Football

Liverpool transfer committee causing more problems than it's solving

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When Brendan Rodgers first began negotiations with FSG to become the manager of Liverpool it was widely reported that the owners wanted to appoint Louis van Gaal as the director of football to work with the young and upcoming manager who had very little experience at working at the top of the Premier League.

It has also been said that Rodgers dug in his heels and the compromise of the 'transfer committee' was reached. But how much of this was really a compromise?

In theory, although the system is much maligned in the UK, a director of football influences the philosophy and system at a club and brings in coaches and players that will work within that framework.

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Therefore, bringing stability in a game where it can be somewhat wanting on occasions with the aim of change in personnel causing minimal disruption in the future. So how much different to this is a transfer committee?

There are some real similarities between the director of football system and what is in place at Liverpool. It is clear that Rodgers is dictating the style and philosophy and also has a vote on the committee.

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The logical extension of that is, that if you are creating the system and philosophy, the committee should be bringing players that will fit in with the defined system and are able to grow and develop. So what has gone wrong?

On quick reflection, you would say that the recruitment over the last 12 months and longer has clearly failed and the argument should end there. From a fans perspective, this hybrid system at the club has also clouded the issue as to who is really at fault for the failure of the club this season. The manager? The committee? The owners? The players?

Looking closer though you start to wonder if this is all a game of politics and Rodgers has a longer-term agenda. Every manager will get in wrong in the transfer market on occasions. Remind yourself how many goalkeepers Alex Ferguson bought before actually finding the diamonds in the rough he needed.

With regards Liverpool and an the case of Balotelli, at £16 million it was a gamble that has backfired, that one the committee definitely got wrong. Let's look at the others in more detail though...

Rickie Lambert

You can honestly see the logic behind this purchase. In season 13/14, there were games when teams got 11 men behind the ball, played narrow in defence, and allowed Liverpool to play along the flanks knowing full well that defending crosses was going to be easier than trying to defend space between full backs and central defenders with Suarez and Sturridge running on to through balls.

Now with Lambert in the side if after 60 minutes nothing was happening through the middle then he could be brought on to attack the ball in the air or play like an old-fashioned target man. However, Liverpool have been consistent, even when trying to unlock a tight defence, Lambert has been sparingly brought onto the pitch and the team have still tried to play through the middle.

This time with a player who is not in the same league as Suarez and Sturidge for latching on to through balls. History will tell you what happened when Ian Rush went to Juventus and was replaced by John Aldridge. Liverpool changed how they played.

Adam Lallana

Clearly talented, clearly a good squad player and clearly a good back up to Coutinho. He is better through the middle of the pitch as a No. 10 rather than in a wide position. He is not a wingback or indeed a full back, positions in which he found himself trying to apply his trade at times.

Dejan Lovren

The third of the Southampton trio purchased in the summer and yet another clear example of a player being asked to perform in a system that he is not used to. Lovren is not a defender that can allow lots of space behind him as he does not have blistering pace that allows him to deal with balls played in behind.

He is a solid and good defender for teams that play counter-attacking football and allow the opposition to commit people to forward positions and push up. When he started in the team the high defensive was being played and his confidence suffered.

And the rest

Lazar Markovic threatened to be the best of the bunch when Rodgers changed the formation to 3-5-2. Lots of potential but he is a forward not a wing back and as soon as the side reverted to a flat back four, Markovic was sacrificed and not for the natural choice of Manquillo who had proved to be a right back that could in fact defend crosses. Something the team had lacked for some time. In fact in a difficult start to the season Manquillo had proved to be a bright spark in some very dismal team displays.

No, Markovic was replaced by Emre Can. Potentially a fantastic midfield player, but he struggles in the air and being turned by pace. Not two weaknesses you really want in a defender. Alberto Moreno was the only player actually used in positions that he was used to. Had a shaky start to his Liverpool career but ended up putting in some good performances in both the full back and wing back positions.

All this does for me is raise more questions than it provides answers. Is the transfer committee poor at recruitment? Is Rodgers too rigid with his style of football or does he lack the ability to adapt to the players that have been provided and provide the appropriate coaching?

Last week the club sacked Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh as they recognised after such a poor season change was needed. Pascoe is Rodgers' right hand man and good friend, so are the owners setting out their stall early and firing a warning shot across Rodgers’ bow?

Have they recognised Rodgers is trying to play players out of position as an on pitch criticism of the transfer committee and see this as the corrective action required?

For me the situation between a manager having full responsibility and the director of football system is just a hybrid that is causing more problems than it provides solutions. It currently allows individuals to avoid criticism for the failings.

FSG were right that change was needed. They want to keep Rodgers and I would now let him stand or fall by the decisions he makes in the transfer market over the summer.

Who should take responsibility for Liverpool's transfer failings? Let us know below!

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Mario Balotelli
Brendan Rodgers

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