Jonjo Shelvey: Liverpool’s 'crazy' new Gerrard

Defending costs Reds Europa win

Once is an aberration, twice is unlucky, thrice is football coincidence. More than that is just plain crazy.

The manner in which Liverpool Football Club lost a game they so completely dominated, possessed and attacked, suggests, not for the first time, Brendan Rodgers problems are not up front.

Udinese beat Liverpool at Anfield 3-2.

Lax defending yes, but a sense that his midfielders are so driven to move forward that the fact that a strong rear-guard action matters as much as waves of tiki-taka attack is hurting Liverpool.

Epitomising this is Jonjo Shelvey.

Already he has the credentials to take over from Steven Gerrard as the man at the heart of a new Liverpool dawn.

Except that he conspires not to defend.

When he does to let his passion cost his team the game.

And to carry so much of over-zealousness, that against Udinese in the Europa Cup 3-2 loss on Thursday, he managed to somehow stop a goal from going in… for his own team... when it seemed impossible to do… just seems silly.

Steven Gerrard has already said it is probably impossible for Liverpool to win the Premier League. This season or anytime soon.

However, until Rodgers is able to positively channel Shelvey’s passion, he will hurt Liverpool more than help them.

Another thing Gerrard would have never done – mouth-off to Sir Alex Ferguson while getting sent off, no matter how unfairly.

Rodgers was scathing in his criticism of the play.

“It was very frustrating, because I felt we were the much better side but lost our concentration. I thought we had moved on from that.

“We were so loose at the start of the second half it was frightening.

“Our concentration was so bad, we were 3-1 down before we knew it and it was too late by then.

 “We didn’t do what I call the dirty work, tracking runs and if you don’t do that, you don’t earn the right to win.

This website had, after the Norwich game predicted that the cavalier manner in which Liverpool was defending suggested they would have to score four or five every game to win Liverpool to dump skrtel or score 5 every game.

They beat Norwich 5-2.

Rodgers agreed: “You can’t keep having to score two, three or even five goals just to win a game. Maybe we thought it was too comfortable, but at this level it never is.”

Last season Luis Suarez learnt the hard way that to create unnecessary tension in the English Premier League is not useful. His Patrice Evra episode is only just dying down.

This season may be Jonjo Shelvey’s turn.

Liverpool, meanwhile, continue to punch well below their weight and just seem to find an entertaining way to lose.

Liverpool’s new force… or fool?

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