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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rotating into a downward spiral

How many times have you seen it when a coach decides “right, I’ve got a big squad now, I am going to keep everyone rested” only to see the performances of the team turn stale and the results suffer? Liverpool showed just that against Birmingham City today in a boring game. Last week Benitez rotated players and also drew 0-0 against Portsmouth.

Liverpool went close a few times but it was all very ponderous in the end as Birmingham showed some character to deny Liverpool any space near the box and maintain a disciplined draw. Not the most interesting football but a point away is a point away.

I accused Birmingham of being one of the Premiership’s worst three, I can say I was wrong, they might be one of the most boring three but they showed they are a tough squad.

For Liverpool, Rafael Benitez left Fernando Torres out of the starting line-up again. When he finally came on at the hour mark he looked the best player on the pitch but by that point Birmingham's had already parked their team bus in front of goal.

Ryan Babel was unimpressive, Voronin wayward, Kuyt strong but unfocused and Steven Gerrard struggled to make ends meet with any of them.

Over and over again coaches think they can rotate their way to success. Some rotation is vital but when you have players with the look on their faces like Torres did on the bench, you better think twice. The kid is there to score and looks hungry: let him loose. Play your best 11 and rotate one or two at a time. If Rafael Benitez thinks he can rotate his way to success he’ll look back and see a rested team 15 points adrift.

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5 Comments:

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Anonymous atmus said...

Blues tried that under Vialli and it was a disaster. Its a failed system, although logical on the surface, the players suffer emotionally.

9/22/2007 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps he's saving Torres for the trip to Reading in the Carling cup.At least I have a ticket for that reserve match.

9/23/2007 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "rotation" is really becoming everyone's first choice catchphrase when talking about Liverpool. And be sure, it NEVER gets discussed when they are playing well.
Bottom line is that there were 11 players on the pitch for LFC and THOSE GUYS were not good enough. That's the problem. Forget the talent sitting on the bench, look at the talent on the pitch and then you're REALLY scratching your head and wondering why they couldn't nab a goal against Brum. That's not got a damn thing to do with rotation. It's got to do with how well the team can execute their plan and no amount of pointless rotation debate will change that.
For the record, the rotation didn't seem to to effect Torres. This report says that he was the best player on the pitch when he came on so it doesnt seem to effect his emotional state. Peter Crouch was rotated alot last season too but it didnt seem to hurt his goal record. Pennant, Alonso, Mascherano ... all of Liverpool's players have had to deal with rotation and I would seriously challenge anyone to point to someone's poor individual form and blame rotation. It's nonsense.

9/23/2007 3:39 AM  
Anonymous Erl said...

Aye, quite right it was the players on the pitch not delivering but if we didn't rotate as much they wouldn't be on there in big bunches but only one or max two while others are rested, injured or out due to suspension. If the players need a rest, then give them a day off from training or in this case don't bring them down to Reading!! Rafa has said that PL is the top priority so why rest players against Brums, are they saved for the wee cup? Think not!

9/23/2007 7:37 AM  
Blogger YK said...

In this age of soccer where matches come fast and furious for top clubs, i agree it is important to do player rotation every now and then to keep everyone fresh but the way Rafa is doing the rotation is just not the way. Some players need to start a few games to get going mentally, that is why you see certain Liverpool's players getting affected by this rotation while others seems fine.

9/25/2007 5:28 AM  

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