Finishing Continues To Be A Problem At Liverpool.
By Oliver Wilson
“We controlled the game before the sending off and I think we had the momentum,” was how Daniel Agger described Liverpool’s afternoon against West Brom on Saturday.
“We created chances.”
Liverpool were haunted yesterday by the ghost of seasons past this weekend as a lack of finishing thwarted their chances of taking three points from West Bromwich Albion on the first day of the Premier League season.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have had a fruitful pre-season, including banging three goals past Gomel in the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie, but the usual problem reared its ugly head once again.
Reds fans watched last season as Luis Suarez struck the back of the net 11 times in Premier League action, but the striker averaged just over 4 shots-a-game meaning the Uruguayan hit around 155 efforts on goal last year.
Similarly, his strike partner Andy Carroll had 95 attempts on goal last season but managed to hit home just four in league play. This season could end up running a similar course.
Even without knowing the stats, Liverpool fans will remember the countless times that games and points were lost due to an inability to put the ball in the back of the net, despite the ample number of opportunities offered to their forwards.
Suarez, on the weekend, twisted and turned, pushed and pulled as the West Brom defence did everything they could to hold off one of the world’s most exciting players.
Despite their efforts Luis found enough space to threaten Ben Foster’s goal on multiple occasions, but the majority of his strikes, failed to cause a problem for the English keeper, and Foster was only asked to make one save of any difficulty.
Two free headers sailed wide of the target, one of which came from a Stewart Downing cross that hung in the air begging to be nodded into the far corner, while his strike partner Fabio Borini failed to get involved in a game that passed him by.
Borini, to his credit, was played far too wide in his Premier League debut and comes to Liverpool with a decent scoring record in Serie A. It isn’t, however, an exceptional record and the Italian will provide some, but not all, of the goals Liverpool need to challenge for Champions League football. He will also need time to adjust to Premier League football, time that he and Liverpool just don’t have with Manchester City Arsenal and Manchester United all featuring in three of their next four ties.
Liverpool’s bench lacks a goals scorer, and with Carroll seemingly a last resort for Rodgers, another forward could,and should, be arriving on Merseyside before the end of the transfer window.
It’s a very long season, but if Suarez continues to be a creator and not a finisher, Liverpool’s troubles from last season could come back to haunt the new regime regardless of the style Rodgers brings to the team.