Sunday, 15 January 2012

Liverpool toothless as Stoke frustrate

As Stoke City joined a growing list of teams leaving Anfield with a share of the points, Liverpool fall further behind in their pursuit for a return to the Champions League.

Since his arrival from Feynoord in 2006 Dutch international Dirk Kuyt has won a lot of fans at Anfield but this season he has struggled with only one goal and missed from the spot in the derby, unfortunately yesterday afternoon was no different. 

Dirk Kuyt
Yesterday he started in a lone striker role in an unfamiliar Liverpool line up. Kenny Dalglish opted to give Sebastian Coates his first start in the Premier League since his summer move from Nacional and Jamie Carragher returned to the starting XI in place of the injured Daniel Agger.

For Kuyt it was always going to be a tough afternoon against a solid Stoke backline. For all of his hard work he lacked the creative edge that the reds have needed on so many occasions this season.

His one chance came late on, when Jose Enrique’s cross was deflected into his path but he headed just wide, it summed it his season. One goal to date in a Carling Cup tie at Brighton is his only contribution, he has never been prolific but time and time again has come up with key strikes.

Predominantly he has been used a winger at Liverpool and has been key over the last couple of seasons. His drop in form this season has certainly played a part in Liverpool’s alarming lack of goals. Simply the midfield as whole have not contributed enough goal wise and creating openings for the front men.  

At 31 Kuyt’s best years are behind him and he has been a great servant of the club, but it is time for him to move on. Liverpool are crying out for a more dynamic attacking winger. In Maxi, they do have this and let’s not forget Joe Cole who is enjoying a fine season with Lille.

But like Kuyt, both Cole and Maxi are in their early thirties and should not be bit part players, it can be argued that they have not maximised their potential. For Kuyt the opposite can be said as through sheer hard work and determination he has appeared in Champions League and World Cup finals.

In terms of where Liverpool needs to strengthen it is in the final third of the pitch.  Eden Hazard has been muted as a possible additional if not in January in the summer. For me a more realistic target would be Swansea’s Scott Sinclair who has impressed this season and will have Chelsea wondering why they let him go.

Defensively Liverpool have improved tenfold with Martin Skrtel arguably the most improved player in a red shirt and is building a formidable partnership at the heart of defence with Agger. Enrique and Glen Johnson have impressed and Coates looks to have a great future ahead of him and the new defensive unit will be overseen and guided by Carragher.

Martin Skrtel
Going forward I cannot see Liverpool consistently being strong enough to overhaul Chelsea and Arsenal into the all important fourth spot this season. Progress has been made in the cup competitions and a return to Wembley after 16 years is on the cards if they can shut out Manchester City in what promises to be a red hot atmosphere at Anfield next week.

Many will back Liverpool to overcome Manchester United in the FA Cup on the following Saturday again at home. Going back twelve months, the club is in a lot healthier position,  but as we know fans are never satisfied.

In order to build on a solid first twelve months since his return to helm, Dalglish will have eventually move on certain players and for me Kuyt unfortunately is topping the list.


  1. Oh dear, a team that has to rely on Kuyt as a lone striker is indeed toothless.

  2. Let's be positive: at least there were no more racist incidents this time..