At the same time, our shots on target per game and our goals per game has reduced since the return of Sturridge. We went from 2 goals per game from after United to Sturridge coming back, to 1.6 goals per game since his return. Similarly, we have gone from 6.5 shots on target per game to 5.3 shots on target per game, since we moved Sterling out of the forward spot. There isn't necessarily direct causation, but moving Sterling out of the forward position is clearly having an effect on our attack.
agree. A system does need forging. Ultimately we want 1] namely a better collective with a proper clinical striker.
At the moment it seems to be a conundrum, though:-
2] a better collective without the striker
3] an inferior collective with the striker.
In my own mind there's no question that at the moment we don't appear to have a sufficiently fit, mobile and determined Sturridge to provide us with option 1]. Even with Sterling alongside I find it hard to see him at the level demanded right now to enable the collective to function with him in it as fluently as it was just a month ago without the striker.
Of the other two options in the light of where we are right now and where we want to try and attain by season's end I'd definitely opt for 2] even if it means chancing our arm without the real clinical finisher that Sturridge clearly is. Bearing in mind, of course, that Sturridge would still be an option from the bench.
It felt to me that Sturridge was a touch sharper on Sunday. Not perhaps in his all-round work and fitness (which will probably not be resolved now without a good pre-season preparation), but in his touch, confidence and decision making in the area. The first time volley was great confidence and almost wonderful technique. The layoff to Lallana was great vision and perfectly weighted. The goal was signature Sturridge movement and a snapshot making a great keeper look laboured.
Sterling certainly (despite occasional wonderings about him becoming a world class wingback) needs to be higher up the pitch, freer in his movement putting fear into the minds of opposing defences; because he can certainly be a world class attacking player. The Coutinho-Sturridge relationship has enough proven potency to be encouraged over the remainder of the season. Lallana, and his slightly frustrating casualness when just about to move the ball allowing a defender to get a toe in, may be the one to miss out, unless (in Skrtel's absence, perhaps), there is a reversion to some 4231 which gets all three of those players into the critical areas around Sturridge.
Central midfield for me, remains the bigger long term question. In the dying days of Gerrard's reign (one he seems to have hastened, with his throwback to teenage petulance), not one of the cast of replacements is entirely, reassuringly, convincing. On the best days of each, they can look superb. Yet each can also look ponderous and plodding, against the unlikeliest opposition.
« Last Edit: Today at 04:32:56 PM by redmark »
Nail on the head too, with Sturridge playing like a scared man, and still gets injured!!! It has been something that has pissed me off lately. He's slow upfront, but still keeps on the last man. His turn is a little more rigid and he barely takes a man for pace anymore.
The main thing they did is make Sterling and Can work hard.
Big positive for me was Mignolet saving a penalty, pity it wasnt a little more meaningful, but 2-1 scoreline doesnt look as bad as a 3-1 scoreline. But its the points difference that mattered.
Another trend I feel is, before a big game, I think we over-promote the game. Interviews, picture albums, media put us as firm favourites. Against Beskitas, lost. Against United, lost. Can our players adjust to being favourites in big games? Weight of expectation?
I told people around me, and I was laughed at, that I was shitting it for this home game. The ref will decide it. I'd take a draw before kick-off. Keeps us close with them having a harder run in