Say What

Saturday, 8 February 2014 | MYT 7:30 AM

It has to be winning time

A file picture of Daniel Sturridge (left). He has been in fine goalscoring form of late and Liverpool will rely on him and Luis Suarez to break Arsenal down. — AFP Photo

A file picture of Daniel Sturridge (left). He has been in fine goalscoring form of late and Liverpool will rely on him and Luis Suarez to break Arsenal down. — AFP Photo

FAILURE to land a coveted player during the January transfer window was certainly as deflating as the draw against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.

Apparently it wasn’t for the lack of trying, especially with the transfer attempt of Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka. But what worries me is the take-it-or-leave-it attitude of the club when it comes to landing their transfer targets.

I know Liverpool feel there is a fair value in what a player is worth. Like many other clubs, they do not want to pay above the odds to land a player and they are cautious when the price tag is higher. Case in point is Mohamed Salah. A bid was made and was gazumped by a higher offer from moneybags Chelsea.

Financial fair play rules have changed the dynamics of the current day transfer activity and prevented an all-out bidding war but the current situation is a little different.

Over the past couple of seasons, Liverpool have sold a number of players to streamline the first team squad. Part of that reason is to ensure that the wage bill does not spiral out of control but the consequence of that is that the first team were left rather thin.

Injuries to a number of defenders meant that the first team pairing is not available and Kolo Toure has stepped into the fold. Raheem Sterling has done well to marshal the right hand side of attack with Philippe Coutinho bookending the other flank.

I can understand why Brendan Rodgers went for both Salah and Konoplyanka. Sterling will probably not last till the end of the season given the punishment he is taking. And with on-loan Chelsea forward Victor Moses more like Agent Moses with his poor form, an attacking winger is very much needed.

But the consequence of not splashing the cash leaves Liverpool having to battle for fourth spot with a thin squad and the need to win the vast majority of their games from here on without any reinforcements.

That resolve, though, will be tested on Saturday when the Reds host league leaders Arsenal at Anfield. The odds of Liverpool winning don’t look good though as Liverpool have not beaten Arsenal at Anfield for the past seven seasons.

Arsenal have their own set of problems but their strength is that they have capable backups when a star attacking player gets injured. Liverpool have Moses or Iago Aspas. God help us.

The other issue is that Arsenal pack a punch in attack and it will not be a surprise if Rodgers opts for a formation change featuring a three-man midfield with Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen to nullify Arsenal’s charge up field from the centre of the pitch.

But if there is any a time when the back’s against the wall and a win is needed one way or the other, it is this game.

The reason why Liverpool might win is because of their forward play and lets pray there will not be another banana skin at the back.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge will have to prove their mettle against Arsenal’s defence but mistakes at the back may cost Liverpool dearly. According to Opta, errors at the back have led to most number of goals conceded or goal attempts for opposing teams. It’s a statistic that needs to be dealt with if Liverpool harbour hopes of securing fourth spot and the last Champions League place.

Jagdev Singh Sidhu is confident Liverpool will win today. Book it.

Tags / Keywords: epl , English Premier League , Liverpool , Arsenal , football


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