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By Paul Tomkins
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Extra info for Above Us Only Sky: Liverpool FC's Global Revolution
But if the problem is that your strikers aren’t converting enough chances, then that’s a different issue. In that case, the key is to add strikers who convert chances at a better rate, but whose inclusion don’t lead to fewer chances being created in the first place –– from laziness, as an example, or sloppy technique outside the box –– as that just leaves you back at square one. It’s pointless having the world’s best six-yard predator if you can’t get the ball to him. Here’s something to ponder.
Against Reading a couple of weeks later, Liverpool went in with a central pairing of Mascherano and Sissoko. The Reds had Pennant and Arbeloa again combining down by the opposition corner flag. 2 in 15 years to score a goal. In the same game, Daniel Agger produced a superb solo run that took him through on goal. So while Benítez had made his team a superb defensive unit, it was not by keeping his defenders back for 90 minutes, or by only sending them forward only for set pieces. With four central options most clubs would die for –– even before the arrival of Lucas Leiva –– the option remains to shift Gerrard out to the right.
Good players are a given, but they need not be indubitably the best; nor do they need to be all ‘world-class’ (whatever your definition of that term is), as the whole can exceed the sum of its parts. Basically, you can’t expect to win the title with a great manager and average players, nor with an average manager and great players (examples of which are Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea and, if looking overseas, the succession of Real Madrid managers before Fabio Capello). You need a balance of both: the right man to lead the right players in the right manner.
Above Us Only Sky: Liverpool FC's Global Revolution by Paul Tomkins