Liverpool’s defeat at the hands of table topping Manchester City only served to prove the point further that Liverpool are seriously lacking penetration and a cutting edge this season. Liverpool dominated possession throughout yesterday’s game yet could not penetrate further than to the edge of City’s penalty area and continuously failed to threaten a stalwart defence. Despite possession usually being key, Liverpool only passed the ball around Manchester City rather than through them and lacked the clinical edge that title chasing City showed. Whilst a rare ragged defensive performance will not worry Dalglish and his staff it must now be at the forefront of their minds to strengthen in the transfer window, especially after it came to light the club will not appeal against Luis Suarez’s eight match ban.
Questionable was the decision of the Liverpool boss not start returning Captain Steven Gerrard and the inform Craig Bellamy, yet even when these two players came on Liverpool were found wanting not only creatively but also in urgency and pace. Expensive winger Stewart Downing is yet to really hit top form and needs to offer more in the final third if he is to have any real impact on Liverpool’s season and midfielders Adam and Henderson appear to find it difficult to find their place within the side when they play together, often contradicting each other by filling the same space. Youngster Jay Spearing has stepped in as best he can to replace the position in the team vacated by Lucas, who was vital to the Liverpool side before his season was ended prematurely through injury. Veteran Dirk Kuyt continues to have a good engine yet is always going to struggle taking players on and this seems to be the problem for Liverpool with a lack of players possessing serious pace which leads to a slow and predictable build up, further hindering the chances of Andy Carroll ending his goal drought and showing his worth to the Liverpool faithful.
Liverpool are full of very good ball playing footballers such as Kuyt, Henderson and Maxi yet none of these will strike fear into sides that possess players with pace and threaten without needing the majority of possession, as was the case in last night’s game. The return of Gerrard should aid Liverpool’s creativity however he is unable to turn Liverpool’s fortunes around on his own and the need for a winger is still apparent even after the hefty spending spree of the summer. As well as this a striker needs to be added to add more of a goal threat and poacher Darren Bent may well be the answer, although his potential signing may again lead to over spending on a player who certainly does not possess a world class pedigree. The need for these additions only raises the same questions that have been asked of the Liverpool managers over the past ten years and unless these areas of the side are addressed Liverpool will only continue to struggle to hit the heights of success they once did.