When this summer’s transactions were concluded and the transfer window was slammed shut, Liverpool were left looking a little foolish having agreed a loan deal for Andy Carroll before Clint Dempsey was stolen from right under their nose by their latest opponents, Tottenham Hotspur. The question that left everyone stumped was how the Merseyside club would manage with only Luis Suarez and new arrival Fabio Borini making up the numbers in their striking department. Unfortunately, it’s a question that Brendan Rodgers is still struggling to answer and saw Damien Comolli being sacked from his position as the Director of Football.
The former Swansea City boss will no doubt be grateful for Suarez’s form so far this season and he will remain indebted to the Uruguayan for shouldering the goal-scoring responsibilities almost single-handedly. The irresistible number seven has directly contributed to 72.22% of his side’s goals in the Premier League, scoring ten times and assisting thrice. The fact that their second-highest goal tally has come from the ‘Own Goals’ column speaks volumes of their lack of goal scorers.
Suarez can't deliver every time
|STAT: Apart from Luis Suarez, no other Liverpool player has scored more than one Premier League goal this season.|
On Wednesday night, Tottenham started their game against Liverpool like a house on fire at White Hart Lane. Gareth Bale sparked the game into life first with a stinging free-kick and then with a dangerous ball across goal that evaded everyone. Suarez then had a glorious chance at the other end but he rushed his shot which was saved by Hugo Lloris when he had the time and space to take another touch and make sure of his finish.
It wasn’t long before Bale made the visitors pay for failing to learn from his earlier warnings as he set off on a driving run down the left before drilling a ball across goal for Aaron Lennon who sneaked in behind Stewart Downing to tap in at the far post. Jordan Henderson had the goal at his mercy but missed the target much to the amazement and dispair of the Liverpool fans. The Welsh Wizard then extended his side’s lead from a free-kick and it looked like Liverpool might have been in for a long night.
However, Rodgers’ troops gathered themselves and responded with applaud towards the end of the first half with Suarez coming closest to pulling one back for his team when his attempt was cleared off the line by Kyle Walker. In the second half, Liverpool started to control the game but the lack of an out and out goal-scorer was evidently costing them. They eventually managed to get a goal back rather fortuitously when Lennon’s clearance hit Bale flush in the face as the ball deflected into his own net.
Liverpool benefited from another own goal
Yes, Suarez has been prolific in front of goal this season but he hasn’t been lethal and he never has been in the past either. He lacks the kind of composure and awareness that makes a world-class goal-scorer. He is undeniably a world-class footballer but he never restricts himself to the space in and around the opposition’s penalty area and so he shouldn’t because he is extremely effective when he drifts wide or drops deep. His profligacy has been more out of necessity than anything else and had Liverpool had a top goal-scorer for him to play around, he may have been even more dangerous but probably would not be their leading goal-scorer. At this moment in time he is Liverpool’s chief goal-scorer almost by default.
Towards the end of the game, the hosts were barely holding on and were most likely relieved to hear the final whistle. One of the problems that contributed to Liverpool’s inability to score the goals that their possession and chances justified is that when Suarez wasn’t in the box, nobody else got in there either.
On one occasion, the Uruguayan drifted to the right and sent a cross in but Jose Enrique was the only one on hand to attack it. The fact that he is a defender by nature was palpable when he attempted to head the ball down for someone else when he should have headed it towards the far corner of the goal. Had he been more composed, he may have had the awareness to realise that he even had the time to bring the ball down on his chest and have a shot.
Rodgers will be desperately looking ahead to the January transfer window to bring in a striker. The club have been linked with a cut-price deal for Klaas Jan Huntelaar whose contract with FC Schalke is due to run out in the summer and he is exactly the kind of striker Liverpool need. The Dutchman isn’t quick or blessed with an abundance of skill but he is a phenomenally gifted finisher who guarantees goals. Even at 29, his age shouldn’t be a cause for concern as pace or an exceptional work-rate isn’t the main aspects of his game. He would merely be on hand to sniff out the chances that Suarez is so adept at creating with his mazy runs. He is also notorious for fashioning that extra yard of space for himself in and around the penalty box in order to get his shot away.
Even if they sign someone else, Liverpool will be a significantly better unit once they bring in a decent striker, let alone someone of Huntelaar’s calibre. At this level, you have to take your chances or you will be made to pay for being wasteful. Against Tottenham, Liverpool were good value for at least a point but alas, they had nobody to hit the back of the net and earn them a result despite the comical contribution from Bale.
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