Liverpool Club Focus – Toothless Reds aid Hodgson revenge

Wasteful Liverpool tasted defeat for the twelfth time in the Premier League this season as they slipped to a cruel 1-0 loss against Roy Hodgson’s battling West Bromwich Albion side. The Reds created a staggering 30 chances during the game at Anfield, but as has been the case for much of the campaign, Kenny Dalglish’s men once again failed to make the most of their golden opportunities. The disappointing result means that a top-six finish is now almost certainly out of reach for Liverpool and they must now concentrate on trying to finish above local rivals Everton, who currently sit in seventh place.

The Anfield outfit had to play without skipper Steven Gerrard, who was rested for the game, but that did not stop them from creating numerous chances. Strike duo Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll were guilty of spurning six opportunities each, while Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson saw their shots come back off the post and the crossbar. Liverpool have now struck the woodwork on 30 occasions in the Premier League this term – more than any other team in a full season since 2000.

Based on that statistic, it may seem rather obvious to suggest that Liverpool currently lack an out-and-out goalscorer. The Reds have scored just 40 goals in the top-flight this term – only seven teams in the whole division have a worse record in front of goal. Their top scorer, Uruguayan Luis Suarez, has found the net just eight times in the Premier League this season. A January move for a proven striker could have provided Liverpool with the boost they needed to challenge for a place in the top-four. Instead, they will now have to wait until the summer before Dalglish can bring a new forward into the club.

Defensively, Liverpool have been solid in general throughout the season. Despite the absence of Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger for chunks of the campaign, the Reds have shipped 37 league goals so far this term – only title-chasing Manchester United and Manchester City have conceded less. When it comes to strengthening the squad this summer, Dalglish is likely to leave the defence as it is, and instead concentrate on drafting in new players further up the pitch.

While Stewart Downing has contributed little from wide positions in terms of goals and assists this season, Maxi Rodriguez and Craig Bellamy have at least created and scored some themselves. Signing a new winger may be on the cards, as popular Dutchman Dirk Kuyt is expected to leave Anfield. But of all areas, the centre of midfield remains the most intriguing in terms of whether to expect any additions to be made or not. The return of Lucas Leiva will solve Liverpool’s problems in defensive midfield next season, but Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam have come in for some criticism at times this year. Dalglish may look to add a bit of bite to his midfield when the transfer window opens.

All in all, despite the disappointing result against West Brom and Liverpool’s general lack of success in the league this season, the manager is unlikely to ‘rebuild’ his team. Instead, there could be a couple of additions in attack and in midfield, as the Reds look to at least challenge for a top-four spot next term.

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