September 21, 2019, 09:12:45 PM

Author Topic: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted  (Read 1903 times)

Offline the dude abides

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 8113
  • that rug really tied the room together
    • View Profile
captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« on: April 10, 2012, 07:54:26 PM »


The Question: is Steven Gerrard good for Liverpool?
By Jonathan Wilson
The Guardian
April 10th, 2012

It seems almost heretical to say it, but could it be that Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard is not the solution but the problem?

When Steven Gerrard came off the bench against Newcastle United on 30 December and transformed a 1-1 draw into a 3-1 win, the assumption was that, with their talisman back after an ankle injury, Liverpool would kick on. That win took them to fifth and with Chelsea and Arsenal faltering, Newcastle seemingly beginning to feel the effects of their comparatively slender squad and Tottenham being Tottenham, a challenge for Champions League qualification, perhaps even third place, seemed probable.

Liverpool have won only two of their 13 league games since then. Going into Tuesday's game against Blackburn Rovers they lie eighth, level on points with Fulham and Norwich City, the two sides below them, and risk finishing outside the top eight for the first time since they returned to the top flight in 1962. They need 15 points from the six games that remain to avoid their worst points tally in a 20-team Premier League (in 2005, a failure that was mitigated by their European Cup win that year).

A Carling Cup and possible FA Cup, of course, provide some mitigation – and it is actually slightly depressing that league position apparently means so much more than trophies – but it is still reasonable to ask what on earth has gone wrong since the turn of the year. Take a cohesive team, add Gerrard, and the result has been a shambles.

It seems almost heretical to say it, but could it be that Gerrard is not the solution but the problem; that, fine player though he is, he has destroyed the balance of the side? When Gerrard has not started this season, Liverpool have won 48% of games played; when he has started, that drops to 9%.

In the 11 games Gerrard has started, Liverpool have scored an average of 1.00 goal per game while conceding 1.36; without him it is goals for 1.24, goals against 0.90. They have taken 1.67 points per game without him, just 0.73 with. Project that over a season: without Gerrard, Liverpool would get 63 points, which last season would have seen them finish fifth; with Gerrard, they would get 28, certain relegation form.

Those figures include six games in which Gerrard has come off the bench. In two of those, against Everton away in October and against Newcastle, he helped turn draws into wins. In the other four, the result has remained unchanged, although Manchester City did increase a 2-0 lead to 3-0.

It was apparent even under Rafael Benítez that Gerrard was at his best when he could be let off the leash, when the situation was so desperate that he could be released from responsibility and told simply to swash buckles and storm barns all over the pitch – as he did against Olympiakos in December 2004, against Milan in the 2005 European Cup final and against West Ham in the FA Cup final the following year. In that regard, he fitted perfectly the Roy of the Rovers template and, as Scott Murray argued in The Blizzard (a piece reproduced here), there has been no figure so pernicious in English football history as Roy Race.

    "While little schemers from Italy dreamt of becoming fantasistas, conducting their team-mates to victory from the centre of the park, while South American youths honed their skills and picked up a few street-smarts in the dusty favelas, hoping to put it all together in a gambeta," he wrote, "thanks to Roy Race, English children spent their formative years sat on their arses being taught a very strange lesson: it doesn't really matter what you do for 89 minutes because a superhero will turn up eventually, welt the ball into the net, and you can all go home with your cups and medals.

    "Such was the sermon preached from the Melchester pulpit. In the big games, Rovers were perfectly happy to wing it, knowing Racey would amble along to the rescue at some point. As a result, nobody would bother preparing for anything. More often than not, Melchester would yawn on to the pitch, and end up a goal or two down not long after kick-off. A Race-inspired comeback was nearly always on the cards."

Nobody ever mentions it but in terms of control, Liverpool's best performance in their 2004-05 run in the Champions League was the 0-0 draw at Juventus, where Gerrard was absent and Liverpool's midfield comprised Xabi Alonso, Igor Biscan and Antonio Núñez.

Gerrard's penchant for Hollywood passes and his tactical indiscipline are well-known, but the Opta statistics present a more nuanced picture. Shots on target and shots to goal are virtually unchanged with and without Gerrard while possession (55.22% to 56.50%) and pass completion (80.79% to 81.06%) improve marginally with him in the side.

Cross completion drops from 21.21% to 15.19% when Gerrard comes into the side, while the number of tackles won falls from 75.49% to 71.90%. That latter figure perhaps hints at what he does in terms of disrupting the shape of the midfield. That said, the injury to Lucas Leiva who, remarkably, has still made more tackles than anybody else in the Liverpool squad this season despite having been injured since November, partly accounts for that fall-off and has clearly been a significant factor in Liverpool's stumble.

But what is really telling is the impact Gerrard has on other players. All six of Charlie Adam's assists and both his goals have come when Gerrard has not started. Jordan Henderson's tackle success rate drops from 92.59% when Gerrard does not start to only 63.64% when he does. Jay Spearing wins 60.71% of duels when Gerrard does not start; only 54.76% when he does. When Gerrard is there, they have to adjust to different roles and, so far, that seems to have had a detrimental effect.

The phenomenon of a big player dwarfing those around him, particularly when, as in the case of Henderson and Adam, they are low on confidence, is well-known. The tendency, understandably, is to give the ball to the star, to try to feed him at every opportunity: Cesc Fábregas described it happening at Arsenal in Thierry Henry's last full season, while an overreliance on Samuel Eto'o has clearly hampered Cameroon. Gerrard offers an excuse, an easy way for his team-mates to dodge responsibility.

It is not that he is a bad player, far from it – and Lucas's absence is almost certainly a bigger reason for Liverpool's slide than Gerrard's return – but it could be that his impact is detrimental. That is the problem with building up individuals in football: no matter how gifted he is, it is never just about one man.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/apr/10/the-question-steven-gerrard-liverpool
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was, in me, an invincible summer.

There’s no next time. It’s now or never.

Offline Tes

  • Too old to be a
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 10196
  • I hate defending
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 08:04:26 PM »
Dude stands there with a can opener in one hand, the lid of the can in the other and a mischievous smirk on his face, as the worms begin to emerge.

It's a rather damning stat re wins with and without Gerrard.
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.

Offline the dude abides

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 8113
  • that rug really tied the room together
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 08:11:22 PM »
Dude stands there with a can opener in one hand, the lid of the can in the other and a mischievous smirk on his face, as the worms begin to emerge.

It's a rather damning stat re wins with and without Gerrard.

 :D     it's open season on sacred cows.    kenny and marvellous, are finally being confronted.

yes, like other seasons, the stats are damning re our win percentages, when he plays and does not play.

given, that we are months, sometimes years ahead of the regular fan and the media, on so many issues (like dalglish, gerrard, etc), I reckon we could make a better go of running the club! 
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was, in me, an invincible summer.

There’s no next time. It’s now or never.

Offline Tes

  • Too old to be a
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 10196
  • I hate defending
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 10:17:32 PM »
Add another victory to the 'without' column.
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.

Offline the dude abides

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 8113
  • that rug really tied the room together
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 10:50:22 PM »
yes, one more to add on to that column.

imagine what we could be, without kenny and captain marvel, to hold us back.

bring back rafa and we can start going places once again.
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was, in me, an invincible summer.

There’s no next time. It’s now or never.

Offline Tes

  • Too old to be a
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 10196
  • I hate defending
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 10:57:46 PM »
Just as we need to blood Coates for Carragher, maybe the same applies to Shelvey for Gerrard. We'll get the big game against the Bitters on Saturday, no doubt, but we've got to start planning for life without him now and not wait until it happens.
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.

Offline the dude abides

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 8113
  • that rug really tied the room together
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 11:01:19 PM »
can we sell him yet, Tes.

can we sell him.  Go on, can we sell him?

*said in the manner of a kid, who keeps asking 'äre we there yet?"*
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was, in me, an invincible summer.

There’s no next time. It’s now or never.

Offline Tes

  • Too old to be a
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 10196
  • I hate defending
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 11:08:47 PM »
can we sell him yet, Tes.

can we sell him.  Go on, can we sell him?

*said in the manner of a kid, who keeps asking 'äre we there yet?"*

Not happy with opening the can, you're now throwing the worms everywhere.  :D  :D
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.

Offline the dude abides

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 8113
  • that rug really tied the room together
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 11:19:21 PM »
 :D

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was, in me, an invincible summer.

There’s no next time. It’s now or never.

Offline Ed

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1830
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 12:01:55 AM »
Jesus, I've spent the season making these points over
and over again 'til i'm blue in the face...

Take the captaincy off him, give it to Lucas and get him the f**k out
of centre midfield!

Offline Tes

  • Too old to be a
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 10196
  • I hate defending
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 12:43:33 AM »
Red tinted glasses manufacturers would have a rough trade on here, wouldn't they?  :D
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.

Offline the dude abides

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 8113
  • that rug really tied the room together
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 12:54:04 AM »
 :D

an especially hard-sell when it comes to Martin.
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was, in me, an invincible summer.

There’s no next time. It’s now or never.

Offline Tes

  • Too old to be a
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 10196
  • I hate defending
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 01:12:35 AM »
:D

an especially hard-sell when it comes to Martin.

 :D  Martin's the ultimate challenge.
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.

Offline Ed

  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1830
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 03:23:14 AM »
Red tinted glasses manufacturers would have a rough trade on here, wouldn't they?  :D
Hehe.

I was watching Stevie against Villa and he'll bend one in dipping with pace from
the right and it's like wow, perfection! Easy to get sucked in....but when you see
the crazy unmarshaled/uncoordinated defending and mad midfield rhythm he
engenders...we're getting beat by crap midfields - limited with a bit of discipline,
organisation, understanding. Heck Stephen frickin' Ireland (talented enough but,
hardly your archetypal, midfield general) dominated the centre for the first 25
minutes at Anfield (at Anfield!). You must be joking...seriously (what next?).

We'll get the big game against the Bitters on Saturday.
Yeah was hoping he'd dust down the A game (did it against Napoli in front of the new owners
and I think there was another sight of it shortly before a recent contract renegotiation).  :)

Offline Tes

  • Too old to be a
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 10196
  • I hate defending
    • View Profile
Re: captain marvel, another sacred cow finally being confronted
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 01:30:15 PM »
He would be so much better by just adding discipline to his game and making other players feel as though he trusts them.

When you have a player so dominant (in many ways) it can cause other players to feel inhibited and play within themselves.
I think this is why our results statistically can be better without him as other players don't suffer with inhibitions and they tend to take collective responsibility a bit more as they feel more free to do so.

We certainly need to working on a plan for post Gerrard, as his injuries are becoming more frequent and the periods extended and when he does play the consistancy of high performances has dropped off somewhat.

If he could just learn both the discipline and to understand that the ball just needs to kept moving and work an opening rather than trying to force one with a long pass or 'holywood' pass, not only could he become even more effective, but also prolong his career.

I think he needs to play either advanced off a striker or wide right as a wide forward player, so his crossing and passing ability (if he learns to keep it more simple) can be utilised, as could his finishing ability (which he does possess), and he wouldn't have defensive duties other to close down within his zone, and we wouldn't lose defensive shape or have holes left for the opposition to exploit by his indiscipline or poorly chosen and timed runs forward.
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

Those who choose to preach would do well to take note of their own sermons.