IF Liverpool FC’s desperate goalless draw against Stoke City points to one thing, it is that Kenny Dalglish needs to buy a new striker during this month’s transfer window.
We often forget that Liverpool FC have technically been a striker short all season, certainly in comparison to the leading clubs.
But that is starting to show now. And I’d have thought Dalglish will be trying to do something, particularly when you look at the list of games coming up in the next few weeks – Manchester City, Manchester United twice, Tottenham Hotspur.
The coaching staff know where the shortcomings are. Somebody is needed who can play both alongside Suarez, and as a replacement for when the Uruguayan is unavailable.
From what I saw at the weekend, Liverpool Fc are still not getting enough people into the penalty area.
I’ve mentioned this before. Any winning team needs to get as many players in the box as they can when attacking.
I was in the gym on Monday morning and had Liverpool supporters coming up to me and moaning about the formation Dalglish used on Saturday.
Three centre-backs is all right if the wing-backs can bomb on because they don’t have to worry about leaving space behind them, but there’s no point if they don’t. And, overall, Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson didn’t get to the byline enough.
Stoke had only Peter Crouch up front. Other than perhaps the top four or five, the majority of teams will come to Anfield looking for a point.
The bottom line is, if you play 3-4-2-1 or a variation, you need to get out wide and get to the byline and get runners from midfield. Liverpool didn’t have any of that.
When Dalglish first took over in the 1980s, we played with three at the back at times. It can turn into whatever you think at the time.
When you draw 0-0 it’s five at the back, when you win 4-0 it’s three at the back.
This was probably the first time Liverpool really missed Luis Suarez. He is an outstanding player, and his runs and intelligence would have made a difference and posed some serious questions of the Stoke defence.
Stewart Downing had another disappointing game. The last few times I have seen him play, it’s obvious that he has a lot of quality but for me he lacks a bit of commitment.
He runs at people, then gets to them and thinks he might lose the ball and doesn’t take them on.
The rest of the team must feel like saying ‘take him on, if you lose it, we’ll deal with it’.
I think it’s a bit of lack of self-belief and a bit of Downing being overawed playing for Liverpool.
That’s a little bit strange, as Liverpool supporters will back their players if they give everything week in, week out. They’ll accept someone losing the ball if he’s trying to run at players and make things happen.
Downing is maybe reading the situation wrong. He’s a good crosser and relatively two-footed. He just needs to believe in himself more.
Dirk Kuyt also struggled, but that’s more a case of it being a long time since he played as a lone striker. He was better the other week when he played off Suarez.
It’s different when you are on your own, and if anything Kuyt is too honest for his own good by coming back. He should just stay up front and be a target man.
But too many of Liverpool’s attacking players are scratching around at the moment. They’ve all hit the wall at the same time.