan being hit with two misconduct charges by the Football Association.

The former Ajax man has also been targeted by opposition fans, but Johnson believes Suarez's confidence has not been dented despite a trying last few weeks.

"Luis isn't going to let any of the silly stuff bother him," Johnson told the club's official website. "People will try everything they possibly can to upset him because he's a good player.

"No opponent wants him to feel comfortable because if he feels comfortable he will score goals and that's not what they want. Of course he will get everything thrown at him. That's just the way it is.

"But he's exactly the same - a good professional and a good player. His confidence hasn't dropped. He always works so hard for the team and he plays very well when he's not scoring. But obviously we are much happier when he's scoring.

"I've been fortunate to play with some very good players and Luis is right up there.

"The difference between him and most other strikers is that he works so hard. Obviously he loves to score goals like most strikers but he works that bit harder. And when he's in front of goal he's the man you want the chances to fall to."

Aldridge: Villa Park Is Perfect Setting For Downing To Break His Duck

It’s written for Stewart Downing to get the winner at Villa Park this Sunday.

The winger has been unfortunate so far this season. He hasn’t scored or created a goal for us and is due some luck.

Downing had his best 45 minutes for Liverpool in the first half against QPR.

He will have an extra incentive against his old club and it all points to him getting on the scoresheet – just like he did when the clubs last met at Villa Park back in May.

Villa’s home form hasn’t been great. I watched them against Manchester United and they were ordinary.

We’ll go there with confidence and it’s a winnable game for us.

Reds Spread Festive Cheer

They may be gearing up for one of the busiest periods of the campaign, but Liverpool's first-team players and staff took time out of their preparations for the Festive season to bring some Christmas cheer to Alder Hey children's hospital on Monday.

The Reds took on the role of Santa Claus for one very special afternoon to make their annual visit to the local hospital and spend time with youngsters who are facing up to the prospect of remaining on the wards for Christmas and beyond.

The team were collected from Melwood shortly after midday by Ellison's Travel, who provided the use of a fleet of mini buses free of charge as they have done for several years, and they arrived clutching goodie bags stocked full of LFC merchandise to hand out to the kids.

To ensure as many children as possible were given an opportunity to meet their heroes, the players and staff were split into groups and set off around the hospital to visit the wards.

Though hospital staff tried to keep Liverpool's visit a surprise, news quickly spread and the groups were greeted by beaming smiles on the faces of the excited patients and their families, who were not only given gifts but also the opportunity to pose for photos with the players, have a chat with them and collect their autographs.

It was certainly a poignant occasion for the Reds party - and manager Kenny Dalglish insists it's important the squad make their annual visit to Alder Hey and try to bring some holiday cheer to the children.

"We're here because we have a responsibility to the community of Liverpool," the boss told "It's an unfortunate time of year for people who are in hospital, especially children.

"It's a traditional trip for us to come to Alder Hey and every one of the boys is here. It's great for them to come along, it's great for the kids as well and you get a little bit of a lift.

"Some of them are that young they won't know who we are! But we just hope Christmas is a little bit brighter for them.

"You always realize how lucky you are coming to hospital at any time, but especially at Christmas. The nurses do a fantastic job, not just here but in every hospital, and I'm sure they're delighted to see us come and show our appreciation to the nursing staff as much as giving a wee bit of sympathy to the kids as well."