Liverpool need to sharpen up

Tuesday 4th December 2012 10:13

Transitional period for Gerrard

Transitional period for Gerrard

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Richard Garnett says Liverpool must find Steven Gerrard's successor as a captain and a goal threat.

Liverpool need more offensive threats

Liverpool's stalemate with Swansea may not have excited too many Anfield optimists, but it certainly acted as a good reference point to how Brendan Rodgers' team is progressing.

In terms of the Reds' Premier League campaign, the January transfer window simply can't come quick enough.

A draw with Swansea is by no means a disastrous result, given the amount of scalps the Swans took last season under Rodgers' command. But despite having one goal chalked off and a couple more near misses, Liverpool remain powder puff in attack and (predictably) over-reliant on the inspirational Luis Suarez.

The Kop's former talisman, Steven Gerrard, is facing up to a transitional period in his career. The bursting runs have all but disappeared. The long range spectaculars have gradually gone missing and perhaps most significantly, the goals have dried up with Liverpool's penalties.

That said, the experience and authority Gerrard brings to this young team are invaluable and therefore, until a genuine successor to his midfield throne is firmly established in the side, there will always be a starting place for him.

Rodgers must surely now be working hard to figure out how he can get the most out of his captain in his remaining years at the top.

No finer player has graced the Anfield turf in a red shirt this century, so he deserves all the respect and support he gets. But like John Barnes did towards the end of his career, he must re-evaluate his game and make the necessary tweaks to ensure he remains a potent threat.

Whilst we hope (with extreme caution) that suitable attacking transfer targets are being readied for a January shopping spree, the short-term goal must be looking to find more goals within the existing squad.

With offensive threats seemingly at a premium, Jonjo Shelvey has emerged as the most likely goal getter but is yet to nail down a first team place.

Few would question Shelvey's obvious talent but his erratic form appears to have limited his starts in the Premier League.

It is not for me to question team selection, but given the lack of goal return from anyone but Suarez, it would be nice to see Shelvey given a solid run of starts in the side leading up to the New Year.

Rodgers has put plenty of faith in the young trio of Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom so I see no reason why the same cannot be said of Shelvey.

Moving on six days (and side-stepping an away defeat to Spurs) a slender home victory against Southampton might have done little to calm the nerves of the Anfield faithful, but it at least put a welcome three points on the board.

In truth, the Reds should've had the game sewn up much earlier, but for the well-documented short-comings in the Reds' attacking potency.

influential

The much anticipated return of Lucas was without question the highlight of the afternoon. Such is Rogers' desperation to find equilibrium in his midfield, the Brazilian was thrusted straight into the starting XI and only withdrawn when he tired late on.

Even without the luxury of match fitness, Lucas gave other players license to move forward whilst he protected the back line like he'd never been away.

Providing he can steer clear of serious injury, I have no doubt that Lucas will be next captain of the club, such is the example that he sets.

Liverpool now embark on a run of pre and post-Christmas fixtures that (on paper) look entirely winnable.

What, in reality, constitutes a winnable match for the Reds these days would seem to be entirely dependable on Rogers' men freeing themselves of the collywobbles in sight of goal and remembering how they got to play for such a prestigious club in the first place.

Have a little faith this Christmas.

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