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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Liver n'Onions: Are we as good as we think?

Liverpool's performance against Tottenham at the weekend was just about as rank as a bag of month old Onions left out in the sun to rot. Under the cosh from the first moments, Liverpool where out played by a team that has been the living embodiment of mediocrity in recent times. In a game where the Reds saw red twice with the sending off of Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel, who both looked out of depth, out of touch and out of position. I will cut  Skrtel some slack for his dismal performance as he was filling in as an emergency right back due to the injures of Martin Kelly Glen Johnson. The tackle that lead to his sending odd was shambolic and rash, expected from a young player like Coates-who made his debut, but not Skrtel, a experienced defender and should show more maturity in his decision making, earning  Andy Grey's  " Rocks for brains." This was the second  in the double action personnel loss  sustained, after Charlie Adam  headed to the showers early, after picking up his second yellow. Liverpool couldn't start the attacking engines falling behind to a wonder strike from Luka Modric. Not long after the opening goal I had a realization that shook me to my core. Looking at the teams that lined up next to each other, I had to ask myself " Is Liverpool's first team any better than Tottenham's?  It should be better!  But upon examination i have dug up some dirt that you could grow unicorns on. Let me explain the procedures of this examination.  I am strictly looking at the players potential, talent, and how they are viewed in a modern footballing sense. The line-ups on sunday where:

Tottenham starting lineup: (4-4-2)
Friedal, Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou- Ekotto, Kranjcar, Parker, Modric, Bale, Defoe, Adebayor

Liverpool's starting lineup: (4-4-2)
Reina, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Adam, Lucas, Downing, Carroll, Suarez

Friedal v. Reina:
Both are fantastic keepers who have been around the Premier League for a long long time. In terms of notoriety, Reina is regarded as a more of a star, as a sure fire stater for almost any national teams, that don't have Iker Casillas in their national pool.  Both are regarded as two of the more consistent keepers in England. So I will call it pretty much a wash between the two keepers with Reina taking the slight edge of the American.
Better player: Reina

Kyle Walker v. Martin Skrtel:
Taking into the account that Skrtel was forced to play out of position, he had a miserable game with Tottenham pinpointing his side as the entry point in behind. Kyle Walker is a promising English youngster who had a successful loan at Aston Villa only to be called back to N. London and given  Corluka to vie with for first team football. Looking at the two is comparing a horse and a donkey, with Skrtel playing out of the position so I won't go further in depth.
Better player: Walker

Younes Kaboul v. Jamie Carragher:
The age old stalwart of  Merseyside it seems is reaching his final swan song, looking sloppy and slow. Ok its not that bad yet, but the wonderful servant to Liverpool is a fantastic center back that most teams would like on their books. A few years ago I would take him over Kaboul anyday, and I probably still would, but the gulf of class between Carragher and the Frenchman is not so wide.
Better player: Carragher

Ledley King v. Daniel Agger:
Both very injury prone players who when fit are great assets, but If your lucky enough to have them lacing up their boots in successive games you should be counting your chickens. Agger and King are quite different players excluding the knack for picking up injures, Agger is a fiery, aggressive player who often talks himself into trouble, even the way he looks, the foehawk  and the tat's completes the facade. King is the opposite. Calm, composed, and clinical in the back, playing it safe and as I said when fit is a force to be reckoned with.
Better player: King

Benoit Assou- Ekotto v. Jose Enrique:
Enrique has started his Liverpool career liked we all hoped. I see him settling even more as the Reds get on a role and stop hitting speed bumps in the shape of Stoke City. He has linked well with Downing on the left, but I would like to see more adventure in his runs, overlapping and swinging 'em in. Now that Capdevilla is the wrong side of 30, expect to see Enrique as a regular in Spain's left-back spot.  Hearing  chatter from many outlets it seems that  Assou-Ekotto has been pinned at the the weak point in Spurs defense, I don't really see it. Bedsides his poor balls out, he looks decent to me. for my team I am going with Enrique hands down lads
Better player: Enrique

Scott Parker v. Lucas Leiva:
Scotty Parker is the embodiment of industry, voted Sports writers players of the year last season, shows a great bit of business by Spurs. Hard working, spirited, continually doing the simple things well.  Lucas the Brazilian forced many Liverpool fans to the bottle, watching him give away balls and perform miserably for his first couple years at Anfield. I wished someone would bind his hands, blind fold him and drop him off at David Moyes door step. Since then he has come on leaps and bounds, surgical in his short range passing, tracks players well and works his socks off.  I love the player now and has a few youthful years on Scotty Parker. This is cannon fodder as I'am  taking Scotty Parker for his hunger is second to none.
Better player: Parker

Luka Modric v. Charlie Adam: 
The turmoil surrounding the transfer that did not come, certainly did nothing to slow down the creative Croatian as he undid the Reds with an outrageous strike. For me the gulf in class is enormous between Luka Modric and Charlie Adam. In the start of the season Liverpool had Adam, Meireles, Gerrard, Aquilani, Lucas and Henderson on the roster. Out of those 5 arguably the better 2 left, leaving us with Adam as our creative midfielder.  When Captain Gerrard returns to the side, I expect/ hope Adam gets dropped to the bench, as I remain bewildered  over his contribution other from his set-piece and corner expertise. Modric is more dynamic going forward, dosen't seem to make rash challenges, especially on a yellow. Both players are good with a pass, but when you sign Modric you get a more complete player.
Better player: Modric

Bale v. Downing:
This comparison is  consistency vs. streakiness, with Gather Bale being as streaky as they come. He had one half of a fantastic season but before that there was a stretch of I believe 28 games that when ever he started, Spurs lost. The jet propelled Welsh man can out run  seemingly anyone, and has it in his locker to turn a defender like Maicon in to minced meat. The problem with Bale is  he doesn't do it enough. Downing on the other hand  has been a consistent performer for years now, climbing up the footballing latter, from Middlesborough to Villa, to the National team, to Liverpool. You can bet your house on the fact that every game he will swing in a good cross, beat a few players and get to the by-line more times than you could fathom. Bale can dazzle with the spectacular(refer to the San Siro last year),  but Downing is the tortoise I this situation I dare not to pick the hare.
Better player: Downing

Kranjcar v. Henderson: 
Kranjcar is a real tactile player, who creates going forward with silky passing and creative vision, but is lacking in confidence. Henderson acquired a massive fee this summer for his promise and has performed decently for Liverpool so far but he will grow. He can operate in the center, or on the wing where Dalgleish has deployed him. He's a rudimentary player, doing the simple things well, and is composed for his youth.  I think in terms of footballing experience and skill at the moment Kranjcar pips Henderson, but I say this with a condition that  come a couple years Henderson will far surpass him.

Defoe vs. Suarez:
Suarez hands down, no contest. More dynamic, hungrier, more skillful and harder working. Both players are quick, diminutive and natural goal scorers. Suarez takes this one although he failed to break the Spurs defensive shackles this weekend.
Better player: Suarez

Adebayor v. Carroll:
For the life of me I cannot even remember what Carroll did in the game, besides being involved in the he disallowed goal, he was pretty anonymous in link up play. Carroll earned about half of his ridiculous transfer price tag at Newcastle, but since moving to Liverpool has struggled for fitness. The man is actually a boy, in age and how he acts, shows tremendous promise but has yet to show it. Looking at the teams Adebayor has played for over the years says it all, Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Tottenham. He is clinical when on song,tricky scoring on his home debut on the weekend with a cheeky chip over Reina. Both have baggage, controversy, and are much maligned by fans alike. In terms of doing it…Its gotta be Adebayor
Better player: Adebayor

Judging Tottenham so far this season is somewhat unfair to the Spurs as they have faced a flying Man City side, and an even higher soaring United. With much being made over the lack of spending done by Arry this summer, looking at the starting lineup that faced Liverpool at the weekend speaks volumes of the squad they have, clearly seen in comparison to Liverpool who spent massively. I have to ask myself…are the Reds are any better than Spurs. This is a slightly worrisome realization that the fight to get back into Champions League contention will be tougher than expected.

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