Tuesday, 9 February 2010

2 Man Team- Another Media Myth

The claims made by some journalists in the media range from the bizarre to the ridiculous. Of course, they are just telling the the general public what they want to hear, otherwise people wouldn't buy their newspaper, listen to their radio show, watch their television programme etc, but surely it is a necessity for our journalists to have a bit of common sense behind their arguments.

"Liverpool are a 2 man team," they chime, "nothing without Torres and Gerrard," they protest. You even hear Reds fans, like Alvin Martin on Talksport, repeating these insane statements as if they're proven fact.

Funny thing is, you only hear this rubbish when Liverpool are on a poor run of form while Gerrard and Torres are on the sidelines, for example, earlier this season. Yes, Liverpool were experiencing a horrible run of results at the time. That's, as Rafa would put it, a fact. However, that run of disappointing results, and displays, is not just down to the fact that 2 of our best players weren't fit, even if that is a contributing factor.

This is shown by Liverpool's recent run of results, which has yielded an impressive 17 out of 21 points. That's title winning form, and if the Reds keep it up they might just be a half decent outside bet to sneak the title from underneath the noses of the Mancs, Chelski and Arsenal.

Ok, i might be getting a bit ahead of myself now, but the fact remains the same, Liverpool have had their best run of results (by far) this season while several key players, not just Gerrard and Torres, have been injured.

Liverpool have won 5 and drawn 2 of of their last 7 Premier League fixtures, with wins coming against Wolves, Villa, Spurs, Bolton and Everton. The 2 draws came away at Stoke and Wolves. Fernando Torres has missed 5 out of those 7 games and Steven Gerrard has been out for 2 of those 7 games. However, the skipper was half fit when he returned against Wolves, therefore making him less effective.

Glen Johnson, one of our best attacking players despite of his position at right back, has been out with a medial liagment injury in his knee and isn't expected to be back in contention for the first team until March. He picked up the injury at the end of December at a snowy Villa Park, and it has kept him out for 5 of our last 7 games.

The skillful Israeli winger, Yossi Benayoun, has had a broken rib and has been out since he picked up the injury in the FA Cup replay at home to Reading. This has ruled him out of 5 Premier League fixtures, and threatens to keep him on the treatment bench for more time than was expected.

Also, Daniel Agger, who is a first choice centre back, has missed 3 out of the last 7 games, and was an unused sub in one, at home to Bolton. Fabio Aurelio, the second choice left back, has also missed 3 out of the last 7 matches, with a calf problem.

Despite of these injuries Liverpool have been on top form, with 6 clean sheets out of the last 7 undefeated matches. All of this has come even though 2 of the backline have been out with injury, and Rafa has had to play squad players, like Kyrgiakos, in the back four, as well as moving Jamie Carragher to an unfamiliar (at least in recent years) role at right back.

Meanwhile, our best attacking players, including Yossi Benayoun, Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger (yes, he's a central defender but his runs from the back are invaluable, and add an extra dimension to Liverpool's attack) alongside our "2 man team" of Gerrard and Torres, have all faced time out with frustraing injuries.

This has caused Rafa to persist with the underperforming David Ngog. Also, it has forced him to throw Albert Riera straight into the first team after his injury. Even Phillip Degen, who has had massive injury problems himself, has been employed on the right hand side of our attack as a result of the mounting injury crisis at Anfield.

So how have the Reds managed to produce such a sensational run of performances and results, with all the injury problems both defensively and in attack? Put simply, Rafa's gone back to what he is best at. He has stabilised our defence by playing a settled back four of; Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel and Insua. Also, he has got Lucas and Mascherano to perform at the highest level once again, providing a vital shield for the back four.

This defensive unit has only conceded 1 goal in the last 7 Premier League games. Liverpool have now become hard to beat once again, that has made a platform from which Liverpool can build. Up front, Liverpool have laboured yet continue to lack creativity as so many top attacking players are on the bench.

However, Dirk Kuyt has stepped up to the plate, scoring 4 goals in 4 games, including his 50th for the club as he scored the winner in the Derby. His crucial goals have enabled Liverpool to pinch victories while not playing an open, expansive style of football.

Furthermore, squad players have come to the fore, helping Liverpool to some much needed victories, especially Greek defender Sotorios Kyrgiakos, who has been a giant at the back. His commanding performances have made Liverpool a formidable force at the back, as he has kept top strikers like, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Everton's Yakubu quiet. He has also dealt with the physical threat posed by Kevin Doyle of Wolves and Bolton striker Kevin Davies.

On top of this, last season Liverpool finished 2nd and recorded the highest total of goals in the league, and played some unbelievable attacking football, even with Torres and Gerrard out for at least half of the season.

Don't listen to the lies and bile spouted regularly by journalists eager to label another club as "in crisis." Their only motive is to sell papers. Watch the matches, don't overreact and always look to support the club and the manager.


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