Sunday, 18 January 2015

Clean Sheets

At last some, well two clean sheets and doesn't it feel good.  Two wins against Sunderland and Villa, two good performances away from home and two weeks where finally we don't have to listen to people telling us how terrible we are at the back and how poor our goalkeeper is.  We have shown a steady improvement all over the pitch with the fluidity returning to our game but now even at the back we look more solid, more composed.  Even Mignolet seems more commanding, yesterday against Villa he seemed to dominate his box, taking control at corners and when the ball was crossed into our box. Twice he was even accused of good distribution by commentators huge steps forward from where we were only a few weeks ago.  But for me the biggest improvement seems to have come in the back three with support form Lucas in the middle and our wing backs.  Sakho has been immense and i think is now a big player in our defence bringing not only natural talent and strength but also the leadership we have been looking for allowing Skrtel to regain his confidence and form resulting in a fabulous performance against Villa and on the other side of the defence the very young, very inexperienced Can but he appears to be the answer to our problems providing the ability on the ball we have been looking for along with all the physical attributes you need, he is still learning but is doing it very quickly.  Game by game we are seeing huge improvements and again yesterday at Villa very very good taking Benteke out of the game when many felt that Can was the weak link and there to be bullied.

This new formation appears to have given Lucas a new lease of life he did appear to be on his way out of the club but with nobody else able to play the defensive midfield role, or Rodgers version of it, he has become a vital cog in our machine and once again we are all starting to see what he is capable of.  The stats bear out what we are seeing with our own eyes, yes he has lost a yard of pace but it is not effecting his game he is one of the best in this role.  When compared to the media darling, Matic of Chelsea, the figures show that Lucas compares favourably with interceptions, tackles won, headers won and passes completed showing what a key if under valued player he is.  Rodgers recently told us he is not going and I hope this is true he is once again proving everybody wrong.

In the wing back roles we have Moreno and Markovic both excellent going forward, in the case of Markovic already one of the best attacking threats in our team and who will undoubtably go on on be a world class attacking talent, but can they defend.  Moreno is a full back by trade on despite one or two mistakes whilst settling in in I have no worries that once he learns the wing back position and develops the awareness required to know when to attack and when to stay back he will provide an excellent defensive contribution.  Markovic on the other hand was seen as to week, not interested in the defensive side, would be up for it on a wet and windy weekend say in Sunderland but what we have seen is a player prepared to work, prepared to put is foot in and who is certainly up for a challenge and who has defended well from both wing back positions and he has done all this whilst still providing a very high level of attacking threat and whilst showing an incredible level of technical ability, still young but Markovic like Can can be anything he wants to be.

Our defence has shown a huge improvement recently, some of it down to the formation, some of it undoubtably down to the whole team but most of it down to the players in the defence and we are now playing a very young back five all with plenty of time to grow and develop.  Of the five Sakho, Can, Moreno and Markovic are all very young with only Skrtel older and more experienced.  I still feel we need a top class keeper but hopefully with these players this will not be the last of the clean sheets.   

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